IB DP at GEMS World Academy - Dubai

The Diploma Programme

The IB Diploma Programme (DP) is an academically challenging and balanced programme of education with final examinations that prepares students, aged 16 to 19, for success at university and life beyond. It has been designed to address the intellectual, social, emotional and physical well-being of students. The programme, has gained recognition and respect from the world’s leading universities. The programme is designed for highly motivated students looking for a rigourous educational experience.

Chris Nitsche

IB DP Coordinator

Meet The DP Coordinator

Chris graduated from St. Mary’s University, London with an honours degree and Secondary PGCE qualification in 2008. 

Just a few of our top IB Students

  • Suraj enrolled at GWA in 2018. He has always been a dedicated and conscientious student. Suraj received a number of offers from renowned universities both in the United States and in Canada. He decided to accept the final offer from Northeastern University in Massachusetts to study Computer Science, which has always been his passion. Suraj intends to specialize in Artificial Intelligence. He is excited about living in Boston!

    Suraj Ramchandran

    Suraj Ramchandran

    Scored 43 IB points - 2020-21

  • Benedek has attended GWA since grade 6. After planning to continue his education in the UK, it was quite a surprise for everyone when Benedek abruptly decided to apply to Canada as well, about a week from the deadline. He remembers having no idea how to apply or if he would even meet the deadline. However, with support from the school, he decided to actually pursue studies at the University of Toronto in Computer Science. One of the reasons Benedek chose to study computer science, is his passion for mathematics and interest in its application within this computational context. 

    Benedek Balla

    Benedek Balla

    Scored 43 IB points - 2020-21

  • Mannat has attended GWA since grade 8. She says her school life has been a wonderful and open home to students of over 90 nationalities and this had a very positive effect on her overall personality. Her study environment has enabled us to acquire academic excellence and has instilled a strong awareness of mutual respect, outreach, tolerance and acceptance. She believes this has richly facilitated her evolution into a creative thinker. After receiving a number of offers from top ranked schools, Mannat will be studying Chemical Engineering at UCLA. She is grateful to her school for molding her into a creative global citizen and feels very privileged to have been a part of the GWA community

    Mannat Dhillon

    Mannat Dhillon

    Scored 43 IB points - 2020-21

  • Ginevra joined GEMS World Academy – Dubai in 2017. From her very first day in the Senior School she set her sights on UCL. Nothing deterred her from this aspiration and she spent the next three years doing everything in her power to achieve this goal. Read More


    Ginevra Fontana

    Scored 45 IB Points - 2019-20

  • GEMS World Academy - Dubai welcomed Gimin in 2018. She is a keen mathematician and has demonstrated her aptitude in the subject in a variety of contexts. Gimin competed and qualified to represent the UAE in the International Mathematics Olympiad. Read More


    Gimin Seo

    Scored 45 IB Points - 2019-20

  • Jae Gyun joined GEMS World Academy - Dubai in Grade 8. He is an extremely balanced student as demonstrated by his involvement in almost every facet of the Academy. Jae Gyun is part of the National Honor Society, concert band, SEWA and Eco-Club. Read More


    Jae Gyun Kim

    Scored 44 IB Points - 2019-20

  • Mihica attended the Academy in 2015 as an MYP student and graduated the programme as the highest performing student. She has since maintained a well-earned reputation for academic excellence. Mihica has not only contributed to the GEMS World Academy - Dubai concert band... Read More


    Mihica Prashant

    Scored 44 IB Points - 2019-20

Explore the IB DP

  • IB DP Core Elements

    Creativity, Activity, Service (CAS)

    Creativity, activity, service (CAS) is one of the three essential elements that every student must complete as part of the Diploma Programme (DP).

    Studied throughout the Diploma Programme, CAS involves students in a range of activities alongside their academic studies. 


    How is CAS structured? 

    The three strands of CAS, which are often interwoven with particular activities, are characterised as follows:

    • Creativity – arts, and other experiences that involve creative thinking.
    • Activity – physical exertion contributing to a healthy lifestyle, complementing academic work elsewhere in the DP.
    • Service – an unpaid and voluntary exchange that has a learning benefit for the student. The rights, dignity and autonomy of all those involved are respected.

    In order to demonstrate these concepts, students are required to undertake a CAS Project. The project challenges students to:

    • show initiative
    • demonstrate perseverance
    • develop skills such as collaboration, problem solving and decision making.


    What is the significance of CAS?

    CAS enables students to enhance their personal and interpersonal development by learning through experience.

    It provides opportunities for self-determination and collaboration with others, fostering a sense of accomplishment and enjoyment from their work.

    At the same time, CAS is an important counterbalance to the academic pressures of the DP.


    IB guidance on CAS

    A good CAS programme should be both challenging and enjoyable – a personal journey of self‑discovery.

    Each student has a different starting point, and therefore different goals and needs, but for many their CAS activities include experiences that are profound and life‑changing.

    CAS is a component of the DP core.



    Extended Essay (EE)

    The extended essay is a required component of the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP). 

    It is an independent piece of research, culminating with a 4,000-word paper.


    What is the significance of the extended essay?

    The extended essay provides:

    • practical preparation for undergraduate research
    • an opportunity for students to investigate a topic of personal interest to them, which relates to one of the student's six DP subjects, or takes the interdisciplinary approach of a World Studies extended essay.

    Through the research process for the extended essay, students develop skills in:

    • formulating an appropriate research question
    • engaging in a personal exploration of the topic
    • communicating ideas
    • developing an argument. 

    Participation in this process develops the capacity to analyse, synthesize and evaluate knowledge.

    An extended essay can also be undertaken in world studies, where students carry out an in-depth interdisciplinary study of an issue of contemporary global significance, across two IB diploma disciplines.


    How is study of the extended essay structured?

    Students are supported throughout the process of researching and writing the extended essay, with advice and guidance from a supervisor who is usually a teacher at the school.

    Students are required to have three mandatory reflection sessions with their supervisors. The final session, a concluding interview, is also known as viva voce.

    The extended essay and reflection sessions can be a valuable stimulus for discussion in countries where interviews are required prior to acceptance for employment or for a place at university.


    How is the extended essay assessed?

    All extended essays are externally assessed by examiners appointed by the IB. They are marked on a scale from 0 to 34.

    The score a student receives relates to a band. The bands are:

    A – work of an excellent standard.

    B – work of a good standard.

    C –work of a satisfactory standard.

    D – work of a mediocre standard.

    E – work of an elementary standard.




    Theory of Knowledge (TOK)

    Theory of knowledge (TOK) plays a special role in the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP), by providing an opportunity for students to reflect on the nature of knowledge, and on how we know what we claim to know.

    It is one of the components of the DP core and is mandatory for all students. The TOK requirement is central to the educational philosophy of the DP.


    How is TOK structured?

    As a thoughtful and purposeful inquiry into different ways of knowing, and into different kinds of knowledge, TOK is composed almost entirely of questions.

    The most central of these is "How do we know?", while other questions include:

    • What counts as evidence for X?
    • How do we judge which is the best model of Y?
    • What does theory Z mean in the real world?

    Through discussions of these and other questions, students gain greater awareness of their personal and ideological assumptions, as well as developing an appreciation of the diversity and richness of cultural perspectives.


    Assessment of TOK

    The TOK course is assessed through an oral presentation and a 1600 word essay.

    The presentation assesses the ability of the student to apply TOK thinking to a real-life situation, while the essay takes a more conceptual starting point.

    For example, the essay may ask students to discuss the claim that the methodologies used to produce knowledge depend on the use to which that knowledge will be used.


    What is the significance of TOK?

    TOK aims to make students aware of the interpretative nature of knowledge, including personal ideological biases – whether these biases are retained, revised or rejected.

    It offers students and their teachers the opportunity to:

    • reflect critically on diverse ways of knowing and on areas of knowledge
    • consider the role and nature of knowledge in their own culture, in the cultures of others and in the wider world.

    In addition, TOK prompts students to: 

    • be aware of themselves as thinkers, encouraging them to become more acquainted with the complexity of knowledge
    • recognize the need to act responsibly in an increasingly interconnected but uncertain world. 

    TOK also provides coherence for the student, by linking academic subject areas as well as transcending them.

    It therefore demonstrates the ways in which the student can apply their knowledge with greater awareness and credibility.





  • Subject Groups and Courses

    Students follow a broad and balanced curriculum, organised into the 6 subject groups:

    Courses Offered
    Group 1
    Language and Literature

    English Language and Literature SL & HL

    Self - Taught Language A SL
    Group 2
    Language acquisition

    Arabic ab initio SL

    Arabic B SL & HL

    Spanish ab initio SL

    Spanish B SL & HL


    French ab initio SL

    French B SL & HL

    English B SL & HL

    Group 3
    Individuals and societies

    Business Management SL & HL

    Global Politics SL & HL

    Economics SL & HL

    Psychology SL & HL

    Environmental Systems & Societies SL and HL

    Group 4

    Biology SL & HL

    Chemistry SL & HL

    Physics SL & HL

    Design Technology SL & HL

    Sports Science SL & HL

    Computer Science SL & HL

    Environmental Systems & Societies SL and HL

    Group 5
    Maths Analysis and Maths Application

    Math Analysis and Approaches SL & HL

    Math Applications and Interpretations SL and HL

    Group 6
    The arts

    Theatre Arts SL & HL

    Music SL & HL


    Visual Arts SL & HL

  • Assessment and Exams

    GPA Equivalency Scale

    We do not report a GPA, but do provide a suggested equivalency scale below:

    GEMS World Academy - Dubai Grade Achievement Descriptor Suggested Equivalent Letter Grade Suggested GPA Calculation
    7 Exceptional A+ 4.00
    6 Superior  A/A- 4.00
    5 Very Good B+/B/B- 3.50
    4 Satisfactory  C+/C 3.00
    3 Mediocre C- 2.00
    2 Poor E 0.00
    1 Very Poor F 0.00

    Average Candidate Diploma Score

    We are proud to show that our average scores have been increasing throughout the years (out of 45 points)


    Diploma Score Distributions in 2020

    A distribution of the percentage of students who received specific scores


    External Norm-Referenced Testing 

    In keeping with our college preparatory mission to inspire academic excellence in all students, GEMS World Academy - Dubai collects data on students every year to determine how the school’s programme is performing in relation to other like schools. GEMS World Academy - Dubai uses the Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) standardized achievement testing programme of skills in Grades 1 - 9 to assess competency in core content areas. Testing occurs three times per year, in line with KHDA requirements. Additionally, students in Grades 4, 6, 8, and 10 are required to take the CAT- 4 assessment as part of KHDA requirements.

    The IBDP requires externally assessed examinations of IBDP students during their final year (Grade 12) in which those who qualify will receive both a standard GEMS World Academy - Dubai graduation diploma and the IB Diploma.


    Further Reading

  • Graduation Requirements

    GEMS World Academy - Dubai Diploma and the IB Diploma

    Students graduating from GEMS World Academy - Dubai will receive their High School Diploma at the time of graduation; this is based on their final grade in their GEMS World Academy - Dubai classes and final exams but not the World Exams. The IB results are not issued until July and these scores will not impact a student’s graduation requirements from GEMS World Academy - Dubai.

    The DP is a demanding university preparatory programme that leads to external exams. It is designed for highly motivated students in their final two years of school. The DP curriculum emphasises critical thinking, intercultural understanding, research skills and community service. Approximately 80% of GEMS World Academy - Dubai students in Grades 11 and 12 are enrolled in the full DP, with the remainder enrolled in Diploma Courses or the High school Diploma route.

    The IB Diploma will be awarded to a candidate provided all the following requirements have been met: all CAS requirements, the candidate’s total points are 24 or more, there is no grade E awarded for Theory of Knowledge and/or the Extended Essay, there is no grade 1 awarded in a subject/level, there are no more than two grade 2’s awarded (HL or SL), there are no more than three grade 3’s or below awarded (HL or SL), the candidate has gained 12 points or more in HL subjects, and the candidate has gained 9 points or more on SL subjects.


    Courses Programme

    The Courses Programme is an alternative pathway to the DP. Courses students complete 6 subjects at the SL and sit IB World Exams in May. Courses students must fulfill all of their SL courses requirements, and complete a modified CAS portfolio requirement. DP Courses candidates receive a transcript of results issued by the IB.


    Evaluation Scheme

    GEMS World Academy - Dubai conforms to the IB system with grades ranging from 7 (high) to 1 (low), with the exception of TOK and EE which is reported A (high) to E (low). The system is used for all internal and external assessments and on official transcripts.

    A detailed description of Grade Descriptors is located here.

    GEMS World Academy - Dubai only provides end of year grades on High School transcripts. Should a mid-year transcript be required for Grade 12 students, it should be noted that the grades are only preliminary and an updated transcript with final grades will be provided at the end of Grade 12.

    The Diploma Programme at GEMS World Academy - Dubai has minimum entrance requirements for Grade 10 students. Students who do not qualify for the full DP can enrol in the Diploma Courses

  • Extra-Curricular Activities

  • Dedicated DP Facilities

    Our school provides world class facilities which optimize and enhance the student learning experience



  • What is the IB Diploma Programme?

    The Diploma Programme (DP) is a curriculum framework designed by the International Baccalaureate (IB) for students in the last two years of secondary school. The programme is characterised by international-mindedness, university preparedness and service learning. These facets are combined with a sustained focus on thinking skills, academic writing and subject specific rigour. IB Diploma graduates leave GEMS World Academy - Dubai as mature, resilient, knowledgeable, principled and capable individuals, prepared for the challenges of studying at university and beyond.

  • How many subjects do IB DP students need to study?

    Full Diploma Programme students study six subjects, three at Higher Level and three at Standard Level. Students must choose one subject from each of groups 1 to 5 (see the curriculum model), thus ensuring breadth of experience in languages, humanities, the experimental sciences and mathematics. The sixth subject may be an arts subject chosen from group 6, or the student may choose another subject from groups 1 to 5. Higher Level subjects include a range of modules to allow students to study the course in more detail and develop more specialised knowledge. In addition, students study the IB Core, which provides a unique opportunity for students to broaden their skills and experience.

  • What is the IB DP ‘Core’?

    In addition to the six subjects (three at Standard Level and three at Higher Level), IB DP students complete three ‘Core’ requirements: 

    Creativity, Activity and Service (CAS) – developing as global citizens by learning new skills, living healthy lifestyles and contributing to the local community. 

    Theory of Knowledge – reflecting critically on different ways of knowing and areas of knowledge. 

    Extended Essay – completing an extended piece of research-based writing, developing academic writing skills in preparation for undergraduate study.

  • How are IB DP students assessed?

    Over the two year teaching period, a variety of assessment methods are used at GEMS World Academy - Dubai to acknowledge both the content and the process of academic achievement. Final examinations in each subject take place in May of Grade 12. Students’ work is assessed by international teams of examiners, who are trained and monitored by the IBO. The marks awarded for each subject range from 1 (lowest) to 7 (highest). Students can also be awarded up to three additional points for their combined results on Theory of Knowledge and the Extended Essay. The full diploma is awarded to students who gain at least 24 points, and have satisfactory participation in Creativity, Action, and Service (CAS). The highest total that a Diploma Programme student can be awarded is 45 points. Students are assessed both internally and externally. The percentage of internal and external assessment varies from subject to subject.

  • What alternative pathways of study does the Academy have on offer for Grade 11 and 12 students?

    Not all GEMS World Academy - Dubai students chose to take the full course load leading to a diploma. Instead, a student who does not satisfy the requirements of the full Diploma Programme, or who has elected to take fewer than six subjects, is awarded an IB Courses transcript for the examinations completed. Students who complete more than six subjects receive an extra certificate for the additional subject(s).

  • How do colleges and universities view the Diploma Programme?

    The DP is internationally recognised as representing one of the highest standards in university preparatory education. In fact, more than 1,000 colleges and universities in North America have recognition policies on how they weigh it in admissions, advanced standing, college credit and scholarships. GEMS World Academy - Dubai graduates have attended universities such as Duke, Oxford, Delft, Cambridge, Bocconi, University of Toronto, UCL, Kings, McGill, Imperial College, ETH Zurich and many more. 

    A list of colleges and universities that grant credit, scholarships and/or advanced standing for DP diplomas and certificates is available at www.ibo.org.


Resources and Downloads


How the DP Helps Students

The DP is able to develop the students to possess the qualifications below. Click here to learn more.

Which universities do our DP graduates go to?

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