IB Environmental Systems and Societies: Outline for Students and Parents

Environmental Systems and Societies (ESS) Overview

Minimum word course summary:

Study of the environment and how humans have an impact on it.  Analysis of the human impact from different perspectives such as  economic, historical, cultural, socio-political and scientific factors, to provide a holistic perspective on environmental issues. During the course, students work on case studies from local to global, and in an international context.

Main topics studied:

Topic 1: Foundations of environmental systems and societies

Topic 2: Ecosystems and ecology

Topic 3: Biodiversity and conservation

Topic 4: Water and aquatic food production systems and societies

Topic 5: Soil systems and terrestrial food production systems and societies

Topic 6: Atmospheric systems and societies

Topic 7: Climate change and energy production

Topic 8: Human systems and resource use

Main differences between HL and SL:

SL only

Skills most often seen in successful students:

Skills in writing, analyzing, discussing, evaluating. Interest in current affairs.
Maths: Any IB maths course

Relevant university courses:

Environmental sciences, ecology, combines well with economic studies, geography, sociology.

Other useful info for G10 students:

ESS is science based course but also takes in areas from economics, geography and sociology, as a result offers a wider range of interesting topics than most science subjects.

Further reading/Websites:

Official IB course summary IB ESS guide, IB ESS study guide

See also:

Holatutor guide to IB BiologyIB Chemistry, IB Physics


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