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Global Politics for the International Baccalaureate

If you decide to study Global Politics in the Group 3 element of the International Baccalaureate on Individuals and Societies the syllabus offered for both Standard and Higher Level provides an opportunity for a range of issues with regard to International Relations to be examined in depth. These include concepts such as power, rights, liberty and equality from a national, regional & international perspective. In addition a number of issues such as the rise of Islamic Fundamentalism in the Middle East with ISIS, the impact of the events of 9/11 on the foreign policy of the United States, the significance of Ethnic Cleansing in recent decades in the Balkans and Rwanda are examined as well as the issue of Climate Change and its implications for the world.

Students who are studying Global Politics to Standard Level complete Units 1 to 4 over three lessons per week in the two year period of the course while those studying to Higher Level complete two Global Challenges from the six units studied in addition to the Standard Level units. There is also a coursework component which all students have to complete involving independent research on a topic of their choice relating to some of the issues which have been raised as part of the course. Teaching takes place in the extra two lesson per week devoted to the subject. The Standard and Higher Level options offered by the History and Politics Department are:

Standard Level

Unit 1: Power Sovereignty and International Relations

  • The Nature of Power.
  • The Operation of Power.
  • Power and International Organisations.
  • Power and the Interaction of International Organisations.

Unit 2: Human Rights

  • The Evolution of Human Rights.
  • The Codification of Human Rights.
  • Human Rights in Practice.
  • The Debates over Human Rights.

Unit 3: Development

  • What is meant by Development?
  • Factors which Promote or Limit Development.
  • The Pathways to Development.
  • Globalisation and the Impact on Development.

Unit 4: Peace and Conflict

  • The Concepts of Peace Conflict and Violence.
  • The Causes of Conflict.
  • The Evolution of Conflict.
  • The Impact of Conflict Resolution.


Higher Level

Unit 1: The Politics of the Environment

  • Definition of the Environment.
  • Different Types of Environment.
  • Pressures upon the Environment.
  • The Impact of Damage to the Environment.
  • Case Studies on the Environment.

Unit 2: The Politics of Poverty

  • Definitions of Poverty.
  • Different Types of Poverty.
  • The Impact of Poverty on People.
  • Attempts to Overcome Poverty.
  • Case Studies on Poverty.

Unit 3: The Politics of Health

  • Definitions of Health.
  • Different Types of Health.
  • Issues Created by Disease.
  • Strategies to deal with Health Issues.
  • Case Studies on Health.

Unit 4: The Politics of Identity

  • Definitions of Identity.
  • Different Types of Identity.
  • Tolerance towards Identity.
  • Intolerance towards Identity.
  • Case Studies on Identity.

Unit 5: The Politics of Borders

  • Definitions of Borders.
  • Different Types of Borders.
  • Pressures placed upon Borders.
  • Problems Created by Borders.
  • Case Studies on Borders.

Unit 6: The Politics of Security

  • Definitions of Security.
  • Co-Operation over Security.
  • Threats towards Security.
  • Violations of Security.
  • Case Studies on Security.

Internal Assessment Coursework (Engagement Activity)

In addition to Units 1 to 4 for Standard Level and Units 1 to 6 for Higher Level all students need to complete an engagement activity in which they have to complete an investigation into a political issue of their choice and produce a 2,000 word report analysing this activity.

Course Requirements

There are no specific course requirements for Global Politics beyond those required for entry into the Sixth Form. Having an interest in issues related to International Relations and examining aspects of Politics from a global dimension is helpful together with a willingness to keep up to date with developments which are taking place across the world at a time of immense upheaval and change. Global Politics links closely with subjects such as History, Philosophy and Economics, all of which may be studied as part of the International Baccalaureate. Global Politics may form the basis for further study in Politics or International Relations as a degree course in its own right or combined with another subject.

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 Global Politics as is having an interest in current affairs and developments which are taking place across the world. Studying Global Politics provides students with the confidence to articulate their views. Such skills are highly valued by a number of employers. Students who have studied Politics in recent years have embarked on careers in the legal profession, journalism, business and management.