IB Biology DP SL/HL

Biologists have accumulated huge amounts of information about living organisms, and it would be easy to confuse students by teaching large numbers of seemingly unrelated facts. In the Diploma Program biology course, it is hoped that students will acquire a limited body of facts and, at the same time, develop a broad, general understanding of the principles of the subject. There are four basic biological concepts that run throughout.

Structure and function

Students should appreciate that structures permit some functions while, at the same time, limiting others.

Universality versus diversity

Students can grasp the idea of a living world in which universality means that a diverse range of organisms (including ourselves) are connected and interdependent.

Equilibrium within systems

Checks and balances exist both within living organisms and within ecosystems. The state of dynamic equilibrium is essential for the continuity of life.


The concept of evolution draws together the other themes. It can be regarded as change leading to diversity within constraints, and this leads to adaptations of structure and function.

SYLLABUS (2 years):


  1. Cell Biology
  2. Molecular Biology
  3. Genetics
  4. Ecology
  5. Evolution and Biodiversity
  6. Human Physiology


C - Ecology and conservation

Additional HL:

  1. Nucleic Acids
  2. Metabolism, Cell Respiration and Photosynthesis
  3. Plant Biology
  4. Genetics and Evolution
  5. Animal Physiology

Practical Scheme of Work:

  1. Practical Activities
  2. Individual Investigation (Internal Assessment - IA)
  3. Group 4 Project


  • Allott, Mindorff: IB Biology Print and Online Course Book Pack 2014 edition (Oxford IB Diploma Programme)
  • Curriculum & Standards: www.ibo.org (details are password-accessible to teachers)