World Studies & Other Interdisciplinary Studies

What is a World Studies or Other Interdisciplinary Studies Extended Essay?

Interdisciplinary approach

An interdisciplinary extended essay (EE) gives students an opportunity to undertake an in-depth and independent investigation into a topic of their choice that considers the relationship between subjects and allows for meaningful connections to be made in relation to their chosen area of research.

For example, in literature and performance, students focus on the nature of the relationships that occur between a chosen text and its adaptation for performance; in world studies an issue of contemporary global significance is explored through the lenses of two subjects; and in environmental systems and societies the interaction and integration of natural environmental systems and human societies are explored.

Students undertaking one of these options must demonstrate a solid understanding of their area of research, taking a fully integrated approach. This examination must be shown in the form of:


The aims of the WSEE are to enable students to:


Students are encouraged to focus on just one or two contexts in some depth, for example: 

Students can refer to other places and events beyond the primary context(s) when relevant to the argument. In fact, the IB encourages this as it displays global consciousness. However, a detailed contextualized study of these additional cases is impossible within the 4,000-word limit.


Primary methods involve analysis of texts, visual sources, paintings, play texts, live performances and personal contacts. In the case of environmental systems and societies essays, students can take a quantitative data analysis approach through collection of data from fieldwork, laboratory experimentations, surveys or interviews.

Secondary methods include the collection of books, newspaper and magazine articles, interviews and websites on the focus of the student’s research. The use of other materials, such as pictures, plans and reviews, is encouraged but should not overwhelm the EE to the detriment of the research discourse.

The method is specifically important to the manner in which the student will analyze their sources against existing knowledge or more specifically knowledge gleaned from IB Coursework. 


*courtesy of Nicholas Wellington (THANKS!)

Potential Topics

World Studies EE Supervisors Introduction

Visual ways to look at Interdisciplinary Extended Essays

*Courtesy of Liz Keating (American School of Madrid)

Key Documents

A step by step WSEE Interdisciplinary guide

World Studies EE Guide

World Studies.pdf

World Studies EE Report

World Studies, Subject Report, May 2018.pdf

Useful Documents

Formulating a WS RQ
An introduction in World Studies EEs
How to approach writing a case study research paper



Best Approach: Global significance - local manifestation

*Courtesy of Justyna McMillan, International School Bangkok, IB Coordinator and Dean of Academics, (THANKS)

World Studies and Interdisciplinary Studies Assessment Criteria Explained

World Studies Assessment Criteria Explained
Notes from the WSEE Subject Report May 2018

Potential Questions


*Courtesy of Justyna McMillan (THANKS)


WSEE Stuff you ought to know