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IB Program

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For full details about this program, visit the High School Resources page on the RCS District Site and select IB Programme from the right-hand menu.


If you have questions regarding the IB Program, please contact our IB Coordinator, Wayne Knight, by calling the school or by emailing him at wknight@rock.k12.n



Prerequisite: Open to all IB students, not just Full IB

Theory of Knowledge is an integral part of the IB philosophy and is required for every IB Diploma candidate.  The course challenges students to reflect on the nature of knowledge and its relationship to their experiences in and out of the classroom.  Part I examines the role of language and thought in knowledge, the requirements of logical rigor for knowledge, and the systems of knowledge.



Prerequisite: Theory of Knowledge I

Theory of Knowledge II fosters attitudes, which lead students to critically evaluate what they and others know.  The subject matter introduced in Theory of Knowledge I is expanded upon and pursued further, with an emphasis on examining moral, political, and aesthetic judgements as they relate to knowledge.  Also examined is the relationship between knowledge and truth. This course, which is required of all diploma candidates, is assessed through an oral presentation and an essay on a selected topic.  The extended essay will be completed in this course.



Prerequisite: 11th grade standing, Civics and Economics, and one World course (World History recommended)

This study is a unique approach to American history that includes key comparison with other countries in our hemisphere.  Students will come to appreciate their own cultural heritage in the broad context of the experiences of the peoples of the region.  Students are introduced to history as a discipline and to the historian's methods. This course of study obliges students to go beyond simple narrative; it requires comparison analysis.  This course fulfills requirements for North Carolina's U.S. History.



Prerequisite: U.S. History or History of the Americas

This is a second level continuation of the IB requirement in the Individuals and Societies.  It focuses on Europe and three major 20th century topics: the causes, practices and effects of war; the rise of single part states; and Cold War relations between the U.S. and Soviet Union.



Prerequisite: AFM or Pre-Cal Honors recommended

This course recognizes the increasing role that mathematics and technology play in a diverse range of fields in a data-rich world. As such, it emphasizes the meaning of mathematics in context by focusing on topics that are often used as applications or in mathematical modelling. To give this understanding a firm base, this course also includes topics that are traditionally part of a pre-university mathematics course such as calculus and statistics.

The course makes extensive use of technology to allow students to explore and construct mathematical models. Mathematics: applications and interpretation will develop mathematical thinking, often in the context of a practical problem and using technology to justify conjectures.


Prerequisite: Math Applications and Interpretations I

This course, a continuation of Math A&I I, prepares students for the SL or HL exam.  Students who choose Mathematics: applications and interpretation at SL or HL should enjoy seeing mathematics used in real-world contexts and to solve real-world problems. Students who wish to take Mathematics: applications and interpretation at a higher level will have good algebraic skills and experience of solving real-world problems. They will be students who get pleasure and satisfaction when exploring challenging problems and who are comfortable to undertake this exploration using technology.



Prerequisite: English II Honors

This course is the first part of an in-depth, two-year literary analysis training course.  The language profile of students taking these courses will vary, but their receptive, productive and interactive skills should be strong and the expectation is that the course will consolidate them further. Students are expected to develop their proficiency, fluency and linguistic range, and in particular to acquire the vocabulary appropriate to the analysis of texts. They will also deepen their understanding of a wide variety of concepts explored through literary and non-literary texts in order to interpret, analyse, evaluate and then communicate this understanding in clear, organized and developed products. Students will focus exclusively on literary texts, adopting a variety of approaches to textual criticism. Students explore the nature of literature, the aesthetic function of literary language and textuality, and the relationship between literature and the world. The course explore elements of literature and focus on:

  • the relationships between readers, writers and texts

  • the range and functions of texts across geographical space and historical time

  • aspects of intertextuality.



Prerequisite: HL English III

This course is a continuation of HL English III.  This course culminates the two-year course of study in literary analysis and prepares students for the HL English A Literature Exam.



Prerequisite: Pre-IB Biology and Chemistry (Honors recommended)

This course builds on the foundation of Biology by investigating the natural world.  Students study organisms and communities both in the lab and in the natural environment that include biotic and abiotic factors, as well as physiological and behavioral adaptations.



Prerequisite: Biology I (HL)

A continuation of HL Biology I, this culminates the course of study in Biology and prepares students for the HL Biology exam.



Prerequisite: Spanish III Honors

Students will develop the ability to communicate orally, through writing, and in response to spoken language.  Three major themes will be explored: exploring change (social, political, technological), and exploring groups (family, community, racial), and exploring leisure (arts, film, media).  Successful completion prepares the student for the SL Spanish B examination. 



Prerequisite: Art and Design I

Designed as an Area #6 SL elective, Art and Design II is based on an expansion of the material introduced in non-IB Art and Design I.  Studio work represents the major part of the course of study, complemented by a research notebook. Successful completion of the course prepares the student to rest in Art and Design SL (portfolio presentation exam).  This course fulfills the requirements for N.C. Honors Studio Art A.



Prerequisite: Theatre Arts I & II

Designed as an Area #6 elective, Theatre Arts III builds upon the material introduced and developed in non-IB Theatre Arts I & II.  Course of study consists of advanced, more individualized work in a seminar style with in-depth research, analysis, application, and production emphases.  Specific technical preparation in script writing and editing, improvisation, acting, design and production, and directing will be explored through research, comparison and contrast analysis, and critique.  Successful completion prepares the student for the SL Theatre Arts exam. This course fulfills the N.C. Honors Theatre Arts A.



Prerequisite: ITGS is an Area #6 elective for students with an interest in exploring the impact of information technology

Information Technology in a Global Society is the study of and evaluation of the impact of information technology (IT) on individuals and society.  It explores the advantages and disadvantages of the use of digitized information at the local and global levels. ITGS provides a framework for the student to make informed judgments and decisions about the use of IT within social contexts.  Projects and a portfolio, along with successful completion of the ITGS test, are required.



Sports, exercise and health science (SEHS) is an experimental science subject that sits well within group 4 of the IB Diploma Programme (DP). It is unique in that it requires students to apply their understanding of a wide range of scientific principles to the context of competitive and elite sport, and to that of exercise and public health in general. The course requires that students gain an appreciation of the methods of scientific study in this area and develop the skills to carry out their own investigations. Through this aspect of the course, students will be able to engage critically with many important issues of personal relevance as well as those subject to public debate ranging from lifestyle diseases to methods of performance enhancement. Parts of the course require study of topics that overlap with other areas of knowledge, such as psychology in sport and skill acquisition. This breadth of understanding and skills goes beyond the expectations of a traditional science course and allows students to appreciate the holistic nature of authentic learning.   


The study of music encourages inquiry into creative practices and performance processes. Music study develops listening, creative and analytical skills, as well as encouraging cultural understanding and international-mindedness. In this way, music is a catalyst for expanding critical thinking—a crucial life skill. When we understand others and ourselves through music, we are empowered to make positive and effective change in the world.

In this course, students and teachers engage in a journey of imagination and discovery through partnership and collaboration. Students develop and affirm their unique musical identities while expanding and refining their musicianship.


The Diploma Programme global politics course explores fundamental political concepts such as power, equality, sustainability and peace in a range of contexts. It allows students to develop an understanding of the local, national, international and global dimensions of political activity and processes, as well as to explore political issues affecting their own lives. The course helps students to understand abstract political concepts by grounding them in real-world examples and case studies. It also invites comparison between such examples and case studies to ensure a wider and transnational perspective.

The core units of the course together make up a central unifying theme of “people, power and politics”. The emphasis on “people” reflects the fact that the course explores politics not only at a state level but also explores the function and impact of non-state actors, communities, groups and individuals. The concept of “power” is also emphasised as being particularly crucial to understanding the dynamics, tensions and outcomes of global politics. Throughout the course, issues such as conflict, migration or climate change are explored through an explicitly political lens: “politics” provide a uniquely rich context in which to explore the relationship between people and power.

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