Senior School | Ages 13 - 18
challenging and rewarding
Focused and challenging academic classes with a continued emphasis on social, emotional and physical growth provide students with a solid foundation for life after graduation.
All Grade 8-10 students follow the IB Middle Years Programme. Prior to beginning Grade 11, students will meet with the IB Diploma Programme Coordinator and their College Counsellor to discuss their final two years of study at ISB.
During their final two years at ISB, students may choose to pursue the full IB Diploma, or choose an individualized programme of study integrating a selection of ISBasel courses and IB Diploma Programme courses to attain an International School Basel diploma.
- Grade 11-12 | IB Diploma Programme
- Grade 11-12 | ISBasel Courses
- Grade 8-10 | IB Middle Years Programme
The Diploma Programme (DP) is a rigorous, university preparatory course of study designed to challenge students academically, while maintaining a continuing emphasis on social, emotional, and physical growth. Working together with our teachers and counseling staff, students use their DP years to explore their interests and plan pathways to life after graduation.
ISB offers students a comprehensive range of more than 65 academic courses leading to the full IB Diploma Programme (IBDP).
The curriculum consists of the DP core and six subject groups.
- 1. Language and Literature
- 2. Language Acquisition
- 3. Individuals and Societies
- 4. Sciences
- 5. Mathematics
- 6. The Arts and Electives
As part of the Diploma Programme (DP), students take at least one subject from studies in language and literature. Taking two studies in language and literature subjects in different languages is one way of obtaining a bilingual diploma. Students must select at least 1 Language A.
- English A: Language and Literature HL
- English A: Language and Literature SL
- English A: Literature HL
- English A: Literature SL
- English B HL (chosen alongside another Language A)
It is a requirement of the programme that students study at least one subject from group 2.
The main emphasis of the modern language courses is on the acquisition and use of language in a range of contexts and for different purposes while, at the same time, promoting an understanding of another culture through the study of its language.
- French A: Language and Literature HL & SL
- French A: Literature HL & SL
- German A: Literature HL & SL
- German A: Language and Literature HL & SL
- German A: Literature HL & SL
- Spanish A: Language and Literature HL & SL
- School supported self-taught Language A: Literature SL (with tutor - extra cost)
- French B HL & SL
- German B HL & SL
- Spanish B SL (online - extra cost)
- German Ab Initio SL
- Spanish Ab Initio SL (online - extra cost)
- French Ab Initio SL (online - extra cost)
Students may opt to study an additional science, individuals and societies, or language course, instead of a course in the arts.
The subjects in the arts allow a high degree of adaptability to different cultural contexts. The emphasis is on creativity in the context of disciplined, practical research into the relevant genres.
In addition, each subject is designed to foster critical, reflective and informed practice, help students understand the dynamic and changing nature of the arts, explore the diversity of arts across time, place and cultures, and express themselves with confidence and competence.
- Music HL & SL
- Theatre HL & SL
- Visual Art HL & SL
- Biology HL & SL
- Chemistry HL & SL
- Physics HL & SL
Individuals and Societies
- Economics HL & SL
- Psychology HL & SL
Studies in Language and Literature
- Self-Taught Language A: Literature
- Individuals and Narratives (English)
- Global Politics/ International Relations (Individuals and Societies)
- Mathematical Studies (Mathematics)
- Environmental Studies (Science)
Narratives are important in communicating a message, developing identities, or connecting with individuals on an emotional level. Narratives can be controversial and divisive, amusing and unifying, or simply engaging and enjoyable. In truth, they are a mixture of these elements. Narratives reinforce human needs to hear and be heard, to communicate and respond. Essentially, narratives help shape our understanding of an experience or event and confirm our expectations or contradict our perspectives.
This course will examine narratives in literature, film, and media and the means by which authors, filmmakers, and advertisers construct these narratives forms. By exploring a diversity of texts, including literature and films from different cultures, students will analyze how identities and underlying cultural issues are communicated to diverse audiences. The role, impact, and implications of these communication forms are discussed and debated through group debate and individual projects.
Note: The texts, films, and resources used during the course are determined by considering the needs of the group and the goals of the course.
Key Topics and Concepts
Podcasts and Audio Narratives
Film and Documentary Studies
Literary Genre Studies
Language Studies in Current Contexts
Works in Translation
Visual and Media Literacy
Video and Text Production
Data, Information, and Narratives
Writing, Research, and Presentation
Skills and Assessments
Portfolios, Projects, Discussions, Presentations, Student-led Seminars
Presentations and Research Essay - Year 1
Documentary Creation & Presentation - Year 2
The 21st century is characterized by rapid change and increasing inter-connectedness, influencing people in unprecedented ways and creating complex global political challenges. The study of global politics and international issues enables students to engage critically with different and new perspectives and approaches to politics, in order to make sense of this changing world and their role in it as active citizens. Global politics/issues is an exciting dynamic subject which draws on a variety of disciplines in the social sciences and humanities, reflecting the complex nature of many contemporary political issues.
The course explores fundamental political concepts such as power, equality, sustainability, and peace, in a range of contexts. It allows students to develop an understanding of the local, national, international, and global dimensions of political activity, as well as allowing them the opportunity to explore political issues affecting their own lives. The course helps students to understand abstract political concepts by grounding them in real-world examples and case studies. It also invites a comparison between such examples and case studies to ensure a transnational perspective.
Key Topics and Concepts
Power, Sovereignty, and International Relations
Peace and Conflict
Case study approach to topics
Writing, research, and group and individual presentations
Active participation in small and large group discussions
Source analysis skills
Skills and Assessments
Research (individual and group), Presentations, Written Tasks
Document-Based assessments; Essays;
10-minute oral presentation - Year 1
Community Engagement Activity; Essays;
10-minute oral presentation - Year 2
Mathematical Studies has an emphasis on applications of Mathematics, and the largest section is on statistical techniques. It is designed for students with varied mathematical backgrounds and abilities. It offers students opportunities to learn important concepts and techniques and to gain an understanding of a wide variety of mathematical topics. It prepares students to be able to solve problems in a variety of settings, to develop more sophisticated mathematical reasoning and to enhance their critical thinking.
The course syllabus focuses on important mathematical topics that are interconnected. The syllabus is organized and structured with the following tenets in mind: placing more emphasis on student understanding of fundamental concepts than on symbolic manipulation and complex manipulative skills; giving greater emphasis to developing students’ mathematical reasoning rather than performing routine operations; solving mathematical problems embedded in a wide range of contexts.
The individual project is an extended piece of work based on personal research involving the collection, analysis, and evaluation of data. Students taking this course are well prepared for a career in social sciences, humanities, languages, or arts. These students may need to utilize the statistics and logical reasoning that they have learned as part of the Mathematical Studies course in their future studies.
Logic, Sets, and Probability
Statistics and Applications
Introduction to Calculus
Investigative, problem-solving & modeling skills
Tests, Quizzes, Mathematical Data, Problem Solving Tasks
Exam and Investigation - Research and Portfolio - Year 1
Major Assessment: Exam and Investigation
Presentation of Results - Year 2
Environmental Studies focuses on both a scientific exploration of ecosystems with respect to their functions and in the exploration of cultural, economic, ethical, political, and social interactions with the environment. As a result of studying this course, students will become better equipped with the ability to recognize, examine, and evaluate the impact of our complex system of societies on various natural worlds. The course requires a broad skill set from students, including the ability to perform research and investigations and to participate in a range of discussions and interviews.
In order to understand the environmental issues affecting human societies, both the human and environmental aspects must be understood collectively. Therefore, students should be encouraged to consider, if not develop, solutions from a personal to a community and to a global scale. Through the exploration of the diversity of concepts, the course investigates how cultural and economic values interact with our choices, intended actions, and unintended consequences, resulting in a range of cultural and environmental impacts. Students develop an understanding that the connections between environmental systems and societies are diverse and dynamic.
Key Topics and Concepts
Ecosystems and Biodiversity
Laws, Ethics, and Politics
Global Policies and Local Practices
Present Contexts and Future Realities
Systems Thinking: Models and Change
Skills and Assessments
Research (individual and group), presentations, written tasks
Case Studies, Interviews, Data Analysis, and Seminars - Year 1
Written Reports and Individual Investigation - Year 2
The Middle Years Programme in Senior School holistically supports student growth by placing emphasis on academics, service, and extracurricular activities. Students in Grade 8 - 10 are given increasing opportunities to lead and develop their own sense of self within our supportive learning community.
The IB Middle Years Programme (MYP) is offered to all Grade 6 to 10 students at ISB. The MYP is an ambitious programme combining academic rigour and challenge while preparing students for the demands of an ever-changing world. The MYP aims to help students develop their personal understanding, their emerging sense of self and responsibility in their community.
The MYP emphasizes intellectual challenge, encouraging students to make connections between their studies in traditional subjects and the real world. It fosters the development of skills for communication, intercultural understanding and global engagement - essential qualities for young people who are becoming global leaders.
MYP Subjects and Interdisciplinary Learning
In the Middle Years Programme (MYP), interdisciplinary learning supports students to understand bodies of knowledge from two or more disciplines or subject groups, in order to integrate them and create new understanding.
Students demonstrate interdisciplinary understanding when they bring together concepts, methods, or forms of communication from two or more disciplines or established areas of expertise so that they can explain a phenomenon, solve a problem, create a product, or raise a new question in ways that would have been unlikely through a single discipline.
The Middle Years Programme is comprised of eight subject groups, providing a broad and balanced education for early adolescents.
- Individuals and Societies
- Language and Literature
- Modern Languages
- Physical and Health Education
In the International Baccalaureate® (IB) Middle Years Programme (MYP), students develop through creating, performing and presenting arts in ways that engage and convey feelings, experiences and ideas. It is through this practice that students acquire new skills and master those skills developed in prior learning. Students have opportunities to function as artists, as well as learners of the arts.
The Arts disciplines at ISB include:
- Visual art
Students in Grade 6 - 8 study Drama, Music and Visual art. In Grade 9 students take one of the Arts subjects and have the option to select a second Arts. In Grade 10 students have the option of selecting one Arts subject.
As part of the Middle Years Programme (MYP), design challenges all students to:
- apply practical and creative thinking skills to solve design problems
- explore the role of design in both historical and contemporary contexts
- consider their responsibilities when making design decisions and taking action.
MYP design focuses a holistic design process rather than final products and solutions.
Students follow a general design course from Grade 6 - 10 covering both practical and digital media by completing a range of project-based activities. For their final MYP award, students solve a brief set by the IB in the final semester of Grade 10.
Individuals and Societies encourages learners to respect and understand the world around them and equips them with the necessary skills to inquire into historical, contemporary, geographical, political, social, economic, religious, technological and cultural factors that have an impact on individuals, societies and environments.
Students in Grade 6 - 8 study an integrated Individuals and Societies programme. In Grade 9 - 10 students are taught Geography and History as discrete subjects in a semester course. In addition, Grade 10 students may choose PEP (units of Politics, Economics, Business and Psychology) as an elective.
At ISB the MYP curriculum is taught through English and so mastery of English language and literature helps all students achieve their full potential in a range of subjects. The MYP Language and Literature courses include a balanced study of genres and literary texts, including a world literature component. Students’ interactions with texts generate moral, social, economic, political, cultural and environmental insights.
French and German are also offered to Grade 6 - 10 students, and Spanish to Grade 8 - 10 students at the Language and Literature level.
In the International Baccalaureate® (IB) Middle Years Programme (MYP), mathematics promotes both inquiry and application, helping students to develop problem solving techniques that transcend the discipline and that are useful in the world beyond school.
The MYP mathematics framework encompasses number, algebra, geometry and trigonometry, statistics and probability.
At ISB students in Grade 6 - 10 study the four branches of Mathematics: Number, Pattern and Functions, Shape and Space and Data. Each topic within the branches is introduced in Grade 6 - 8 and then built upon and developed further in Grade 9 - 10. In Grade 6 - 8 students are provided with a solid foundation of Mathematics and are challenged with additional topics. In Grade 9 - 10 students are guided towards either the Standard or the Extended Mathematics programmes.
In Middle Years Programme (MYP) Modern Languages, students are provided with the opportunity to study combinations of German, French and Spanish. In Grade 6 - 7, students are required to study German as well as an additional language (French or Spanish). In Grade 8, students choose between German, French or Spanish as their main Modern Language subject and also study an additional language (German, French or Spanish). In Grade 9 - 10 students select either of German, French or Spanish and have the option to take an additional language (German, French or Spanish) in the electives group.
As well as learning the grammar and vocabulary of the various languages students are also taught about the cultural aspect of the language(s) that they choose. The curriculum encourages students to reflect on the different forms of language and the function that language has in different contexts. The advantage of studying language at ISB is that the programme allows for a broad range of experience ranging from emergent, capable, proficient, through to native in most languages in MYP years.
Students are given the opportunity to develop their language skills to their full potential, as well as the possibility of progressing through various phases over the course of the MYP.
All students in Grade 6 - 10 follow a Middle Years Programme (MYP) Physical and Health Education course. MYP Physical and Health Education aims to empower students to understand and appreciate the value of being physically active and develop the motivation for making healthy life choices. To this end, physical and health education courses foster the development of knowledge, skills and attitudes that will contribute to a student’s balanced and healthy lifestyle. Physical and health education focuses on both learning about and learning through physical activity.
The Middle Years Programme (MYP) sciences framework encourages students to investigate issues through research, observation and experimentation, working independently and collaboratively.
As they investigate real examples of science application, students will discover the tensions and dependencies between science and morality, ethics, culture, economics, politics, and the environment.
At the ISB, students in Grade 6 - 8 study Integrated Science. Students learn to integrate concepts and methods from different disciplines including Biology, Chemistry and Physics. In Grade 9 students will follow a modular approach to the Sciences. The first unit will build upon the investigative skills developed in previous years and extend to meet the Grade 9 and Grade 10 objectives. Students will then follow Biology, Chemistry and Physics modules. In Grade 10, all students will have modular science course which involves one semester of Chemistry and one semester of Biology. Grade 10 students also have the option to take Physics as an additional science.
The MYP personal project
In Grade 10, the final year of the Middle Years Programme, each student is required to undertake a Personal Project, which brings together the concepts and skills, including Approaches to Learning, developed throughout the MYP.
The Personal Project exhibition evening represents the culmination and celebration of student achievement in the Personal Project.
The product itself may take many forms – a work of art, an original science experiment, an invention or specially designed system, a piece of literary fiction, improving the quality of life for a community or group, making a DVD or recording a musical composition. The student chooses a topic and adopts whichever approach is the most appropriate. In addition to producing a product, a detailed process journal is kept and a report is delivered.
Meaningful participation in Service is a requirement for all students in Grade 6 - 10. Students are encouraged to make connections between what they learn in the classroom and what they see happening in the outside world.Service encourages responsible citizenship. It seeks to deepen the students’ knowledge and understanding of the world around them to allow students to be more knowledgeable, open-minded and confident.
As students mature, Service activities should go ‘beyond doing for others to engaging with others in a shared commitment towards the common good. Meaningful Service requires understanding of an underlying issue such as poverty, literacy or pollution’, identifying where the need lies and interacting with the relevant community to determine the best action.
Senior School - Reinach Campus
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