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At Ridley College, students have the opportunity to earn two diplomas upon graduating—the Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD) and the highly regarded International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma.

Ridley College is an International Baccalaureate (IB) World School and the only independent boarding school in Canada authorized to offer the IB continuum programme.

All Ridley students graduate having completed the OSSD, the standard high school diploma awarded to students who complete the provincial requirements in Ontario. However, in Grades 11 and 12, students have the option to enter the final programme in the IB continuum: the Diploma Programme.

We adopt an ‘open access’ policy for any student who wishes to undertake the challenge of the IB Diploma Programme. Students coming into the programme need no prior experience with the IB framework, and our learner-centred approach ensures all students adapt quickly and thrive.

Photo of upper school student wokring on a laptop

The IB Diploma Programme Core

The IB curriculum is made up of the DP core:

Theory of Knowledge

The course has students investigate how they know what they know. It requires students to think deeply on topics that may seem rather simple on the surface but that can really be much more complex. Students are asked to use their lived experiences and the knowledge they learn in all their classes to explore open-ended questions. 

This course is pivotal to the IB DP experience and runs across both years 1 and 2. In year 2, students write an essay addressing big questions posed by the IB. For example, in May 2022 the three offered questions are:

  • To what extent do you agree with the claim that “there’s a world of difference between truth and facts” (Maya Angelou)? Answer with reference to two areas of knowledge.
  • Is there solid justification for regarding knowledge in the natural sciences more highly than knowledge in another area of knowledge? Discuss with reference to the natural sciences and one other area of knowledge.
  • If we conclude that there is some knowledge we should not pursue on ethical grounds, how can we determine the boundaries of acceptable investigation within an area of knowledge? Discuss with reference to two areas of knowledge.
Extended Essay

IB Diploma Programme students write an independent, self-directed 4,000 word essay on a topic of special interest related to one of the six DP subjects. Throughout the process, they are guided by an advisor with whom they meet regularly to focus research and hone their writing. This proves to be valuable preparation for university as students develop the capacity to analyze, synthesize and evaluate knowledge. 

Examples of essay topics which students have explored include:

  • To what extent did Marie Antoinette’s childhood influence her position on smallpox inoculation in France in the 1770s?
  • How did African American authors, Langston Hughes and James Baldwin empower members of the Black community and influence societal change through the use of perspective and uncensored passion in their works building towards the civil rights era?
  • To what extent do Facebook Inc’s market growth strategies enable it to maintain its position as market leader?
Creativity, Action and Service

The IB programme encourages well rounded students through activities that give them experiences in creativity, action and service (CAS). They are required to lead a CAS project which includes tracking their participation in CAS activities with reflections throughout the process. Through this component of the Diploma programme, the IB has identified 7 key outcomes from CAS activities ranging from personal growth to perseverance to engaging with issues of global importance.

class photo of the upper school outide the main school building

The IB Courses

In addition to the core, the DP framework is organized around six subject groups with different courses in each:

Language and Literature
IB English: Literature
IB English: Language and Literature
IB Chinese: Literature
Additional languages offered as self-study
Language Acquisition
IB French Level B (Advanced)
IB German ab initio (Beginner)
IB Mandarin ab initio (Beginner)
IB Mandarin Level B (Advanced)
IB Spanish ab initio (Beginner)
IB Spanish Level B (Advanced)
Individuals and Societies
IB Business and Management 
IB Economics 
IB Environmental Systems and Societies 
IB History 
IB Psychology 
IB Biology 
IB Chemistry 
IB Computer Science 
IB Design Technology (SL Only)
IB Environmental Systems and Societies
IB Physics
IB Math: Analysis and Approaches 
IB Math: Applications and Interpretation (SL Only)
The Arts
 IB Film
 IB Theatre Arts 
 IB Visual Arts

The Diploma programme enables students to reflect on the nature of knowledge, complete independent research and undertake a project, often involving community services. Students’ physical, intellectual, emotional and ethical flourishing are supported, and the programme concludes with them delivering an extended essay.

The Extended Essay is the best opportunity our students have to get a feel for the independence and rigour of university-level writing, with the benefit of one-on-one guidance from a supervisor.

— Saralyn Covent, DP Coordinator


The Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD) is a highly regarded diploma across Canada and around the world.

Ridley places great value on the completion of secondary education and is committed to helping every student earn an Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD).  All Ridley students graduate having completed the OSSD.

In order to earn an OSSD, a student entering Grade 9 must earn a minimum of 30 credits, including 18 compulsory credits and 12 optional credits. Students must also complete 40 hours of com­munity involvement activities and must pass the Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test.

Full OSSD Requirements


All Ridley students graduate having completed the OSSD; they may also earn the IB Diploma. All Upper School courses earn OSSD credits. Students who take a mixture of IB Diploma courses and OSSD courses are known as hybrid students. The hybrid programme appeals to students who want to take a wider variety of courses than are offered in the OSSD or who want to specialize with three or four courses in a single discipline. 

Upper School Daily Schedule

These schedules are a generalized version of the Upper School daily schedule. The daily schedule for each Upper School student is unique based on their academic, co-curricular and sport interests.

Sample Weekday Schedule

7:30-8:30a.m.Morning Sport
9:10-10:20a.m.Period 1
10:25-10:50a.m.Multi-Subject Instructional Period* or Advisory
10:55a.m.-12:05p.m.Period 2
1:05-1:45p.m.Assembly, Chapel or House Meetings
1:50-3:00p.m.Period 3
3:10-4:20p.m.Period 4
4:30-7:00p.m.Co-Curriculars or Sport
7:30-9:30p.m.Study Hall and Teacher-Led Tutorials

*Multi-Subject Instructional Period (MSIP) is offered three times per week and is a dedicated multi-purpose time built into the schedule for students to meet with teachers, complete unfinished academic tasks or homework.

Sample Saturday Schedule

9:00-10:30a.m.Co-Curriculars or Sport
11:00a.m.-12:30p.m.Saturday Programming