IB Group 4

Intent of the Programme

In Physics, there are three connected domains of knowledge and skills:

  1.     Laws of Physics

Students should be able to:

  • Describe and explain them as qualitative or quantitative models of reality
  • Describe their phenomenological and experimental basis
  • Describe their limitations
  • Describe their applications in, and implications for, daily life
  • Apply them to unfamiliar situations
  • Describe, where appropriate, their connections with one another
  1.     Experimental Skills

Students should be able to:

  • Follow instructions for experimental methods
  • Manipulate equipment safely and effectively
  • Record and analyse experimental data
  • Draw conclusions from those data in the formulation of a purely empirical model or in comparison with a proposed hypothesis or model
  • Design experiments to answer scientific questions of model generation or hypothesis testing
  1.     Social and Historical Aspects of Physics as an Evolving Body of Human Knowledge About Nature

Students should be able to:

  • Evaluate the impact, good, bad or neutral, that physics has had on daily life and society
  • Evaluate the roles that physicists have played in the evolution of the subject

Areas of Study

The syllabus content for the IB Physics programme is split into three parts: the subject specific core (SSC), the Additional Higher Level material (AHL) and the option. A brief summary of this content is provided below:

Subject Specific Core:

  • Topic 1       Measurements and Uncertainties
  • Topic 2       Mechanics
  • Topic 3       Thermal Physics
  • Topic 4       Waves
  • Topic 5       Electricity and Magnetism
  • Topic 6       Circular Motion and Gravitation
  • Topic 7       Atomic, Nuclear and Particle Physics
  • Topic 8       Energy Production

Additional Higher Level:

  • Topic 9       Wave Phenomena
  • Topic 10     Fields
  • Topic 11     Electromagnetic Induction
  • Topic 12     Quantum and Nuclear Physics

SL Option:

Option D    Astrophysics

HL Option:

Option D    Astrophysics


All candidates must also carry out a Group 4 project.


The final grade will be based on the examination result (80%) and on internally assessed practical work (20%).


Course notes $15.

Group 4 – Physics