Syllabus SL


The course comprises five topics: three from the core and two chosen from the five options.

At least two aspects must be covered in each of the five topics that make up the course.

For example, a course could be structured as follows.


Aspects covered

Communication and media


Bias in media

Global issues

Global warming


Social relationships

Language and identity

Social structures


Diet and nutrition

Drug abuse

Science and technology

Ethics and science

Impact of IT on society

The core and the options  must be studied within the context of the culture(s) of the target language. The order in which the components of both the core and the options are presented in this guide is not an indication of the sequence in which they should be taught.

In addition, the suggested aspects for the core and the options do not have defined delimitations—they may be interrelated and may be perceived from more than one topic’s perspective. The aspects listed are neither prescriptive nor exhaustive. For example, one can approach “drug abuse” from a number of angles such as the effect of drug addiction on the addict’s relationship with family members, the way in which reality TV shows address drug addiction, the funding of initiatives to raise awareness, the effect of drug abuse on one’s health, athletes on performance drugs, and the use of scientific research to combat drug addiction.


There are three topics in the core.

  • Communication and media
  • Global issues
  • Social relationships

These three topics are compulsory at SL and HL. Students are required to study at least two aspects from each core topic.

Communication and media

How people interact, transmit and gather data for the purposes of information and entertainment.

Possible aspects to cover:

  • advertising
  • bias in media
  • censorship
  • internet
  • mail
  • press
  • radio and television
  • sensationalism in media
  • telephone.
Global issues

Current matters and future scenarios that have an impact at a regional, national and/or international level, bearing in mind that they need to be addressed from the perspective of the target language’s culture(s).

Possible aspects to cover:

  • drugs
  • energy reserves
  • food and water
  • global warming, climate change, natural disasters
  • globalization
  • international economy
  • migration (rural–urban, or international)
  • poverty and famine
  • racism, prejudice, discrimination
  • the effect of man on nature
  • the environment and sustainability.
Social relationships

How people interrelate and behave—as members of a community, individually and in groups.

Possible aspects to cover:

  • celebrations, social and religious events
  • educational system
  • language and cultural identity, or self-identity
  • linguistic dominance
  • minorities
  • multilingualism
  • nationalism, patriotism, fanaticism
  • relationships (friendship, work, family)
  • social and/or political structures
  • social behaviours and stances
  • taboos versus what is socially acceptable.


There are five topics in the options.

  • Cultural diversity
  • Customs and traditions
  • Health
  • Leisure
  • Science and technology

Teachers select two topics. At least two aspects must be studied from each selection.

Cultural diversity

The ethnic, gender, racial, ideological and socio-economic varieties within a community of the target language.

Possible aspects to cover:

  • beliefs, values and norms
  • culinary heritage
  • how culture is learned
  • intercultural assimilation
  • interlinguistic influence
  • language diversity
  • migration
  • population diversity
  • subcultures
  • the concepts of human beauty
  • verbal and non-verbal communication.
Customs and traditions

The current and past practices, representations, expressions and knowledge that belong to a community of the target language.

Possible aspects to cover:

  • celebrations, social and religious events
  • dress codes, uniforms
  • etiquette and protocols
  • fashion
  • food
  • historical events
  • national costumes
  • the arts.

Physical, mental and social well-being, as well as matters related to illnesses.

Possible aspects to cover:

  • concepts of beauty and health
  • diet and nutrition
  • drug abuse
  • epidemics
  • health services
  • hygiene
  • illnesses, symptoms of good/ill health
  • mental health
  • physical exercise
  • surgery
  • traditional and alternative medicine.

The variety of activities performed for enjoyment.

Possible aspects to cover:

  • entertainment
  • exhibitions and shows
  • games
  • hobbies
  • recreation
  • social interaction through leisure
  • sports
  • travelling.
Science and technology

The relationship between science and technology, and their impact on a community of the target language.

Possible aspects to cover:

  • entertainment
  • ethics and science
  • ethics and technology
  • impact of information technology on society
  • natural sciences
  • renewable energy
  • scientific research
  • social sciences.

Puedes practicar la gramática en esta página y esta otra.