The International Baccalaureate

• an international qualification

• in-depth preparation for university

 • limited places still available for September 2019

• make friends from around the world

Key Facts: The IB Diploma


Age at entry: 16-18
Start date: 29 August 2019
Length: 2 Years 
Class size: Average 9 (Maximum 15) 
Lessons: Six subjects (three standard level & three higher level) plus core elements
Tuition Fees: From £19,878
Term dates: Dates and Fees

The IB Diploma at St Clare’s

St Clare’s is a co-educational sixth form college for day students and boarders in a beautiful area of north Oxford.

The quality of the students’ academic achievement is excellent’ –

ISI report 2019

Why choose St Clare’s? We put our success down to a combination of factors:

The atmosphere here is informal and friendly, with an equal emphasis on hard work and encouraging personal responsibility.

  • we have been offering the International Baccalaureate Diploma for over 40 years, longer than any other school or college in England
  • there are only 13 other institutions in the world that have taught the IB for longer than us
  • we offer an especially wide range of subjects at higher and standard level
  • unlike other schools in the UK we teach literature in over 25 different languages
  • our students regularly win places at Oxford, Cambridge, London School of Economics, Imperial and other leading UK universities, as well as Harvard, Yale and Stanford in the USA
  • currently we have students from over 40 countries living and studying here
  • we do accept day students provided that their family home is within reasonable travelling distance to St Clare’s
  • students who are serious about their work value the supportive environment and excellent teaching
  • all students are cared for by our residential staff and personal tutors
  • our regulations and boarding practice may not be as strict as those found in many other boarding schools. However, our rules are designed to foster the development of the student’s independence and responsibility in an atmosphere of mutual respect and trust
  • students are encouraged to take full advantage of the opportunities that Oxford provides

The college has a worldwide reputation for its expertise in providing the IB Diploma and embraces internationalism and academic excellence as its core values.

As more parents and students are choosing the IB instead of A Levels, it is clear that we can offer a better standard of education for those who want something different.

These links explain in more detail about the IB and why this is the better course to choose for your preparation for university:

Truly international, vibrant, fun, gets the right results, couldn’t do better … if you want to go the IB road – Good Schools Guide

Sara – Albanian

Medicine at University College London

As an international student applying to study medicine, my two years at St Clare’s were basically a balancing act on a very fine line between complete failure and success.  Luckily, along the way I had the support of amazing teachers and friends through every step.  St Clare’s has made me a stronger person and I can now face the challenges of my future with confidence.

Choosing subjects

Choosing subjects

How do I choose the subjects I want to study?
A number of factors need to be considered before making subject choices. What do I want to study at university? What subjects do I enjoy? What subjects am I good at?

The IB Diploma allows students to choose subjects from six subject groupings. This means that every student chooses one subject from each of the following groups. Three subjects are studied at Higher (H) Level and three at Standard (S) Level for two years.

  • The three Higher Level courses should be subjects you enjoy and which support your career aspirations. These are the subjects you will study in depth.
  • The three Standard Level courses will provide you with an interesting, balanced programme.

We offer an exceptionally wide choice of IB subjects. You will choose one subject each from groups 1 to 5 and then a sixth subject from either group 6 or another from groups 1 to 4.

Download the IB Diploma Guide – for more detailed information about the subjects

Group 1
Studies in Language and Literature
First language or native language

This is your first or best language. The following Literature courses are offered:

  • H and S: English, German, Italian.
  • S only: Albanian, Arabic, Bulgarian, Czech, Dutch, French, Greek, Icelandic, Japanese, Korean, Lithuanian, Mandarin, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Serbian, Slovak, Slovene, Spanish, Swedish, Turkish, and other languages on request. Language and Literature is available only in English.

In the past, we have offered the above Standard Level subjects, however, whilst we will make every effort to offer any language within Group 1, there may be exceptional circumstances when we cannot provide a given language due to staffing reasons. In such cases, we will discuss alternatives with the applicant.

Group 2
Language Acquisition
Second language

This is the language you are learning. Most students choose English as this helps with the study of other subjects. Some of our students are bilingual or trilingual and study another second language.

  • H and S: English, French, Spanish, Chinese B and German. Previous study of at least three years is necessary.
  • S only: Chinese for beginners and Spanish for beginners.
Group 3
Individuals and Societies

Individual and Societies currently includes:

  • H or S: History, Geography, Psychology, Economics.
  • H only: Business and Management.
  • S only: Global Politics.
Group 3 or 4 — Interdisciplinary
There is only one course in this group — Environmental Systems and Societies. When making a subject choice, Environmental Systems and Societies can be included in either Group 3 or Group 4.
Group 4
  • H or S: Biology, Chemistry, Physics
Group 5

Mathematics: Analysis and approaches is intended for students who wish to pursue studies in mathematics at university or subjects that have a large mathematical content; it is for students who enjoy developing mathematical arguments, problem solving and exploring real and abstract applications, with and without technology. Mathematics: Analysis and approaches will be a development from the current Mathematics HL and SL subjects. At HL, the course is intended for students who wish to study Mathematics at university, or subjects with a substantial mathematics content such as engineering or physics.

Mathematics: Applications and interpretation is being designed for students who enjoy describing the real world and solving practical problems using mathematics; those who are interested in harnessing the power of technology alongside exploring mathematical models and enjoy the more practical side of mathematics. Mathematics: Applications and interpretation SL will be developed from Mathematical studies SL. The HL course will include new content and elements of the current HL statistics and discrete content At HL, the course is intended for students who wish to study social sciences, psychology, economics, business management, medicine or design at university.

Group 6
Arts and Electives

You can choose to study Music, Theatre or the Visual Arts from this group OR you can choose one of the following:

  • another language
  • another subject from Individuals and Societies
  • another science
The Core Elements

The Core Elements

The IB Diploma contains three core elements that help provide additional academic specialisation and a recognition of interests outside the classroom. These are the Theory of Knowledge course, the Extended Essay and CAS (Creativity, Activity and Service) .

What is Theory of Knowledge?
This a practical philosophy-based course, and is a compulsory element of the IB. This course helps train young minds to question and think in an analytical way, skills essential for success at university.

What is the Extended Essay?
This is an original piece of research relating to one of the subjects being studied, e.g. an Economics student might look at the performance of a company or business. The research is written up into a 4000 word paper. Again this is a skill which is extremely useful in preparing students for the academic challenge of university-level work.

Creativity, Activity, and Service (CAS) is an extracurricular programme and each student is required to be involved in CAS experiences on a regular basis over the two years of the Diploma.

Other useful information

Other useful information

You might like to look at the following detailed information to help you further in making your choice

How to apply

Entry is based on previous academic results and interview. We have a competitive scholarship and bursary programme awarded by examination, interview and group exercises.

We will be happy to send you our IB Diploma Guide, full details on how to apply and an online Application Form. We encourage prospective students to contact us with any questions they may have. You can register your interest in hearing more about the course and the college using this online form.

1. School reports and application form

To begin the application process, please send us the applicant’s school reports from the previous two years by email. We will then send you a link to our online application form, which includes a link to pay the £100 Registration Fee.

2. Visit to the College and interview

When we have received all of the above, we will assess the applicant’s school reports. If these are satisfactory, we will invite the applicant and their parents to visit St Clare’s for a tour and an interview.

For IB Diploma and Pre-IB applicants this will include a Mathematics Placement Test (50 minutes) and an English test (40 minutes). The English test is a comprehension paper that involves analysing text and therefore it will also be taken by applicants who are native English speakers. This is not an entrance examination.

3. Offer of a place

We are normally able to tell the applicant and their parents our final decision on their application at the end of the visit. If the interview is satisfactory we will offer the applicant a place at St Clare’s and this will be confirmed by email in an official offer letter that includes an Acceptance Form.

4. Acceptance of the offer

Parents wishing to accept the offer must complete the Acceptance Form within the deadline given in the offer letter and return by email. When parents accept the offer of a place at St Clare’s they will need to pay an Enrolment Deposit of £2,500.

5. Joining information

Instructions on how to access the joining information are included in the offer letter.

If you have any questions or if you require any further information about the application procedure please contact Chris Osbourn, Admissions Registrar —


Academic Year 2019 – 2020

IB Course info and fees 

Our other courses

We would be happy to show you around the college

You will be able to talk to staff and students and find out more about living and studying here

“The Insider” podcast

The first episode of “The Insider” has just been published. “The Insider” is a new podcast created by our International Baccalaureate students. The podcast series seeks to find out more about teachers and gain unique insights on things they have learned on their...

A student view: Our CAS experience in Lisbon

On 21 March 2019 we were lucky enough to go on a study visit to sunny Lisbon as part of our Creativity, Activity, Service (CAS) experience. We decided to film our adventures in Lisbon, to tell the story from our perspective. Firstly, a bit of background....

Are you trying to decide between A-levels or IB?

  St Clare's was founded in 1953 as a college which specialised in A-level. As St Clare's focused on advancing international education, in 1977 St Clare’s decided to stop teaching A Levels in favour of the then little known International Baccalaureate Diploma. We...

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St Clare's, Oxford