Biologists have accumulated significant amounts of information about living organisms. In Diploma Programme Biology, it is hoped that students will learn and remember a range of important of facts by understanding the inter-relationship of biological process, systems and organisms. At the same time students should develop a broad, general understanding of the principles of the course.
Science itself is an international endeavour is a focus for the new curriculum. The exchange of information and ideas across national boundaries has been essential to the progress of science. This exchange is not a new phenomenon but it has accelerated in recent times with the development of information and communication technologies. Indeed, the idea that science is a Western invention is a myth—many of the foundations of modern-day science were laid many centuries before by Arabic, Indian and Chinese civilisations, among others.
Many areas of research in biology are extremely challenging and many discoveries remain to be made. Biology is still a young science and great progress is expected in the 21st century. This progress is sorely needed at a time when the growing human population is placing greater pressure on food supplies and on the habitats of other species, and is threatening the very planet we occupy.
Although the Diploma Programme Biology course has been written as a series of discrete statements (for assessment purposes) at Standard Level (SL) and Higher Level (HL) there are four basic biological concepts that run throughout:
- Structure and Function
- Universality Versus Diversity
- Equilibrium Within Systems
Distinction between HL and SL Biology
Biology students at Standard Level (SL) and Higher Level (HL) undertake a common core syllabus, a common internal assessment (IA) scheme and have some overlapping elements in the Option studied.
While the skills and activities are common to students at both SL and HL, students at HL are required to study some topics in greater depth, in the Additional Higher Level (AHL) material and in the common Options. The distinction between SL and HL is one of breadth and depth.