IB History Syllabus
Teacher Training Day
22nd March 2019

ib-history-syllabus-topicsSyllabus for IB History

Before the introduction of the new syllabus one of the criticisms of the IB was that it only allowed for the study of Modern History. In the new syllabus, however, teachers must decide whether to follow Route 1 (Medieval / Early Modern) or Route 2 (Modern).

IB History Route 1 (Islamic and European History c500-1600)

Route 1 is a completely new syllabus of study that has been made available to teachers desperate to allow their students to escape from the tyranny of Modern History that dominates most GCSE courses. This option is Medieval in focus rather than Early Modern. For more details of this Route, click here.

IB History Route 2 (20th Century World History)

Route 2 has much in common with the old IB syllabus, being a Modern History course, although with some significant differences.

Paper 1 (sourcework) requires students to have studied either Peacemaking, Peacekeeping - international relations 1918-36 or The Arab-Israeli conflict 1945-79 or Communism in crisis 1976-89.


Paper 2 (two essays) requires students to study at least two of the following five topics. Within each of the two topics chosen, teachers are encouraged to focus on material taken from at least two of the four regions (Europe & Middle East, Africas, Americas, Asia & Oceania) 



Paper 3 (three essays) requires students to study one of the following regional options in depth. Each option is broken down into twelve topics of which students are expected to study three.

For example, the twelve topics within the final (European) regional option listed here are as follows:

Paper 3, Option 4: Aspects of the History of Europe and the Middle East 1750-2000

1. The French Revolution and Napoleon
[ActiveHistory Study Unit for Year 9 - use as you wish!]

2. Unification and Consolidation of Germany and Italy
[IB History Resources - Germany]

3. The Ottoman Empire

4. Western and Northern Europe 1848-1914

5. Imperial Russia, Revolutions, Emergence of Soviet State 1853-1924
[IB History Study Guide: Tsarist and Revolutionary Russia to 1924]
[IB History Resources - Alexander II]
[IB History Resources - Alexander III]
[IB History Resources - Nicholas II]
[IB History Resources - Lenin]

6. European Diplomacy and the First World War 1870-1923
[IB History Resources - Causes of WW1, Course / Effects WW1, the Peace Treaties]

7. War and Change in the Middle East 1914-49
[ActiveHistory Study Unit for Year 9 - use as you wish!]
[I am teaching this Middle East unit at IB Level in 2010-2011, during which time resources will be made available on the site]

8. Interwar Years: Conflict and Co-operation 1919-39
[IB History Resources - The Peace Treaties after World War One]
[IB History Resources - The League of Nations in the 1920s]
[IB History Resources - The The Wall St. Crash / Depression]
[IB History Resources - The League of Nations in the 1930s]
[IB History Resources - The Spanish Civil War]
[IB History Resources - Mussolini] [resources to follow in Summer 2010]

9. The Soviet Union and Eastern Europe 1924-2000
[History Study Guide - Stalin's USSR]
[IB History Resources - Stalin's USSR]
[IB History Resources - Khrushchev and Brezhnev]
[IB History Resources - Soviet Economic Development 1880-1980]
[IB History Resources - Hitler's Germany]
[IB History Study Guide: The Cold War to 1961]
The Cold War c.1945-55]
[IB History Resources: Causes for the Collapse of Communism in Europe]

10. The Second World War and Post-War Western Europe 1939-2000

11. Post-War Developments in the Middle East 1945-2000
[ActiveHistory Study Unit for Year 9 - use as you wish!]
[I am teaching this Middle East unit at IB Level in 2010-2011, during which time resources will be made available on the site]

12. Social and Economic Developments in Europe and the Middle East
[IB History Paper 3 Past Questions: European Option]

Observations on Route 2:
For most current teachers of IB, the new syllabus will require an adjustment to rather than a complete overhaul of existing schemes of work, although the opportunity now exists to bring in units of study on the Middle East. The biggest change is to Paper 1, which previously involved the study of either Stalin or Mao or the Cold War. Paper 2 has been changed less drastically: most topics studied by schools such as the World Wars, Communist and Fascist dictatorships and the Cold War still have a central place in the new examination. Nevertheless, there are some important changes here too: in particular, it is no longer possible to study international organisations such as the League of Nations and the UN in the new, narrower topic on "multiparty states", although conversely Eastern Europe has now been incorporated into the topic of "Nationalist and Independence Movements". Lenin and Mussolini have disappeared as recommended figures in the study of single-party states.

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