Secondary Programme

At CIS, the Secondary programme aims to empower students to develop the knowledge, skills, attitudes and personal qualities they need to participate effectively in life in the 21st century.

Years 7 through 9 are foundational years focused on encouraging students to be active, open-minded, independent learners. Through a balanced curriculum, an extensive student affairs programme and a variety of co-curricular activities (CCAs), students are provided with a holistic learning environment that encourages life-long learning.

Years 10 and 11 are unique programmes that encourage students to develop greater self-knowledge while also becoming more active contributors to the various communities to which they belong. The Year 10 experience takes place at Hangzhou CIS and offers considerable scope for personalised, project-based and interdisciplinary learning, as well as a focus on service. In Year 11, students return to the Hong Kong campus and undertake a school-developed curriculum and assessment model, designed to bridge the gap between MYP and DP expectations, while aligning with the Hangzhou experience.

Years 12 and 13 maintain the whole-person approach, offering an academically challenging and engaging programme with a focus on helping students develop their intellectual curiosity, confidence, independence, and leadership capacity.

Dual-Language Learning

Students at every year-level take both English and Chinese throughout their time at CIS.

  • English and Chinese are for the most part independent subject courses, although in Years 7-9, specific units within Individuals and Societies are offered as a dual-language course.
  • Among other learning aims, students also have the chance to experience Mandarin as an everyday language through the China Experience Programme (see below).
  • In Year 10, the Hangzhou CIS programme offers students an unprecedented opportunity to use their language skills in daily life and through carefully planned beyond the classroom learning activities over the course of a full academic year.
  • Please note:
    • Beginning level Chinese classes are offered at several year levels, and students without prior knowledge of Chinese may apply. Traditional full-form characters are generally used, with simplified characters used 1) for foundation classes, 2) for students who have previously used only simplified characters, and 3) for specific materials generated in simplified characters.
    • Secondary students also have the opportunity to study either French or Spanish, beginning in Year 7.

IB Programmes at CIS

The International Baccalaureate Organisation's Middle Years and Diploma programmes have been adopted as the frameworks for much of the CIS curriculum because of their convergence with the CIS mission and because of the internationally recognised qualifications that they confer. CIS has long experience with the IB programmes, having offered the IBDP since 1992, and the IBMYP since 2002.

All students in Years 7-9 pursue the Middle Years Programme (IBMYP) and all students in Years 12-13 pursue the Diploma Programme (IBDP). Students in the final year of the IBMYP complete an internally assessed, service-focused Community Project. In Year 11, students pursue a school-based curriculum. These form a transition from the IBMYP and Hangzhou year into the IBDP.

At the end of Year 13, students sit internationally IB-administered exams. CIS has achieved exceptional results, with both top marks obtained by individual students, but even more notably, consistently strong average point scores achieved by large cohorts.

Universities around the world enthusiastically accept the IB Diploma for university entrance.

Middle Years Programme + Community Project (Years 7 - 9)

All students in Years 7-9 pursue the IBMYP. IBMYP students study 8 or 9 subjects, which are internally assessed by teachers according to IBMYP criteria. They also complete the "Community Project," a year-long undertaking involving research, reflection and writing about an area of interest in relation to a community service activity of the student's choice.

CIS Derived Academic Programme (Years 10 + 11)

In August 2018, the school embarked on an exciting initiative with regards to the Year 11 academic programme and this programme was extended to Year 10 in August 2020.  There has been a move away from the IBMYP assessment criteria to a school-developed assessment criteria model, with a number of new units being implemented in different subject areas. By implementing this change, the school has been able to design, structure and assess student development based on learning objectives and criteria more closely linked with bridging the gap between MYP and DP expectations. There is a desire to allow students to align their academic experiences more closely with the interdisciplinary work, and project based learning, which is central to the Hangzhou experience in Year 10.

IB Diploma Programme + Extended Essay (Years 12 + 13)

Students in Years 12 and 13 are candidates for the IB Diploma. Assessment in each IBDP course is based on a range of activities completed over the two-year period, in addition to final examinations at the end of Year 13. In addition to their six subjects, all Diploma students also complete three ‘core’ requirements: the “Creativity, Activity and Service” program, which exposes to students to new experiences outside the classroom, develops leadership potential, and supports the development of an ethos of service; the “Extended Essay,” an independent research project on a topic of the student’s choice; and the interdisciplinary “Theory of Knowledge” course. 

CIS has long experience with the IB programs. It has achieved exceptional results, with top marks obtained by individual students as well as consistently strong average point scores achieved by large cohorts of students. 

Year 7-11 Subjects

Students take at least ONE subject from each of these groups.

English Language & Literature

  • Chinese Language & Literature
  • Chinese Language Acquisition

  • Mathematics
  • Extended Mathematics

  • Biology, Chemistry & Physics coordinated

Individuals & Societies
  • Economics
  • Geography
  • History
  • Physcology 

Physical & Health Education
  • Drama
  • Film
  • Music
  • Visual Arts

  • Digital Design (Computer Science for Y11)
  • Product Design

In addition, students may choose to study a third language from the following two options:

  • French Language Acquisition
  • Spanish Language Acquisition

Year 12-13 Subjects
(IB Diploma Programme)

Students take ONE subject from each of these groups.

  • English Language and Literature
  • English Literature

  • Chinese Literature
  • Chinese Language & Literature
  • Chinese B (Language Acquisition)
  • Chinese Ab Initio SL

  • Economics
  • Geography
  • History
  • Psychology

  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Physics
  • Design Technology
  • Sports, Exercise & Health Science

  • Mathematics: Analysis & Approaches
  • Mathematics: Applications & Interpretation

  • Film
  • Music
  • Theatre
  • Visual Arts


  • French B
  • Spanish B
  • Economics
  • Chemistry
  • Computer Science

CIS Secondary on YouTube