Student Working on Chemistry Problem

The IB Diploma Program

The International Baccalaureate at Good Counsel

The International Baccalaureate Program serves students who desire academic rigor across the curriculum.
If a student desires a broad base of college level courses, the IB Diploma Program is recommended. As stated in our mission, “Our Lady of Good Counsel is dedicated to providing a challenging high school experience to all students." To fulfill this, we offer the most rigorous college level programs available. Established in the 1960's out of the United World College movement, and aimed at fostering understanding among students in all corners of the world, the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program (IB) is a two-year college preparatory course of studies. The IB Diploma Program is a curriculum which requires students to take examinations in six different subject areas; complete an original piece of research; participate in and reflect upon their athletics, activities, and service; and complete an interdisciplinary seminar entitled "Theory of Knowledge."

In place since 1995, GC has the oldest IB Diploma program among Catholic high schools in all of Maryland, DC, and Virginia.

Our Lady of Good Counsel High School has been authorized to administer the IB Program since 1995. Flowing from the school's philosophy of "educating the whole person," the IB balances rigorous academic studies with a holistic approach towards living constructively in an ever-expanding world. Beyond the purely academic requirements, however, the IB compels students to reflect upon activities, athletics, and service as vital components of a well-rounded education. True to our Catholic identity, IB students are challenged to learn in all fields of knowledge, but are also faced with the issue of applying their knowledge and talents to the needs of the world in which they live.

The IB Diploma Model

Currently, Good Counsel offers the following IB Diploma subjects:

Higher Level

  • World Literature
  • Spanish
  • French
  • History
  • Economics
  • Chemistry
  • Biology
  • Mathematics
  • Music
  • Visual Arts
  • Theatre

Standard Level

  • Spanish
  • French
  • Economics
  • History
  • Information Technology for a Global Society (ITGS)
  • Psychology
  • World Religions
  • Philosophy
  • Physics
  • Sports Exercise Science
  • Mathematics
  • Mathematical Studies
  • Music
  • Visual Arts
  • Theatre

Ten Reasons Why the IB Program Prepares You for Universtiy

10 reasons why the IB diploma program is ideal preparation for university

Diploma Requirements

In addition to coursework, these additional Diploma requirements are required:

  • Theory of Knowledge, or TOK, is a two-year interdisciplinary seminar which challenges students to think across traditional lines of thought, and essentially to ask, "What do we know, and how do we know it?".
  • The Extended Essay, a 4000-word piece of supervised; original research selected by the student in an area of particular interest is begun in TOK class during the Junior year, and completed in TOK class during the Senior year.
  • Creativity, Action, and Service (CAS) is a 150-hour requirement completed over two years that allows students to plan and reflect meaningfully on their extra-curricular activities inside and outside of school, including, but not limited to athletics, arts, work and service.

Admission to the IB Program

While it is recommended that students have completed the Pre-IB course of studies, all students are eligible to apply to the IB Program during their sophomore year. Applications are available each year in December and are due at the end of January. Students are notified of the results of their application in March.

We seeks to extend every opportunity for students to enter and succeed in the IB Program. Generally, students will be successful as diploma candidates if they reflect the following criteria:

  • A high level of personal motivation and organization
  • Strong grades in Honors Pre-AP/IB courses and high grades in standard college prep courses
  • Participation in activities, athletics, and service
  • Favorable recommendations from the faculty
  • Superior conduct and attendance
  • Family support

IB Diploma Program Application | Class of 2020

Academic Requirements

In order to earn the IB Diploma, students must successfully complete coursework in six different subject areas. Three of these are taken in students' more successful subjects on the Higher Level (HL), and three are taken in areas which present greater difficulty to students on the Standard Level (SL). In this respect, students display their strengths, yet also support and extend their skills to areas which present greater challenges.