In January 1997, SMCHS became the first Catholic high school in the Western United States to join the International Baccalaureate Organization (IB) as an IB World School, offering a rigorous curriculum and an opportunity to earn an internationally recognized diploma. The IB’s holistic focus on personal, psychological and academic development aligns well with the SMCHS mission of whole person education. Similarly, IB encourages development of creativity, collaboration, critical thinking, communication, and ethical decision-making in guiding students to engage in important local and global issues. In the context of the school charism of Caritas Christi, the IB student learns to approach oneself, others and the planet with responsibility, respect, compassion and empathy.

In addition to these outcomes, the hallmarks of an IB diploma include a Theory of Knowledge seminar course to apply thinking and inquiry across all subject areas, an extended research essay of 4,000 words on a student-enerated inquiry/research question, and independently engaging in creativity, physical activity and service (CAS).

What is IB?

"The International Baccalaureate aims to develop inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people who help to create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect” (IBO Mission Statement). Juniors and seniors may participate in the IB full diploma program, selecting to study subjects of interest at a more in-depth level (HL), or at a standard accelerated pace (SL). Full diploma candidates may elect 3 HL and 3 SL courses, or opt for 4 HL and 2 SL courses. Alternatively, students may select to take individual IB courses in combination with academic and AP offerings. Both full diploma and course candidates sit for IB exams.

Why IB?

  • Increased academic opportunities, earn college credit and/or advanced standing at many colleges and universities.
  • Demonstrates breadth and depth of learning as well as willingness to undertake challenge in university applications.
  • Fosters confidence, independence, time management and organizational skills and global-mindedness.
  • Develops the intellectual, psychological and social emotional skill set for optimal participation in a learning, personal,or work community.
  • Internationally recognized, opening the possibility of university study in non-US settings


Why IB at SMCHS?

• Consistent, above worldwide average pass rates, both for full diploma and course candidates
• SMCHS full diploma students have averaged 31 points for the last 15 years; many colleges and universities offer 28-30 units of credit for students earning 28-30 diploma points, opening options for double majoring, more scheduling flexibility and interest-based courses.
• IB courses provide broad and deep inquiry, flexible enough for the different interests and pathways of learners: focus on science/math, the arts, the humanities, global contexts, economics and business.

IB Courses

  • Philosophy HL1
  • Philosophy IB HL2
  • English IB HL1
  • English IB HL2
  • Theory of Knowledge IB
  • Mathematical Studies IB SL
  • Mathematics IB SL
  • Mathematics IB HL 1
  • Mathematics IB HL2
  • Further Mathematics IB HL2
  • Biology IB SL
  • Biology IB HL 1
  • Biology IB HL 2
  • Chemistry IB SL
  • Physics IB HL 1
  • Physics IB HL 2
  • Physics IB SL
  • Environmental Systems & Societies IB SL
  • Economics IB SL
  • History IB HL 1
  • History of the Americas IB HL 2
  • Business Management IB HL 1
  • Business Management IB HL 2
  • Spanish IB SL
  • Spanish IB HL1
  • Spanish IB HL2
  • French IB SL
  • French IB HL1
  • French IB HL2
  • Latin IB SL
  • Latin IB HL1
  • Latin IB HL2
  • Greek IB SL
  • Mandarin Chinese IB SL
  • Dance IB HL1
  • Dance IB HL2
  • Music Group Performance IB SL
  • Music IB HL1
  • Music IB HL2
  • Theatre Arts IB SL
  • Theatre Arts IB HL1
  • Theatre Arts IB HL2
  • Film IB HL1
  • Film IB HL2
  • Visual Arts IB HL1
  • Visual Arts IB HL2

95% *
full diploma pass rate versus a world average of 77%

*25+ candidates each year

overall pass rate versus a world average of

*this figure includes certificate students

IB courses offered in a wide variety of subjects


Dr. Maria Andrade Johnson, IB Coordinator, at 949-766-6000 ext. 4192