Computer Science


Computer science previously formed a subject in group 5 of the Diploma Programme curriculum but now lies within group 4. As such, it is regarded as a science, alongside biology, chemistry, design technology, physics, environmental systems and societies and sports, exercise and health science.

 This group change is significant as it means DP students can now select computer science as their group 4 subject rather than having to select it in addition to mathematics as was previously the case. 

The IB computer science course is a rigorous and practical problem-solving discipline. Features and benefits of the curriculum and assessment of are as follows: 



Two course levels are offered; standard level (SL) and higher level (HL).

Computer science candidates are not limited by a defined study level so can opt for this course in the same way as their other subjects.

Computational thinking lies at the heart of the course and is integrated with other topics. This will be supported by practical activities including programming.

Candidates will learn programming skills as a critical element of developing higher-level skills applicable to virtually all fields of study.

Four course options are available; databases, modelling and simulation, web science, object oriented programming

These options will allow a particular subject of interest to be studied as defined by the subject teacher

Algorithmic thinking will be both externally and internally assessed at the level of pseudo-code.

This means the external assessment will focus on the student’s algorithmic thinking, not on their mastery of the syntax of a particular programming language.

Practical programming experience will be an essential element of developing higher-level thinking skills; this may be assessed as a part of the internal assessment. There is no designated language.

This allows teachers to select the programming language(s) which they feel are most appropriate for teaching the practical elements of the course

Syllabus content will be reviewed as part of the curriculum review cycle.

This will ensure course content remains current

A new component has been introduced (HL only) that is linked to the annually issued case study, to expand students’ knowledge of a new subject-related topic through investigative study.

This will allow students to investigate in greater depth current issues in computer science that are not included in the syllabus.

The internal assessment has changed from a being based on a Java-related task to a more open problem-solving exercise.

This will expand the choice of programming languages and better support the development of learners who match the IB learner profile

All computer science students will work with other students of group 4 subjects (physics, chemistry, biology, design technology, enviromental systems and societies and sports, excercise and health science).

Collaborative working will be emphasized through combined activity with like-minded students.

Unit / Block of workKey Episodes / QuestionsAdditional DetailsLength of time.Learner Attribute(s)
System Fundamentals Can you explain the planning a new computer system and system installation requirements?
Are you able to describe the role of users and methods of user engagement?
Can you explain backing up systems and software deployment?
Can you list the different components of computer systems?
Can you list the steps of designing a new system and the procedures of analysing a new system?
Can you explain the user interaction with a new system?
Planning and system installation
User focus
System backup
Software deployment
Components of a computer system
System design and analysis
Human interaction with the system
20 hoursOpen Minded Knowledgeable  Inquirer
Computer organizationCan you describe different parts of computers parts which make up the architecture of a computer?
Can you explain secondary memory and the purpose?
Can you explain the differences of Operating system and types of Application software?
Can you provide data representation using different systems?
Can you use logic gates to solve complex problems?
Computer Architecture
Secondary memory
Operating systems and application systems
Binary representation
12 hoursKnowledgeable Thinker                       Open Minded
NetworkingCan you explain network architecture and the protocol used?
Can you describe the steps required in data transmission over a network?
Can you explain how wireless networking works?
Network Architecture 
Data Transmission
Wireless Networking
9 hoursKnowledgeable  Inquirer
Computational thinking, problem-solving and programmingCan you identify the procedure appropriate to solving a problem?  
Can you explain the role of sub-procedures in solving a problem?
Can you identify When decision-making is required in a specified situation?
Can you identify the condition associated with a given decision in a specified problem?
Can you explain the relationship between the decisions and conditions of a system?
Can you identify the inputs and outputs required in a solution?
Can you explain the need for pre-conditions when executing an algorithm?
Can you identify exceptions that need to be considered in a specified problem solution?
Can you describe how concurrent processing can be used to solve a problem?
Can you evaluate the decision to use concurrent processing in solving a problem?
Can you explain why abstraction is required in the derivation of computational solutions for a specified situation?
Can you distinguish between a real-world entity and its abstraction.?
Can you outline the standard operations of collections?
Can you analyse an algorithm presented as a flow chart?
Can you construct pseudocode to represent an algorithm?
Can you deduce the efficiency of an algorithm in the context of its use?
Can you distinguish between fundamental and compound operations of a computer?
Can you explain the need for higher level languages?
Can you construct algorithms using loops, branching?
Can you construct algorithms using the access methods of a collection?
Can you construct algorithms using pre-defined sub-programmes, one-dimensional arrays and/or collections?
Thinking procedurally
Thinking logically
Thinking ahead
Thinking concurrently
Thinking abstractly
Standard algorithms and problem solving
Nature of programming languages
Use of programming languages
45 hoursThinker                    Open Minded Knowledgeable 


Unit / Block of workKey Episodes / QuestionsAdditional detailsLength of time.Learner Attribute(s)

What is ITGS? Can you identify the ITGS triangle? Can you explain social and ethical significance? Can you analyze ITGS situations? What the one laptop per project?                                                                                

 explaining the social issues, impacts, and ethical issues that they will encounter throughout the ITGS course23 hoursThinker

Can you identify the different types of Computer? What are input devices? Can you identify output devices? How can computer access be given to disable people? Can you explain what a processor technology is? What is a storage device?

Clear explanations, examples, and illustrations help students without previous experience of technology, while maintaining the level of detailed required for the ITGS assessments22 hoursKnowledgeable            Open Minded
Software What is an operating system? When is the term platform used? Can you name some common operating systems? How do we select and install an operating system? Can you explain what the difference between utility software and application software? What is cloud computing?Students will learn the common types of software licence and be introduced to concepts such as cloud computing.12 hours Communication 
Networks Can you describe the roles performed by computers on a network? Can you distinguish PAN , LAN , MAN and WAN networks? Can you explain the types of network which exist? How do computers connect to a network? How do computers communicate on a network? Can you explain how network performance can be monitored? What are the impacts of network failure? examining LANs, MANs, and WANs, and different network architectures. Technical aspects such as MAC and IP addresses, protocols, domain names, and DNS are also covered in detail with clear diagrams and explanations.12 hours Risk Taker
Security Describe common security problems and their impacts ?     Can you explain good security practices ? What are the solutions to common security problems? Can you select the appropriate security software based on the risks a user faces? Can you explain how biometric technology works? Can you explain how encryption technology works? What are the ethical issues related to encryption and biometrics.   security threats faced by users and businesses, including phishing, hacking, and malware. Solutions, preventative measures, and related issues such as biometrics and encryption6 hoursInquirer
Multimedia Can you describe the techniques used to digitally manipulate images ? What are the social issues end ethical impacts of of digital manipulations? Explain how digital manipulations can be detected? Explain how computers store images? Describe the factors that effect image quality and file size? Explain the need for data compression? Can you identify the difference between lossless and lossy compression? Can you identify the common file formats used for multimedia? What are bitmap and vector graphics. Can you use software to create appropriately designed multimedia products.   
Database Can you identify the difference between flat file and relational database? What are the applications of a database? What is data normalisation? Can you explain the rules governing data useflat file databases to multiple table relational databases30 Hours  
Unit / Block of workKey Episodes / QuestionsAdditional detailsLength of time.Learner Attribute(s)
Abstract Data Structures Can you trace a recursive algorithm to express a solution to a problem?
Can you identify recursive thinking in a specified problem solution?
Can you construct algorithms using two-dimensional arrays?
Can you construct algorithms using the access methods of a stack?
Can you construct algorithms using the access methods of a queue?
Can you sketch linked lists (single, double and circular)?
Can you describe how trees operate logically (both binary and non-binary)?
Can you compare the use of static and dynamic data structures?
Thinking recursively
Abstract data structures
Linked lists
23 hoursThinker
Resource management Can you identify the resources that need to be managed within a computer system?
Can you describe the possible problems resulting from the limitations in the resources in a computer system? 
Can you evaluate the resources available in a variety of computer systems?
Can you outline OS resource management techniques: scheduling, policies, multitasking, virtual memory, paging, interrupt, polling?
System resources
Role of the operating system
8 hoursKnowledgable            Open Minded
Control Can you discuss a range of control systems?
Can you outline the uses of microprocessors and sensor input in control systems?
Can you explain the relationship between a sensor, the processor, and an output transducer?
Can you compare a centrally controlled system with a distributed system?
Centralized control systems
Distributed systems
14 hoursKnowledgable


Unit / Block of workKey Episodes / QuestionsAdditional detailsLength of time.Learner Attribute(s)
Computer Models and simulationsCan you distinguish the difference between computer models and computer simulations.? What are the applications of models and simulations? How is a computer model created? Can you create a spreadsheet?Trace a recursive algorithm to express a solution to a problem. Identify recursive thinking in a specified problem solution. Construct algorithms using two-dimensional arrays. Construct algorithms using the access methods of a stack. 23 hoursThinker
Business & Employment Can you explain the technologies used for employee monitoring? What is teleworking? What are the policies needed to regulate IT in workplace Can you explain the correct web design and e-commerce techniques? What is E-marketing?Traditional Businesses, Online Businesses, and Transportation Businesses. Included is a comprehensive web design section, allowing students to understand the importance of a web presence to modern businesses8 hoursKnowledgeable            Open Minded
Education Can you describe the technologies used for teaching and learning. Can you explain how IT can assist users with special needs? Can you explain how IT is used in school administration? What type of resources are available online? Do you know the benefits of information technologies in the classroom?from the relatively common, such as web based resources, to the more unusual, such as web based examinations and the use of computers games in teaching, is covered in this chapter8 hours Risk Taker 
Environment What is the difference between analog data and digital data? What are the applications of digital imaging and mapping work?  Do you how toxins are found in electronic equipment? Can you explain how to safely dispose IT equipment? What are the environmental impacts of IT.Power consumption , Resource depletion , Reducing E-waste, Computer donation schemes.   
Health Can you evaluate the way IT can be used in patient Diagnosis? Do you know the way IT can be used in surgery? Do you know how IT can be used in patient treatment? What is the consequence of technology addiction? What medical advice is available online? Do you know how to prevent overuse injuries?Diagnostic and therapeutic tools , Remote patient monitoring , electronic medical records and E-prescriptions.   
Home & Leisure Do you what technologies are used in copyright infringement? What are the solutions to copyright infringement? What are the impacts of computer gaming? Do you know how news and media is broadcasted using media? What are the effects of citizen journalism and social media? Do you know how IT is used in digital preservation and restoration?his includes the use of information technology for entertainment and leisure purposes, and examines how technology affects our daily quality of life, from the increased use of domestic robots to technology-integrated “smart homes”.4 hours Communicator 
Politics & Government Can you explain how internet content can be filtered? What is the ethical and social impacts of internet filtering? Do you know the technology used for electronic and online voting? What are the social issues related to electronic and online voting? Can you explain how the government can use the internet to provide services?political campaigning and online government services, to potential electronic voting fraud and censorship of the Internet, the social impacts and ethical issues of IT in this area create great debate8 hours Balanced