IB Career-related Programme

Preparing students to follow their chosen pathways in life.

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What is an IB education?

The IB continuum of international education for 3 to 19 year olds is unique because of its academic and personal rigour. We challenge students to excel in their studies and in their personal growth. We aim to inspire a quest for learning throughout life that is marked by enthusiasm and empathy.

The IB aspires to help schools develop well-rounded students with character who respond to challenges with optimism and an open mind, are confident in their own identities, make ethical decisions, join with others in celebrating our common humanity and are prepared to apply what they learn in real world, complex and unpredictable situations.

The IB offers high-quality programmes of international education that share a powerful vision Informed by the values described in the learner profile, an IB education:

  • focuses on learners – the IB’s student-centred programmes promote healthy relationships, ethical responsibility and personal challenge
  • develops effective approaches to teaching and learning – IB programmes help students to develop the attitudes and skills they need for both academic and personal success
  • works within global contexts – IB programmes increase understanding of languages and cultures, and explore globally significant ideas and issues
  • explores significant content – IB programmes offer a curriculum that is broad and balanced, conceptual and connected.
  • IB learners strive to become inquirers, knowledgeable, thinkers, communicators, principled, open-minded, caring, risk-takers, balanced, and reflective. These attributes represent a broad range of human capacities and responsibilities that go beyond intellectual development and academic success.

What is the IB Career-related Programme?

The IB Career-related Programme (CP) is designed for students interested in pursuing a career-related education in the final two years of secondary school. It provides them with an excellent foundation to support their further studies, as well as ensure their preparedness for success in the workforce.

The CP enables students to:

  • follow their chosen pathways in life
  • combine academic subjects with their personal and professional interests and skills
  • engage in learning that makes a positive difference to their community
  • think critically and creatively
  • communicate clearly and effectively in a variety of situations
  • effectively work independently and in collaboration with others
  • consider new perspectives and other points of view
  • develop greater self-confidence and self-awareness
  • demonstrate high levels of resilience, flexibility and agility of mind
  • be internationally-minded and globally aware
  • apply their knowledge to real-world scenarios and situations

What is the IB Career-related Programme? (continued)

  • The CP core components – Students develop personal qualities and professional skills, as well as intellectual habits required for lifelong learning. The CP core components give context to the DP courses and the career related study and draw all aspects of the framework together.
  • The personal and professional skills course aims to develop responsibility, practical problem-solving, good intellectual habits, ethical understanding, perseverance, resilience, an appreciation of identity and perspective, and an understanding of the complexity of the modern world. Emphasis is placed on the development of skills needed to successfully navigate higher education, the workplace, and society.
  • Service learning is the practical application of knowledge and skills toward meeting an identified community need. Through service, students develop and apply personal and social skills in real-life situations involving decision-making, problem-solving, initiative, responsibility and accountability for their actions.
  • Language development ensures that all CP students have access and exposure to a second language. The opportunity to learn a second language is a central tenet of an IB education and increases students’ understanding of the wider world. Students are encouraged to begin or extend the study of an additional language that suits their needs, backgrounds and contexts. It develops students’ oral, visual and written linguistic and communicative abilities.
  • The reflective project is an in-depth body of work produced over an extended period and submitted toward the end of the programme. Through the reflective project, students identify, analyse, discuss and evaluate an ethical dilemma associated with an issue from their career-related studies. This work encourages students to engage in personal inquiry, intellectual discovery, creativity, action and reflection, and to develop strong thinking, research and communications skills.
  • Career-related studies – Students are provided with practical, real-world approaches to learning designed to prepare them for higher education, an internship or apprenticeship, or a position in a designated field of interest.

The career-related studies are offered by the school and should be aligned with student needs and progress toward further study or direct employment. Each school chooses the career-related studies most suited to local conditions and the needs of its students. The career-related studies must satisfy IB criteria for accreditation, assessment and quality assurance.


Students take written examinations at the end of the programme, which are marked by external IB examiners. Students also complete assessment tasks in the school, which are either initially marked by teachers and then moderated by external moderators or sent directly to external examiners.

The marks awarded for each course range from 1 (lowest) to 7 (highest). Students can also be awarded up to three additional points for their combined results on theory of knowledge and the extended essay. The diploma is awarded to students who gain at least 24 points, subject to certain minimum levels of performance across the whole programme and to satisfactory participation in the creativity, action, service requirement. The highest total that a Diploma Programme student can be awarded is 45 points.

Assessment is criterion-related, which means student performance is measured against prespecified assessment criteria based on the aims and objectives of each subject curriculum, rather than the performance of other students taking the same examinations. The range of scores that students have attained remains statistically stable, and universities value the rigour and consistency of Diploma Programme assessment practice.

To find out more about the International Baccalaureate, please visit

International Baccalaureate

IBCP Programme Structure

An IB CP student will take:

  • 2 IB Diploma subjects
  • 1 CR subject (Career-related BTECs)
  • IB CP Core Designed to develop students holistically.

Diploma Subjects

CR Subjects (career-related BTECs)

  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • English Literature
  • Geography
  • Global Politics
  • History
  • Mathematics: Applications and Interpretations
  • Business Studies
  • Sports Coaching and Development

Understanding what the IBDP and IBCP mean for Higher Education

In order to obtain the IB Diploma, you must achieve at least 24 of a possible 45 points across six subjects (three at standard level and three at higher level). Each of these are marked out of seven points, with an additional three points available for each of the core elements of the IB (the Extended Essay and Theory of Knowledge).

In order to obtain the IB Careers Programme, you must have completed the specified career-related study and been awarded a grade 3 or higher in two of the IB Diploma subjects.

In addition to this, you must have achieved at least a grade D for the Reflective Project and completed the Personal and Professional Skills Course.

Universities in the UK use UCAS points to compare different qualifications so as to determine whether students meet the grade requirements to access a particular university course.

UCAS Points

Higher Level IBDP Courses

Standard Level IBDP Courses

  • H7 – 56
  • H6 – 48
  • H5 – 32
  • H4 – 24
  • H3 – 12
  • S7 – 28
  • S6 – 24
  • S5 – 16
  • S4 – 12
  • S3 – 6

Extended Essay

Theory of Knowledge
















Career Related Study

A Level

  • D*D* – 112
  • D*D – 104
  • DD – 96
  • DM – 80
  • MM – 64
  • MP – 48
  • PP – 32
  • A* – 56
  • A – 48
  • B – 40
  • C – 32
  • D – 24
  • E – 16

What are the entry requirements for an average university for IB students?
Entry requirements for university in the UK vary with each institution. However, most universities accept 112 UCAS points as the average entry criteria.

What are the entry requirements for Oxbridge?
The equivalent of 154 UCAS points (40-42 in the IBDP, with grade 6s and 7s in Higher Level subjects; or A*AA at A-level).

What are the entry requirements for Russell Group universities?
The equivalent of 136 UCAS points (40-42 in the IBDP, with grade 6s in Higher Level subjects; or A*AA at A-level).

Key Points

  1. For IBDP students, a grade 7 at HL is the highest grade and is equivalent to an A* at A-level.
  2. For IBCP students, a D*D* grade in the career-related study is equivalent to two grade 7’s at HL or two A* at A-level.
  3. The Extended Essay and Theory of Knowledge components means a student studying the IBDP will be more likely to gain admission into University than a peer who achieves the equivalent grades at A-level. For example: according to the DfE, 45 points (the maximum mark available for the IBDP) is equivalent to 5 A* at A-level.
  4. Studies show both universities and employers rate students who have studied the IB higher on university-readiness and career-preparedness, respectively.