The extended essay is an in-depth study of a focused topic chosen from the list of approved Diploma Programme (DP) subjects - normally one of the student’s six chosen subjects for the IB diploma. It is intended to promote high-level research and writing skills, intellectual discovery and creativity. It provides students with an opportunity to engage in personal research in a topic of their own choice, under the guidance of a supervisor (a teacher in the school).
This leads to a major piece of formally presented, structured writing, in which ideas and findings are communicated in a reasoned and coherent manner, appropriate to the subject chosen. It is recommended that completion of the written essay is followed by a short, concluding interview, or viva voce, with the supervisor.
The extended essay is assessed against common criteria, interpreted in ways appropriate to each subject.
The extended essay is:
compulsory for all DP students externally assessed and, in combination with the grade for theory of knowledge, contributes up to three points to the total score for the IB diploma a piece of independent.
research/investigation on a topic chosen by the student in cooperation with a supervisor in the school chosen from the list of approved DP subjects, published in the Vade Mecum.
presented as a formal piece of scholarship containing no more than 4,000 words the result of approximately 40 hours of work by the student concluded with a short interview, or viva voce, with the supervising teacher (recommended).
In the DP, the extended essay is the prime example of a piece of work where the student has the opportunity to show knowledge, understanding and enthusiasm about a topic of his or her choice. In those countries where it is the norm for interviews to be required prior to acceptance for employment or for a place at university, the extended essay has often proved to be a valuable stimulus for discussion.