Founded in 1968, the International Baccalaureate (IB) is a non-profit educational foundation offering four highly respected programmes of international education that develop the intellectual, personal, emotional and social skills needed to live, learn and work in a rapidly globalizing world. Schools must be authorized, by the IB organization, to offer any of the programmes. The International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP) is a two-year educational programme primarily aimed at students aged 16–19. The program provides an internationally accepted qualification for entry into higher education and is recognised by many universities worldwide.

The IB has a hard-earned reputation for high standards of teaching, pedagogical leadership and student achievement. We work with schools, governments and international organizations to develop challenging programmes of international education and rigorous assessment. Administered by the International Baccalaureate (IB), the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP) is taught in schools in over 140 countries, in one of three languages: English, French, or Spanish.

Facts about IB programmes and schools

The IB offers four programmes for students aged 3 to 19. The programmes can be offered individually or as a continuum.

Number of schools offering IB programmes

On 7 November 2016, there were 5,907 programmes being offered worldwide, across 4,546 schools. As of 12 May 2016 there are about 128 schools that have inculcated the IB curriculum in their schools.

IB regionNumber of IB World Schools
The Americas2,771
Africa, Europe, Middle East1,021

The International Baccalaureate® (IB) offers a continuum of international education. The programmes encourage both personal and academic achievement, challenging students to excel in their studies and in their personal development. In order to teach IB programmes, schools must be authorized. Every school authorized to offer IB programmes is known as an IB World School.

Difference between IB & AP

Advanced Placement courses have long been considered the go-to option for U.S. high schoolers who desire more challenging work than what’s offered in the standard curriculum.But students may have more options for getting an academic challenge. An increasing number of American high schools offer the International Baccalaureate program which, like the AP program, offers a rigorous set of courses.
The IB program is still relatively small compared with the AP program in the U.S.: only about 830 schools offer the IB diploma, according to the program’s organizers. Nearly 14,000 public high schools offered AP courses during the 2012-2013 school year, according to the College Board, which administers the AP program.

The educational objectives differ: AP courses tend to focus intensively on a particular subject, while IB courses take a more holistic approach.

  • In an AP class, you may look very deeply at an issue and look at if from multiple perspectives, In IB, it would probably be more, still looking at an issue, but you may be looking at an issue over time and how it has impacted other parts of the world and how there is that connectivity to it all.
  • IB students can earn an IB diploma: High schoolers who have embraced IB’s global educational philosophy can elect to earn an IB diploma, which is recognized by colleges around the world.
  • Students can earn college credit with either: Both IB and AP classes culminate in an exam, and depending on the score, students may be able to earn college credit.