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IB Physics HL

(2-year course)


Grades: 11–12 (two-year course)

Subject Area/Course Credit: Science, 1 credit each year

Prerequisite: B+ or above in Coordinated Science II, or B- or above in AP Physics 1/Honors Chemistry/Honors Biology AND A- or above in Math 2B or B or above in Math 2A, or a science teacher recommendation. 

Corequisite: IB Mathematics: Analysis & Approaches SL or HL, or IB Mathematics Applications HL

IB Physics HL  is a two-year course designed to prepare students for the IB exam at the end of the second year.

As one of the three natural sciences in the IB Diploma Programme, physics is concerned with an attempt to understand the natural world; from determining the nature of the atom to finding patterns in the structure of the universe. It is the search for answers from how the universe exploded into life to the nature of time itself. Observations are essential to the very core of the subject. Models are developed to try to understand observations, and these themselves can become theories that attempt to explain the observations. Besides leading to a better understanding of the natural world, physics gives us the ability to alter our environments. DP physics enables students to constructively engage with topical scientific issues. Students examine scientific knowledge claims in a real-world context, fostering interest and curiosity. By exploring the subject, they develop understandings, skills and techniques which can be applied across their studies and beyond. Integral to the student experience of the DP physics course is the learning that takes place through scientific inquiry both in the classroom and the laboratory.

A Space, time and motion 
A.1 Kinematics 
A.2 Forces and momentum 
A.3 Work, energy and power 
A.4 Rigid body mechanics 
A.5 Galilean and special relativity
B. The particulate nature of matter          
B.1 Thermal energy transfers 
B.2 Greenhouse effect 
B.3 Gas laws 
B.4 Thermodynamics 
B.5 Current and circuits 
C. Wave behaviour 
C.1 Simple harmonic motion 
C.2 Wave model 
C.3 Wave phenomena
C.4 Standing waves and resonance
C.5 Doppler effect 

D. Fields 
D.1 Gravitational fields 
D.2 Electric and magnetic fields
D.3 Motion in electromagnetic fields 
D.4 Induction 
E. Nuclear and quantum physics 
E.1 Structure of the atom 
E.2 Quantum physics 
E.3 Radioactive decay
E.4 Fission 
E.5 Fusion and stars 
Experimental programme
Practical work 
Collaborative sciences project 
Scientific investigation