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International Baccalaureate

CONTENTS       The International Baccalaureate Program
Submitting scores
Credit awarded for the IB diploma
Credit awarded for subject exams
Credit awarded for IB scores before 2003
FCAS Guideslines on AP, IB, and Satisfactory Progress


The International Baccalaureate program

    The International Baccalaureate program is similar to the College Board Advanced Placement program. It is called "international" because it is available to students in several countries, not because it is in any way an international experience. After completing a specially designed high school course, students take either Higher Level examinations or Standard (formerly Subsidiary) examinations. The UW grants credit for Higher Level exams only.

In the distant past the UW allowed only students who had earned an IB diploma to receive any credit for IB exams. Currently we grant credit for each individual Higher Level subject exam passed, if the UW department involved has given its approval.


Submitting scores

    The Admissions Office accepts IB scores sent directly from the International Baccalaureate Organization. The scores will be sent automatically if the student listed the UW as a recipient when registering for the IB exam(s). To have a score sent to the UW after taking the exam, the student should contact the IB Organization at

Credit awarded for the IB diploma

    Students earning an IB diploma July 2004 or later will be awarded 15 general education credits distributed equally among the three general education areas: Individuals and Societies (I&S), the Natural World (NW), and Visual, Literary, and Performing Arts (VLPA). These will be posted as extension credit as follows:

    UW 111   IB I&S   5 credits
   UW 112   IB NW   5 credits
   UW 113   IB VLPA   5 credits

This policy will apply to students who graduated from high school in June 2004 or later. Diplomas are awarded in July. This policy is not retroactive.


Credit awarded for subject exams

    In most cases, credit is awarded for scores of 5 or higher on Higher Level subject exams. The UW does not award credit for Standard Level examinations. Advisers should always use caution when discussing credit awards with students and be certain that the student took Higher Level exams. For credit awards for students who matriculated at the UW in summer 2003 or later, or sent IB scores in July 2003 or later, see the IB Credit Table.

Credit awarded for IB scores before 2003

    UW's awards for IB exams changed in summer 2003. Students who matriculated at the UW before summer 2003, and students who submitted IB scores before summer 2003, receive the old IB awards described below.

A student with a pre-2003 Higher Level exam score of 5, 6, or 7 receives 5 "999" credits in that department (for example, 5 credits of HSTAA 999). Exceptions are as follows:

Art/Design  No credit; see art adviser for placement.
Biology  Credit varies; see biology adviser.
Chemistry  No credit; see chemistry adviser for possible exemption from coursework.
Computing Studies  UW 999 (5 credits)
Economics  No credit; see economics adviser for placement.
Mathematics  Several exams; most receive MATH 999 credit. Mathematics and Computing receives UW 999 credit. A mathematics IB score cannot be used for placement.
Music  Credit varies; see music adviser.
Organization and Management Studies  BA 999 (5 credits)
Physical Science  UW 999 (5 credits)
Physics  No credit; see physics adviser for possible exemption from coursework.

Counting old IB credit toward requirements

Pre-2003 IB credit awards may be treated as X credit; that is, an adviser can determine how the courses count toward basic skills or Areas of Knowledge requirements, within the restrictions below.

Pre-2003 English IB credits may be counted toward either (a) the English composition requirement, or (b) the additional writing and VLPA requirements. DARS counts the credit as English composition. If the student prefers to count the course as VLPA and W, the adviser should made a DARS exception or send the request to

Pre-2003 Math IB credits may be counted toward the Q/SR requirement and/or they may count toward Natural World. They cannot be used to meet the prerequisite or placement-test requirements of any UW math course.

A student with IB credit but no college credit in math must take a placement test.

Pre-2003 Foreign language IB credits are at the second-year level. They satisfy the foreign language requirement, and can simultaneously count toward VLPA. They cannot, however, be used to meet the prerequisite or placement-test requirements of most UW foreign languages. Students with IB credit who wish to continue the language should contact the department offering the language to determine if a placement test will be required.


FCAS Guideslines on AP, IB, and Satisfactory Progress


In May 2011, the Faculty Council on Academic Standards (FCAS) adopted new guidelines for how Advanced Placement (AP) and IB credits should impact satisfactory progress decisions (e.g., granting pre-major extensions, admitting to majors, and approving graduation plans that extend beyond the 210-credit limit). Those guidelines are available on the FCAS website (pdf).