IB History at FKG

Nature of the subject and objectives

History is a fascinating and rigorous intellectual discipline. The nature of the subject allows you to acquire skills that are highly relevant both for the IB Diploma Programme in general as well as for your future studies at university and beyond.

History as a subject fosters a sense of inquiry, invites you to engage with multiple perspectives and enables you to formulate your own historical arguments. By studying history, you will gain a much better understanding of many of the conflicts, developments and achievements we are surrounded by in our globalized world today. It is one of the course’s central aims to develop an understanding of, and continued interest in, the past. Thereby, students will increase their understanding of themselves and their place in contemporary society.

One special feature of the IB History course is that it takes a world history approach. This means that students will approach every topic by focusing on and comparing examples from different regions of the world. The course also combines different types of history, including political, economic, social and cultural history. Therefore, it is an ideal course to foster international understanding and open-mindedness, which are two of the key aims of the IB Diploma Programme as a whole.

History (HIS) in the IB Diploma Programme is a demanding but rewarding subject.

It allows you to

  • learn about past events and their significance
  • develop an understanding of causes and effects in past, present and future
  • consider and evaluate alternatives
  • discuss and judge from a moral point of view (TOK links are abundant)
  • learn how to write well-structured and convincing essays
  • learn to use evidence to support your arguments
  • learn about opposing views and
  • be able to form your own opinion.

History SL (Standard Level) - Sample syllabus

If you choose History as a Standard Level Course, your syllabus could look as follows:
(Please note: specific topics may vary, depending on the course coordinator and participants’ interests)

Prescribed subject: Rights and protest

This topic focuses on struggles for rights and freedoms in the mid-20th century. The first case study explores the civil rights movement in the US between 1954 and the passing of the Voting Rights Act in 1965. The second case study explores protests against apartheid in South Africa (1948-1964).

First world history topic: Independence movements (1800–2000)

This topic focuses on the emergence of new states in the 19th and 20th centuries. It explores the origins and rise of independence movements, the reasons for their success, the challenges that new states faced in their first 10 years, and the responses to these challenges. Examples studied could be: Cuban independence (c. 18th to early 20th century), India and Pakistan (19th to mid-20th century) and Irish independence (late 18th to early 20th century).

Second world history topic: Emergence and development of democratic states (1848–2000)

This topic covers the evolution and development of democratic multi-party states in a global context from the mid-19th century through to the end of the 20th century. This part of the course focuses on exploring the post-1848 emergence of democratic states, the challenges they faced in maintaining and extending democratic practices (sometimes unsuccessfully), responses to social, economic and political issues, and the extension of constitutional rights. Examples studies could be: Germany, India, and the USA.

History HL (Higher Level)

Note: If HIS is chosen as HL subject, the topics to be dealt with in addition to the topics above are agreed upon by students and teacher before the course starts. The assessment is slightly different, since in addition to the two papers mentioned above, HL students have to write a third paper as well.

The HL options provide an opportunity for in-depth study of the history of a particular region (Africa and the Middle East, the Americas, Asia and Oceania, Europe). For example, students could choose to study three aspects of European history, such as: the Renaissance (c. 1400-1600), Absolutism and Enlightenment (1650-1800), as well as the French Revolution and Napoleon I (1774-1815).

Requirements and assessment

Every HIS student is required to perform a written Historical Investigation (HI) of 2,200 words on a subject related to the HIS curriculum. This HI is graded by the teacher who runs the course and contributes 25% to the final course grade. The remaining 75% are obtained during the two final exams called paper 1 and paper 2. Paper 1 is source based and takes 1 hour and contributes 30% to the final grade, it consist of four "short-answer questions"/"structured questions" on the prescribed subject. Paper 2 takes 1 hour 30 minutes and contributes 45% to the final grade, it consists of writing two essays on the two topics dealt with in the course.

Please also have a look at the following subject briefs for further official IB information:

Subject Brief: History SL / HL

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