Subject Overview: Individuals and Societies


The MYP individuals and societies subject group incorporates disciplines traditionally studied under humanities and social sciences. This subject group encourages learners to respect and understand the world around them, and equips them with the necessary skills to inquire into historical, geographical, political, social, economic, and cultural factors that affect individuals, societies and environments. At Impington we divide Individuals and Societies in three discrete subject areas: history, geography and ethics.


The study of individuals and societies helps students to appreciate critically the diversity of human culture, attitudes and beliefs. Courses in this subject group are important for helping students to recognise that both content and methodology can be debatable and controversial, and for practising the tolerance of uncertainty. 


The IB’s approach to this subject area includes a strong focus on inquiry and investigation. Students collect, describe and analyse data; test hypotheses; and learn how to interpret increasingly complex information, including original source material. This focus on real-world examples, research and analysis is an essential aspect of the subject group. 

The aims of MYP individuals and societies are to encourage and enable students to: 


  • appreciate human and environmental commonalities and diversity 
  • understand the interactions and interdependence of individuals, societies and the environment 
  • understand how both environmental and human systems operate and evolve 
  • identify and develop concern for the well-being of human communities and the natural environment
  • act as responsible citizens of local and global communities 
  • develop inquiry skills that lead towards conceptual understandings of the relationships between individuals, societies and the environments in which they live.

Assessment criteria Each individuals and societies objective corresponds to one of four equally weighted assessment criteria. Each criterion has eight possible achievement levels (1–8), divided into four bands with unique descriptors that teachers use to make judgments about students’ work. 


Criterion A: Knowing and understanding 

Students develop factual and conceptual knowledge about individuals and societies. 


Criterion B: Investigating 

Students develop systematic research skills and processes associated with disciplines in the humanities and social sciences. Students develop successful strategies for investigating independently and in collaboration with others. 


Criterion C: Communicating 

Students develop skills to organise, document and communicate their learning using a variety of media and presentation formats.


Criterion D: Thinking critically 

Students use critical-thinking skills to develop and apply their understanding of individuals and societies and the process of investigation.


In year 7 Geography you will study globalisation and specifically, its effect on the retail industry, sustainability and resource management and rainforests.


In year 7 History you will study the Medieval experience of authority, innovation and change in the early modern period and the history of minorities and persecuted groups. The third unit in history is the Interdisciplinary unit with Language and Literature.


In year 7 Ethics you will explore the ethical implications around questions such as: Am I my Brother’s keeper? How effective is peaceful process as a means of challenging power? And What do Buddhism and Christianity teach us about ethics?.