ISM was the first school in Africa to adopt the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme in the mid 1970s and the Diploma that it leads to has now grown to be recognised and highly valued as a university entrance qualification in universities worldwide. The IB Diploma Programme has been historically based in Moshi in our extensive campus at the foot of Mount Kilimanjaro, but since August 2014 has now also been taught in our Arusha Campus.

Download the school’s IB Diploma Handbook for more details:
  Moshi Campus, or
  Arusha Campus


The IB Diploma Programme is designed as an academically challenging and balanced programme of education with final examinations that prepares students, normally aged 16 to 19, for success at university and life beyond. The programme is normally taught over two years and has gained recognition and respect from the world’s leading universities.

View the video below to find out, in the students’ words, what the IB Diploma entails.


The curriculum is divided into six subject groups with additional components, taught at ISM as follows. Most students will take one subject from each group, plus the additional components:

Group 1
First Language
English A (Literature) [HL or SL] (Moshi), English A Language & Literature [HL or SL] (Arusha) or Swahili A [HL or SL]
Group 2
Second Language
English B [HL or SL] or French B [HL or SL] or Swahili for beginners [SL] or Swahili B [HL or SL], Spanish for beginners [SL], Mandarin for beginners [SL], French for beginners [SL]
Note: Mandarin, Spanish and French for beginners are offered as online courses
Group 3
& Societies
History [HL or SL] or Geography [HL or SL] or Information Technology in a Global Society (ITGS) [HL or SL], Economics [HL or SL], Psychology [HL or SL], Business Management [HL or SL]
Note: ITGS, Business Management and Psychology are offered as online courses
Group 4
Biology [HL or SL] or Environmental Systems & Societies [SL] or Physics [HL or SL], Chemistry [HL or SL]
Group 5
Mathematics [HL or SL] or Mathematical Studies [SL]
Group 6
Visual Arts [HL or SL].
Additional Components Life Skills, Theory of Knowledge, Extended Essay, Creativity, Action and Service


Note that due to timetabling limitations, certain combinations of subjects are not possible. Subjects linked by ‘or’ in the boxes above cannot be taken together, the same language cannot be studied at more than one level, and Economics, Chemistry and Visual Arts are taught at the same time. Subjects on offer may vary slightly depending on demand.

If students wish to study another language other than those listed above, we will try to find a suitable teacher and will offer whatever assistance that we can. In such cases, additional costs may have to be borne by parents and the provision of a teacher cannot always be guaranteed.

From 2011, ISM has offered certain online courses – currently Spanish for beginners and Psychology, both at Standard Level [SL]. In 2013, Mandarin for beginners was also added. These are full International Baccalaureate diploma courses forming part of a student’s diploma. They will be taught by an online tutor and guided by a coordinating teacher in ISM. Other online subjects include ITGS and Business Management.

Note: This image is taken from The Diploma Programme, © International Baccalaureate


Students undertake coursework in all subjects during their two year programme and this is internally assessed and externally moderated as part of each student’s final result. The majority of the final grade is determined through intensive, final examinations which students take at the end of their two year course.

All IB diploma subjects are graded according to the following scale:


Diploma Grade Description
7 Excellent
6 Very Good
5 Good
4 Satisfactory
3 Weak
2 Poor
1 Very Poor


The Extended Essay and the Theory of Knowledge course are jointly graded with a maximum of 3 points.

Diploma candidates add their points from the six subjects together with any additional points obtained from the Extended Essay and Theory of Knowledge.
Students need a minimum of 24 points to obtain a Diploma and must not score a 1 or 2 in any Higher Level subject. Any grade below a 4 must be balanced by another grade above a 4 at the same level.
A score of 30 or above is considered to be good. Scores of 35 or higher are excellent.

Full reports showing grades are issued to parents each semester, with an interim report also being issued in the first and third quarters.