Group 1 courses in language and literature focus on the idea of text and language within a cultural context, on critical literacy and on the constructed meaning of language. The courses explore literature, language and mass communication.
At Pearson, we offer Language A, Language and Literature instruction in English, French, Spanish and Arabic. The courses are meant for students who are native or very advanced speakers of those four languages.
In addition to these four courses, the College also offers Literature A School-Supported Self-taught for everyone whose strongest language is not English, French, Spanish or Arabic. You will attend this class in your first year to help you to develop the analytical skills and guide you through the study of works of literature in English and your first language.
Students who receive a mark of 3 or higher in a Language A other than (or in addition to) English will be awarded a bilingual diploma by the IB.
If you have had instruction in English, French or Spanish as a second language previously, you can continue to study these languages at Pearson. The Language B courses investigate literature, media and culture through a variety of different methods to develop linguistic fluency.
LANGUAGE AB INITIO
For everyone who has had little exposure to or wants to learn a new language, we offer Spanish and French at a beginner level. All students complete language assessments upon arrival in order to determine the most appropriate language course placements.
Important Note Regarding Language Study
In recognizing that English and French are the two official languages of Canada, we expect Canadian students to be fluent in both languages or to be working towards greater proficiency in these languages. If you are a Canadian who wishes to be exempt from studying French or English, you must demonstrate fluency on a placement test. Alternatively, if you have proficiency in an Indigenous language of Canada, you have the option of studying this language through school supported self-taught, if offered by the IB.
Group 3 – Individuals and Societies
Subject matter in Group 3 courses is contestable; study of these courses requires students to tolerate some uncertainty. Studying multiple perspectives fosters an appreciation of change, continuity, similarity and difference, and the diverse backgrounds of Pearson students contributes greatly to discussions and explorations.
The disciplines’ major theories, concepts, methods and arguments are investigated in order to develop strong analytical and critical-thinking skills, providing a solid foundation for university. No previous knowledge of the subjects is required.
This is the study of human behavior with the ultimate goal of satisfying needs in a context where resources are limited. Economics at Pearson tries to address the question: “How do we achieve well-being with limited resources and challenged ecosystems in a constantly changing world?”
The IB course is framed within the mainstream approach focusing on a globalized market-based system with government interventions. Using economic models, some quantitative methods and analytical tools, you will analyze economic phenomena and critically evaluate economic policies. After learning micro and macroeconomics, the focus turns to international trade and economic development. You are asked to approach economic issues by applying theory from diverse viewpoints. Classes are based on empirical evidence and facts of world current and past events, and include Socratic discussions, lecture-based sessions and some individual and group research using creative learning methodologies. All students will deepen their learning in theory of the firm and market structures.
The course explores fundamental political concepts, such as power, equality, sustainability and peace, in a range of contexts and through a variety of approaches. It allows students to develop an understanding of the local, national, and global dimensions of political activity, as well as the opportunity to explore political issues affecting their own lives. Global Politics is offered at the Standard and Higher Level.
This is the study of the past and people in it — not just what happened, but how people lived and, most importantly, why people did what they did. Ultimately, through critical reflection of the past, we hope to better understand the present and future. Our course focuses on 20th-century challenges to democracy (Mandela in South Africa, US Civil Rights Movement, Post-independence India) and single-party states. In the second year, you will study Communism in Crisis and Higher Level students will focus on East Asia.
Philosophy is the study, evaluation and construction of abstract concepts with real-world impact, such as humanity, freedom, consciousness, gender, democracy, nature and peace. Classes focus on building a collaborative atmosphere in which students can develop individual perspectives, compare cultural approaches, and evaluate philosophical arguments. Connecting philosophy with the UWC mission is emphasized. No previous study of philosophy is expected, only a tolerance for questioning, a willingness to experiment and a passion for truth.
Group 4 – Experimental Sciences
The science programs at Pearson College UWC are all based on an experimental approach to learning in our well-equipped laboratories. The courses also take full advantage of our natural environment, using the forest, the ocean and the sky as nature’s classrooms. Through a study of topical issues, students are taught to think critically and to develop a deeper understanding of some of the most pressing issues of global concern. An interdisciplinary group project completed during the first year also gives students an opportunity to experience the collaborative nature of scientific work.
The emphasis in the biology course is on developing a broad understanding of the following concepts as they apply to living organisms: structure and function, universality versus diversity, equilibrium within systems, and evolution. The topics covered include: ecology, molecular biology and genetics, biochemical processes, plant science and human physiology. There is no prerequisite for this course, although it is useful if you have some knowledge of chemistry. Biology is only offered at the Higher Level.
This is described as the central science, as chemical principles underpin both the physical environment and biological systems. The course includes a study of atomic theory, chemical bonding, energetics, kinetics, equilibria and organic chemistry. Through selected “option” topics, applications of chemistry in industry, medicine and the environment are discussed. The course at Higher Level covers the topics in more depth than at Standard Level, and requires a greater level of mathematical analysis. You do not need prior knowledge in chemistry at the Standard Level, however, some background is beneficial at the Higher Level.
This course offers an opportunity for you to explore many facets of physics through experimental enquiry and class discussion. Topics covered include classical mechanics, thermal physics, waves, electromagnetism, atomic and nuclear physics, energy, power and climate change, relativity and astrophysics. You will have an opportunity to use a variety of laboratory equipment including an astrophysical observatory. You do not need prior knowledge in physics at the Standard Level, however some background is beneficial at the Higher Level.
The location of the College on the ocean makes it ideally suited to the scientific study of the marine environment. You will study the origin and structure of oceans, patterns of water movement, properties of ocean water and the variety of marine ecosystems in existence. Be prepared to spend many classes outside in various marine ecosystems. This is a school-based course that is offered only at the Standard Level.
Group 5 – Mathematics
All students are required to complete a mathematics course, and three options are available to cater to different abilities and levels of student interest. Each course aims to deepen your understanding of mathematics as a discipline and to promote confidence and facility in the use of mathematical language.
You will be given a preliminary assessment during orientation week to help the department and you assess the best course choice for you.
The Higher Level course is primarily intended for those with a strong background and a passion for mathematics. This course will meet your needs if you are interested in pursuing mathematics, physics, computer science or engineering at university. The course includes the topics of three dimensional vector geometry, trigonometry, probability, complex numbers and calculus.
(Standard Level only) This course is best suited for you if you need mathematics as a tool to pursue a subject of major interest, but do not want the rigours of the Higher Level course or do not have sufficient background to access the Higher Level course. The topics covered are similar to those of Higher Level.
(Standard Level only) Mathematical Studies offers a thorough grounding in the kind of practical mathematics used in many university subjects. After a general review of numbers, algebra, sets, probability theory and functions, you are introduced to financial mathematics, statistical analysis and differential calculus — all of which are widely used in Humanities and Social Science courses. In this course you are required to complete a mathematical project which often leads to a statistical investigation.
Group 6 – The Arts
Group 6 subjects offer you an opportunity for exploration and creativity along with a deepened ability to critique and understand the historical, theoretical and social influences on art from a variety of eras and cultures.
This is a largely project-based subject. Through participation in our own productions and being an audience member, in workshops and class presentations, you will experience and analyze a diversity of theatre processes, productions and practices from different eras and cultures. The aim of the course is to extend your appreciation of and skill in a broad selection of the many functions and forms of theatre, so you may acquire an understanding of the historical, aesthetic and cultural significance of the art form. You do not need prior knowledge or experience in theatre to register in this course.
Artistic expression is common to all cultures and this subject will help you become comfortable approaching it, regardless of previous art training. Emphasis is placed on personal development, discovery, and opportunity for visual self-expression. The course involves regular studio work and investigation; this is the practical hands-on use of various techniques and materials. You will also learn curatorial and analytical skills — the historical, cultural and social aspects of visual art.
IB Core Program
Theory of Knowledge (TOK+)
TOK+UWC Skills combines theory and practice relevant to the IB Theory of Knowledge course with the UWC mission. By reframing perspectives and revealing assumptions, individuals and groups are enabled to contribute mindfully to an original and beneficial impact on society.
First year includes the majority of the IB TOK course and introduces relevant skills, while second year begins with the completion of TOK and continues as a practical, skills-based course delivered through project-based learning.
The Extended Essay
You will write a 4,000-word essay as a part of your diploma. The essay encourages you to deepen your program of study through a research question of your choosing and you will become acquainted with the kind of independent research and writing skills expected by universities.