International Baccalaureate (IB)

If you're looking for a rigorous, college-level course of study, community camaraderie and potential college credit, you'll find it all in the full IB Diploma Programme at Minnetonka High School. IB is ideally suited for motivated students like you who enjoy delving deeper into concepts and considering their global implications. IB students share a well-rounded academic experience that emphasizes critical thinking, intercultural understanding and exposure to diverse viewpoints. The strengths of the program are its academic rigor and comprehensive curriculum enhanced by an inquiry into the theory of knowledge, research, creativity, action, service and a capstone extended essay.

A full description of each IB course is available in the Skipper Log Course Catalog.


International BaccalaureateIB at MHS

The IB Diploma Programme at Minnetonka can be described as a smaller learning community of academically motivated students (check out their newsletter, at right). It is an all-inclusive, two-year curriculum that provides a deep, thought-provoking course of study in six areas through junior and senior year. You'll enroll in a core group of IB classes with other IB Diploma Candidates; however, you will still interact with other students enrolled in individual IB classes, fine arts, and after-school activities throughout all four years of high school.

How to learn more and register

Registration for 2017-18 courses is from February 21 to March 6. Interested sophomores need to apply for the IB Diploma Programme and meet with Ms. Laura Herbst before they register for junior year classes. Ms. Herbst will discuss your interests (including the IB Bilingual Diploma) and help you complete a course choice worksheet for junior and senior years.

Resources from MHS

NEW EDITION! Student Newsletter by MHS Diploma Candidates

Check out these fun, colorful, newsletters developed by MHS IB Diploma Candidates:

2017 Student Newsletter

2016 Student Newsletter

Presentation: 10 Things to Know About IB

View the 10 Things to Know About IB PowerPoint presentation delivered during the student/parent information meetings at Minnetonka High School.

IB Assessments

Learn how IB assessments (papers, written coursework, oral presentations, etc.) are weighted by IB group and individual course.

IB Diploma Program How-To

Here is a quick reference guide showing the central components of the IB Diploma Programme.

IB Course Choice Worksheets | Including Bilingual Diploma

IB course choice worksheets will help you select classes for your junior and senior years.

Interested sophomores should apply for the IB Diploma Programme and then consult with Laura Herbst, MHS Advanced Learning Coordinator, to complete a two-year IB Diploma plan.

IB Courses and Teachers

Wondering who's teaching an IB course? Review the IB courses and teachers list and reach out if you have questions about a specific class.

Points Needed to Earn the IB Diploma

To successfully earn the diploma, you must meet the IB point requirements and other conditions.

IB Math Pathways

10th grade Higher Algebra is the only math prerequisite to begin the IB Diploma Programme. However, Minnetonka High School offers multiple levels of rigor and IB mathematics pathways depending on a student’s level and interest.

Note about IB Math HL: At the conclusion of year one of this course, many students take the AP exams in Calculus AB and Statistics. At the conclusion of year two of this course, many students take the AP exam in Calculus BC.

IB Myths Debunked

What have you heard about IB? Wondering if it's true? IB Myths-Debunked gives you the real scoop on the Diploma Programme.

AP and IB College Credit Links

Learn more about a college or university's policies on admissions, IB college credit, course placement and/or advanced standing:

Picture Yourself in the IB Diploma Programme at Minnetonka High School

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the International Baccalaureate program?

The International Baccalaureate (IB) program began in Europe in 1968 to meet the academic needs of children in international communities. It blends the best educational practices of all countries while emphasizing rigorous study in all academic areas. A worldwide assessment system ranks students on an international basis for responsible citizenship, critical and compassionate thinking, lifelong learning, international outlook, and respect for other perspectives. For more than 30 years, the IB Organization has shown that its students are well prepared for university work. IB diploma graduates are among the top-tier college recruits in the U.S. and the world.

What is the IB Diploma Programme?

The last two years of high school comprise the IB Diploma Programme. Students in this program take courses from six core subjects—English, world language, social studies, science, math, and the arts. In lieu of the arts course, students may take an additional course in world language, social studies, science, or mathematics. Students are also required to take the Theory of Knowledge course, participate in creativity, activity, and service projects, and write an essay of up to 4000 words in one of their IB subjects.

What makes the program international?

IB programs exist in more than 4,500 schools in 146 countries. As an IB Diploma Candidate, you'll come to see yourself as part of a larger community when you engage in coursework that other students are also completing across the globe. Colleges and universities worldwide recognize the IB Diploma Programme, teachers are trained around the world in standardized practices, an international outlook is emphasized in all classes, and IB students around the world take identical exams on the same days in various subjects. These exams are sent to other parts of the world for grading so that students’ grades are standardized internationally.

Is IB helpful for gaining college admission and/or credit?

Colleges and universities around the world recognize the International Baccalaureate program and may offer advanced standing, course placement, and/or course credit based on the final score students receive in their IB course(s). Most offer credit for scores of 4, 5, or above on Higher Level exams, and many students who complete the diploma programme are awarded sophomore college placement upon entrance. Most students who return from college report that they are far ahead of their college contemporaries in terms of time management, research, thinking, and writing skills.

Because colleges vary widely in the way they recognize completed IB coursework, we urge you to research the colleges of your choice. To help, we've created the following documents:

Should I be in IB?

Wondering if IB is right for you? Both the International Baccalaureate and MHS staff believe that successful IB students are those who are active and engaged in their learning. Are you a responsible, independent learner? Are you deeply curious about the world we inhabit and interested in an expansive education? IB students want to become part of a community of ethical, critical, compassionate, reflective, original, and inquisitive thinkers who work in partnership with teachers and other students to tackle a broad and varied curriculum.

What is the difference between IB and Advanced Placement (AP)?

While many advanced courses of study accelerate students through a curriculum, IB courses move at a different pace, encouraging you to conduct in-depth research, ask questions, analyze, think critically and make connections across the curriculum. You'll address your weaknesses and make the most of your strengths.

Key factors that differentiate IB Diploma Candidates are the Theory of Knowledge course, completion of creativity, activity, and service (CAS) projects, and the Extended Essay (EE) of up to 4,000 words in one of your core IB subjects. The EE is a challenging yet fulfilling opportunity to research and write a paper on a topic of your choice. You'll work one-on-one with a Minnetonka teacher-mentor on your EE throughout the summer leading up to senior year and fall semester.

Both IB and AP share the goal of offering you challenging and advanced coursework. At Minnetonka, you can pick and choose AP and IB courses at will, but the IB Diploma Programme offers you the opportunity to take courses in all curricular areas, conduct independent research, consider the roots of knowledge, and engage in community and school service. IB final exam scores (1-7) are based on several components of work such as a portfolio, oral exam, written exam, lab notebook, as well as written papers. AP scores (1-5) rest solely on a single final exam given on a single day. IB is internationally based and AP is American-based. IB is only offered at 20 high schools in Minnesota, whereas AP is offered at more than 200.

How does IB fit with existing AP and Honors classes?

Although you're not required to take AP or Honors classes before you apply to the IB Diploma Programme, those classes serve as excellent preparation for IB. We encourage students interested in IB to take Honors and/or AP classes in 9th and 10th grade. This preparation will help you and your parents understand the rigors and requirements of college preparatory coursework.

In some cases, AP material is embedded in IB courses. As an IB Diploma Candidate, you are always free to register for AP exams in which you have taken the equivalent IB course. However, you must complete an IB course to earn an IB score.

Wondering about math prerequisites and pathways in IB? 10th grade Higher Algebra is the only math prerequisite to begin the IB Diploma Programme. That said, IB also offers the most rigorous math pathway at MHS. Please review the IB Mathematics Pathways diagram to see how students can complete math requirements based on level and interest.

Can you have a life if you are in IB?

Definitely! IB courses grow in rigor as you grow throughout high school, so each year is challenging but doable. IB promotes the development of a community of academically motivated students who are often the most active students at our school. They seek to create a life that balances sports, leadership activities, community service, family, and friends. The CAS portion of the Diploma actually requires this balance and commitment.

Can you just take one or two IB courses?

You can often craft a combination of General, Honors, AP, and IB courses to fit their academic and personal goals. You should consult the Skipper Log, teachers, and/or the AP and IB coordinator at MHS, Laura Herbst, so that you can discuss how best to choose courses that will fit you. You will then sign up for those courses as you would any others, but the advantage is that you have a personally crafted plan that meets your needs.

When do you choose IB?

You choose the program as a 10th grader looking at 11th and 12th grade. Throughout fall and winter of the sophomore year, you and your parents are invited to learn more about the program and plan for 11th and 12th grade. Planning concludes just before registration in late winter of sophomore year.


"I'm attending Middlebury College in Vermont. Happy I did the IB program. It has made my transfer to college easier."
William, Class of 2015

"The IB program & IB teachers have completely prepared me for my courses at UW-Madison—everyone should go IB."

Erin, Class of 2015

"Choosing IB was one the best decisions I have ever made. IB prepared me so well for college. I had a very successful first year, and I owe much of that to the incredible preparation IB provided. I also had a lot of fun in the program, and am very happy to have done it."
Leah, Class of 2014

"At UW-Madison studying Strategic Communication. The IB Program was one of the better decisions I've ever made."
Connor, Class of 2014

"At College of the Holy Cross double majoring in chemistry and Spanish and going pre-med! IB put me far above my peers!"
Michael, Class of 2014

"I'm attending the U of M-Twin Cities, majoring in Genetics, Cell Biology, and Development and Spanish Studies. The IB program augmented my ability to express thought through the written and spoken word in every subject, fostering my ability to communicate effectively and productively both within and outside the classroom."
Meredith, Class of 2014

Our videos give you an overview of Minnetonka's IB Diploma Programme