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Upper School Curriculum


Developing Independence & Confidence

MYP emphasizes intellectual challenge, encouraging students to make practical connections between their studies and the real world, and to grow comfortable taking risks, preparing them for success in further study and in life.

Take A Closer Look


Spotlight on the Diploma Program

Upper School at GEMS

Upper school, grades 9-12, encompasses the last two years of the Middle Years Program (MYP) and the IB Diploma Program. The DP is respected by colleges and universities across the world, as it develops students who have excellent depth and breadth of knowledge, flourish emotionally, physically and ethically, study at least two languages, and explore the nature of knowledge in the program’s unique theory of knowledge course. At GEMS, field studies opportunities for Upper School students extend far beyond the reaches of Chicago. Students meet and host GEMS Dubai and GEMS Singapore students. They travel to French- and Spanish-speaking countries, where they practice communicating across cultures. They study water issues and local issues in Costa Rica. The DP curriculum is comprised of the Diploma Program core and six subject groups.

For more information and an overview of the Middle Years Program, please visit our Middle School Curriculum page.

GRADES 11 & 12

The Diploma Program Core

Theory of Knowledge

Creativity, activity & service

The Extended Essay

Theory of Knowledge

Theory of knowledge, in which students reflect on the nature of knowledge and on how we know what we claim to know.

Read More on the IBO Website

Creativity, activity & service

Creativity, activity & service, in which students complete a project related to those three concepts.

Read More on the IBO Website

The Extended Essay

The extended essay, which is an independent, self-directed piece of research, finishing with a 4,000-word paper.

Read More on the IBO Website

Upper School Course Sequence

View Flipbook

Subject Areas

We tailor our programs to our students, giving them ways to highlight their strengths and interests and providing more than typical high school offerings. Students explore courses like epidemiology, global politics, and environmental systems and societies.





Individuals & Societies

Language & Literature



Performing Arts

Physical & Health Education



Visual Arts

It’s an honor being a GEMS parent and seeing my son experience the world face-to-face in his education.

Source: GEMS Parent

We put a lot of time and research into finding the best possible school environment for our daughter, and every day confirms that we made the right choice by choosing GEMS World Academy.

Source: GEMS Parent

Keep Exploring

Lower School Faculty

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Field Studies Program

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Chicago Curriculum

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