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Group 1: Studies in First Language & Literature

Group 1 EEs are similar to essays you have written for English classes in that they require you to write about a literary work or works such as novels and/or short stories. Group 1 EEs are analytical research essays that draw upon literary criticism and your own analysis to form a reasoned argument, not simply an opinion about a literary work.

Studies in language and literature EEs are divided into three categories:

  • Category 1 - Studies of one or more literary works originally written in the language in which the essay is presented.
  • Category 2 - Studies of a literary work or works originally written in the language of the essay compared with one or more literary works originally written in another language. (The work originally written in another language may be studied in translation.)
  • Category 3 - Studies in language based on one or more texts originally produced in the language in which the essay is presented.

In addition, students seeking to write a Group 1 EE must adhere to one of the following requirements:

  • Select literary work(s) they have read previously in an English class at TES.
  • Pass the "Anderegg Test" - Prove to their EE supervisor that they know the literary work(s) very well.
  • Select new literary work(s) and compare them to work(s) they have previously read or work(s) that have been read by their supervisor.
Group 2: Studies in Second Language & Culture

Group 2 EEs are written in a second language, for example, Spanish or French. The student choosing to write a Group 2 EE must demonstrate fluency and an interest in either language issues, cultural issues related to the language, or literature written in the language. Students will form a reasoned argument using primary and secondary sources as well as a thorough personal analysis of the data gathered.


Biology EEs explore a topic of personal interest related to Biology – living organisms and life processes. They should be approached similarly to a lab investigation and report. Students will develop a hypothesis and base research on data through experimentation, fieldwork, microscopic observation, etc. Students may use primary sources in Biological literature in the form of online articles and websites combined with their own original interpretation and analysis.

Students who select Biology are required to attend a data information meeting in February 2020.


Chemistry EEs require students to investigate a specific aspect of materials in our environment – specifically the composition, characterization and transformation of substances. Chemistry EEs should be approached similarly to a lab investigation and report. Research has to be conducted using the procedures prescribed by the field. Your research can consist of literature/secondary sources – clearly showing your own analysis or may be based on theoretical models or experimental data.

Students who select Chemistry are required to attend a data information meeting in February 2020.

Classical Greek & Latin

An EE in classical Greek or Latin gives students the opportunity to investigate in depth non-trivial controversial topics within studies of either the ancient Greek or Roman worlds.

The essay requires students to engage with sources written in classical Greek and Latin, so they must also have sufficient proficiency in these.


An EE in Economics provides students an opportunity to apply economic theory to real-world situations and make inferences based on real-world data. Students should undertake an essay that uses the principles of economics as a basis for researching a particular topic. They may take a recent economic event, issue or policy, gather data and apply economic theories, models and tools to evaluate it.

Topics should not be historical. They should relate to economic information, policies, outcomes or events that are no more than approximately five years old. Essays should also not be based on future economic events as they tend to be speculative.

Environmental Systems & Societies

Students research and write about an environmental topic or issue of personal and/or local relevance. The EE should not only address the environmental system, including its impact or potential impact on society, but it should also include a thorough and reasoned analytical argument based in data and/or observation.

Since the subject is interdisciplinary, the student will need to select and integrate theoretical contexts and methodologies with those academic disciplines appropriate to the chosen topic.

In this respect, a systems approach is particularly effective, and students will be expected to use this approach in the analysis and interpretation of their data.

Students who select ESS are required to attend a data information meeting in February 2020.


An EE in Geography gives the student an opportunity to apply a range of geographic skills to complete an independent and in-depth research investigation using geographic concepts, methodologies, theories and sources with a clear spatial emphasis.

Students who select Geography are required to attend a data information meeting in February 2020.

Global Politics

An EE in Global Politics gives students an opportunity to undertake an in-depth analysis of a significant, contemporary global political issue.

The outcome should be a substantial, coherent and structured essay that utilizes relevant key concepts, theoretical foundations and approaches to global politics to effectively answer a specific research question.

Global politics is an interdisciplinary subject, reflecting the complex nature of many contemporary political issues. As a subject, it has its own theoretical and conceptual frames, terminology, methods and literature. It is essential for students undertaking an EE in global politics to have knowledge and understanding of these.


For History EEs, students will study in-depth an area of interest at least 10 years in the past. Students must consider historiography, specifically the methods used by historians, as they approach their chosen topic. Students will not simply describe something that happened in history, but rather analyze ample primary and secondary sources to better understand the chosen area and formulate a reasoned argument.

Students are encouraged to research in an area of interest to them, be it of local, regional or global significance. Their research question should encourage an investigation that lends itself to analysis and critical commentary. Students should avoid straightforward “What” and “How” questions as they tend to lead to narrative treatment. Terms such as “How significant…?” or “How successful…?” are more likely to engage students in analysis.


Students must demonstrate an in-depth analysis of a question or problem that has a mathematical focus. This investigation might be, for example:

  • the applicability of mathematics to solve both real and abstract problems
  • the beauty of mathematics, as in, for instance, geometry or fractal theory
  • the elegance of mathematics in the proving of theorems as in, for example, number theory
  • the origin and subsequent development of a branch of mathematics over a period of time, measured in tens, hundreds or thousands of years
  • the links between different branches of mathematics, or the way that branch of mathematics has been born, or has flourished, as a result of technology
  • a history of mathematics is acceptable with a focus on the development of math, not the people themselves.

In addition, students seeking to write an EE in Mathematics must be currently enrolled in IB Maths/AP Calc AB. This subject is recommended with reservation.


Music EEs draw upon the inspiration of “real” music (one or more pieces) to serve as a focus for analysis and interpretation. Students will research and analyze the music itself and not focus specifically on lyrics, the world around the musician, or other topics that may be more fitting to another EE subject area. Students are encouraged to select a topic with primary sources that may be obtained for analysis, including:

  • recordings
  • scores or
  • performances and concerts.

An EE in Physics should answer a research question in physics through focused, evidence-based argumentation. The evidence may be drawn from the student’s personal experimentation and/or book- and internet-based research. Whichever method of research is adopted, the student must use the principles of physics.

Students who select Physics are required to attend a data information meeting in February 2020. This subject is recommended with reservation.

Sports, Exercise & Health Science

An EE in Sports, Exercise and Health Science (SEHS) provides students an opportunity to apply the wide range of skills in the field of sports, exercise and health science to research into a topic of personal interest.

SEHS covers a wide range of topics from human physiology to principles of biomechanics and the nature of skill acquisition. It is an applied science course so its EE investigates a sporting or health-related issue using the principles of science.

Students who select SEHS are required to attend a data information meeting in February 2020. This subject is recommended with reservation.

Visual Arts

The visual arts are here broadly defined also to include architecture, design and contemporary forms of visual culture.

The outcome of the research should be a coherent and structured piece of writing, with well-integrated and appropriate illustrations, and which effectively addresses a particular research question appropriate to the visual arts.

The research may be generated or inspired by the student’s direct experiences of creating visual artworks, or by their interest in the work of a particular artist, style or period. This might be related to the student’s own cultural context or another cultural context.

Personal contact with artists, curators and other active participants in the visual arts is encouraged, as is the use of local and primary sources.

World Religions

World Religions comprises a systematic, critical, yet sensitive study of the variety of beliefs, values and practices encountered in religions around the world.

A rigorous attempt is made to maintain objectivity in the analysis and evaluation of religions. This requires, at the very least, an authentic attempt to understand the beliefs, values and practices of the religion being studied by using language and concepts drawn from that religious tradition. The concern is not just with what the followers of a faith believe and do, but also with an understanding of why they do so, through an appreciation of the form of life and world outlook constituted by their actions and beliefs.

This subject is recommended with reservation.

World Studies

An EE in World Studies gives students the opportunity to undertake an interdisciplinary study of an issue of contemporary global significance.

“Interdisciplinary” in this context refers to research that draws on the methods, concepts and theories of two Diploma Programme subjects. It is strongly recommended that students are undertaking a course of study in at least one of the subjects chosen for their essay.

“Contemporary” in this context refers to events that took place during the student’s lifetime.

Students are required to:

  • identify an issue of global importance
  • identify a local manifestation of the issue of global importance
  • develop a clear rationale for taking an interdisciplinary approach and use the conceptual framework and vocabulary of two Diploma Programme subjects.

This provides an opportunity for students to conduct independent interdisciplinary research (not necessarily primary research) that draws on Diploma Programme subjects and integrates them to produce a coherent and insightful analysis of the global issue they choose to investigate.

This subject is recommended with reservation.


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