Info for Prospective Students

If you are considering entering the full IB Diploma program, there are some classes you should consider taking as a freshman or a sophomore.  Such suggestions are listed below.  Please contact Gary Spurgin, IB Diploma Program Coordinator, for further information and/or questions:

NOTE: Courses for the IB Diploma must be taken during junior and senior year.  Any IB course taken prior to junior year will not count towards the diploma as IB requires the six chosen courses and the core elements to stay within a two-year period.

English: One course from Group One, Studies in Language and Literature, is mandatory to earn an IB diploma.  At present, Cathedral offers only one course, the most common of this group, Language A: Literature.  To best prepare for this two-year program beginning junior year, students should complete the following.  

  • Freshman year: Academic or Honors English 9
  • Sophomore year: 
    • Academic or Honors English 10
    • English as a Higher Level:
      • If entering HL from Academic English 10, the student must be granted permission by his/her 10th grade English teacher
      • The student should take Honors Composition and/or Honors Debate during his/her sophomore year to free up space in his/her junior and senior year schedule. 
    • English as a Standard Level:  The student should take Academic Composition and/or Speech during his/her sophomore year to free up space in his/her junior and senior year schedule.  

World Languages: One course from Group Two, Language Acquisition, is mandatory to earn the IB diploma.  Beginning with the 2018-2019 school year, Cathedral will offer Spanish (SL/HL), French (SL/HL), German (SL/HL), Latin (SL/HL), and Mandarin (SL).  To best prepare for this class which begins junior year, students must complete, at minimum, year I as a freshman and II as a sophomore of his/her chosen language.  If taking World Language HL, students are encouraged to be in year four as a junior and year five a senior.  Additionally, all students taking World Language as an HL must get permission from his/her sophomore teacher as well as Mr. Spurgin, the Department Chair.     

History: One course from Group Three, Individuals and Societies, is mandatory to earn the IB diploma.  At present, Cathedral offers three courses.  Each course has its own prerequisites, thus it is ideal to begin thinking about which class will be taken as a freshman.  The SL options require one year of study and are typically taken senior year; the HL courses take two years, beginning junior year. 

  • History of the Americas (HL)
    • World History - prior to junior year
    • If taking this course, students are exempt from taking US History
  • Psychology (SL/HL)
    • World History - prior to junior year
  • Economics (SL): 
    • World History - prior to junior year
    • One semester of government, typically first semester senior year 
    • IB economics is comprised of Micro-economics and Macro-economics, each a one semester course.  It is most beneficial to take Micro first semester senior year and Macro second semester senior year.  

Science: One course from Group Four, Sciences, is mandatory to earn the IB diploma.  Cathedral offers three science options; with the exceptions of Sports, Exercise and Health Science (SEHS), all science courses must be taken both junior and senior year regardless of whether they are an SL or HL.  

  • Biology (SL/HL):
    • Biology I - prior to junior year
    • Physics I OR Chemistry I - prior to junior year
    • AP Biology - part of the two-year IB program, typically taken junior year but sometimes senior year - this order will be determined by the science department. 
  • Physics (SL/HL):
    • Physics I - taken junior year
    • Pre-Calculus X - can be taken senior year while enrolled in IB Physics
  • Sports, Exercise and Health Science (SL): Anatomy - taken junior year 

Math: One course from Group Five, Mathematics, is mandatory to earn the IB diploma.  Cathedral, as is typical for many schools, only offers IB Math SL.  To give autonomy to students, we offer two routes to complete the IB Math requirements.  If a student excels in math, he/she can take AB or BC Calculus in place of IB Math as a senior; in such situation, students meet with our IB math teacher once a cycle during Flex to prepare more specifically for IB assessments.  The second option is to take IB Math as a senior with the following prerequisites: 

  • Algebra I and II prior to junior year*
  • Geometry prior to junior year*
  • Precalculus junior year
  • IB Math senior year

*Though not ideal, sophomore students that plan to take the full IB program may have to double up in math in order to be in precalculus as a junior.  If a student is in Academic Algebra I as a freshman, he or she will take Academic Geometry and Academic Algebra II as a sophomore.  If a student is in Honors Algebra I as a freshman, he or she will take Honors Geometry and Honors Algebra II as a sophomore.  

Fine Arts:  Group Six, The Arts, provides an option to earning the IB Diploma; a student may take two courses from one of the other groups - one through five - or take a class from Group Six.  If taking a course from Group Six, a student should have taken, at minimum, an introduction course to his/her chosen discipline.  Selection of a course from Group 6 enriches the IB experience as it showcases a well-rounded student and academic experience, something greatly valued by prospective colleges.    

  • IB Music: 
    • Vocal: participate in choir as a freshman and/or sophomore
    • Instrumental: participate in band as a freshman and/or sophomore 
  • IB Visual Arts: 
    • Recommended completion of 2 semesters of art taken prior to junior year.
    • Students without 2 semesters of art gain permission for the art teacher.

As an IB Diploma Student, one will likely have a full schedule junior and senior year.  To ensure opportunities to take all necessary IB courses as well as desired electives such as newspaper, band, and participation in Peer-Mentoring and/or We the People, students should take other electives as a freshman and/or sophomore, such as fulfilling Physical Education and Fine Arts requirements.  

Additionally, IB diploma students will take Theory of Knowledge as a theology credit second semester of junior year and first semester of senior year.  Over the two years, IB diploma students will also be working on an Extended Essay and CAS project.