Academics
International Baccalaureate

Diploma Programme

The Notre Dame Academy International Baccalaureate experience goes beyond the traditional lecture based education. Students are encouraged to become active in the learning process through consistent inquiry, action, and reflection. As a Marist Catholic and International Baccalaureate school, we aim to synthesize our Marist rooted mission with the IBO’s mission to create knowledgeable, compassionate, globally minded learners.  We achieve this by directly teaching students the skills they need to be agents of their learning. Learning experiences are designed to reflect student choice, voice, and ownership.

The Diploma Programme is frequently referred to by its acronym, the DP. NDA students in the 11th and 12th grade have the option of taking one to six DP classes and work with the college and career counselor to find the best set of classes for their skills, knowledge, and ambitions. Each course also offers the possibility of college credit, dependent on performance in the class and exams and individual university policies. DP classes typically span two years but some may be completed in one year with additional meeting times built into the schedule. All DP classes culminate in exams and/or external assessments marked by IB examiners in addition to coursework completed during the course that is marked by NDA instructors and moderated by IB examiners. 

In addition to receiving the college preparatory Notre Dame Academy diploma by completing all required NDA coursework, students who take six DP classes and complete the DP Core requirements of Creativity-Activity-Service (CAS), Theory of Knowledge (TOK), and the Extended Essay are considered full DP students and work towards receiving the IB Diploma, an international credential that can provide admission to universities around the world.

In the DP, students engage in a rigorous, globally-recognized curriculum in which students interact with content to develop products that show evidence of personal engagement with learning. Each class requires students to produce an Internal Assessment (IA), detailed written product that students compose with guidance from their instructor. In History, the IA is a detailed Historical Investigation of a specific topic of the student’s choice, with example titles being “How significant was WWII in women’s involvement in the United States’ labor force?” and “To what extent was the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in December 1979 strategically motivated?” In Sciences, the IA is the Individual Investigation, a written report of a research question designed and implemented by the student or a lab designed and conducted by the student, with example titles being “Determining the charge of an electron using a computer simulation” (Physics) or “To what extent does Georgia’s (USA) growing population in the Counties of Cook and Forsyth impact carbon emissions?” (Environmental Systems and Societies). In every subject, students are asked to synthesize knowledge into a polished product to best show their understanding and application of key concepts and knowledge.

The DP emphasizes teachers’ usage of innovative Approaches to Teaching to facilitate not only student’s content knowledge but also the high-level cultivation of their Approaches to Learning (Communication, Research, Self-management, Social, and Thinking) skills. As in all IB programmes, learning experiences are carefully crafted to support student academic, personal, and social learning and teachers are asked to reflect on their classes prior to, during, and after teaching a unit to ensure quality instruction and model the growth mindset central to success as an IB learner.

List of 3 items.

  • Information from the IB

    The IBO provides valuable information in reader friendly ways. In this section you will find materials such as FAQs on the Diploma Programme. 
  • The Extended Essay

    The extended essay is a 4,000-word essay composed over 11th and 12th grade by full DP students. It is centered around a subject-specific, student-developed research question and supervised by a faculty member in that subject-area. The essay requires students to exhibit high-level communication, research, self-management, and thinking skills while also interacting with their supervisor to gain the guidance they need and formally reflecting on their progress at three prescribed points in the process. The personal project is a culminating project for all 10th grade students. The extended essay is excellent preparation for college and shows universities (and the students themselves) that they are up to the task of college-level work.

    Example titles, research questions, and subjects from past NDA students include:

    The Implementation of Polygamy in Early Mormon History
    Research question: To what extent did the practice of plural marriage in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints mark a radical break with traditional Christian groups? (World Religions)

    The use of historical allusions in the exploration of identity in the poetry of Sylvia Plathand Wislawa Szymborska
    Research question: How does the use of historical allusions lend itself to the exploration of identity in the face of subjugation in the poetry of Sylvia Plath and Wislawa Szymborska? (English Language & Literature)

    An exploration of Jallianwala Bagh/Amritsar Massacre as a turning point forIndia’s Independence from the British Raj
    Research question: To what extent did the Jallianwala Bagh/Amritsar massacre become a turning point for India’s independence from the British Raj? (History)
    Sample Extended Essay progression & deadlines

    Sample Extended Essay progression & deadlines
  • Assessment in the DP

    A breakdown of the school’s assessment policy for all classes can be found here. This policy directly outlines the NDA transcript grades all Notre Dame Academy students receive.

    In the DP, students complete formative and summative assessments as outlined in the policy linked above, but some summative assessments may also be Internal Assessments (IA) completed as part of their DP coursework that are then moderated by IB examiners. In each DP class, students complete at least one IA during the two years of the course. 

    Students also complete External Assessments, typically, though not always, at the end of the course as exams taken in April and May. These Internal and External Assessments together make up the student's overall DP grade, as awarded by the IB at the end of each course on a 1-7 scale. Students may be eligible for college credit dependent on their performance and the policies of the university to which they are applying. Policies are typically available by contacting each university’s registrar.

    Full DP students receive an overall Diploma score that combines their performance on their 6 IB classes in addition to their Core components to yield a score out of a maximum of 45 points, with 24 as a passing score that will lead to the student receiving the IB Diploma.

    A sample Notre Dame Academy Assessment Calendar of IB assessments can be found here.
The Diploma Programme: preparing students for success in higher education and to be active participants in a global society.
Language Acquisition
French B Standard Level (SL)/Higher Level (HL)
Spanish B Standard Level (SL)/Higher Level (HL)

Language and Literature
English Literature Higher Level (HL)

Individuals and Societies
History of the Americas Higher Level (HL)
World Religions Standard Level (SL)

Sciences
Physics Standard Level (SL)/Higher Level (HL)
Environmental Systems & Societies (SL)*

Mathematics
​​Mathematics Analysis & Approaches Standard Level (SL)/Higher Level (HL)

Arts
Visual Arts Standard Level (SL)/Higher Level (HL)
Music SL/HL

Extended Essay: students engage in an independent research project through the study of a self-developed question relating to one of the subjects within their schedules. To learn more about the Extended Essay, please click here.

Theory of Knowledge: encourages students to become more aware of their own perspective through exploration and inquiry into the nature of knowing and knowledge of human construction. To learn more about the Theory of Knowledge, please click here.

Creativity, Activity, Service (CAS): encourages students to develop and engage in the arts and their creative thinking skills through physical activity and service within the community. Through experiential learning and self-discovery, CAS enhances students’ personal and interpersonal development. To learn more about the Creativity, Activity, Service, please click here.

*An interdisciplinary course that can count as either an individuals and societies or a science course, or both.

College Acceptances

University of Alabama, University of Alabama/Birmingham, Albany State University, American University, Appalachian State University, Auburn University, Augusta University, University of Barcelona, Baylor University, Belmont Abbey, Belmont University, Berry College, Boston University, University of California at Los Angeles, Case Western Reserve University, Catholic University of America, University of Central Florida, University of Cincinnati, Clayton State University, Clemson University, Columbia University (NY), Columbus State University, Coastal Carolina University, College of Charleston, Davidson College, DePaul University, Drexel University, Duke University, Emerson College, Emory University, Flagler College, University of Florida, Florida Southern, Florida State University, Fordham University, Furman University, Georgetown University, Georgia Gwinnett College, Georgia Institute of Technology, Georgia Southern University, Georgia State University, University of Georgia, George Washington University, University of Illinois /Urbana-Champaign, Jefferson University, Johns Hopkins University, Kennesaw State University, Kentucky Christian College, University of Kentucky, Loyola University Chicago, Loyola University Maryland, Marquette University, Massachusetts College of Art and Design, Mercer University, Miami University of Ohio, Michigan State University, Middle Georgia State University, Mississippi State University, University of Mississippi, University of Missouri, Montana State University/Bozeman, New York University, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, University of North Georgia, University of Notre Dame, Oglethorpe University, University of Oregon, Otterbein College, Oxford College at Emory University, Pace University-New York City, University of Pittsburgh, Presbyterian College, Purdue University, Rhodes College, Rollins College, University of Rochester, St. Leo University, Sacred Heart University, Samford University, Savannah College of Art and Design, Savannah State University, Sewanee: University of the South, University of South Carolina, Stetson University, Syracuse University, University of Tampa, Technical University of Denmark, University of Tennessee, Texas A&M University, Texas Christian University, Texas State University, Valdosta State University, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, University of Virginia, Wake Forest University, University of West Georgia, West Point/United States Military Academy, William and Mary, Wofford College, Xavier University, Young Harris College