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Environmental systems and societies

Through studying environmental systems and societies (ES&S) students will be provided with a coherent perspective of the interrelationships between environmental systems and societies; one that enables them to adopt an informed personal response to the wide range of pressing environmental issues that they will inevitably come to face.  The teaching approach is such that students are allowed to evaluate the scientific, ethical and socio-political aspects of issues.

ES&S is one of two interdisciplinary courses offered in the Diploma Programme, Literature and Performance is the other interdisciplinary course. Because it is an interdisciplinary course, students can study this course and have it count as either a group 3 course or a group 4 course or as both a group 3 and group 4 course. This leaves students the opportunity to study (an) additional subject(s) from any group of the hexagon including (an) additional subject(s) from groups 3 or 4.

Students will be able to study this course successfully with no specific previous knowledge of science or geography. However, as the course aims to foster an international perspective, awareness of local and global environmental concerns and an understanding of the scientific methods, a course that shares these aims would be good preparation.

During the course, students will study seven different topics. The most important aspect of the ES&S course is hands-on work in the laboratory and/or out in the field.

As with all Diploma Programme courses, the current ES&S course is under review and teaching of this new course will begin in September 2015.

Key features of the curriculum and assessment models

  • Available only at standard level (SL)
  • The minimum prescribed number of hours is 150
  • A hands-on approach to the course delivery is emphasised.
  • Students are assessed both externally and internally
  • External assessment consists of two written papers and provides opportunities for students to demonstrate an understanding through the application, use, synthesis, analysis and evaluation of environmental issues, information, concepts, methods, techniques and explanations.
  • Internal assessment accounts for 20% of the final assessment and is comprised of a series of practical and fieldwork activities. This assessment component enables students to demonstrate the application of their skills and knowledge, and to pursue their personal interests, without the time limitations and other constraints that are associated with written examinations.

Find out more

Read about similar studies in the Middle Years Programme and Primary Years Programme.