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Extended Essay: World Studies Extended Essay Guidance

A guide to the research process involved in your EE.

Introduction to the world studies extended essay

The WSEE invites students to conduct an in-depth, interdisciplinary investigation into an issue of contemporary global importance (maximum 4,000 words).


Examples of potential topics include:

Global health crisis Climate change Terrorism
Energy security Migration Global health problems
Disaster relief and rehabilitation Civil protest and unrest Global financial crisis
Disadvantaged groups Infringements on human rights Discrimination and persecution

Interdisciplinary approach

The perspective of just one subject may not be adequate to address complex issues like these. The WSEE therefore requires students to bring together aspects of different disciplines to illuminate their chosen topic.

Students should use two Diploma Programme subjects. It is strongly recommended that students are undertaking a course of study in at least one of the subjects chosen for their essay.

Students are not expected to address the topic in its full complexity, but should aim to generate understandings that are new to them



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

  • The student examines two geographical case studies to explore whether religious beliefs affect attitudes towards HIV/AIDS in Oslo and Mombasa.
  • The student examines one or two events to evaluate relief efforts after natural disasters, and suggests ways to make these more responsive.
  • The student examines one or two interventions to investigate what determines the success or failure of sanctions imposed by the United Nations.

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.


The aims of the WSEE are to enable students to:

  • frame and understand complex contemporary world problems for in-depth study
  • gather and synthesize insights from two different disciplines to better understand the issue
  • develop global consciousness—a disposition to recognize and understand local and global relationships in dynamic interaction
  • view themselves as interpreters of and actors in an increasingly interconnected world.