Physics is the most fundamental of the experimental sciences, as it seeks to explain the universe itself from the very smallest particles. The Diploma Program physics course allows students to develop traditional practical skills and techniques and increase their abilities in the use of mathematics, which is the language of physics. It also allows students to develop interpersonal and digital communication skills which are essential in modern scientific endeavor and are important life-enhancing, transferable skills in their own right. 
The course is available at both SL and HL, and therefore accommodates students who wish to study physics as their major subject in higher education and those who do not. Students at standard level (SL) and higher level (HL) undertake a common core syllabus, a common internal assessment (IA) scheme and have some overlapping elements in the option studied While the skills and activities of group 4 science subjects are common to students at both SL and HL, students at HL are required to study some topics in greater depth, in the additional higher level (AHL) material and in the common options. 


  1. Appreciate scientific study and creativity
  2. Acquire a body of knowledge, methods and techniques that characterize science and technology
  3. Develop an ability to analyze, evaluate and synthesize scientific information
  4. Develop a critical awareness of the need for, and the value of, effective collaboration and communication during scientific activities
  5. Become critically aware, as global citizens, of the ethical implications of using science and technology
  6. Develop an understanding of the relationships between scientific disciplines and their influence on other areas of knowledge.

Assessment objectives:

  1. Demonstrate knowledge, understanding and application of:
  • Facts, concepts and terminology
  • Methodologies and techniques
  • Communicating scientific information.
  1. Formulate, analyze and evaluate:
  • Hypotheses, research questions and predictions
  • Methodologies and techniques
  • Primary and secondary data
  • Scientific explanations.
  1. Demonstrate the appropriate research, experimental, and personal skills necessary to carry out insightful and ethical investigations.

Syllabus Outline


  1. Measurements and uncertainties
  2. Mechanics
  3. Thermal physics
  4. Waves
  5. Electricity and magnetism
  6. Circular motion and gravitation
  7. Atomic, nuclear and particle physics
  8. Energy production

Additional higher level (AHL)

  1. Wave phenomena
  2. Fields
  3. Electromagnetic induction
  4. Quantum and nuclear physics

A.    Relativity
B.    Engineering physics
C.    Imaging
D.    Astrophysics

Practical scheme of work

  1. Practical activities
  2. Individual investigation (internal assessment – IA)
  3. Group 4 project