The International Baccalaureate (IB) Programme

As an IB parent and the Assistant Dean of Admission at Stanford University, Debra Von Bargen has firsthand experience working with many IB graduates. Watch this short video below to see how in her experience IB students show very high success rates during the first year of university. This is just one of the many reasons that at Seoul Foreign School we are committed to the IB Programmes as an excellent preparation for our students.

2015 Parent Information Evening Video - The strengths of the IB Diploma Programme and what it looks like at Seoul Foreign School.

IB Coordinator: Jeff Holcomb

The International Baccalaureate Program which started in Geneva in 1968 has over the last 44 years developed to become a premier worldwide program that is offered in over 3000 schools around the world.

The International Baccalaureate Organization’s (IBO) mission statement highlights what the Program is attempting to achieve and it is clear to see how well it interconnects with the Seoul Foreign School Mission statement. To achieve the IBO Mission Statement an IB Learner Profile was created by the IBO. This Learner Profile provides a long-term vision of education. It is a set of ideals that can inspire, motivate and focus the work of schools and teachers, uniting them in a common purpose.

Seoul Foreign School has had a long standing relationship with the IBO and in 1980 was one of the first 200 schools worldwide to be authorized to offer the IB Program. The High School offers the Diploma Program in years 11 and 12. The two year Diploma program is challenging, rigorous and rewarding. The IB Diploma Program continues to grow and is currently the program of first choice amongst the student and parent body with between 70% and 80% of our graduating classes undertaking the challenge of the full IB Diploma Program.

The IB Diploma requires students to complete the three elements of the "Core” and 6 subjects from the IB Diagram. The "Core” is comprised of a class called Theory of Knowledge, an Extended Essay and a two year commitment to Community, Action and Service:

The Theory of Knowledge (TOK) course encourages students to think about the nature of knowledge, to reflect on the process of learning in all the subjects they study as part of their Diploma Programme course, and to make connections across the academic areas.
The Extended Essay, a substantial piece of writing of up to 4,000 words, enables students to investigate a topic of special interest that they have chosen themselves. It also encourages them to develop the skills of independent research that will be expected at university.
Creativity, Action, Service (CAS) involves students in experiential learning through a range of artistic, sporting, physical and service activities.

Seoul Foreign School's IB Subject Offerings

To fulfill the requirements for an IB Diploma the student must study seven subjects (including TOK) during the 11th and 12th grades. Students can select one subject being offered from each of the following areas:

Group 1 - Language

The Group 1 Language programme offers students the opportunity to study language and/or literature in the first language of the student or the language in which the student is most competent. This will normally be the language of the environment to which the student has been exposed from an early age or for an extended period.

  • English – Language and Literature SL/HL
  • English – Literature SL/HL
  • Korean – Language and Literature SL/HL

Students whose first language is one not offered by SFS will be provided the opportunity to fulfill this course requirement by studying Literature SL as a self-taught school-supported language. For more details contact Justyna McMillan.

Group 2 - Foreign Language

Language Bis a foreign language learning course designed for students with some previous experience of the language. It may be studied at either higher level or standard level. The main focus of the course is on language acquisition and development in the four primary language skills: listening, speaking, reading and writing.
  • Spanish B SL/HL
  • French B SL/HL
  • Korean B SL/HL

Language Ab Initio provides an opportunity for students to further their linguistic skills by taking up a second foreign language, or for students to learn a foreign language for the first time. Students at SFS will normally begin their Ab Initio language programme in Grade 10 and take three years to complete.

  • Mandarin Ab Initio SL
  • Spanish Ab Initio SL

Group 3 - Individuals & Societies

These courses comprise the study of the nature of a human as an individual and as a member of a social group. In a larger sense, the character of human culture itself is investigated to develop the student's understanding of society both from the microcosmic and macrocosmic viewpoints.

  • Psychology HL
  • Business and Management SL
  • Environmental Systems and Societies SL
  • History SL/ HL
  • Economics HL

Group 4 - Experimental Sciences

Through studying any of the group 4 subjects, students should become aware of how scientists work and communicate with each other. While the “scientific method” may take on a wide variety of forms, it is the emphasis on a practical approach through experimental work that distinguishes the group 4 subjects from other disciplines and characterizes each of the subjects within group 4.

  • Biology SL/HL
  • Environmental Systems and Societies SL
  • Chemistry SL/HL
  • Physics HL
  • Sports Exercise and Health Science SL

Group 5 - Mathematics

These courses aim to develop both an understanding of mathematics as a discipline and as an attitude that encourages practical use of math in higher education or in a career. Content includes algebra, geometry, trigonometry, and calculus and is designed to prepare students for university studies.

  • Mathematics SL/HL
  • Math Studies SL

Group 6 - The Arts

These courses are taken from the world of fine arts. They require students to perform, compose and create works in theatre, music and art. The aim is for students to experience and develop an appreciation and proficiency in these areas. A second subject from group 1-5 can be chosen instead of a group 6 subject.

  • Music SL/HL
  • Visual Art SL/HL
  • Theatre Art SL/HL

IB Courses (single or multiple subjects)

Students may choose to enroll in specific IB courses, but not complete the requirements for the full diploma. The students do not take the core requirements of the IB diploma programme. Students completing all of the internal and external requirements for the IB courses are eligible to receive IB certificates for each course. Providing minimum scores are achieved, certificates for IB Higher Level courses often result in college credit.

IB Assessment

IB implements an assessment model that combines internal assessment tasks that are graded by SFS teachers and moderated by the IB with exams that are graded by external IB examiners. Students electing to take IB subjects for the IB Diploma or individual courses are expected to complete ALL the required internal assessment tasks, and to sit the specified number of external examinations in May of the second year of the program. Students electing to take the subject for SFS credit only will complete ALL the internal assessment tasks, but will NOT be required to sit the external IB examinations. In lieu of this, they will sit an end of semester final examination or assessment task devised by their class teacher in Year 2 of the course. This will go toward their final SFS result.

Seoul Foreign School firmly believes that the IB Program is an excellent preparation for students planning to attend tertiary education and has a major impact on student’s life beyond tertiary study.

The IB Program is recognized the world over. Students graduating High School with an IB diploma are highly sought after by universities and colleges all over the world. IB recognition by universities continues to grow as tertiary institutions continue to value the hard working, internationally minded, adventurous, and free thinking students the IB Program creates.

SFS is proud to partner with the IBO. We are dedicated to offering: "A WORLD CLASS EDUCATION IN A WORLD CLASS SCHOOL”

For more information on the IB Program visit

For specific information on the IB program at Seoul Foreign School please contact Jeff Holcomb - the High School IB Coordinator.

Information used in this webpage was taken from the official International Baccalaureate Website (

39 Yeonhui-ro 22-gil, Seodaemun-Gu
Seoul, Republic of Korea 03723

campus map YouTube facebook google plus

Welcome to Seoul Foreign School, a K-12 IB World School, founded in 1912. We are widely regarded as the leading international school in Seoul. We are a non-profit school where 100% of your tuition directly impacts student learning. Of the international schools in Seoul, we offer an unrivaled 100-year+ legacy of educational excellence, international diversity and commitment to educating the leaders of the future.

About SFS

Welcome to Seoul Foreign School, a Pre K-12 IB World School, founded in 1912. We are widely regarded as the leading international school in Seoul. We offer an unrivalled 100-year+ legacy of educational excellence, international diversity and commitment to educating the leaders of the future. We are a non-profit school where 100% of your tuition directly impacts student learning. 


We welcome the opportunity to meet you and show you a firsthand look at our campus. Contact us by email or by telephone to make an appointment. We understand a visit is not always possible. The entire admissions team is ready to help you in any way we can. 


The Elementary and Middle Schools follow a US-style curriculum. The British division follows the National Curriculum of England. In the High School Gr. 9-10 students may choose to take the IGCSE Program and for Gr. 11-12 we offer the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Program. Namsan Int'l Kindergarten is a PYP candidate school.


SFS athletes develop character, responsibility, dedication, commitment, teamwork, leadership, and experience applicable in all areas of life.  While our teams enjoy winning results in competitive conferences, we measure success well beyond the win-loss column.

Fine Arts

Seoul Foreign School enjoys a long history of rich curricular and co-curricular performing and visual arts programs.  Over 90% of our students are involved in the arts each year and are showcased in our visual arts displays and over 40 annual public performances put on by our music and drama departments.  

Student Life

At SFS we care about the development of each individual student academically, emotionally, physically and spiritually. There are many choices for participation at SFS. We encourage students to not try to do them all, but to choose wisely. 


With a history of over one hundred years, SFS has provided education for extraordinary Alumni. Today, more Alumni are becoming a part of our parent community. Having ‘Legacy’ students at SFS is a compelling testament to our tradition of excellence.


The Annual Fund provides additional resources to help continue the tradition of excellence at SFS. Your support provides many needs throughout the school, further enhancing our academic and extracurricular programs – setting us apart from other international schools in the world.

powered by finalsite