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Questions about IB Math? Here’s how we can help!

Senior Development Manager Marie Vivas shares a variety of resources on the new math courses and provides a recognition update.

A large, empty classroom, lit by morning light.

By Marie Vivas

We have spent a lot of time in the past few months preparing for the new IB Math courses. In fact, with schools starting, our Diploma Programme (DP) and Career-related Programme (CP) educators are doing first teaching of these new courses even as we speak! Plus, our university colleagues are answering questions on the road and working with their institutions on adjusting their admissions and credit policies, gearing up for Fall 2021, when they will welcome the first cohort of Mathematics: Analysis and Approaches (AA) and Mathematics: Applications and Interpretation (AI).

As part of our work in IB recognition, we have done a lot of outreach to schools and universities and shared a variety of resources with different stakeholders. For universities, we have provided Subject Guides and short explanations of the new courses. For schools, we created a best fit guide and collaborated with International ACAC on a free webinar. And in the past few weeks, we published the official AA and AI Subject Briefs on our website! By the way, I just learned that is what the cool kids (the IB math teachers) are calling the new courses.

As the summer days wind down and the reality of back to school sinks in, I thought this would be a great time to compile all available resources in one easily accessible place. This is a little long … but please stick with me until the end because it’s really great stuff!

And last but certainly not least, here’s a summary of the overall IB Maths recognition trends in our three regions:

DP mathematics subjects chart 2019 Eng

Africa, Europe, Middle East Region

From a country perspective, Austria, Finland, Ireland, Georgia, Switzerland, Norway, Denmark, Spain, Netherlands and the UK have recognised both courses and will be advising their respective universities to set their admission criteria.

Germany recognizes both Mathematics HL courses to contribute to a general university admission qualification (Allgemeine Hochschulzugangsberechtigung) and recognizes both Mathematics SL courses to contribute to a subject specific university admission qualification (FachgebundeneHochschulzugangsberechtigung). Both new mathematics subjects at SL will allow access to universities and tertiary educational institutions for all subjects, except those related to mathematics, technical studies and natural sciences.

In the UK, prestigious institutions such as Imperial College, London have published acceptance of both courses for the majority of their bachelor’s degrees.

In Spain All Mathematics courses accepted for access to Social Science university pathways. Analysis and approaches HL accepted for access to Science, Technology and Engineering courses.

In Jordan, the MoE has approved both SL and HL courses for access to higher education scientific courses.

All the relevant ERIC NARIC and equivalency centres throughout Africa, Europe and the Middle-East have been informed of the new Mathematics courses. Please feel free to contact [email protected] if you require our support in speaking to a university.

Asia-Pacific Region

Both new Mathematics courses at HL and SL are fairly accepted by universities in Asia Pacific from countries such as Hong Kong, Singapore, New Zealand and Australia. Universities may have different admissions criteria depending on their course requirements. Please find below for more details on Maths recognition by country:

In Hong Kong, both courses at HL and SL will be sufficient to meet Maths requirements for admissions to courses that require a more robust prior learning in Maths such as Engineering and the Sciences:

  • Both Maths courses at HL and SL are recognized by Chinese University of Hong Kong and the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology.
  • For the University of Hong Kong, both Maths courses in either SL or HL are accepted for courses in Finance and Economics program while Engineering and Sciences program will accept both subjects at HL only.

In Singapore, universities also recognize the new Maths subjects as meeting requirements for admissions:

  • Nanyang Technological University—programs that require SL/HL Maths will be met by either of the new Maths courses in SL or HL except for Physics program which only accepts MAA HL.
  • Singapore Management University and Singapore Institute of Technology accept both new Maths courses in SL or HL as meeting the Maths requirements where pre-requisites are stipulated.
  • Singapore University of Technology and Design considers MAA in HL and SL, and MAI in HL as meeting Maths requirements.

In New Zealand, universities recognize the new Maths curriculum as meeting literacy requirements for university entrance:

  • The University of Auckland has stated that the new developments in Maths courses will only have impact on Engineering program which has pre-requisites for Maths and Physics. Both new Maths courses in HL are preferred while MAA SL will be considered based on the grade achieved.
  • Lincoln University accepts either Maths courses in HL and SL to satisfy requirements for university entrance.

In Australia, universities generally refer to subject mapping released by the Australasian Conference of Tertiary Admission Centres (ACTAC). The mapping considers MAA HL and SL, and MAI HL as meeting the minimum Maths requirements to programs such as Engineering and Sciences.

Please note that the list above does not reflect all universities’ admissions criteria in the region. The team continues to communicate the new Maths courses to higher education institutes. We strongly advise schools to contact the university directly if they are unsure of the admissions criteria. Please feel free to contact [email protected] if you require our support in speaking to a university.

Screenshot_2019-08-22 dp-maths-recognition-guide pdf

Americas Region

In terms of admission, most US universities recognize the IB Diploma, and courses, as meeting the admissions requirements for their institutions. It is quite reasonable to assume that students seeking admission into 97% of US universities should have no trouble being admitted with any of the new Math courses. That said, for students applying to programs that require very strong mathematics preparation, they should be advised that many universities will want to see Analysis HL for engineering, physics and similar fields. They may accept Applications HL for business types of courses, but they are waiting for their faculty complete their evaluations.

There are a number of states in the US where there are policies in place for publicly funded HEIs. Those policies do not address specific courses for credit or admissions. But they do provide good guidance. Case in point Florida, Texas, Illinois, Washington State, Kansas, and Oregon, will accept HL and SL courses for credit based on a threshold score. In the case of the University of California system, all four courses have been accepted as meeting the A-G requirements for admission.

In highly selective universities, such as the Ivy league schools, they will evaluate based on what the applicant pool is presenting. Their applicant pool is the most competitive and they will most likely bring HL courses in Math. For highly selective institutions where there are competitive business and engineering programs the applicant pool is likely to be quite heavy in Analysis HL.

In Latin America we are working with our higher education partners to provide materials and information that will inform their recognition policies. We are also supporting key stakeholders who are in contact with related government agencies.

In Canada many institutions are in the evaluation stage, but our major destinations have issued the following statements:

In the Province of Quebec—The Academic Affairs Committee, composed of the Vice-Rectors for Academic Affairs or Studies of Quebec Universities, have stated that they do not anticipate issues regarding admissions to their programs as a result of the adjustments made to mathematics education as part of the International Baccalaureate program.

University of Toronto

New IB Mathematics courses with first assessment in May 2021

The following IB Math courses will satisfy the Calculus prerequisite for science and business programs:

  • Mathematics: Applications and Interpretations HL
  • Mathematics: Analysis and Approaches SL
  • Mathematics: Analysis and Approaches HL
  • Mathematics: Applications and Interpretations SL will satisfy Advanced Functions prerequisite. For engineering programs, please consult the Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering directly.

McGill University

For our programs which have Maths as a prerequisite requirement, we will accept HL & SL Analysis and HL Applications.

As with the current Math Studies, SL Applications will not be accepted as a prerequisite.

University of British Columbia

The UBC Department of Mathematics has reviewed the new IB Math courses that will be offered by the International Baccalaureate Organization as of September 2019, and we would like to advise you on program-specific Math requirements for admission to both the UBC Vancouver and UBC Okanagan campuses, effective for admission starting in September 2021.

  • IB Math Analysis and Approaches SL or HL is required for:
    • All Science-based programs at both campuses, including Science, Applied Science (Engineering), Land & Food Systems and Forestry.
    • Business programs, including Bachelor of Commerce-Vancouver, Bachelor of International Economics-Vancouver and Bachelor of Management-Okanagan
    • Human Kinetics-Okanagan, Media Studies-Okanagan
    • Bachelor of Kinesiology-Vancouver, where IB Math is being used to meet the prerequisite requirement.  This program requires one of IB Math, IB Biology, IB Chemistry or IB Physics (SL or HL)
  • IB Math Applications and Interpretations SL or HL is required for:
    • Any other program that does not require the equivalent of IB Math 12 Analysis and Approaches SL or HL or equivalent
  • IB Math Analysis and Approaches SL or HL would be eligible for first-year credit with a minimum final IB score of 6.
  • IB Math Applications and Interpretations SL or HL would be ineligible for any first-year credit.

Please feel free to contact [email protected] if you require our support in speaking to a university.

If you have any questions or would like to share some resources with the rest of our community, please reach out to us at [email protected]

I’m Looking forward to working with all of you to provide the best support to our students.

Have a wonderful return to school and thanks for following our blog!


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Want to compare the new IB Maths courses? See our guide to Mathematics: analysis and approaches and Mathematics: applications and interpretation.


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