What is a ‘baccalaureate education’?

There is no clear definition of the word baccalaureate, yet it is an increasingly important concept in educational philosophy and curriculum design.  This definition is offered by the Anglo European School;

A baccalaureate programme is an educational experience that is broad (involving all major subject disciplines); balanced (in that specialisation is deferred or avoided) and coherent (with clear values, learner outcomes and themes which add relevance to subject study).  The programme adds up to more than the sum of its parts and provides for the rounded education of the student.

Learning is concurrent to enable connections to be made and the programme is founded on a very clear set of values.  A baccalaureate will also contain a core of learning common to all learners which could include individual research, an element of study skills, work experience/internship and an opportunity to demonstrate service above self.  The core provides an opportunity for learning to be applied as well as to deepen understanding and enrich learning itself.

Where appropriate, assessment is rigorous and based on agreed criteria which are not subject to change other than as part of periodic systematic review.


The International Baccalaureate Organisation offers four programmes: the Diploma (16-19), the Career-related Programme (16-19), the Middle Years Programme (11-16) and the Primary Years Programme (4-11).  The Diploma is often cited as the global standard for baccalaureates.

However, there are others.  For example, the Welsh Baccalaureate, the French Baccalaureate, the AQA Baccalaureate.  The English ‘Baccalaureate’ comprises five subjects at Key Stage 4– Mathematics, English, Science, a language and Geography or History but has no core.