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History for the International Baccalaureate

If you decide to study History in the Group 3 component of the International Baccalaureate on Individuals and Societies the syllabus offered for both Standard and Higher Level provides an opportunity to study in greater depth aspects introduced for GCSE Modern World History. The main focus is on 20th century American History. Those students who are studying History to Standard Level complete Units 1 to 3 over three lessons in the two year period of the course while those studying to Higher Level complete Unit 4 in addition to the Standard Level units. The teaching for these takes place in the extra two lessons per week devoted to the subject

The Standard and Higher Level options offered by the History and Politics Department are as follows:  


Unit 1: Rights and Protest

  • Civil Rights Movement in the United States 1954 to 1965
  • Apartheid in South Africa 1948 to 1964

Unit 2: Origins and Development of Authoritarian and Single Party States

  • USSR under Lenin and Stalin 1917 to 1953.
  • Italy under Mussolini 1922 to 1945.
  • Germany under Hitler 1933 to 1945.
  • China under Mao Zedong 1949 to 1976.
  • Cuba under Castro 1959 to 2008.
  • Argentina under Peron 1946 to 1955.

Unit 3: The Nature of the Cold War

  • The Formation of the Cold War 1943 to 1955.
  • The Cold War in Europe 1956 to 1968.
  • The Cold War in Korea and Vietnam.
  • The Arms Race between the USA and the USSR.
  • Superpower Co-existence 1960s to 1980s.
  • The End of the Cold War in the 1990s.


Unit 4h: The Second World War and the Americas 1933 to 1945

  • US Foreign Policy in the Americas and towards Europe 1933 to 1941
  • The Military Role of the United States and Canada in World War II.
  • The Social Impact of the Second World War on the United States.
  • The Treatment of Japanese American and Japanese Canadians
  • The Reaction to the Holocaust in the Americas.
  • The Impact of Technological Developments and the Beginning of the Atomic Age.
  • Economic and Diplomatic Effects of the Second World War on Canada.

Unit 4i: Political Developments in the Americas after the Second World War 1945 to 1979

  • The Domestic Policies of  Presidents Truman, Eisenhower and Kennedy
  • President Johnson and the Great Society and President Nixon and his Domestic Reforms.
  • The Domestic Policies of Diefenbaker Clark and Trudeau in Canada.
  • The Causes and Effects of the Quiet Revolution.
  • Populist Leaders in Latin America.
  • The Cuban Revolution and its Impact on Latin America.
  • The Rule of Fidel Castro in Cuba.
  • • Military Regimes in Latin America and their Impact.

Unit 4k: Civil Rights and Social Movements in the Americas

  • Native Americans and Civil Rights: Latin America, the United States and Canada.
  • African-Americans and the Civil Rights Movement
  • The Role of Martin Luther King in Civil Rights and Black Nationalism
  • The Role of Government in the Civil Rights Movements in the Americas.
  • Youth Culture and Protests of the 1960s and 1970s and the Growth of the Counterculture.
  • The Feminist Movements of the Americas.


In addition to the examination papers for Units 1 to 4 students whether they are studying History for Standard Level or Higher Level have to complete a 1,500 to 2,000 word Historical Investigation on a topic related to their studies with reference being made to a range of historical sources. In deciding on a topic for the Historical Investigation students need to focus upon historical controversies which have arisen and where there is a clear debate between differing historians with regard to an aspect of the past. This is essential as it will enable them to develop their own original arguments in terms of the issue under consideration.


The entry requirements for the History component of the International Baccalaureate are the same as those for History at A level (minimum Grade B).Over the duration of the two year course students will be expected to work independently and for this reason there is a need for them to be organised and motivated. The ability to think clearly, analyse information and argue in a coherent manner are essential prerequisites to be successful in History. Studying History provides students with the confidence to articulate their views. Such skills are highly valued by a number of employers. Students who have studied History in recent years have embarked on careers in the legal profession, journalism, business and management.