ISS High School Diploma


As an alternative to the International Baccalaureate Diploma (IBDP), the ISS High School Diploma (HSD) programme is offered for Grade 9 to Grade 12 students. The ISS HSD is an option that will enable students to graduate after 12 years of study and apply for entry into Colleges, Polytechnics, Foundation Courses (and universities under certain conditions*).

The central ethos of the ISS High School Diploma (HSD) is that students will be given the opportunity to gain the skills required to pursue a career that they are passionate about, or have a strong interest in. The ISS HSD includes practical vocational experience through service learning projects, thereby enabling our students to realise their individual potential in a more personal, tangible and pronounced manner.

Student Suitability with the ISS HSD

The ISS HSD is chosen by students who would prefer:

  • To focus on a more specific range of subjects, vocational courses and work experience
  • A course that is more flexible and allows for more personal bespoke options
  • A course that is more suited to their language and academic needs
  • A course that provides a clear pathway to a specific vocation


The curriculum at ISS in Grades 9 and 10 follows the IB Middle Years Programme (IBMYP).  Students then choose to continue with the IBDP or the ISS HSD. The HSD curriculum in Grades 11 and 12 includes some IBDP courses to be followed along with custom-built courses developed from a range of global curricula.

Subjects pursued in the ISS HSD

Subjects pursued in Grades 9 and 10

Students study a combination of core subjects, as well as a combination of 1-4 elective subjects. 

  • English Language & Literature or English Acquisition*
  • Mathematics
  • Science
  • Social Studies (Individuals and Societies)
  • Foreign Language or Mother Tongue 
  • Electives (Visual Art, Drama, Music, Design)
  • Physical Health Education
  • Service as Action Programme
    * English as an Additional Language (EAL)

Subjects pursued in Grades 11 and 12

  • English Language and Literature SL or English B SL (IBDP course)
  • Mathematics SL (IBDP Course)
  • Science
  • Social Studies
  • Language Acquisition (Foreign Language) or Language & Literature SL (Mother Tongue) (IBDP Course)
  • Electives – Students choose electives each semester, possible electives include but are not exhaustive:
    • Art 
    • Drama
    • Music
    • Business Studies
    • Marketing
    • Sports Science
    • Computer Science
    • Product Design
  • Physical Health Education (eligible for elective credits)
  • Creativity, Activity, Service (CAS) Programme

English B students in this programme are also offered the opportunity to take the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) course. 

ISS HSD Graduation Requirements

Students who choose the ISS HSD can take a combination of International Baccalaureate (IB) and ISS courses. Regardless of their subject choice, students are required to attain a minimum of 23 credits over their 4 year** journey in order to graduate – a student must also complete the Service as Action programme in Grades 9 and 10, and a Creativity, Activity, Service (CAS) programme in Grades 11 and 12. Please refer to this link for details of the grading criteria.

Subject Credits
English 4
Mathematics 3
Science 3
Social Studies 3
Language other than English 2
Electives 8
Total Minimum Credits*** 23


** Credits accumulated from other educational institutions can be used to meet the minimum credit requirement

***This is the minimum credit required to earn an ISS High School Diploma; completing this does not guarantee admission into universities or colleges. Most universities will require 4 credits in English, Math, Science and Social Studies.

How are the examinations developed / administered in the ISS HSD?

Examinations are administered by both ISS International School and the International Baccalaureate (IB), depending on the combination of subjects selected by students.   


With accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) and Council of International Schools (CIS), ISS is recognised to meet the examination criteria and standards required of universities* globally.

*Higher Education / Tertiary Pathways

HSD students can choose from a range of tertiary institutions that include community colleges, polytechnics, vocational institutions, and universities. Admission requirements for all tertiary institutions differ around the world, depending on selected courses of study.  However, Community Colleges and/or Universities in the USA will often accept students with a high school transcript and the HS Diploma (which includes some IB certificates), and students may be accepted directly into undergraduate programmes if they are able to show academic aptitude in an SAT or ACT test. Universities in Japan, Korea, Singapore may also accept the HSD with SAT test scores. Most universities in the UK, Canada and Australia will require students with the ISS HSD qualification to complete a one-year foundation programme and admission may not be possible for highly competitive universities. Please discuss future plans with our University Adviser, who will be able to personally guide and advise each student on their options and choices.

A comparison of the ISS HSD and the IBDP

Entry requirements:

  ISS High School Diploma Programme (HSD)

IB Programme*   (IBMYP/IBDP)

Years to complete programme

(Grades 9 to 12)

*As a prerequisite to Grade 11 HSD, Students must complete Grades 9 and 10


(Grades 9 and 10)


(Grades 11 and 12)


*As a prerequisite to IBDP, Students must complete Grades 9 and 10

Who is this programme suitable for? The ISS High School Diploma is a blended academic pathway to University, for students aged 14-18.  

This enables students to choose from a combination of IB and ISS-designed courses.  At the same time, students are able to acquire practical vocational experience.

The International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP) is a broad and academically challenging course for students aged 16-18 years. It is a widely recognised pre-university qualification welcomed by leading universities in numerous countries.
Curriculum Structure in Grade 11 and 12 A combination of ISS-HSD courses plus 3 International Baccalaureate (IBDP)  in Grades 11 and 12. 


Service as Action / CAS Programme

Practical vocational experience (Grades 11 & 12 only)

A combination of 6 subjects

  • 3 Higher Level subjects (required)
  • 3 Standard Level subjects

Theory of Knowledge (taught course)

Extended essay (4000 word research essay)

CAS Programme

What is the grading system and minimum requirement to graduate? Link for grading criteria (HSD) Link for grading criteria (DP)
Examinations ISS Internal Examinations plus the option to choose to take Externally set IB Diploma examinations in English and Mathematics. External Diploma Examinations set by the IB.

For more information and enrolment requirements, please contact our Admissions Team at +65 6475 4188 or drop us an email at

Should you need any further information, please do not hesitate to fill out our Inquiry Form.