IB Diploma Programme: Curriculum Overview

IBDP Overview

IBDP students take six subjects in addition to completing three “core” areas, TOK, CAS, and EE. The six curricular areas of the IBDP combine with the core to create well rounded students with breadth as well as depth of knowledge across all of the major disciplines. This balance is shown in the IB hexagon pictured below. In all of their classes, students learn vital skills in critical thinking, inquiry and analysis, research, communication, and time management. In addition, the IBDP offers students a strong foundation in personal ethics and inter-cultural understanding.

All IBDP students study three courses at Standard Level (SL) and three course at Higher Level (HL). All SL courses provide a minimum of 150 contact hours, and all HL course provide a minimum of 240 contact hours.

IBDP Subjects: English

English Literature and English Language and Literature are balanced courses focused on developing students’ awareness of the literary heritage of the English speaking world, and their understanding of the role of language in issues affecting the modern world.

English Literature encourages a personal appreciation of literature and students develop an understanding of the techniques involved in literary criticism. Through the study of literature, students will gain the ability to structure ideas and arguments, both orally and in writing, in a logical, sustained and persuasive way and to support them with precise and relevant examples. Throughout the course there will be a strong focus on original thought and reaction, and accordingly the syllabus allows a large degree of freedom in the way students can choose to respond to the texts. A further objective is to foster in the students an enjoyment of, and lifelong interest in, drama, poetry, fiction and non-fiction from around the world.

English Language and Literature aims to provide students with the skills to understand, appreciate, and, interact with literary texts, as well as the skills to successfully express their opinions eloquently both orally and in writing, and debate them with others. It is designed for students with an already high level of fluency in the target language and all classes are of course conducted entirely in that language.

IBDP: 6 Subject Groups
Group 1 English Literature, English Language and Literature, Japanese Literature
Group 2 English B, Japanese B
Group 3 Business and Management, History, Economics
Group 4 Biology, Chemistry, Physics
Group 5 Mathematics
Group 6 Visual Arts
IBDP: 3 Core Requirements
TOK Theory of Knowledge
CAS Creativity, Action, Service
EE Extended Essay

IBDP Subjects: Japanese

IBDP students are motivated to learn and excited by challenges. They have taken the option to join the most challenging course available. As first year high school students they are not yet fully developed or fully aware of their strengths, but over the three years of the program they gain maturity and learn to be responsible for themselves and others.

Students are expected to read books and analyze them by themselves before class to be ready for class discussion. Critical thinking supported by logical and appropriate analysis is the most skill that students learn in Japanese literature.

Japanese B is for those students who are learning Japanese. At standard level, teachers will use various materials such as text books, visual and sound materials. Japanese B students are expected to improve their Japanese reading, writing, listening and speaking skills through learning with a variety of texts.Japanese B higher level students study more challenging materials, including novels.

IBDP Subjects: Social Studies

IBDP Social Studies includes Business and Management, History, and Economics. IBDP History introduces students to the marvels and complexity of 20th century world history. The history instructors in the Ritsumeikan Uji IBDP program believe that the study of history is essential for young people in the 21st century as history is the foundation out of which all academic disciplines spring. We hope that through the investigation of the past, actors in the present can use the study of history to better understand not only that which has come before, but that which is, and that which is to come.

IBDP Business and Management provides students with a strong foundation in the basics of business including the nature of business, leadership and motivation, finance and accounting, marketing, business strategy, and corporate social responsibility and business ethics. We hope that studying in the course will prepare our students well to enter a variety of university departments, as well as build a skill set which will enable them to better understand the globalized 21st century.


IBDP Economics introduces students to the core areas of Economics, including microeconomics, macroeconomics, development economics, and international economics.  Students gain both a broad theoretical grounding in the subject as well as a detailed understanding of how markets, pricing, supply and demand, and many other key concepts work through the intensive study of models.


IBDP Subjects: The Natural Sciences


The Ritsumeikan Uji IB Course offer all three major empirical sciences, Biology, Chemistry, and Physics. Taken together, the sciences develop key research and laboratory skills and methods, and inculcate in students an understanding of the scientific method as well as an understanding of how science works in the real world.


IBDP Chemistry takes students from basic knowledge of atoms and their structure to a deep understanding of the theories underpinning modern chemistry. As a science, chemistry is more than simply equations on a board. It aids in defining everything around us. The use of its principles has added to the very quality of our life, while, in the same instance, it has caused harm and damage to individuals and the environment. Within this context, scientists need to understand and evaluate the results of their investigations with an awareness of their responsibility to society.


IBDP Biology provides students with the knowledge and skills necessary to understand issues in biology, and be able to form educated opinions about those issues. Four basic principles―structure and function, universality versus diversity, equilibrium within systems, and evolution―form the backbone of the course. Although students will be expected to acquire a limited body of facts during the course, it is more important for them to develop a broad understanding of the principles of the subject.

IBDP Physics offers a basis in the most fundamental of the experimental sciences. Physics seeks to explain the universe itself from the very smallest particles to the vast distances between galaxies, and has a rich history of investigation and evolution of core ideas. Therefore, the Physics course illuminates the historical development of the subject as well as providing a thorough grounding in the underpinning principles and concepts that modern physicists work with.

IBDP Subjects: Mathematics

IBDP Mathematics at Ritsumeikan Uji introduces students to a variety of topics in mathematics to best prepare them for university. Among these topics are: Algebra; Functions and Equations; Circular Functions and Trigonometry; Matrices; Vectors; Statistics and Probability; and Calculus. In addition, students have the option of studying Mathematics at a high level, where students delve deeper into the aforementioned topics while adding further explorations in an optional topic from: Series and Differential Equations; Advanced Statistics and Probability; Sets, Relations and Groups; or Discrete Mathematics.

The IBDP Mathematics instructors believe that the study of mathematics is essential for young people in the 21st century because the study of mathematics strengthens students’ abilities in, amongst others, problem solving, reasoning, justifying, representing, and working in deductive systems―all of which are key components in many aspects of life. Numerous benefits emerge from the ability to recognize critical features of a problem, to reveal ulterior assumptions, to think logically and factually, to represent such thinking with diagrams and symbols, and to communicate succinctly and intelligibly. These abilities are continuously cultivated in mathematics classes.

IBDP Subjects: Visual Arts

IBDP Visual Arts is a rigorous pre-university course of study designed to empower students to become knowledgeable and inquiring as well as caring and compassionate citizens of the world.

There is a strong emphasis on encouraging students to develop areas such as intercultural understanding, open-mindedness, and the attitudes necessary to respect and evaluate a range of points of view. The course is designed to build on prior knowledge and experience in the visual arts as well as develop new skills, techniques, and ideas. During their study of the course, students are expected to create a good amount of studio work, such as painting, sculpture, photography, printmaking, and digital works. At the same time, students need to develop the Investigation Workbook where they record their artist and art history research, procedure, or techniques that they used for their studio work. At the end of the course, IBDP Visual Arts students will exhibit their work at the Art Show.