Individuals & Societies (Social Studies)

Individuals and Societies
  • Individuals and societies encourages learners to respect and understand the world around them and equips them with the necessary skills to inquire into historical, contemporary, geographical, political, social, economic, religious, technological and cultural factors that have an impact on individuals, societies and environments. It encourages learners, both students and teachers, to consider local and global contexts.

    Individuals and societies incorporates disciplines traditionally studied under the general term “the humanities” (such as history and philosophy), as well as disciplines in the social sciences (such as economics, business management, geography, sociology and political science).

    In this subject group, students can engage with exciting, stimulating and personally relevant topics and issues. Many sensitive and personally challenging topics require careful consideration in the context of a safe and responsible learning environment characterized by respect and open-mindedness. The study of individuals and societies helps students to appreciate critically the diversity of human culture, attitudes and beliefs. Courses in this subject group are important for helping students to recognize that content and methodology can be debatable and controversial, and for practising the tolerance of uncertainty.

    The IB’s approach to individuals and societies includes a strong focus on inquiry and investigation. Students collect, describe and analyse data used in studies of societies; test hypotheses; and learn how to interpret increasingly complex information, including original source material. This focus on real-world examples, research and analysis is an essential aspect of the subject group.

    The study of individuals and societies helps students to develop their identities as individuals and as responsible members of local and global communities. These explorations of our common humanity are intrinsically interesting, and disciplines in this subject group are filled with potential for creating in students a lifelong fascination with “the human story” as it continues to evolve in an era of rapid change and increasing interconnectedness. Studies in individuals and societies are essential for developing empathy and international-mindedness, including the idea that “other people, with their differences, can also be right” (IB mission statement).

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    IB Middle Years Programme | Individuals and societies guide (2014)

Courses Offered

Required Courses

  • World History
  • Civics and Economics
  • American History I
  • American History II
  • AP U.S. History

Electives

  • African American Studies
  • American Indian Studies
  • Holocaust & Genocide: World St.
  • Contemporary Law and Justice
  • Sociology
  • Psychology
  • AP Human Geography
  • AP U.S. Government and Politics
  • AP Psychology
  • IB Psychology

Individual & Societies Courses

Required Courses

  • World History Credit Type: Standard / Honors
    Prerequisite: NoneRecommended for Grade 9

    This course will address six periods in the study of world history, with a key focus of study from the mid-15th century to the present. Students will study major turning points that shaped the modern world. The desired outcome of this course is that students develop understandings of current world issues and relate them to their historical, political, economic, geographical, and cultural contexts. Students will broaden their historical perspectives as they explore ways societies have dealt with continuity and change, exemplified by concepts such as civilization, revolution, government, economics, war, stability, movement, and technology.

    Paideia I | English I & World History Credit Type: Honors
    Prerequisite: NoneRecommended for Grade 9

    The Paideia Program, an interdisciplinary approach that is part of a comprehensive program drawn from The Paideia Proposal, encourages students to think across subject areas and curriculum boundaries. These courses develop students' critical and analytical thinking skills. Great classics, modern works of literature, and original documents are studied within the appropriate historical framework. Teachers use traditional didactic means, weekly seminars, and supervised practice referred to as coaching. The Paideia Program is a two-credit course that covers the English and social studies requirements at each grade level. Students must also register for the corresponding Paideia social studies course

    American History: Founding Principles, Civics And Economics Credit Type: Standard / Honors
    Prerequisite: NoneRecommended for Grade 10

    This course provides students with a framework for understanding the basic tenets of American democracy, practices of American government as established by the US Constitution, basic concepts of American politics and citizenship, and concepts in micro- and macroeconomics and personal finance. The goal of this course is to help to prepare students to become responsible and effective citizens in the interdependent world.

    Paideia II | English II & Civics and Economics Credit Type: Honors
    Prerequisite: English IRecommended for Grade 10

    The Paideia Program, an interdisciplinary approach that is part of a comprehensive program drawn from The Paideia Proposal, encourages students to think across subject areas and curriculum boundaries. These courses develop students' critical and analytical thinking skills. Great classics, modern works of literature, and original documents are studied within the appropriate historical framework. Teachers use traditional didactic means, weekly seminars, and supervised practice referred to as coaching. The Paideia Program is a two-credit course that covers the English and social studies requirements at each grade level. Students must also register for the corresponding Paideia social studies course.

    American History I Credit Type: Standard / Honors
    Prerequisite: NoneRecommended for Grade 11

    In this course students will examine the historical and intellectual origins of the US from the European exploration and colonial settlement to the Revolutionary and Constitutional eras. Students will learn about the important political and economic factors that contributed to the development of colonial America and the outbreak of the American Revolution, as well as the consequences of the Revolution, including the writing and key ideas of the US Constitution. This course will guide students as they study the establishment of political parties, America’s westward expansion, the growth of sectional conflict, how that sectional conflict led to the Civil War, and the consequences of the Civil War, including Reconstruction.

    Advanced Placement United States History / American History II Credit Type: 1 Honors / 1 AP
    Prerequisite: NoneRecommended for Grade 11

    This two-credit course is designed to encourage students to become apprentice historians who are able to use historical facts and evidence in the service of creating deeper conceptual understandings of critical developments in US history. The curriculum of the course centers around four types of historical thinking skills: chronological reasoning, comparison and contextualization, crafting historical arguments from historical evidence, and historical interpretation and synthesis. Students will explore seven themes throughout this course: identity; work, exchange, and technology; peopling; politics and power; America in the world; environment and geography – physical and human; and ideas, beliefs, and culture. Students enrolled in this course are expected to take the College Board Advanced Placement test.

    American History II Credit Type: Standard / Honors
    Prerequisite: American History IRecommended for Grade 12

    In this course students will examine the political, economic, social, and cultural development of the US from the end of the Reconstruction era to the present times. Students will explore the change in the ethnic composition of American society, the movement toward equal rights for racial minorities and women, and the role of the US as a major world power. An emphasis will be placed on the expanding role of the federal government and the federal courts, as well as the continuing tension between the individual and the state. The desired outcome of this course is for students to develop an understanding of the cause –and –effect relationship between past and present events, recognize patterns of the interactions, and understand the impact of events on the US in an interconnected world.

Electives

  • African American Studies Credit Type: Standard
    Prerequisite: NoneRecommended for 10-12

    This conceptually driven course introduces students to the exploration of the rich and diverse history and culture of African Americans. The goal of this course is to broaden the knowledge and understandings of students interested in learning about the histories, cultures, and economic, geographic, and political realities of African Americans. This course will provide students with an opportunity to engage with the social, economic, and political activities of African Americans in a way that allows them to make deep connections across the content.

    American Indian Studies Credit Type: Standard
    Prerequisite: NoneRecommended for 10-12

    This conceptually driven course introduces students to the exploration of the rich and diverse history and culture of American Indian societies. The goal of this course is to broaden the knowledge and understandings of students interested in learning about the histories, cultures, legacies, and achievements of American Indians from prehistoric to present-day societies. The course offers traditional and contemporary perspectives, which place the land, its history, and the people at the center. This course will emphasize interactions between and within American Indian groups as well as with the government of the United States. The course draws upon concepts and issues of policy, law, economic and cultural change, as well as shared beliefs concerning human-environment interaction.

    Contemporary Law And Justice Credit Type: Honors
    Prerequisite: NoneRecommended for 10-12

    This course focuses on the legal, judicial, law enforcement and corrections systems of the United States. Examined are relevant examples of civil and criminal laws, law-enforcement methods, court procedures, and efforts toward corrective justice. Students also examine problems within the legal and justice systems.

    Holocaust And Genocide In World Studies Credit Type: Honors
    Prerequisite: NoneRecommended for 10-12

    History of various genocides and holocausts is explored in this course reviewing attempts at wiping out groups based upon religious, racial and national origins. Participants will learn the impact of severe prejudice and persecution to understand the nature of civilization itself and focus on prevention strategies for future genocide and dehumanization. The World War II Holocaust as well as recent 20th century genocides such as Armenia, Rwanda, Cambodia, Sudan, and Darfur will be explored. Students will complete substantial reading, writing and research. Taking this course after successful completion of World History is recommended.

    Psychology Credit Type: Honors
    Prerequisite: NoneRecommended for 10-12

    This course is designed to give students an understanding of psychology as a science. Students are introduced to psychology, with a focus on the scientific study of human development, learning, motivation, and personality. This course emphasizes the empirical examination of behavior and mental processes, and it infuses perspectives fostering students' growth, development, and understanding of cultural diversity. Students of psychology acquire information from a variety of sources, use information as they make decisions and evaluations, and solve problems. The study of psychology enables students to recognize and cope with uncertainty and ambiguity in human behavior.

    Sociology Credit Type: Honors
    Prerequisite: NoneRecommended for 10-12

    This course is designed to give students the tools necessary to concentrate on the systematic study of human society and human interaction. Students develop a sociological imagination in which they observe the connections between their personal lives within society, as well as public policy issues. Using observation, the scientific method, and cross-cultural examination, students discover how patterns of behavior develop, culture is learned, and social predictions are made.

    Advanced Placement Human Geography Credit Type: AP
    Prerequisite: NoneRecommended for 10-12

    Advanced Placement Human Geography provides students with insight into contemporary developments of world cultures, politics, and economies, including an analysis of the impact of the environment on the progress of world nations and regions. Students evaluate world events and data, write critically about world situations, and debate controversial aspects of an interdependent world. Major units focus on the spatial natures of geography and perspectives, population patterns and processes, cultural patterns and processes, political organization of space, agricultural and rural land use, consequences of industrialization and economic development, cities and urban land use. Students enrolled in this course are expected to take the College Board Advanced Placement test.

    Advanced Placement Psychology Credit Type: AP
    Prerequisite: NoneRecommended for 11-12

    Students study the systematic and scientific study of the behavior and mental processes of human beings and other animals. Students are exposed to the psychological facts, principles, and phenomena associated with each of the major sub fields within psychology. The study of psychology enables students to recognize and cope with uncertainty and ambiguity in human behavior. Substantial out-of-class reading, writing, and research are expected. Students enrolled in this course are expected to take the College Board Advanced Placement test.

    Advanced Placement US Government & Politics Credit Type: AP
    Prerequisite: American History: Founding Principles, Civics & EconomicsRecommended for 12

    This course is a survey of the United States national political system. Students will examine the U.S. constitutional system, its historical development, and current trends of the system with the goal to further skill development through a rigorous course of study. Assignments involve student reading, analysis, synthesis, writing, and speaking. Lectures, current problems, and practices are frequently used. Students enrolled in this course are expected to take the College Board Advanced Placement test.

    IB Psychology Credit Type: IB
    Prerequisite: PsychologyRecommended for 11-12

    The IB Psychology course aims to develop an awareness of how research findings can be applied to better understand human behavior and how ethical practices are upheld in psychological inquiry. Students learn to understand the biological, cognitive and sociocultural influences on human behavior and explore alternative explanations of behavior. They also understand and use diverse methods of psychological inquiry. Students enrolled in this course are REQUIRED to take the International Baccalaureate administered exam at the conclusion of the course.