Learning at SWIS > Diploma Programme (DP)

DP Programme (DP)

Diploma Programme

The IB Diploma Programme (DP) is a two-year assessed programme for students typically between the ages of 16-18 recognized as a premiere leaving qualification for universities across the world. The DP is philosophically aligned with the preceding PYP and MYP at SWIS based on the attributes of the IB Learner Profile. All three programmes draw upon the same pedagogical approach.

The DP at SWIS seeks to develop students who:

  • have excellent breadth and depth of knowledge
  • flourish physically, intellectually, emotionally and ethically
  • study at least two languages
  • excel in traditional academic subjects
  • explore the nature of knowledge through the programme’s unique theory of knowledge course

Teaching and Learning the DP at SWIS

The DP utilizes the same 8 Day cycle of teaching and learning as occurs in the MYP at SWIS. Students select from six subject groups and the DP core. All students select their courses from the IB subject Groups 1-6 and the requisite DP Core (Extended Essay; Creativity, Activity, Service, and Theory of Knowledge). Rather than taking an Arts subject from Group 6, students can choose to study an additional subject from any of the Language Courses (Groups 1 or 2), Individuals and Societies (Group 3), or the Sciences (Group 4). The precise subject selection depends on the restrictions of the school’s timetable.

Higher Level and Standard Level

Students select 3 subjects from the Higher Level (HL) and 3 subjects from the Standard Level (SL). HL subjects are studied at greater depth and take up considerably more time for students in the DP. HL subjects involve a minimum of 240 teaching hours, while the minimum for SL subjects is 150 teaching hours. Students typically select HL subjects related to their greatest interest or the subjects that will most prepare them for their future path of study in university.

External assessment

Examinations form the basis of the assessment for most courses. This is because of their high levels of objectivity and reliability.

They include:

  • essays
  • structured problems
  • short-response questions
  • data-response questions
  • text-response questions
  • case-study questions
  • multiple-choice questions – though these are rarely used.

Internal assessment

Teacher assessment is also used for most courses. This includes:

  • oral work in languages
  • laboratory work in the sciences
  • investigations in mathematics
  • artistic performances.

Subject Offerings

Group 1:

Chinese A Language & Literature

English A Language & Literature


Group 4:





Group 2:

Chinese B Language Acquisition

English B Language Acquisition


Group 5:

Maths HL

Maths SL

Math Studies (SL)


Group 3:

Business & Management




Group 6:


Visual Arts


Please note that the precise offering of subjects depends on yearly enrollment interest. The options below are meant to guide students through a range of possible subject selections. Each student should think carefully about their own interests before selecting their subjects in the DP. Students meet with the IBDP Coordinator and the University Counselor at least twice to assist them in making their subject selections. 

“The Medic”

“The Artist”

Biology (HL)

Chemistry (HL)

Math (HL)

English B (SL)

Business & Management (SL)

Chinese A Language & Lit. (SL)


Extended Essay (in Biology)



Visual Arts (HL)

English A Language & Lit. (HL)

Business & Management (HL)

Chinese B (SL)

Biology (SL)

Math Studies (SL)


Extended Essay (in Visual Arts)



“The Academic”

“The Engineer”

English A Language & Lit. (HL)

Economics (HL)

Psychology (HL)

Chinese B (SL)

Physics (SL)

Math (SL)


Extended Essay (in World Studies)



Physics (HL)

Math (HL)

Chemistry (HL)

Economics (SL)

Chinese A Literature (SL) 

English B (SL)


Extended Essay (in Physics)



“The Linguist”

“The Hospitality Manager”

English A Language & Literature (HL)

Chinese A Language & Literature (HL)

Spanish Ab Initio through Pamoja online

Biology (SL)

Psychology (SL)

Math Studies (SL)


Extended Essay (in Chinese A)



Chinese A Language & Lit. (HL)

English B (HL)

Business & Management (HL)

Math (SL)

Biology (SL)

Spanish B (SL) through Pamoja online


Extended Essay (in Business & Management)



DP Promotion Policy

Promotion to the Diploma Programme (DP) at SWIS is not automatic for SWIS students.

In order to be considered for the SWIS DP candidates must:

  • Complete the MYP Service and Action requirements.
  • Achieve a total score of at least 30 on the final Grade 10 report as outlined in the Secondary Community Handbook.
  • Achieve a final score of at least 3 on the MYP Personal Project
  • Have no score of 1 in any subject on the final Grade 10 report.
  • Have no more than two subject scores of 2 on the final Grade 10 report
  • Meet Grade 10 attendance requirements as outlined in the Secondary Handbook.

Students failing the above criteria will have their promotion reviewed by the Secondary Division Team. 

Students not admitted to the DP may be eligible to complete the SWIS diploma.

Placement in HL Subjects – All DP Candidates

Students must achieve a subject score of 5 at the end of Grade 10 to enter a similar HL subject in the DP. Students must also have approval from the subject teacher for the HL subject they wish to study. Students who do not meet this requirement may appeal for entry into a HL subject. The Secondary Admissions Team reviews the appeal. All decisions are final. 

University Recognition

University Recognition

  • How familiar are universities with the IB?
  • How colleges and universities view the IB
  • Do IB scores influence US colleges and universities?
  • See how Russell Group advises IB students to choose advanced courses (informed choices pdf)
  • The IBDP compares favorably to other university-prep offerings. See results of research here. The IB used to collect data on the recognition policies within a single spreadsheet. The data included may still be similar to current year updates. See an example of how universities prioritize and reward IB learners in the Rochester IB guide pdf from the IB student registry, the new location for universities to report IB specific information.  
  • Guides for the application process and university admissions in the UK, USA, and selected other countries can be found here.
  • Every country may have their own policy on the IB, and those can be found here.
  • Guides for students applying for the following countries are linked below:

CanadaThe UKAustraliaUSAGermanyHong KongNetherlands

  • See how students can discuss their IB course choices in their university applications and the strategies they can use to discuss their EE within applications. 
  • The IB blog has videos and guides to help students become successful applicants.
  • Beyond utilizing the IBDP as your global passport to universities, you will need to be aware of specific requirements of the places you intend to apply. The guide within the SWIS Community Handbook will take you through the specifics of high school life that will effect your applications to university. Depending on where you want to attend, universities may require you to take other exams like TOEFL, IELTS, ACT or SAT. Learn more by reading through the high school handbook and speaking with the college and career counselor.

DPAC (SWIS Assessment Calendar) (Download PDF)

Please click to download the DP Assessment Schedule.

General Regulations (Download PDF)

Please click to download the IBO General Regulations Diploma Programme.

Academic Honesty Policy

SWIS Secondary Division Academic Honesty Policy

SWIS Academic Honesty and the IB Learner Profile

The Academic Honesty Policy is guided by the IB Learner Profile.  In developing and enforcing this policy, we encourage SWIS students to be:

  • Inquirers  – who acquire the skills necessary to conduct inquiry and research
  • Knowledgeable – who explore concepts, ideas and issues
  • Principled  – who act with integrity and honesty, take responsibility for their own actions
  • Open-minded   – who are accustomed to seeking and evaluating a range of points of view
  • Risk-takers  – who are brave and articulate in defending their beliefs
  • Communicators – who are clear in explaining which parts of their assignments, are from other sources

Academic Misconduct

The IBO defines misconduct as behavior that results in, or may result in, the candidate or any other candidate gaining an unfair advantage in one or more assessment component. (IBO Diploma Program Academic Honesty, July 2011 – p3).

Misconduct includes:

plagiarism: This is defined as the representation of the ideas or work of another person as the candidate’s own, including assessment that is completed with the assistance of a tutor.

collusion: This is defined as supporting malpractice by another candidate, as in allowing one’s work to be copied or submitted for assessment by another.

duplication of work: This is defined as the presentation of the same work for different assessment components and/or diploma requirements

Any other behavior that gains an unfair advantage for a candidate or that affects the results of another candidate (for example, taking unauthorized material into an examination room, misconduct during an examination, falsifying a record). 
(IBO Diploma Program Academic Honesty, July 2011 – p3). 

Principles of Academic Honesty

Academic Integrity must be seen as a set of values and skills that promote personal integrity and good practice in teaching, learning and assessment. (IBO Diploma Program Academic Honesty, July 2011 – p2).

Academic Integrity is influenced and shaped by a variety of factors including peer pressure, culture, parental expectations, role modelling and taught skills. (IBO Diploma Program Academic Honesty, July 2011 – p2).

All school stakeholders play a role in promoting academic integrity.

Common understanding of concepts and definitions regarding academic integrity must be transparent to all school stakeholders.

Students must be explicitly taught the knowledge and skills necessary to avoid academic misconduct.

Consequences of academic misconduct must be transparent and applied consistently.

Roles and Responsibilities of Students, Teachers, Parents and Administration in the Prevention of Academic Misconduct

The Administration:

  • Clearly understand and promote the Academic Integrity Policy.
  • Actively develop a culture of academic integrity.
  • Provide resources to promote to support academic integrity.

Teachers, Librarians, Project Leaders 

  • Clearly understand and promote the SWIS Secondary Division Academic Integrity Policy.
  • Teach as well as promote the skills and knowledge students require to demonstrate academic integrity.
  • Structure assignments that allow students to demonstrate integrity.
  • Promote academic integrity with each assignment.
  • Use the same school-adopted procedures for citing sources.
  • Use a formative assessment process to clearly understand the student’s learning process. Formative assessment may uncover a student’s academic negligence before it manifests itself in academic misconduct.
  • Promote academic integrity with initiatives such as poster competitions, campaigns, or student presentations.


  • Clearly understand and promote the SWIS Secondary Division Academic Honesty Policy.
  • Monitor their children’s homework and computer use.


  • Clearly understand and promote the SWIS Secondary Division Academic Honesty Policy.
  • Demonstrate ethical behavior with respect to academic integrity.
  • Use required conventions for submitting work.
  • Actively seek guidance from teachers to avoid academic malpractice.

Consequences of misconduct in the MYP.

Staff member and MYP Coordinator

1.     Misconduct suspected.

2.     Confirm with subject lead and the Coordinator who will gather the evidence in order to lead the investigation.

3.    Via email, alert both Advisor and Student Affairs Coordinator

4.    Document a report in Managebac - automatically sent to parents. Send additional email to confirm receipt.

5.     No grade recorded.

6.    In tandem with other class work, expect student to complete assessment with new deadline.

7.     Review completed work. 

8.     Apply unofficial grade at discretion.

9.    Monitor and mentor student for future assessments.


1.     Meet with Coordinator or Teacher to identify/clarify misconduct.

2.     In tandem with other classwork, complete given assessment according to new deadline.    

Consequences of misconduct in the DP for a First Offense with an incident involving summative or formal written IB assessment (including drafts,
see: CHB for First Draft Policy).

Staff Member and DP Coordinator

1.    Misconduct suspected by Teacher.

2.    Teacher consults with the student involved to discuss the suspicion or evidence of misconduct.

3.   Teacher communicates with the DPC and shares any related evidence of misconduct.

4.   DPC evaluates evidence with consultation from the Principal in order to conduct an investigation into the incident.

5.    If misconduct is confirmed by the DPC the student will receive a grade of 0 for the piece submitted.

6.   DPC reviews with the student the parameters of academic misconduct to offer guidance on future work.

7.    DPC informs student of the consequences of the second offense and requests that student sign acknowledgement of understanding.

8.     Via email, the DPC alerts both Advisor and Student Affairs Coordinator

9.    DPC documents a report in Managebac - automatically sent to parents. Send additional email to confirm receipt.

10.  Teacher sets a new deadline for the student with the opportunity to resubmit the work for a full mark.

11.  Teacher awards grade.

12.  Teacher monitors student for future assessments.


1.     Meet with Coordinator to identify/clarify misconduct.

2.     Submit a written statement regarding the incident.

3.    If misconduct is confirmed, sign acknowledgement of understanding form.

4.    In tandem with other classwork, complete given assessment according to new deadline.   



Consequences of misconduct in the DP for a Second Offense with an incident involving summative or formal written IB assessment (including drafts, see: CHB for First Draft Policy).

Staff Member, DP Coordinator and Principal

1.     The handling of a second offense follows the same procedure as the first offense investigation. After the investigation, if misconduct is confirmed, the DPC will convene a formal academic review with the Secondary Principal and others involved in the investigation.

2.     If the assessment in question involves a formal IB internal assessment (e.g. Commentary, Investigation Report, Exhibition, etc), then a grade of 0 is submitted to the IBO.

3.     If the assessment in question involves a summative assessment, a grade of 0 is reported on the student’s record with no chance to makeup or resubmit the work.

4.     Principal communicates further consequences for the student regarding future behavior of academic misconduct, including de-registration from the Diploma Programme or award of “N” (No Grade).


1.     Meet with Principal, Coordinator and others involved in the investigation.

2.     In tandem with other classwork, complete given assessment according to new deadline.



Consequences of misconduct in the DP for any incident during a mock or formal IB examination under timed-conditions.

Invigilator and Coordinator

1.     Misconduct is suspected by the invigilator.

2.     Evidence of misconduct is collected and the details of the incident are documented by the Lead Invigilator who communicates with the DPC.

3.    DPC meets with the student to discuss the incident.

4.    DPC gives the student at minimum 24 hours to supply a written statement regarding the incident.

5.     DPC writes a report of the incident to be shared with the IBO upon request.

6.    The Principal and Director of School are notified of the incident by the DPC.

7.     The consequences of the incident are discussed with the student by the DPC and Principal. The Principal may request a meeting with the student and the parents as necessary.

8.     If misconduct is confirmed during a mock examination, a grade of 0 awarded with no chance of a makeup.

9.    If the incident includes a formal IB external examination, the DPC liaises with the IBO who leads the investigation.

10.  DPC and SWIS comply with all requests from the IBO concerning the incident, including the sharing of evidence or documentation necessary for their investigation.



Definitions of Assessments in the DP

Summative: SWIS assessment modeled on DP internal or external exams/assessments, graded by SWIS teachers. 

Formative:  SWIS assessment modeled on DP internal or external exams/assessments with feedback from SWIS teachers.

Internal Assessment:  an official IB summative work graded by SWIS subject teacher, but moderated by the IB.

External Assessment: an official IB summative work graded by DP examiners (not from SWIS), usually under timed conditions except in the Core, Groups 1, 2 and 6.

Parent FAQs (in Chinese & English)

  • Q: What is the DP?


A: For a complete overview of the Diploma Programme, please visit the official International Baccalaureate webpage, here: http://ibo.org/programmes/diploma-programme/

DP是IB大学预科项目(Diploma Programme)的缩写,IB官网对DP有全面的介绍,请访问:http://ibo.org/programmes/diploma-programme/


  • Q: Is the DP accepted by universities?


A: Universities across the world recognize the DP as a premiere leaving qualification for university entrance. While each university or country has its own admissions practice, research shows that many admissions programs actually prefer students who have studied in the IB. The skills that students gain in self-management, research and emotional balance prepare them well for university life. For a complete and up-to-date list of universities accepting students in the IB, visit the IBO page:  http://www.ibo.org/university-admission/recognition-of-the-ib-diploma-by-countries-and-universities/



  • Q: What does it take to be successful in the DP?


A: While there is no precise formula for success in the DP, high achieving students tend to have mastered the Approaches to Learning (ATLs): self-management skills, thinking skills, research skills, social skills and communication skills.



  • Q: What subjects in the DP should my son/daughter take?


A: Subject selection in the DP is one of the single-most important factors for success in the programme. Full Diploma Students are required to take 6 subjects + the Core (CAS, TOK and the Extended Essay). Students select 1 subject from each Group with the possibility of dropping Group 6 (Art) for an additional Group 3 (Individuals and Societies) or Group 4 (Sciences). Students are encouraged to select subjects that are of interest to them, or ones that will help them as they apply to universities or plan for their future career.



  • Q: Where can I learn more about DP subjects?


A: Please find the ibo.org page to read the Diploma Programme Subject Briefs, here: http://www.ibo.org/university-admission/ib-recognition-resources-and-document-library/#briefs



  • Q: What Higher Level subjects should my son/daughter take?


A: Students typically select HL subjects related to their greatest interest or the subjects that will most prepare them for their future path of study in university. HL subjects are studied at greater depth and take up considerably more time for students in the DP. They involve a minimum of 240 teaching hours, while the minimum for SL subjects is 150 teaching hours. Keep in mind that some university programs may require that students enroll in certain DP Subjects or Levels. Students should consult the University Counselor for details on subject selection and university admissions.



  • Q: Why do certain HL subjects have entry requirements or a teacher recommendation?


A: The DP Coordinator, along with Teachers and Advisors, encourages students to reflect honestly on their strengths, weaknesses and needs prior to selecting subjects in the DP. Students interested in Higher Levels in Group 4 (Sciences), Group 5 (Maths) and Group 6 (Arts) are required to attain a minimum 5 grade and/or a teacher recommendation to guarantee their placement in the subject. In extraordinary cases, and if space is available, students may be registered in HL subjects without a grade of 5 or teacher recommendation if they are able to provide a written rationale outlining their request for entry. Under such circumstances, students will be asked to sign an acknowledgement of non-recommendation letter.



  • Q: Can students change their DP subjects after the school year begins?


A: Students are urged to finalize their DP Subjects with the DP Coordinator in the month of May (Grade 10 MYP). However, DP students in their first week of the programme participate in “Shopping Week” where they are allowed to sit in on classes of interest to them throughout the first 8-Day Cycle. Should students request a change to their registration they may complete a change of registration form with the DP Coordinator. Entry into subjects depends on available space, previous grades, and teacher recommendation.



  • Q: What’s the last date for changing DP subject or level registration?


A: Student in Year 1 of the DP can request changes to their subject or level registration up until Semester 2 (DP1). Requests must go through the DP Coordinator and have approval from relevant Teachers.



  • Q: Can parents meet with the DP Coordinator or University Counselor to discuss subject selection in the DP?


A: We encourage students, as mature and principled communicators, to take responsibility themselves in meeting with the DP Coordinator and University Counselor.  Pertinent information will be shared with parents via Managebac or SMS. Parents as well are encouraged to attend the DP Info Sessions in October or November when they are announced. In special cases, parents can arrange to meet with the DPC or University Counselor via email.

*DPC: Mr. Tucker Barrows (tucker.barrows@swis.cn)

*University Counselor: Dr. Greg Mason (greg.mason@swis.cn)

我们鼓励学生以成熟的、自律的、对自己负责的态度,独立和DP课程协调员或大学升学顾问沟通。重要的问题我们会通过Managebac 或短信通知家长。10月或11月我们会举行DP家长信息会,到时请家长尽量都参加。有任何特殊情况,家长可以通过邮件和DP课程协调员或大学升学顾问预约见面,他们的邮箱是

*DP课程协调员: Mr. Tucker Barrows (tucker.barrows@swis.cn)

*大学升学顾问: Dr. Greg Mason (greg.mason@swis.cn)


  • Q: When do students meet with the DPC and University Counselor?


A: MYP 10 Students meet twice with the DP Coordinator and University Counselor prior to entry into the DP (October and May). These meetings are intended to guide students into the subjects most appropriate for their future plan.



  • Q: What is Pamoja Education Online?


A: Pamoja is an online platform for students interested in DP subjects not available at SWIS. Pamoja is an IBO-approved online provider that is suited for students who are excellent self-managers. Keep in mind there is an associated fee with registration. More information is available on their webpage, here: http://www.pamojaeducation.com/



  • Q: How are students in the DP assessed?


A: Assessment varies by subject, but all subjects include an internal and external component reported through the IBO. Throughout the two years of the programme, teachers utilize formative and summative assessment just like any classroom environment. Students will receive Reports that summarize their achievement. DP students will also sit for external examinations through the month of May. For more information on DP Assessment, please go here: http://ibo.org/programmes/diploma-programme/assessment-and-exams/understanding-ib-assessment/



  • Q: What are predicted grades?


A: In Year 2 of the DP, Teachers will report predicted grades to universities and to the IBO using assessment information gathered in the classroom. Predicted grades are based on a combination of assessment types unique to each subject.



  • Q: Will I be able to know the predicted grades reported to universities?


A: Yes, students will receive a summary of their predicted grades from the University Counselor in Year 2 of the DP (typically November).



  • Q: What is the IBO exam schedule?


A: As an authorized DP school, SWIS must comply with the IBO exam schedule issued each year. The exam schedule changes each session, but students can review the old schedule here to get an idea: http://www.ibo.org/programmes/diploma-programme/assessment-and-exams/exam-schedule/


DP Information Sessions (for students and parents).

DP Information Sessions (for students and parents)

Prospective students and parents should confirm the dates below by contacting the SWIS Admissions Department.

Late-August: “MYP Back to School Night” (PARENTS ONLY)

      o   topics for MYP 10 parents: University Application Process & Introduction to DP Subject Selection

October: “Parent Info Session”

      o   topics: The Subject Selection Process for the DP & University Considerations

November:  “Parent Info Session”

      o   topics: Account-IB-ility: preparing for the DP: perceptions of the DP, time-management and the value of the IB

March:  “Parent Info Session”

      o   topics: The DP Core: understanding CAS, the Extended Essay, and TOK)

April: “Prospective Students and Parents Day”

      o   topics: SWIS Campus Tour & Introduction to the Diploma Programme

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