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International Baccalaureate Program

Sandia High is an authorized International Baccalaureate World School, offering the prestigious IB Diploma Program to qualified students.

"Cogito ergo sum. I think, therefore I(B)."  -- Rene Descartes

Sandia High School is an authorized International Baccalaureate World School, offering the academically rigorous Diploma Program for juniors and seniors. Students who will be juniors in 2017-18 can register for the Program by filling out an application. 

Go here for answers to frequently asked questions about the APS IB Diploma Program.

Though housed at Sandia, all qualified students from around Albuquerque are invited and encouraged to participate in the program. Students enter the two-year program as juniors.

What is IB?

For more information on the SHS IB Program, contact IB Coordinator Ann Goswick at or 294-1511, ex. 30302

Why Choose IB?


Eligibility and Admissions


What is IB?


The International Baccalaureate (IB), a non-profit educational foundation, was founded in Switzerland in 1968 to create a standardized, internationally recognized diploma to the children of globetrotting diplomats and business executives. IB currently works with more than 3,000 schools in 139 countries and is expanding quickly. In the last decade, high schools in the United States offering IB have more than doubled. Sandia is the first comprehensive high school in New Mexico to offer the program.

The Diploma Program

The International Baccalaureate Diploma Program is designed as an academically challenging and balanced program of education with final examinations that prepare students for success at the university level and beyond. The program is taught over two years and has gained recognition and respect from the world’s leading universities.

IB Diploma students study six academic areas over two years in which they are awarded points. Students complete assessment tasks in the classroom, which are scored by their teachers, and then moderated by IB. Additionally, students take written examinations at the end of the program, which are marked by external IB examiners.

IB official logo

Why Choose IB?

Courses in the IB Diploma Program at Sandia stress depth over breadth in learning and develop critical thinking and problem solving skills. Because students are required to accept more responsibility and accountability for their education, the Diploma Program will have students exceptionally well prepared to succeed at the university level.

IB teachers at Sandia are required to complete high quality professional development in their subject area every four years. A worldwide network of teachers and examiners is available to link educators through online forums and best practices in their respective curricula.

Universities in the United States are continuing to increase acceptance of IB coursework for college credit.


The challenging IB curriculum is designed to prepare high school students for the rigor they will face at the university level. The IB Diploma is highly regarded world wide as excellent preparation for college readiness and success. The curriculum is comprised of six core subjects plus a Theory of Knowledge class.

Six Core Subjects

The IB curriculum is comprised of 6 subject areas in which students are tested, surrounding a unifying core. These core requirements are intended to unify the subject areas and give students ownership of their educational experience.

The 6 core subjects that all students must study are:

Learn about the IB teachers.

Group 1 - Language Arts

Language and Literature

Group 2 - Second Language

Subjects: French, Spanish

Group 3 - Individuals and Societies

IB Diploma ProgrammeSubject: History of the Americas

Group 4 - Experimental Sciences

Subjects: Biology, Chemistry

Group 5 - Mathematics

Subjects: Mathematics

Group 6 - The Arts & Electives

Subjects: Music, Visual Arts, Sports, Health and Exercise Science (Athletics), Business Management

Theory of Knowledge

Theory of Knowledge unifies the six subject areas and develops inquiry and critical thinking. Students learn the development of cognition and to identify how and why cultural norms exist.

Other Requirements

Diploma candidates must meet three requirements in addition to the six academic subjects.

  • Creativity, Action, Service requires students to be involved in sports, artistic pursuits, and community service ( 150 hours minimum) with a goal of providing a balance between academic and social life.
  • The Extended Essay offers an opportunity to investigate a topic of special interest at length and to become familiar with the research and writing skills expected at the university level. It provides for a mentor teacher to assist students in developing this “mini-thesis.”

Eligibility and Admissions

What type of student should apply for the IB Diploma Program?

  • Highly motivated students
  • Students with proven academic success
  • Students who are intellectually curious
  • Students who are ready to be pushed to their academic limit

Interested students will be asked  to fill out an application beginning in January. The admissions process also will include

  • A personal interview
  • Teacher recommendations
  • A review of the fall PSAT*
  • A review of school transcripts and grades

*Applications from students who haven't taken the PSAT or who currently are enrolled in an IB Program will be reviewed on an individual basis.

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