Global politics

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The global politics course explores fundamental political concepts such as power, equality, sustainability, and peace in a range of contexts and at a variety of levels.

It allows students to develop an understanding of the local, national, international and global dimensions of political activity, as well as allowing them the opportunity to explore political issues affecting their own lives. 

Global politics draws on a variety of disciplines in the social sciences and humanities. It helps students to understand abstract political concepts by grounding them in real world examples and case studies, and also invites comparison between such examples and case studies to ensure a transnational perspective.

Developing international mindedness and an awareness of multiple perspectives is at the heart of this course. It encourages dialogue and debate, nurturing the capacity to interpret competing and contestable claims.

All standard level and higher-level students complete a common core under the central unifying theme of  "people, power and politics". This consists of four core units:

  • Power, sovereignty and international relations 
  • Human rights 
  • Development
  • Peace and conflict.

All standard level and higher-level students also undertake an engagement activity through which they study a political issue of interest experientially. Students complement their experiential learning with more theoretical perspectives from research and submit a written report summarising their investigation.

Higher-level students also examine two contemporary global political challenges, through a case studies approach.   

For more information on global politics, please familiarize yourself with global politics guide available on the global politics page on the programme resource centre.

Learn more about global politics in a DP workshop for teachers

Global politics subject brief

Subject briefs are short two-page documents providing an outline of the course. Read the standard level (SL) and/or higher level (HL) subject brief below. 

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Global politics SL & HL - first assessment in 2026 (PDF, 400 KB) pdf

Global politics SL - first assessment in 2017 (PDF, 644 KB) pdf

Global politics HL - first assessment in 2017 (PDF, 644 KB) pdf

Latest curriculum updates

This subject is reviewed by the IB regularly to ensure the latest educational research is applied. Please keep up to date with the latest subject updates for Global politics.