International Baccalaureate

The Middle Years Programme - MYP

MYP Overview

Introduction to the Middle Years Programme Curricular Framework

The MYP is a course of study designed to meet the educational requirements of students aged between 11 and 16 years. Early and present curriculum developers of the Middle Years Programme have shared a common concern to prepare young people for the changing demands of life in the twenty-first century.

MYP students are at an age when they are making the transition from early puberty to mid-adolescence: this is a crucial period of personal, social, physical and intellectual development, of uncertainty and of questioning. The MYP has been devised to guide students in their search for a sense of belonging in the world around them. It also aims to help students to develop the knowledge, attitudes and skills they need to participate actively and responsibly in a changing and increasingly interrelated world. This means teaching them to become independent learners who can recognize relationships between school subjects and the world outside, and learn to combine relevant knowledge, experience and critical thinking to solve authentic problems.

The eight subject groups provide a broad, traditional foundation of knowledge, while the pedagogical devices used to transmit this knowledge aim to increase the students' awareness of the relationships between subjects. Students are encouraged to question and evaluate information critically, to seek out and explore the links between subjects, and to develop an awareness of their own place in the world.

The MYP aims to develop in students:

  • the disposition and capacity to be lifelong learners

  • the capacity to adapt to a rapidly changing reality problem-solving and practical skills and intellectual rigour

  • the capacity and self-confidence to act individually and collaboratively
    an awareness of global issues and the willingness to act responsibly

  • the ability to engage in effective communication across frontiers
    respect for others and an appreciation of similarities and differences.

Fundamental Concepts
Adolescents are confronted with a vast and often bewildering array of choices. The MYP is designed to provide students with the values and opportunities that will enable them to develop sound judgment. Learning how to learn and how to evaluate information critically is as important as the content of the disciplines themselves.
From its beginning, the MYP has been guided by three fundamental concepts that underpin its development, both internationally and in individual schools:

  • holistic learning

  • intercultural awareness

  • communication.

Holistic Learning
Holistic learning emphasizes the links between the disciplines, providing a global view of situations and issues. Students should become more aware of the relevance of their learning, and come to see knowledge as an interrelated whole. Students should see the cohesion and the complementarities of various fields of study, but this must not be done to the detriment of learning within each of the disciplines, which retain their own objectives and methodology.

Intercultural Awareness
Intercultural awareness is concerned with developing students' attitudes, knowledge and skills as they learn about their own and others' social and national cultures. By encouraging students to consider multiple perspectives, intercultural awareness not only fosters tolerance and respect, but may also lead to empathy.

Communication is fundamental to learning, as it supports inquiry and understanding, and allows student reflection and expression. The MYP places particular emphasis on language acquisition and allows students to explore multiple forms of expression.

Areas of Interaction
Students are required to experience and explore each of the five areas of interaction in every year of the programme:

  • approaches to learning (ATL), in which students take increasing responsibility for their learning

  • community and service, through which students become aware of their roles and their responsibilities as members of communities

  • homo faber, environment, health and social education, broad areas of student inquiry where personal as well as societal and global issues are investigated and debated.

The areas of interaction give the MYP its distinctive core. These areas are common to all disciplines and are incorporated into the MYP so that students will become increasingly aware of the connections between subject content and the real world, rather than considering subjects as isolated areas unrelated to each other and to the world. The MYP presents knowledge as an integrated whole, emphasizing the acquisition of skills and self-awareness, and the development of personal values. As a result, students are expected to develop an awareness of broader and more complex global issues.

The areas of interaction are explored through the subjects, thereby fulfilling their integrative function. Some aspects, however, may also be approached as separate modules and interdisciplinary projects throughout the MYP. Student participation in the areas of interaction culminates in the personal project.

Curricula Framework

Aims and Objectives

The objectives of each subject group are skills-based and broad enough to allow a variety of teaching and learning approaches. The precise choice and organization of content is left to schools in order to preserve flexibility. In some subjects the content is not specified while in others a framework of concepts or topics is prescribed for all students to address over the five years. Such prescription is kept to a minimum and schools expand their scope of topics and depth of treatment according to their individual needs and preferences.

The aims and objectives of the subject groups address all aspects of learning including knowledge, understanding, skills and attitudes.


The facts that the student should be able to recall to ensure competence in the subject.


How the student will be able to interpret, apply or predict aspects of the subject.


How the student will be able to apply what has been learned in new situations.


How the student is changed by the learning experience.

The IBO provide assessment criteria to assess students' work internally

Curriculum Model
The diagram below represents the curriculum model of the MYP. The five areas of interaction connect the development of the individual (at the centre) with the educational experience in all subject groups (at the outer points of the octagon).

International Baccalaureate Organization

These interactive areas are common to all disciplines with each subject developing general and specific aspects of the areas. In this way, the subject groups are also linked by the areas of interaction, demonstrating the interdisciplinary potential of the MYP. The five areas of interaction have no clear boundaries, but merge to form a context for learning that contributes to the student's experience of the curriculum.