IB Psychology (HL) in less than 180 hours!

Travis DixonCurriculum, Themantics

This is what I looked like whilst trying to figure out the IB Psychology curriculum.

By teaching the course holistically and integrating the core and options, it’s possible to teach the IB Psychology course content in more depth and in less time.

Below you can see how I intend on teaching  my HL Psychology class in less than 180 hours with the help of my textbook, IB Psychology: A Student’s Guide. 

What I should point out first, however, is that I will use all the hours I have scheduled (255+). The 180 hours refers to the structured, content-based lessons that are necessary to cover the course. The other 70+ hours will be used for things like tests, independent student research on topics of interest, teaching writing, research and other essential skills, course review, exam revision, etc.

In the past I’ve felt under pressure for the whole two years of the course and always feeling like I had to skim through things half complete. With the themantic model applied to the new course and the book to help, I have so much extra time that I’m enjoying teaching a lot more. My sincere hope is that it can help other teachers and students, too.

Read also “IB Psychology (SL) in less than 125 hours!”


Travis’ HL Psychology Course Overview

(with Abnormal Psych’ and Human Relationships)

Year One

                                              Total = 179 Lessons!

  • Introduction                                           (Chapter One)
    • 8 Lessons
  • Criminology (+ HL Ext.)                        (Chapter Two)
    • 30 Lessons
  • Social Influence (+ HL Ext.)                  (Chapter Three)
    • 35 Lessons
  • Quantitative Methods                            (Chapter Six)
    • 18 Lessons
  • Internal Assessment                              (Chapter Seven)
    • 20 Lessons

Year Two

  • PTSD (+ HL Ext.)                                      (Chapter Four)
    • 30 Lessons
  • Love and Marriage                                 (Chapter Five)
    • 14 Lessons
  • HL Extensions
    • 10 Lessons                                        (Chapter Eight)
  • Qualitative Methods (HL Only)             (Chapter Nine)
    • 14 Lessons
  • Course Review and Exam Prep
    • Remaining Time!


You can download Travis’ complete course outline here.

While on the surface the themantic model of curriculum applied in the textbook seems prescriptive and restricting, the reduction in hours means that there’s plenty of flexibility for teachers to play around with the course by adding, adapting, removing, amending particular lessons, topics or units, just like you would with any other text. The difference, I hope, is that this can now be done risk free, as everything a kid needs to succeed can be accomplished in 180 hours!


Please feel free to share this post with other IB Psychology teachers you think might be interested.