​Diploma Programme @ Basic Academy


What is the DP @ Basic?

The IB Diploma Programme (DP) is a rigorous, college-preparation course of study.  It continues the inquiry- and exploration-based learning that is a integral part of the Middle Years Programme of education at Basic Academy.  It encourages students to understand connections between ideas and across subject areas, as well as develop depth and breadth of knowledge. The development of critical analysis and communication skills are deeply embedded in the curriculum.  Successful DP students are reflective, well-rounded, and articulate; as a result, they are increasingly valued in the realm of college admissions.  


The DP curriculum was developed to align student experiences with those most effective in university admissions and completion.  Each student learns across six subject groups (English, second language acquisition, history, science, math, and psychology) and the DP core.  

The core includes theory of knowledge (TOK), where students reflect on the nature of knowledge and their own understanding; creativity, activity, service (CAS), where students participate in the school and local communities; and the extended essay, allowing students to perform independent research.  


For a more details on our recommended program of study, click here.

Who is in the DP @ Basic?

The DP is for students are interested in being highly competitive in attaining their collegiate goals.  Resilience, work ethic, and a passion for learning are the most important attributes for student success in the DP.  

Current Basic Academy students can apply for the programme during their 10th-grade year.  To do so, they need to complete the Diploma Programme application. 

Non-Basic Academy students can apply to join our programme through the magnet application process.  Click here to learn more.   

Learn more about the Diploma Programme here.


Click here for answers to Frequently Asked Questions.

If you have more questions about our programme, please contact our coordinator:

Michael Thorsteinson

702-799-8000 ext 4008



What is Theory of Knowledge?

Theory of Knowledge, often called TOK, is considered the centerpiece of the Diploma Programme education.  The course is philosophical in nature, without an emphasis on the history or development of philosophical schools of thought.  Instead, students are encouraged to explore their reasons for 'knowing' things.  Attention is paid to the value systems we use to evaluate our knowledge and the ways that we know things.  

TOK is a two-year course, organized around the intersection between the areas of knowledge, ways of knowing, and knowledge claims and questions.  Students will spend their time constructing meaning around these concepts for a variety of real-life situations.  As part of their completion of the Diploma Programme, students will deliver a presentation and complete a written response to a given set of knowledge statements.

Knowledge claims take two forms:

claims that are made within particular areas of knowledge or by individual knowers about the world

     ex: There are an infinite number of prime numbers.

claims that are made about the nature of knowledge itself

     ex: Mathematical knowledge is certain.

Knowledge questions are questions about knowledge.  They allow for a number of plausible answers and are expressed in general terms.  An example of a knowledge question is: "how can a mathematical model give us knowledge even if it does not yield accurate predictions?"

The ways of knowing:

Language:  How does language shape knowledge?  Does the importance of language in an area of knowledge ground it in a particular culture?  How

     are metaphors used in the construction of knowledge?

Sense perception:  How can we know if our senses are reliable?  What is the role of expectation or theory in sense perception?  What is the role of

     language in sense perception?

Emotion:  Are emotions universal?  Can/should we control our emotions?  Are emotions the enemy of, or necessary for, good reasoning?  Are

     emotions always linked to belief?


     What is the difference between reason and logic?  How reliable is inductive reasoning?  Are we predictably irrational?

Imagination: What is the role of imagination in producing knowledge about a real world?  Can imagination reveal truths that reality hides?  What is

     the role of imagination in understanding others?

Faith: Should humanism or atheism be described as a faith?  Can thestic beliefs be considered knowledge because they are produced by a special

     cognitive faculty or "divine sense"?  Does faith meet a psychological need?

Intuition: Why are some people considered more intuitive that others?  Are there certain things that you have to know prior to being able to learn

     anything at all?  Should you trust your intuition? 

Memory:  Can we know things which are beyond our personal present experience?  Is eyewitness testimony a reliable source of evidence?  Can our

     beliefs contaminate our memory?

The areas of knowledge:

mathematics, natural sciences, human sciences, history, the arts, ethics, religious knowledge systems, and indigenous knowledge systems


What is Creativity, Activity, and Service (CAS)?

Creativity, activity, service (CAS) is at the heart of the Diploma Programme (DP).  It is one of the three essential elements of every student’s DP experience and involves students in a range of activities alongside their DP studies.  The three strands of CAS are characterized as follows:


Creativity:  When you plan or design a service project or participate in something creative or artistic.


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 you, the student.  The rights, dignity, and autonomy of all those involved are respected.

Find out more about CAS here.


What is the Extended Essay?

The Extended Essay is an externally assessed paper of no more than 4,000 words, the result of approximately 40 hours of work by the student. It represents independent research conducted by the student in a topic of interest and is overseen by a school supervisor.

This supervisor has a coaching role; his/her job is not to select a topic or to correct grammar but to guide the student in a productive direction. The final work will include an outline, an abstract, the essay itself, and a bibliography.

What follows is a list of possible categories, sample topics, and research questions-- models for you to follow:


Category: Literature (English)

Topic: Dance in Jane Austen’s novels

Research Question: What are the role and significance of dance in Pride and Prejudice and Emma?


Category: Language (mass communication)

Topic: Public Information

Research Question: How does use of the graphic imagery in anti-smoking campaigns function and what does it reveal about prevailing cultural ideas regarding health and body?


Category: Biology

Topic: The distribution and growth of lichens on urban pavements

Research Question: How are the distribution and growth of lichens affected by sulfur dioxide and ozone levels in the atmosphere?


Category: Chemistry

Topic: The caffeine content of a cup of tea

Research Question: Does the time it takes to brew a cup of tea using Lipton tea bags significantly alter the amount of caffeine that is dissolved in the beverage?


Category: Environmental Systems and Societies

Topic: The ecological footprint of the school cafeteria

Research Question: From the major inputs and outputs of the school cafeteria, what overall estimate of its environmental impact can be made in terms of an ecological footprint?


Category: History

Topic: Changing views of the 1962 Cuban missile crisis

Research Question: How and why have explanations of the Cuban missile crisis changes since 1962?


Other categories include human rights, music, physics, peace and conflict studies, mathematics, philosophy, politics, and psychology.


Diploma courses @ Basic Academy


Students in the Diploma must complete seven two-year courses.  Within each course, students will be expected to complete a content-specific assessment.  The form of the assessment takes a different form for each subject.  

The programme requires students to participate in seven learning outcomes in the extracurricular areas of Creativity, Activity, and Service (CAS) and complete a research project (Extended Essay).  

There is a formal, externally graded test at the conclusion of six of the courses.  It is recommended that students begin planning for the fees of those tests early, as they are a valuable investment in the college process.

The list of Diploma classes offered at Basic Academy are:

Language & Literature

Language Acquisition (Spanish or Chinese)


Sciences (Biology or Chemistry)

Mathematics (Mathematical Studies or Math SL)

Psychology or Visual Arts

Theory of Knowledge


Click here for the recommended course of study in preparation for completion of the Diploma.

Diploma results

The data is indisputable: the IB Diploma is the best program for college readiness available!  While waiting for our inaugural group to demonstrate and share in these results, here is some data on the impact and value of an IB education.


Click here to see how each university recognizes the IB achievement - you would be surprised how much it matters! 


Basic Academy challenges and inspires all students to make the world a better place through education and action.

Basic Academy reta e inspira a todos los estudiantes para mejorar el mundo a través de la educación y sus acciones.

基  础  高   中   通  过  教  育  和  行  动  挑  战 、激  励  所  有  学  生,  使  世  界  更  美  好


© 2017 by Basic Academy of International Studies.

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