IB Extended Essay


     Course Descriptions
    Extended Essay (EE)   
    Grade - 11 & 12
    Credit 1 Unit per year (combined with TOK)
    Coordinators -  Mr. Matt Johnson and Ms. Tina DeFabio

    Students engage in independent research and write a 4,000 word essay on a topic of their choice. The extended essay gives the student an opportunity to explore a self selected, academic topic in depth. Students begin the research process in the fall of their junior year, with the selection of a topic due early in the second semester. Final essays are submitted in the senior year. While students work under the guidance of the EE Coordinator and a teacher-mentor, the extended essay is written outside of the classroom on a student’s own time. The International Baccalaureate Organization recommends that a student devote a total of about 40 hours of private study and writing time to the essay.


    • A 4000 word (maximum) formally presented Research Project/Paper.
    • Must be linked to a subject area that the student is taking in the IB DP, but ideas can come from anywhere.

    • Each student is assigned a Supervisor from the school. Students are encouraged to discuss potential topics and research questions with teachers they have, and ask the IB teacher of the subject they are most interested in to be their Supervisor.

    • Students choose the topic - they MUST choose something interesting. Look at it as an OPPORTUNITY to delve deeply into something fascinating.

    • Paper and sources must be documented in a standard style- MLA, Chicago, etc.

    • Papers are sent out to be assessed (graded) by an IB Examiner.

    • “The extended essay is a central part of the IB Diploma Programme and you must complete it in order to be awarded a diploma.”'  

    Extended Essay Topics from Previous Years:  

    English (Group 1)

    • How is the hero’s journey expressed in All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque and Man is Wolf to Man by Janusz Bardach?
    • How and to what effect does Gary Snyder use animal imagery and symbolism in his poetry?

    • How are women in positions of authority presented in selections by F. Scott Fitzgerald?

    • How is the dialogue used to develop characterization in Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen and Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte?

    • How does darkness function as a symbol and motif in House of Leaves, by Mark Z. Danielewski?

    • How do characters seek freedom in Washington Square by Henry James and Beloved by Toni Morrison?

    • What is the role of the female archetypes of the “virgin” and the “malinche” in Sandra Cisneros’ The House on Mango Street?

    • What is the function of the invented language of “Nadsat” and dialogue and slang in Anthony Burgess’ A Clockwork Orange?

    • An analysis of the language use and implications of President George W. Bush’s post-9/11televised speeches: How and for what reasons did the language used in President George W. Bush’s post-9/11 televised speeches construct a particular view of 9/11 and the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq?

    • To what extent does the portrayal of Wonder Woman through language and image in 1968 as a cultural figure differ from her first iteration in 1942?

    • How are Tess, from Tess of the d’Urbervilles, and Edna, from The Awakening, similar and different in their reaction to gender roles of the Victorian Era?

    • How do characters in literature represent different philosophies regarding the relationship between human beings and nature?  

    History (Group 3)

    • To what extent was Filippo Brunelleschi responsible for the rebirth of classical architecture in Italy in the early fifteenth century?

    • What factors were most responsible for the US decision to invade Iraq in 2002?

    • What factors led to the US initiating Project MKUltra, and why was it unsuccessful?

    • How did the societal hierarchies facilitated under different regimes influence later ethnic conflict in Saddam Hussein’s Iraq?

    • What were the effects of the US boycotts of the Olympics games in the 1980s?

    • What factors led to the evolution of piracy in Somalia?

    • To what extent can Philippine-American War from 1898-1902 be defined as a genocide? 

    Psychology (Group 3)

    • To what extent can Body Dysmorphic Disorder be linked to biological factors?

    • What are the Causes of Player Toxicity in MOBA Styled Video Games?

    • To What Extent Does Friendship Improve the Well-Being of Individuals with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities?

    • To What Extent is Flashbulb Memory an Evolutionary Adaptation? 

    Math (Group 5)

    • How do fractals apply in computer graphics? 

    Theatre (Group 6)

    • To what extent does Dario Fo’s theory of satire apply to three satirical theatrical productions? 

    For more information or questions about the Extended Essay please contact:  Matt Johnson, Extended Essay Coordinator at mjohnson@bscsd.org


    Extended Essay Guide

     IB Extended Essay Exhibition