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25+ Creative Topic Ideas for IB ESS Extended Essay

ess extended essay topics

Luke MacQuoid

The IB Environmental Systems and Societies (ESS) Extended Essay is an opportunity for students to explore a topic of their choice within the field of environmental science. The extended essay is a challenging and rewarding task, requiring in-depth research and critical thinking skills. However, choosing an ESS extended essay topic can be daunting. 

Are you ready to embark on an exciting and rewarding exploration journey in environmental science? The IB ESS Extended Essay is your chance to delve into a topic of your choice and showcase your research and critical thinking skills.

Choosing an environmental system and society topic for your extended essay can be daunting, but fear not! We have compiled a list of interesting and engaging ideas to inspire you in your quest for the perfect ESS extended essay topic. 

From the impact of urban agriculture on the environment to the ethics of conservation, these topics are sure to spark your interest and ignite your passion for environmental science.

With the world facing complex environmental challenges, there has never been a more important time to explore the science of sustainability. By selecting an ESS extended essay topic that aligns with your interests and the key concepts covered in the ESS course, you can contribute to our understanding of these challenges and showcase your skills as a researcher and academic writer .

So, grab your notepad and get ready to embark on a journey of discovery. The ESS extended essay is your chance to make a difference and contribute to a better future for our planet.

How to Invent a Good IB ESS topic?

Inventing a good ESS EE topic requires careful consideration of the key concepts and topics covered in the ESS course. Here are some tips to help you invent a good ESS EE topic:

1. Identify your interests

Choose a topic that you are interested in and passionate about. This will make the research process more enjoyable and motivating.

2. Choose a specific research question

Narrow down your topic to a specific research question that can be answered through research and data analysis. A good research question should be clear, specific, and answerable.

3. Consider the key concepts and topics covered in the ESS course

Ensure that your research question is relevant to the key concepts and topics covered in the ESS course. These include, but are not limited to, sustainability, ecosystems, biodiversity, pollution, climate change, and resource use.

4. Conduct preliminary research

Before finalizing your research question, conduct some preliminary research to ensure that there is enough information available to answer your question. This will also help you to refine your research question and identify potential data sources.

5. Consider the feasibility of data collection

Ensure that the data required to answer your research question is feasible to collect. This includes considering data availability, the time needed to collect data, and any ethical considerations related to data collection.

6. Consult with your ESS supervisor

Your ESS teacher can provide valuable guidance and feedback on your research question and extended essay topic. They can also help you identify potential data sources and provide guidance on data analysis.

Overall, inventing a good ESS extended essay topic requires careful consideration of your interests, the key concepts and topics covered in the ESS course, and the feasibility of data collection. 

With a clear research question and a well-planned research methodology, you can produce an IB EE demonstrating your understanding of environmental science and your ability to conduct research and data analysis.

List of IB ESS EE Topic Ideas

Here are some creative ideas to inspire your ESS extended essay topic:

Urban Agriculture: The Impact of Community Gardens on Urban Environments 

This topic explores the role of community gardens in urban environments. Students can investigate urban agriculture’s environmental, social, and economic benefits and the potential for these practices to mitigate urban environmental problems.

The Effect of Climate Change on Ocean Acidification 

ess ee topic ideas

This topic delves into the impact of climate change on ocean acidification, a process whereby carbon dioxide dissolves in seawater, reducing the pH level of the water. Students can investigate the effect of ocean acidification on marine ecosystems and the potential for mitigation strategies to address this issue.

The Environmental Impact of Industrial Agriculture 

This topic explores the environmental impact of industrial agriculture, including the use of pesticides, fertilizers, and other chemicals. Students can investigate the ecological, economic, and social consequences of industrial agriculture and the potential for alternative food systems.

The Ethics of Conservation: Balancing Human Needs with Environmental Protection 

This topic delves into conservation ethics, exploring the tension between human needs and environmental protection. Students can investigate the role of conservation in society, and the potential for ethical frameworks to guide conservation efforts.

The Impact of Air Pollution on Public Health 

This topic explores the impact of air pollution on public health, including respiratory and cardiovascular diseases. Students can investigate the sources of air pollution, the distribution of pollution across urban areas, and the potential for policy solutions to mitigate the health impacts of air pollution.

The Intersection of Environmental Justice and Climate Change 

This topic explores the intersection of environmental justice and climate change, examining the disproportionate impact of climate change on marginalized communities. Students can investigate the political, social, and economic factors contributing to environmental injustice and the potential for policy solutions to address these issues.

The Role of Renewable Energy in Sustainable Development 

This topic delves into the role of renewable energy in sustainable development, exploring the potential for renewable energy sources to mitigate climate change and promote social and economic development. Students can investigate the technological, economic, and political barriers to the widespread adoption of renewable energy, and the potential for policy solutions to promote a transition to a renewable energy future.

The Impacts of Plastic Pollution on Marine Ecosystems 

This topic explores the impact of plastic pollution on marine ecosystems, including the physical, chemical, and biological consequences. Students can investigate the sources of plastic pollution, the distribution of plastic waste across the ocean, and the potential for policy solutions to address this issue.

The Effects of Deforestation on Biodiversity Conservation 

ee in ess

This ESS topic delves into the impact of deforestation on biodiversity conservation, exploring the ecological, social, and economic consequences of deforestation. Students can investigate the drivers of deforestation, the impacts on local communities and biodiversity, and the potential for policy solutions to promote forest conservation.

The Implications of Energy Use on Climate Change 

This IA topic explores the implications of energy use on climate change, examining the role of fossil fuels in global greenhouse gas emissions. IB students can investigate the potential for renewable energy sources to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and the challenges associated with transitioning to a low-carbon economy.

The Intersection of Water Resources and Climate Change 

This topic explores the intersection of water resources and climate change, examining the impact of climate change on water availability, quality, and management. Students can investigate the potential for adaptive water management strategies to address climate change impacts, and the challenges associated with implementing such strategies.

The Role of Environmental Education in Promoting Sustainability 

This topic delves into the role of environmental education in promoting sustainability, exploring the potential for education to promote behavior change and sustainable practices. Students can investigate the effectiveness of environmental education programs, the challenges associated with implementing such programs, and the potential for innovative solutions.

The Impacts of Urbanization on Natural Ecosystems 

This ESS topic explores the impacts of urbanization on natural ecosystems, examining the ecological, social, and economic consequences of urbanization. Students can investigate the drivers of urbanization, the effects on local ecosystems and biodiversity, and the potential for policy solutions to promote sustainable urban development.

The Intersection of Food Security and Climate Change 

This IA ESS topic explores the intersection of food security and climate change, examining the impact of climate change on food production, distribution, and access. Students can investigate the potential for adaptive agricultural strategies to address climate change impacts, and the challenges associated with implementing such strategies.

The Implications of Soil Degradation on Agricultural Production

This topic delves into the implications of soil degradation on agricultural production, exploring the ecological, social, and economic consequences of soil degradation. Students can investigate the drivers of soil degradation, the impacts on local communities and food security, and the potential for soil conservation strategies to address this issue.

The Role of Ecotourism in Promoting Conservation 

ecotourism topic

This ESS topic explores the role of ecotourism in promoting conservation, examining the potential for ecotourism to support local communities, promote conservation, and mitigate negative impacts on natural ecosystems. Students can investigate the effectiveness of ecotourism initiatives, the challenges associated with implementing such initiatives, and the potential for innovative solutions.

The Impacts of Land Use Change on Ecosystem Services 

This topic explores the impacts of land use change on ecosystem services, examining the ecological, social, and economic consequences of changes in land use. Students can investigate the drivers of land use change, the impacts on local communities and ecosystem services, and the potential for policy solutions to promote sustainable land use practices.

The Intersection of Air Pollution and Climate Change 

This topic explores the intersection of air pollution and climate change, examining the impacts of air pollution on climate change and the impacts of climate change on air quality. Students can investigate the sources of air pollution, the distribution of pollution across urban areas, and the potential for policy solutions to address this issue.

The Role of Green Infrastructure in Urban Resilience 

environmental systems and society topics

This IA topic delves into the role of green infrastructure in urban resilience, exploring the potential for green infrastructure to mitigate the impacts of climate change, reduce urban heat island effects, and promote biodiversity conservation. Students can investigate the effectiveness of green infrastructure initiatives, the challenges associated with implementing such initiatives, and the potential for innovative solutions.

The Implications of Human Population Growth on the Environment

This topic explores the implications of human population growth on the environment, examining the ecological, social, and economic consequences of population growth. Students can investigate the drivers of population growth, the impacts on natural ecosystems and biodiversity, and the potential for policy solutions to promote sustainable population growth.

The Intersection of Gender and Environmental Issues

This ESS IA topic explores the intersection of gender and environmental issues, examining the differential impacts of environmental degradation on women and men. In addition, students can investigate the potential for gender-sensitive environmental policies and programs to promote environmental sustainability and social justice.

The Impacts of Environmental Migration on Sustainable Development

This topic delves into the impacts of environmental migration on sustainable development, exploring the social, economic, and environmental consequences of forced displacement due to environmental degradation and climate change. Moreover, IB students can investigate the potential for policies and programs to support environmental migrants and promote sustainable development.

The Role of Indigenous Knowledge in Environmental Management 

This topic explores the role of indigenous knowledge in environmental management, examining the potential for traditional ecological knowledge to inform environmental policy and management practices. Students can investigate the challenges associated with integrating indigenous knowledge into mainstream environmental management, and the potential for innovative solutions.

The Implications of Waste Management on Environmental Sustainability 

topics for extended essay in ess

This topic explores the implications of waste management on environmental sustainability, examining the social, economic, and environmental consequences of waste generation, disposal, and recycling. Students can investigate the potential for waste reduction and circular economy strategies to promote sustainable waste management.

The Intersection of Sustainable Development and Human Rights

This topic explores the intersection of sustainable development and human rights, examining the potential for environmental sustainability and social justice to be mutually reinforcing. Students can investigate the challenges associated with balancing economic development, environmental protection, and human rights, and the potential for innovative solutions.

The Impacts of Natural Resource Extraction on Local Communities 

This topic delves into the impacts of natural resource extraction on local communities, exploring the social, economic, and environmental consequences of extractive industries such as mining, oil and gas, and logging. Students can investigate the potential for policies and programs to promote responsible resource extraction and support affected communities.

The Role of Citizen Science in Environmental Monitoring

This IA topic explores the role of citizen science in environmental monitoring, examining the potential for community-based monitoring initiatives to complement traditional scientific monitoring methods. Students can investigate the effectiveness of citizen science initiatives, the challenges associated with implementing such endeavors, and the potential for innovative solutions.

Select Your Topic and Start Writing an IB ESS EE

As you begin your exploration of environmental science through the IB ESS Extended Essay, remember that this is more than just an academic exercise. It is a chance to make a tangible impact on the world around us.

extended essay ess topics

Need help with your ESS extended essay?

You can also use our extended essay writers team’s services if you need assistance selecting a topic . Furthermore, we can also help you write your extended essay from scratch or edit your draft following the IB criteria.

By selecting an ESS topic that excites you, conducting extensive research, and carefully analyzing your data, you can make a valuable contribution to our understanding of the complex environmental challenges we face.

The ESS extended essay offers a unique opportunity to express your creativity and ingenuity as you tackle some of our time’s most pressing environmental issues. With a bit of imagination and hard work, you can produce an extended essay that not only showcases your academic skills but also has the potential to make a positive difference in the world.

So, let your passion for the environment guide you as you explore the many fascinating topics within the field of environmental science. Whether you choose to examine the impact of urbanization on natural ecosystems or the role of environmental education in promoting sustainability, your ESS extended essay has the potential to inspire change and make a lasting impact on the world. 

With the right research question, you will surely guarantee that your EE will pass and will never lead to failing grade .

Remember, the future of our planet is in our hands, and through the ESS extended essay, you have the power to shape it for the better.

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Luke MacQuoid has extensive experience teaching English as a foreign language in Japan, having worked with students of all ages for over 12 years. Currently, he is teaching at the tertiary level. Luke holds a BA from the University of Sussex and an MA in TESOL from Lancaster University, both located in England. As well to his work as an IB Examiner and Master Tutor, Luke also enjoys sharing his experiences and insights with others through writing articles for various websites, including extendedessaywriters.com blog

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US IB Environmental Systems and Societies: ESS Extended Essay

  • ESS Extended Essay
  • Criterion Overview
  • Criterion A: Focus and method
  • Criterion B: Knowledge and Understanding
  • Criterion C: Critical thinking
  • Criterion D: Presentation
  • Criterion E: Engagement


B: Knowledge and understanding

This criterion assesses the extent to which the research relates to the subject area/discipline used to explore the research question; or in the case of the world studies extended essay, the issue addressed and the two disciplinary perspectives applied; and additionally, the way in which this knowledge and understanding is demonstrated through the use of appropriate terminology and concepts.

  • Have you explained how your research question relates to a specific subject you selected for the extended essay?
  • Have you used relevant terminology and concepts throughout your essay as they relate to your particular area of research?
  • Is it clear that the sources you are using are relevant and appropriate to your research question?
  • Do you have a range of sources, or have you only relied on one particular type, for example internet sources?
  • Is there a reason why you might not have a range? Is this justified?

C: Critical thinking

This criterion assesses the extent to which critical thinking skills have been used to analyze and evaluate the research undertaken.

  • Have you made links between your results and data collected and your research question?
  • If you included data or information that is not directly related to your research question have you explained its importance?
  • Are your conclusions supported by your data?
  • If you found unexpected information or data have you discussed its importance?
  • Have you provided a critical evaluation of the methods you selected?
  • Have you considered the reliability of your sources (peer-reviewed journals, internet, and so on)?
  • Have you mentioned and evaluated the significance of possible errors that may have occurred in your research?
  • Are all your suggestions of errors or improvements relevant?
  • Have you evaluated your research question?
  • Have you compared your results or findings with any other sources?
  • Is there an argument that is clear and easy to follow and directly linked to answering your research question, and which is supported by evidence?

D: Presentation

This criterion assesses the extent to which the presentation follows the standard format expected for academic writing and the extent to which this aids effective communication.

  • Have you read and understood the presentation requirements of the extended essay?
  • Have you chosen a font that will be easy for examiners to read on-screen?
  • Is your essay double-spaced and size 12 font?
  • Are the title and research question mentioned on the cover page?
  • Are all pages numbered?
  • Have you prepared a correct table of contents?
  • Do the page numbers in the table of contents match the page numbers in the text?
  • Is your essay subdivided into correct sub-sections, if this is applicable to the subject?
  • Are all figures and tables properly numbered and labelled?
  • Does your bibliography contain only the sources cited in the text?
  • Did you use the same reference system throughout the essay?
  • Does the essay have less than 4,000 words?
  • Is all the material presented in the appendices relevant and necessary?
  • Have you proofread the text for spelling or grammar errors?

E. Engagement

This criterion assesses the student’s engagement with their research focus and the research process. It will be applied by the examiner at the end of the assessment of the essay, after considering the students RPPF.

  • Have you demonstrated your engagement with your research topic and the research process?
  • Have you highlighted challenges you faced and how you overcame them?
  • Will the examiner get a sense of your intellectual and skills development?
  • Will the examiner get a sense of your creativity and intellectual initiative?
  • Will the examiner get a sense of how you responded to actions and ideas in the research process?
  • IB ESS Extended Essay Guide
  • World Studies Extended Essay Guide
  • World Studies
  • Example A: Turtle Conservation
  • Example A: Marks
  • Example B: Economics of Wolves
  • Example B Marks
  • Example A: Wildlife Trafficking in China

Using the systems approach

The systems approach is a central theme in ESS. The essay should include an attempt to model, at least partially, the system or systems in question.

The term “model” in this context includes, for example:

  • mathematical formulas
  • graphical representations
  • flow diagrams

Students should use  ESS terminology , where appropriate.

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Extended Essay Topics: 50+ Examples for Subject in EE

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by  Antony W

July 30, 2022

extended essay ess topics

This is the complete list of Extended Essay topics on different EE subject areas. We’ve packed this guide with as many topic ideas as possible.

So if you’re just getting started with the IB extended essay assignment and you’re already stuck on topic selection, this post might help you to get unstuck.

What is an Extended Essay?

Abbreviated as EE, the Extended Essay is a required component of the IB Diploma Program for all students, regardless of the disciplines they are studying.

The objective of the Extended Essay is to offer students the chance to conduct research on a topic of their choice and demonstrate knowledge and reading beyond the classroom curriculum. The essay also provides students with the opportunity to develop abilities necessary for researching and writing in advanced learning institutions.

Students often begin working on their essay during the second term of their first year of the IB Diploma Program. They will require a manager (one of the teachers at their school) with whom they will meet on a regular basis to help them outline their research questions and lead them through the writing process.

The IB diploma program allows you to prepare and submit one draft to the supervisor for input, followed by a second, final draft. As for the length of the extended essay, you want to make sure the assignment doesn’t exceed 4,000 words .

Getting Extended Essay Help

Owing to the very nature of the IB program, searching for an extended essay topic and getting the task completed can be an involving task. If you feel like the whole process would end up rather overwhelming, you can take advantage of our extended essay writing service and we’ll help you get the task done. 

For just $19.09/page, you can get the professional writing help and advice required to score a 34 in your Extended Essay. The pricing is standard regardless of the topic you would like to work on.

Extended Essay Topics

If you’re confident that you can write an extended essay yourself, and you should, you need to start with selecting the right topic for the assignment. Here are some topic ideas to get you started: 

1. English Extended Essay Topics

The following are some of the best examples of topic ideas to consider if you choose to write an Extended Essay in the English subject.

  • How the heroic couplets of the neoclassical period differed from those of the romantic period, and why classical poetry had so many rules.
  • How many different styles of poetry can we observe from the English Renaissance through modernism and postmodernism?
  • Does colonialism have an effect on modern poetry and the manner in which it evolves during the many eras of colonial rule?
  • Why has euphemism been so prominent in the English language for so long and how does this affect the lexicon and structure of the language?
  • Can we argue that, unlike other languages of the globe, English is a language of conventions and traditions with no hard and fast rules?
  • What function does slang play in the English language, and how are slang terms now preserved in official and academic dictionaries?
  • What are the primary causes of the gradual shift in the spelling of English words through time?
  • Impact of globalization on the evolution of the English language as it becomes the universal language.

We encourage you to read more about English Extended Essay for further insights.

2. Biology Extended Essay Topics

  • How do age and gender influence the photoreceptor cells in the human retina?
  • What effects does climate change have on the appearance of coral reefs?
  • An analysis of how antioxidants function in the human body?
  • Which of hand sanitizer, hand soap, or antibacterial wipes inhibits the development of E. coli the most effectively?
  • How does population density between X and X’s population size relate?
  • What is the link between the growth hormone indoleacetic acid and the growth of X?

You can read more about Biology EE here.

3. Business Management Extended Essay Topics

We put together an in-depth guide on IB Business Management EE to give you more insight about the subject.

In addition to teaching you exactly how to write an EE in this subject, the post includes some interesting topic ideas as well as their respective research questions.

Remember to check it out to learn more.

4. Chemistry Extended Essay Topics

  • What effect does acid rain have on the trees, plants, and public gardens in your neighborhood?
  • Analyze the chemical composition of various types of lava and magma rocks from across the world.
  • What kinds of chemical components are responsible for the majority of food allergies?
  • Examine the chemistry of MDMA and other “nightclub” or designer drugs in users of various ages.
  • Examine how chemical experiments and the knowledge gained from them have altered the globe.
  • How has the usage of fluoride in the community’s water supply benefited and harmed the community?
  • What chemical difference does choosing organic foods vs pesticide-treated foods have on our bodies?
  • What impact have big cosmetics manufacturers made on our contemporary understanding of chemistry?
  • What type of chemistry is involved in making generic medications cheaper than brand-name pharmaceuticals?

You can read more about Chemistry Extended Essay in this post.

5. Computer Science Extended Essay Topics

  • In what way are support vector machines more accurate in predicting ATP tennis matches than artificial neural networks?
  • To what extent are Java-generated pseudo-random numbers more predictable than C#-generated numbers?
  • How much more effectively does MP3 encoding reduce quality loss and file size than OGG in terms of algorithmic efficiency and encoded file quality?
  • How well does the binary search algorithm locate specific values among variable-sized data sets?
  • How much more efficient is Depth First Search than Breadth First Search for path finding in artificial intelligence and robot motion planning?
  • To what degree is hashing a more appropriate and efficient method than binary search for locating specific values in different-sized data sets?
  • How do Password Length and Character Variation Influence the Entropy of a Password?
  • How much more space-efficient is the AES symmetric encryption method compared to the Blowfish symmetric encryption technique when encrypting data of varied sizes and types?

6. Economics Extended Essay Topics

  • What is the connection between unemployment and economic contraction?
  • Is Alcohol Consumption Regulation Beneficial to the Stock Market?
  • Trucking Companies and the Effects of Sanctions and Trade Embargoes
  • Analysis of the Effects of Increasing Taxes on Multinational Corporations and Religious Organizations
  • What Negative Effects Will a “Hard” Brexit Have on Scotland and Wales?
  • How Will the Substitution of Fossil Fuels with Solar Power Affect the Economies of Middle Eastern Nations?
  • In Sub-Saharan Africa, deforestation and man-made disasters are the leading causes of poverty.

We’ve written an in-depth guide on Economics Extended Essay, and we encourage you to check it out to learn more about the subject.

7. Environmental Systems and Societies EE Topics

The following are some interesting topics on the Environmental Systems and Societies. The X is a variable, which can be a name of any city or country you’d wish to investigate in your ESS.

  • What forest and woodland restoration strategies exist in Siberia, Russia, and one is the most effective?
  • How can human meddling in X city/country/continent produce ecological imbalances?
  • What effect does urbanization have on the bee population in X city?
  • What are the distinctions between Yosemite National Park (California, USA) and Lake District National Park (United Kingdom) in terms of dialogue efforts?
  • How much have healthcare policies in nation X affected its human population curve?
  • What impact has X’s landfill had on the surrounding terrestrial ecosystem?

You can read our ESS guide to learn more about this subject before you start working on your Extended Essay assignment.

8. Film Extended Essay Topics  

  • Relationship between IMDB ratings and several national and international film honors
  • The current transformation of masculinity as represented in Fight Club
  • Varieties of timeline modification methods in cinematography
  • Sci-fi film portrayals of scientists and the scientific method are grossly inaccurate.
  • Moving camera – inventive approaches (such as those utilized in The Matrix or Guy Ritchie’s film)
  • How can filmic approaches depict the evolution of Disney princesses from 1937 to 2012?
  • How are transgender characters portrayed in two films from distinct periods?

9. Geography Extended Essay Topics

  • What socioeconomic and urban design elements contribute to high vandalism rates in Eindhoven’s neighborhoods?
  • How does the quality of life of Filipina Foreign Domestic Workers in Downtown Singapore compare to that of Filipinas in the Philippines?
  • An inquiry examining whether Singapore qualifies as a sustainable city
  • To what degree do migratory patterns and motivations in the northern area of Thailand correspond to predicted migration movements in an LDC?
  • Comparative analysis of the provision of public services in Warsaw’s districts

Check out our complete guide on Geography EE to learn more about the subject. Make sure you check the assessment criteria part, so you can write the kind of an EE that earns you top grades – if not a 34.

10. Global Politics EE

  • The legitimacy of the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq; to what extent was the invasion justified? (2021)
  • How media depictions and government information can diverge
  • How the success of a political party in one nation may affect the results in another.
  • Comparing the influence of global political trends on two countries reveals contrasting results.
  • The effect of a single crisis on the political ties between two countries

We’ve put together a more comprehensive guide on Global Politics Extended Essay . So we encourage you to check that out to learn more.

11. History Extended Essay

  • The consequences of dropping nuclear bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki
  • You can investigate the economic, ethnic, social, and even environmental consequences of conflict diamonds.
  • The evolution of military technology during the American Civil War
  • The post-apartheid work of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Southwest Africa
  • The rise and collapse of the Ottoman Empire and its economic influence

You can get more topic ideas on this subject from this post .

12. Math Extended Essay

  • How can mathematics be used to determine the ideal distance from the try line for positioning the ball for a rugby union conversion kick?
  • In the sliding tile problem, what is the graph structure of m x n?
  • How long does it take to travel around the whole Singapore MRT network? (2015)
  • Modeling mathematics – An examination of the Richardson arms race model (2020)
  • Real-world applications of a study of differential equations of the second order
  • A mathematical examination of shock absorbers’ damped harmonic motion

Our IB Math EE guide has more insights worth checking out. So we recommend going through the guide before you start writing an extended essay on this subject.

13. Physics Extended Essay Ideas  

  • How may the design of an airplane’s wings affect its aerodynamic performance?
  • Why is it required for the wing of an aircraft to have an ‘angle of attack’? Is it impossible for the aircraft to behave the same without the angle of attack?
  • If landing gears are a cause of drag during flight, how is a Cessna able to deliver a sufficient amount of force to overcome drag?

14. Psychology EE Ideas  

  • What do we know about the connection between stress and bodily disease, and can we utilize this information to manage stress?
  • To what degree can psychology offer plausible explanations for altruistic behavior?
  • Which strategies are most effective in assisting autistic youngsters in improving their everyday functioning?
  • The difficulty of identifying particular genetic variables that might indicate an autism risk
  • How well biological (or sociocultural) variables explain the origin of homosexuality.
  • To what degree does parental discipline affect the temperament of their children?
  • Are Montessori schools, which utilize a humanistic approach to education, also consistent with cognitive theory?

We’ve put together a complete guide on Physics Extended Essay. So, check that out to learn more about the subject. 

15. Visual Arts

  • What role did national themes have in the creative activity of Russian avant-garde artists associated with the Knave of Diamonds society?
  • How did men and women’s clothes communicate National Socialist ideals?
  • How does Yinka Shonibare’s work represent the evolving importance of African art in a global society?
  • What are the origins of Romanesque architecture in Arles?
  • Are there pop art elements in the design of Pakistani trucks?

Check out this post to learn more about the topic. 

About the author 

Antony W is a professional writer and coach at Help for Assessment. He spends countless hours every day researching and writing great content filled with expert advice on how to write engaging essays, research papers, and assignments.

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extended essay ess topics

How To Write The Extended Essay (With Topics and Examples)

This comprehensive guide navigates through every aspect of the EE, from selecting a topic and developing a research question to conducting in-depth research and writing a compelling essay. It offers practical strategies, insights, and tips to help students craft a piece of work that not only meets the rigorous standards of the IB but also reflects their academic passion and curiosity. Join us as we explore the keys to success in the Extended Essay, preparing you for an intellectually rewarding experience.

Posted: 13th February 2024

Section jump links:

Section 1: Understanding the IB Extended Essay

Section 2: the importance of the extended essay, section 3: selecting a topic, section 4: developing your research question, section 5: research methodology and theoretical frameworks, section 6: evaluating sources and data, section 7: integrating evidence and analysis, section 8: writing and structuring the extended essay, section 9: reflection and the rppf, section 10: the significance of academic discipline in the ee, section 11: good practice in extended essay writing, section 12: managing the extended essay process, section 13: collaboration and feedback, section 14: avoiding plagiarism, section 15: emphasising original thought, section 16: final presentation and viva voce, section 17: beyond the extended essay, what is the ib extended essay.

The International Baccalaureate (IB) Extended Essay (EE) is a cornerstone of the IB Diploma Programme . It’s an independent, self-directed piece of research, culminating in a 4,000-word paper. This project offers students an opportunity to investigate a topic of their own choice, bridging the gap between classwork and the kind of research required at the university level.

Key Objectives and the Role of the EE in the IB Curriculum

The Extended Essay has several key objectives:

  • To provide students with the chance to engage in an in-depth study of a question of interest within a chosen subject.
  • To develop research, thinking, self-management, and communication skills.
  • To introduce students to the excitement and challenges of academic research.

The EE plays a critical role in the IB curriculum by:

  • Encouraging intellectual discovery and creativity.
  • Facilitating academic growth and personal development through research and writing.
  • Preparing students for the rigours of higher education.

Extended Essay Word Count and Requirements

The EE has a maximum word count of 4,000 words. This does not include the abstract, contents page, bibliography, or footnotes (which must be used sparingly). Here are some essential requirements:

  • Research Question: Your essay must be focused on a clear, concise research question. You should aim to provide a comprehensive answer to this question through your research and writing.
  • Subject : The EE can be written in one of the student’s six chosen subjects for the IB diploma or in a subject recognized by the IB.
  • Supervision : Each student is assigned a supervisor (usually a teacher in their school) who provides guidance and support throughout the research and writing process.
  • Assessment: The essay is externally assessed by the IB, contributing up to three points towards the total score for the IB diploma, depending on the grade achieved and the performance in the Theory of Knowledge course.

The Extended Essay is not just an academic requirement but a unique opportunity to explore a topic of personal interest in depth. This can be an incredibly rewarding experience, providing valuable skills and insights that will serve you well in your future academic and professional endeavours.

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The EE is more than just a requirement for the IB Diploma. It’s an essential part of the IB experience , offering profound benefits for students. Let’s explore why the EE holds such significance.

Academic and Personal Development Benefits

Skill enhancement:.

The EE fosters a range of academic skills crucial for success in higher education and beyond. It teaches students how to:

  • Conduct comprehensive research
  • Develop a coherent argument
  • Write extensively on a subject
  • Manage time effectively

Personal Growth:

Beyond academic prowess, the EE encourages personal development. Students learn to:

  • Pursue their interests deeply
  • Overcome challenges independently
  • Reflect on their learning process
  • Enhance their curiosity and creativity

Contribution to University Admissions

Standout applications:.

The EE can be a significant advantage in university applications . It demonstrates a student’s ability to undertake serious research projects and commit to an intensive academic task. Universities value this dedication, seeing it as indicative of a student’s readiness for undergraduate studies.

Showcase of Skills:

The EE allows students to showcase their research, writing, and analytical skills. It provides concrete evidence of their academic abilities and their capacity to engage deeply with a topic of interest.

Skill Development: Research, Writing, and Critical Thinking

Research Skills:

Students learn to navigate academic literature, evaluate sources, and gather relevant data. This process sharpens their research skills, laying a solid foundation for future academic endeavours.

Writing Skills:

Crafting a 4,000-word essay challenges students to express their ideas clearly and persuasively. It hones their writing skills, teaching them the art of structured and focused academic writing.

Critical Thinking:

The EE encourages students to analyse information critically, assess arguments, and develop their viewpoints. This critical engagement fosters a sophisticated level of thought, beneficial in both academic and real-world contexts.

In conclusion, the Extended Essay is a pivotal element of the IB Diploma Programme. It’s an invaluable opportunity for intellectual and personal growth, preparing students for the challenges of higher education and beyond. With its emphasis on independent research and writing, the EE equips students with the skills and confidence to navigate their future academic journeys successfully.

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Choosing a topic for your Extended Essay is the first step in a journey towards developing a deep understanding of a specific area of interest. It’s crucial to select a topic that is not only academically viable but also personally engaging. Here’s how to navigate this critical phase.

Factors to Consider When Choosing Your EE Topic

Interest and passion:.

Select a topic that fascinates you. Your interest will sustain motivation over the months of research and writing.

Availability of Resources:

Ensure there are enough resources available on your chosen topic. Access to libraries, databases, and experts in the field is essential for comprehensive research.

Scope and Focus:

The topic should be narrow enough to allow for in-depth study yet broad enough to find sufficient research material. Balancing specificity with resource availability is key.

IB Subject Areas:

Your topic must align with one of the subjects you are studying in the IB Diploma Programme or an approved subject area. Familiarity with the subject’s methodology and criteria is crucial for success.

How to Align Your Interests with the IB Subjects

Explore the syllabus:.

Review the syllabus of your IB subjects to identify topics that interest you. This can provide a framework for your EE.

Consult with Teachers:

Teachers can offer insights into feasible topics that align with the IB criteria and offer guidance on how to approach them.

Consider Interdisciplinary Topics:

Some of the most engaging EEs explore the intersection between different subjects. If this interests you, ensure your approach meets the criteria for an interdisciplinary essay under the IB’s World Studies EE option.

Extended Essay Topics: Examples Across Various Disciplines

  • Sciences: How does the introduction of non-native plant species affect biodiversity in your local ecosystem?
  • History : What was the impact of Winston Churchill’s leadership on Britain’s role in World War II?
  • English: How does the use of unreliable narrators influence the reader’s perception in Ian McEwan’s novels?
  • Mathematics: Investigating the application of the Fibonacci sequence in predicting stock market movements.
  • Visual Arts: Exploring the influence of Japanese art on Claude Monet’s painting style.

Selecting the right topic is foundational to your EE journey. It shapes your research direction, influences your engagement with the essay, and ultimately contributes to the satisfaction and success of your EE experience. Take your time, consult widely, and choose a topic that you are eager to explore in depth.

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Crafting a focused and clear research question is a pivotal element of your Extended Essay. This question not only guides your research but also frames your essay’s entire structure. It’s the question to which your essay will provide an answer, and as such, it requires thoughtful consideration and precision.

A well-developed research question should be specific, relevant, and challenging. It should invite analysis, discussion, and the exploration of significant academic literature. Here’s a deeper look into formulating a robust research question for your EE.

Characteristics of a Strong Research Question

The hallmark of a strong research question is its specificity. It shouldn’t be too broad, as this could lead to a superficial treatment of the topic. 

Conversely, a question that’s too narrow might not allow for comprehensive exploration or significant discussion. Finding a balance is key. The question should also be focused on a particular aspect of a subject area, enabling in-depth analysis within the word count limit.

Another important characteristic is the question’s alignment with available resources. Before finalising your question, ensure that you have access to sufficient data and scholarly research to support your investigation. This might involve preliminary searches in academic databases, libraries, or consultation with your supervisor.

Tips for Refining Your Research Question

Start by brainstorming broad topic areas that interest you. Once you’ve identified a general area of interest, begin narrowing down by asking yourself specific questions about the topic. What aspects of this topic are unexplored or underexplored? What specific angle can I take that will make my research unique?

It’s also beneficial to review past EEs or academic journals for inspiration. Seeing how others have structured their research questions can provide valuable insight into crafting your own. However, ensure your question remains original and tailored to your interests.

Examples of Effective Research Questions

To give you an idea of what a well-formulated research question looks like, here are a few examples:

  • Biology: How does the concentration of a specific nutrient affect the growth rate of plant species X in a hydroponic setup compared to soil-based growth?
  • History: To what extent did the public speeches of Martin Luther King Jr. influence the public’s perception of the Civil Rights Movement in the United States between 1963 and 1968?
  • Economics: How significant is the impact of recent economic policies on small businesses in [specific location] during the COVID-19 pandemic?
  • English Literature: How does the use of magical realism in Gabriel García Márquez’s ‘One Hundred Years of Solitude’ reflect the political and social issues of post-colonial Latin America?

Developing your research question is an iterative process. It may evolve as you delve deeper into your research. Be open to refining your question based on the information you discover and discussions with your supervisor. A well-crafted research question will not only guide your research effectively but also engage your interest throughout the writing process, leading to a more meaningful and insightful Extended Essay.

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A critical component of your Extended Essay is selecting an appropriate research methodology and theoretical framework. These elements are foundational to conducting your research and crafting your argument, influencing how you collect, analyse, and interpret data.

Understanding Research Methodologies

Research methodology refers to the systematic approach you take to investigate your research question. It encompasses the methods and procedures you use to collect and analyse data. Your chosen methodology should align with the nature of your research question and the objectives of your essay.

In the sciences, for example, your methodology might involve experiments, observations, or simulations to gather empirical data. In the humanities, you may lean towards content analysis, comparative analysis, or historical investigation, relying on textual or archival sources.

Selecting the right methodology is crucial. It should provide a clear path to answering your research question, considering the resources available and the scope of your essay. It’s also important to justify your choice of methodology in your essay, explaining why it’s appropriate for your research question and how it will help you achieve your objectives.

Applying Theoretical Frameworks

Theoretical frameworks provide a lens through which your research is conducted and interpreted. They offer a structured way to understand and analyse your findings, grounding your study in existing knowledge and theories.

Choosing a theoretical framework involves identifying relevant theories, models, or concepts that apply to your topic. For instance, if you’re exploring media representation of gender, you might utilise feminist theory as a framework to analyse your findings. In economics, you might apply game theory to understand competitive behaviours in a market.

The framework should guide your analysis, providing a coherent basis for interpreting your data. It helps to structure your argument, offering a deeper insight into the significance of your findings within the broader academic discourse.

Integrating Methodology and Frameworks into Your Research

Successfully integrating your chosen methodology and theoretical framework involves a few key steps:

  • Clarify the Scope: Ensure your research question, methodology, and theoretical framework align in scope and focus. They should work together seamlessly to guide your research.
  • Justify Your Choices: Explain the rationale behind your chosen methodology and framework. Discuss why they are suitable for your research question and how they will support your investigation.
  • Apply Consistently: Use your methodology and framework consistently throughout your research and analysis. This consistency strengthens the coherence and academic rigour of your essay.

Reflecting on these components during the planning stage can enhance the quality of your research and the clarity of your argument. Your methodology and theoretical framework are not just academic requirements; they’re tools that shape the direction and depth of your inquiry, enabling a more structured and insightful exploration of your topic.

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In the journey of crafting an Extended Essay (EE), the ability to critically evaluate sources and data stands as a fundamental skill. This evaluation is crucial in establishing the credibility and reliability of the information that forms the backbone of your research. Understanding how to discern the quality and relevance of your sources ensures that your EE is built on a solid foundation of trustworthy information.

Criteria for Selecting Credible and Relevant Sources

Authority: Consider the source’s authorship. Look for works by experts in the field, academic institutions, or reputable organisations. The author’s qualifications and affiliations can significantly impact the reliability of the information.

Accuracy: The information should be supported by evidence, referenced appropriately, and free from factual errors. Reliable sources often undergo a peer-review process, ensuring that the content is scrutinised and validated by other experts in the field.

Currency: The relevance of information can diminish over time, especially in fields that evolve rapidly, such as science and technology. Ensure that the sources you use are up-to-date, reflecting the latest research and developments.

Purpose: Understand the purpose behind the information. Is it to inform, persuade, entertain, or sell? Recognising the intent can help you assess potential biases, which is particularly important when dealing with controversial topics.

Techniques for Evaluating the Reliability and Validity of Data

Cross-Verification: Cross-check information across multiple sources to verify its accuracy and reliability. Consistency among various sources can be a good indicator of the information’s validity.

Statistical Analysis: When dealing with numerical data, consider its statistical significance and the methodology used in its collection. Reliable data should be gathered using sound scientific methods and accurately represent the population or phenomena studied.

Source Evaluation Tools: Utilise tools and checklists designed to evaluate the credibility of sources. These can provide a structured approach to assessing the quality of your research materials.

Incorporating Primary vs. Secondary Sources Effectively

Primary Sources: These are firsthand accounts or direct evidence concerning the topic you’re researching. They include interviews, surveys, experiments, and historical documents. Primary sources offer original insights and data, allowing for a deeper and more personal engagement with your subject.

Secondary Sources: These sources analyse, interpret, or summarise information from primary sources. They include textbooks, articles, and reviews. Secondary sources can provide context, background, and a broader perspective on your topic.

Balancing primary and secondary sources enriches your research, providing both the raw data and the interpretations that help frame your analysis. By rigorously evaluating sources and data, you ensure that your Extended Essay rests on a foundation of credible and relevant information, enhancing the depth and rigour of your investigation.

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The heart of a compelling Extended Essay (EE) lies in the seamless integration of evidence and analysis. This integration not only supports and substantiates your arguments but also demonstrates your ability to critically engage with your research topic. Here’s how to weave evidence and analysis together in a way that enhances the strength and persuasiveness of your EE.

Strategies for Integrating Evidence Seamlessly into Your Argument

Directly Link Evidence to Your Thesis: Every piece of evidence you include should directly support or relate to your thesis statement. This ensures that all the information contributes to building your argument coherently.

Use Evidence to Illustrate Points: Utilise examples, data, quotes, and case studies as concrete evidence to illustrate your points. This makes abstract concepts more tangible and convincing to the reader.

Analyse, Don’t Just Present: For every piece of evidence, provide analysis and interpretation. Explain how it supports your argument, what it demonstrates, and its implications for your research question.

Balancing Descriptive and Analytical Writing

Avoid Over-Description: While some description is necessary to set the context, avoid dedicating too much space to merely describing your evidence. The focus should be on analysis.

Develop a Critical Voice: Cultivate a critical approach to your evidence. This means evaluating its reliability, considering its limitations, and discussing its relevance to your argument.

Synthesise Information: Aim to synthesise evidence from multiple sources to support your points. This demonstrates comprehensive understanding and the ability to draw connections across your research.

How to Critically Analyse Sources and Data Within Your Essay

Question the Source: Consider the source’s origin, purpose, and potential bias. How might these factors influence the information presented?

Evaluate Methodology: If the evidence comes from a study or experiment, evaluate the methodology used. Is it sound and appropriate for the research question?

Consider the Broader Context: Place your evidence within the broader scholarly conversation on your topic. How does it fit with, challenge, or expand existing knowledge?

By thoughtfully integrating evidence and providing in-depth analysis, you can create a nuanced and compelling EE that goes beyond mere description to offer original insights into your topic. This approach not only strengthens your argument but also showcases your critical thinking and analytical skills, essential qualities for success in the IB Diploma Programme and beyond.

The Extended Essay presents an opportunity for IB students to engage deeply with a topic of their choice. However, to effectively communicate your research and insights, your essay must be well-structured and clearly written. 

This section provides guidance on how to write and structure your EE, ensuring your work is coherent, persuasive, and academically rigorous.

Outline of the Extended Essay Structure

A well-organised structure is crucial for the readability and coherence of your EE. Typically, an Extended Essay includes the following components:

  • Title Page: Displays the essay title, research question, subject the essay is registered in, and word count.
  • Abstract: A concise summary of the essay, including the research question, methodology, results, and conclusion (Note: For essays submitted in 2018 and forward, the IB no longer requires an abstract, so check the most current guidelines).
  • Contents Page: Lists the sections and subsections of your essay with page numbers.
  • Introduction: Introduces the research question and your essay’s purpose, outlining the scope of the investigation.
  • Body : The main section of your essay, divided into clearly titled subsections, each addressing specific aspects of the research question. It’s where you present your argument, supported by evidence.
  • Conclusion: Summarises the findings, discusses the implications, and reflects on the research’s limitations and potential areas for further study.
  • References/Bibliography: Lists all sources used in the essay in a consistent format, following the chosen citation style.
  • Appendices: (If necessary) Contains supplementary material that is relevant to the research but not essential to its explanation.

Detailed Breakdown of Each Section


The introduction sets the stage for your research. It should clearly state your research question and explain the significance of the topic. Briefly outline the theoretical framework and methodology, and provide an overview of the essay’s structure.

The body is the heart of your essay. It should be logically organised to build your argument step by step. Each paragraph should start with a clear topic sentence, followed by evidence and analysis. Use subheadings to divide the sections thematically or methodologically, ensuring each part contributes to answering the research question.

  • Developing Arguments: Present and critique different perspectives, systematically leading the reader through your analytical process.
  • Using Evidence: Incorporate relevant data, quotes, and examples to support your arguments. Ensure all sources are appropriately cited.
  • Analysis and Discussion: Go beyond describing your findings; analyse and interpret them in the context of your research question and theoretical framework.
  • Conclusion: The conclusion should not introduce new information. Instead, it should synthesise your findings, highlighting how they contribute to understanding the research question. Reflect on the research process, acknowledging any limitations and suggesting areas for further investigation.

Importance of Coherence and Logical Flow

Maintaining coherence and a logical flow throughout your EE is essential. Transition sentences between paragraphs and sections can help link ideas smoothly, guiding the reader through your argument. A coherent structure ensures that your essay is accessible and persuasive, making a strong impression on the reader.

A well-written and structured EE is a testament to your understanding of the research process and your ability to communicate complex ideas effectively. By adhering to a clear structure and focusing on coherence and logical progression, you can craft an essay that is engaging, insightful, and academically rigorous.

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A unique and integral component of the IB Extended Essay (EE) process is the Reflections on Planning and Progress Form (RPPF). The RPPF serves as a personal and academic exploration tool, guiding students through the planning, research, and writing phases of their EE. It encourages students to reflect on their learning journey, documenting insights gained, challenges encountered, and the evolution of their thinking.

The Role of Reflection in the EE Process

Reflection is at the heart of the EE, enabling students to engage critically with their own learning processes. It helps in:

  • Self-Assessment: Encouraging students to consider their strengths and areas for improvement.
  • Skill Development: Facilitating a deeper understanding of the research and writing skills developed during the EE process.
  • Critical Thinking: Promoting an evaluative approach to the research process, allowing students to make informed decisions about their methodologies, sources, and arguments.

How to Effectively Complete the RPPF

Completing the RPPF involves three formal reflection sessions, which are crucial milestones in the EE journey:

  • Initial Reflection: Focuses on the selection of the topic and formulation of the research question. Students should discuss their motivations, initial ideas, and anticipated challenges.
  • Interim Reflection: Occurs midway through the process. Students reflect on the progress made, adjustments to their research plan, and any challenges they’ve faced. It’s an opportunity to reassess the direction of the EE and make necessary modifications.
  • Final Reflection: After completing the EE, students reflect on their overall experience, the skills they’ve developed, and the knowledge they’ve gained. This reflection should also consider the impact of the research process on their personal and academic growth.

In each reflection, students should be honest and critical, providing insights into their learning journey. The reflections are not just about documenting successes but also about understanding the learning process, including setbacks and how they were overcome.

Examples of Reflective Questions and Insightful Responses

Initial reflection:.

Question: “What excites me about my chosen topic?”

Insightful Response: Discuss the personal or academic interest in the topic, any prior knowledge, and what you hope to discover through your research.

Interim Reflection:

Question: “What challenges have I encountered in my research, and how have I addressed them?”

Insightful Response: Describe specific obstacles, such as difficulty accessing resources or refining the research question, and the strategies employed to overcome them.

Final Reflection:

Question: “How has my understanding of the topic evolved through the research process?”

Insightful Response: Reflect on how the research challenged or confirmed initial assumptions and what was learned about the topic and the research process itself.

The RPPF is not just a formal requirement but a valuable component of the EE that enriches the student’s learning experience. By fostering reflection, the RPPF helps students to articulate their journey, offering insights into the complexities of research and the personal growth that accompanies the creation of an extended academic work.

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The Extended Essay allows students to explore a topic of interest within the framework of an IB subject. The choice of academic discipline not only shapes the content and focus of the essay but also influences the methodologies and theoretical frameworks that students may employ. Understanding and adhering to the conventions and requirements of the chosen discipline is crucial for the success of the EE.

Adhering to Disciplinary Conventions and Guidelines

Each academic discipline has its own set of conventions regarding research methodologies, writing styles, and citation formats. For example, a science EE might require empirical research and quantitative analysis, whereas an essay in the humanities might focus on qualitative analysis and critical interpretation of texts.

Key considerations include:

  • Methodology: The choice of methodology should align with disciplinary norms. Science EEs might involve experiments, whereas essays in history might rely on primary source analysis.
  • Structure: While the basic structure of the EE remains consistent across subjects, the presentation of arguments and evidence might vary. Essays in the arts and humanities might follow a thematic structure, while those in the sciences might be organised around experimental findings.
  • Citation Style: Different disciplines prefer specific citation styles. For instance, APA might be favoured in psychology, while MLA is commonly used in literature essays. Adhering to the appropriate style is crucial for academic integrity.

How Different Disciplines Influence the Approach to Research and Writing

The academic discipline not only dictates the formal aspects of the EE but also influences the approach to research and writing. For instance, an EE in Visual Arts would require a different analytical lens compared to an EE in Economics. The former might analyse the impact of cultural contexts on artistic expressions, while the latter could evaluate economic theories through case studies.

Disciplinary perspectives also affect:

  • Argumentation : The way arguments are constructed and evidenced can differ. In the sciences, arguments are often built around data and logical reasoning, while in the humanities, they might be more interpretative, drawing on various theoretical perspectives.
  • Critical Engagement: The extent and nature of critical engagement with sources can vary. In subjects like History or English, a critical analysis of diverse interpretations is fundamental, whereas in the Sciences, the focus might be on empirical evidence and hypothesis testing.

Examples of Disciplinary Perspectives in Extended Essay Examples

  • Biology EE: An investigation into the effects of environmental changes on local biodiversity, employing scientific methods for data collection and analysis.
  • Economics EE: An analysis of the impact of a specific economic policy on a local economy, using economic theories and models to interpret data.
  • English Literature EE: A comparative study of the theme of alienation in two novels, using literary theories to explore the authors’ narrative techniques.

Understanding the significance of academic discipline in the EE ensures that students approach their research with the appropriate methodologies and analytical frameworks. It encourages respect for the depth and breadth of the subject area, contributing to a more nuanced and informed exploration of the chosen topic.

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Writing an Extended Essay involves more than just conducting research and presenting findings; it requires careful planning, effective engagement with your supervisor, and a critical approach to your sources. Here are some best practices to help you navigate the EE writing process successfully.

Time Management and Planning

Time management is crucial in the EE process. The project spans several months, so it’s essential to break down the work into manageable stages. Create a timeline early in the process, including key milestones such as completing the research, drafting sections, and finalising the essay. Allocate time for unexpected challenges and ensure you have buffer periods for revision and feedback.

Planning Tips:

  • Set Goals: Establish clear, achievable goals for each phase of your EE journey.
  • Use Tools: Leverage planning tools or software to organise your tasks and deadlines.
  • Regular Reviews: Periodically review your progress against your plan and adjust as necessary.

Engaging with Supervisors Effectively:Your supervisor is a valuable resource throughout the EE process. They can provide guidance on your research question, methodology, and essay structure, as well as feedback on your drafts.

Maximising Supervisor Engagement:

  • Prepare for Meetings: Come to each meeting with specific questions or sections of your essay you want feedback on.
  • Be Open to Feedback: Constructive criticism is essential for improvement. Listen to your supervisor’s suggestions and consider how to incorporate them into your work.
  • Communicate Regularly: Keep your supervisor informed of your progress and any challenges you encounter.

Critical Engagement with Sources

A critical approach to the sources you use is fundamental to a high-quality EE. Evaluate the reliability, relevance, and bias of your sources to ensure your essay is grounded in credible evidence.

Strategies for Source Evaluation:

  • Source Variety: Use a range of sources, including academic journals, books, and reputable online resources, to provide a balanced perspective on your topic.
  • Critical Analysis : Don’t just summarise sources. Analyse their arguments, identify limitations, and consider how they contribute to your research question.
  • Citation and Paraphrasing: Accurately cite all sources to avoid plagiarism. When paraphrasing, ensure you’re genuinely rephrasing ideas in your own words while still crediting the original author.

Good practice in EE writing is not just about adhering to academic standards; it’s about engaging deeply with your topic, embracing the research process, and developing skills that will serve you well in your academic and professional future. By managing your time effectively, leveraging the support of your supervisor, and critically engaging with sources, you can craft an EE that is not only academically rigorous but also personally rewarding.

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Successfully navigating the Extended Essay process requires more than just academic skill; it demands effective project management. This encompasses planning, organising, and executing your EE from initial conception to final submission. Here are strategies to help you manage the EE process, ensuring a smooth journey and a rewarding outcome.

Planning and Time Management Strategies Specific to the EE

Develop a Detailed Plan: Start by breaking down the EE process into stages: topic selection, research, drafting, and revising. Assign deadlines to each stage based on the final submission date, allowing extra time for unforeseen delays.

Use a Calendar or Planner: Keep track of deadlines, meetings with your supervisor, and other important dates. Digital tools can be particularly useful, offering reminders and helping you stay organised.

Set Regular Milestones: Milestones offer checkpoints to assess your progress. These could be completing the research phase, finishing a first draft, or finalising your citations. Celebrate these achievements to stay motivated.

Milestones and Checklists to Keep You on Track

Create Checklists: For each phase of the EE process, develop a checklist of tasks. This could include conducting initial research, writing specific sections of the essay, or completing rounds of revision.

Regular Progress Reviews: Schedule weekly or bi-weekly reviews of your progress against your plan. Adjust your plan as needed based on these reviews.

Stay Flexible: Be prepared to adapt your plan. Research might take longer than expected, or you might decide to change your focus slightly after discussing with your supervisor.

Dealing with Challenges and Setbacks During the EE Journey

Anticipate Potential Issues: Think ahead about what might go wrong and how you would address it. Having contingency plans can reduce stress and keep you on track.

Seek Support When Needed: Don’t hesitate to reach out to your supervisor, peers, or other mentors if you encounter obstacles. They can offer advice, support, and perspective.

Maintain a Positive Attitude: Challenges are part of the learning process. View setbacks as opportunities to improve your problem-solving and resilience skills.

Managing the EE process effectively is about more than just completing a requirement for the IB Diploma; it’s an exercise in self-management and personal growth. By carefully planning your work, setting and celebrating milestones, and being prepared to tackle challenges, you can navigate the EE process with confidence and achieve a result that reflects your hard work and dedication.

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Mastering the art of collaboration and effectively incorporating feedback are pivotal aspects of crafting a high-calibre Extended Essay (EE). These processes enrich your work, offering new perspectives and insights that can significantly enhance the depth and quality of your research and writing. Let’s delve into how to navigate these collaborative interactions and integrate feedback productively.

Effective Collaboration with Your Supervisor

Your supervisor is a key ally in your EE journey, providing guidance, support, and expert insight into your chosen topic. Building a productive relationship with your supervisor involves clear communication, active engagement, and receptiveness to their advice.

  • Prepare for Meetings: Maximise the value of your meetings by preparing questions and topics for discussion. This shows initiative and helps you focus on areas where you need the most guidance.
  • Be Open to Suggestions: Your supervisor brings a wealth of experience and knowledge. Being open to their suggestions can unlock new avenues of inquiry and refine your research focus.
  • Follow Up: After meetings, review the guidance provided and take action. Following up on suggestions and demonstrating progress is key to a fruitful collaboration.

Incorporating Feedback Constructively

Feedback is a gift, offering you fresh eyes on your work and highlighting areas for improvement. Whether it comes from your supervisor, peers, or other mentors, constructive feedback is instrumental in elevating the quality of your EE.

  • Critically Evaluate Feedback: Not all feedback will be equally applicable or helpful. Assess suggestions critically and decide which ones align with your research goals and vision for your EE.
  • Implement Changes Thoughtfully: When integrating feedback, do so thoughtfully and systematically. Consider how each piece of advice enhances your argument or strengthens your analysis.
  • Maintain Your Own Voice: While it’s important to consider feedback, your EE should ultimately reflect your ideas, analysis, and voice. Balance the input from others with your own scholarly insights.

Balancing Independent Research with Guidance

Navigating the balance between independent research and the guidance received is a delicate aspect of the EE process. While the EE is your project, drawing on the expertise and feedback of others can significantly enhance its depth and scope.

  • Value Independence: Embrace the opportunity to conduct independent research, making your EE a true reflection of your interests and intellectual curiosity.
  • Seek Guidance Wisely: Utilise your supervisor and other resources judiciously. They can provide clarity, offer new perspectives, and help you navigate complex aspects of your research.
  • Synthesise Input: Integrate the guidance and feedback you receive in a way that complements your research, ensuring that your EE remains a coherent and cohesive piece of scholarly work.

The interplay between collaboration, feedback, and independent research is central to the EE process. By engaging effectively with your supervisor, thoughtfully incorporating feedback, and maintaining a balance between guidance and your own scholarly pursuits, you can craft an EE that is not only academically rigorous but also a true testament to your growth as a learner.

Plagiarism is a critical concern in academic writing, including the Extended Essay. It involves using someone else’s work without proper acknowledgment, which can compromise the integrity of your essay and result in severe penalties. Understanding what constitutes plagiarism and how to avoid it is essential for maintaining academic honesty and ensuring the credibility of your research.

Understanding What Constitutes Plagiarism

Plagiarism can take many forms, from directly copying text without quotation marks to paraphrasing someone else’s ideas without proper citation. It also includes using images, charts, or data without acknowledging the source. Even unintentional plagiarism, where sources are not deliberately misrepresented but are inadequately cited, can have serious consequences.

How to Properly Cite Sources and Paraphrase

Citing Sources : Every time you use someone else’s words, ideas, or data, you must cite the source. This not only includes quotes and paraphrases but also data, images, and charts. Familiarise yourself with the citation style recommended for your subject area, whether it be APA, MLA, Chicago, or another, and apply it consistently throughout your essay.

Paraphrasing: Paraphrasing involves rewording someone else’s ideas in your own words. It’s essential to do more than just change a few words around; you need to completely rewrite the concept, ensuring you still cite the original source. Good paraphrasing demonstrates your understanding of the material and integrates it seamlessly into your argument.

Using Plagiarism Detection Tools

Many schools and students use plagiarism detection tools to check the originality of their work before submission. These tools compare your essay against a vast database of published material and other student submissions to identify any matches. Utilising these tools can help you identify areas of your essay that need better paraphrasing or citation.

Avoiding plagiarism in the EE involves diligent research, careful writing, and thorough citation. It’s about respecting the intellectual property of others while demonstrating your own understanding and analysis of the topic. By following these guidelines, you can ensure that your EE is both original and academically honest, reflecting the hard work and integrity that define the IB learner profile.

extended essay ess topics

In the Extended Essay, showcasing original thought is not just encouraged; it’s a cornerstone of what makes an EE stand out. Originality in this context means more than just avoiding plagiarism; it involves presenting unique perspectives, developing novel arguments, or exploring new areas within a subject. Here’s how you can emphasise original thought in your EE.

The Value of Originality and Creativity

Originality and creativity in the EE demonstrate your ability to think independently and engage critically with your subject. It shows that you’re not just capable of summarising existing knowledge but also contributing to the conversation in your discipline. This level of engagement is what the IB looks for in assessing the EE, as it reflects a deeper understanding and application of the subject matter.

Balancing Academic Rigour with Personal Voice and Analysis

While it’s important to ground your EE in academic research and follow disciplinary conventions, finding a balance with your personal voice and analysis is key to originality. Here are ways to achieve this balance:

  • Personal Insight : Inject your essay with your insights, interpretations, and conclusions based on the research. This personal engagement with the topic distinguishes your EE from a mere literature review.
  • Critical Analysis: Go beyond describing what others have said. Critique the arguments, identify gaps in the research, and propose new ways of understanding the subject.
  • Innovative Approach: Consider addressing less explored aspects of your topic or applying theories and methodologies from other disciplines to bring fresh perspectives.

Strategies for Developing and Showcasing Original Thought

Question Assumptions: Start by questioning the prevailing assumptions or widely held beliefs in your subject area. This critical stance can open up avenues for original analysis.

Interdisciplinary Connections: Drawing connections between different disciplines can reveal new insights and approaches that enrich your essay.

Reflect on Your Learning: Use the insights gained from your coursework and personal interests to inform your approach. Often, your unique educational and life experiences can inspire original perspectives.

Emphasising original thought in your EE is about striking a balance between demonstrating your mastery of the subject and pushing beyond the boundaries of existing knowledge. It involves a blend of thorough research, critical thinking, and creative engagement with the topic. By fostering a unique perspective and injecting your personal voice into your analysis, you can create an EE that is not only academically rigorous but also distinctly yours, leaving a lasting impression on your readers.

extended essay ess topics

The culmination of the Extended Essay process includes the final presentation and the Viva Voce, a concluding interview between the student and their supervisor. These components serve not only as a summation of your EE journey but also as an opportunity to reflect on your learning and the skills you’ve developed. Understanding the significance and how to prepare for these elements is crucial for a successful EE completion.

Preparing for the Final Presentation

The final presentation is an opportunity to share the highlights of your EE journey, including your research question, methodology, key findings, and any challenges you overcame. It’s a moment to showcase the depth of your research and the personal growth you experienced throughout the process.

Key Elements to Include:

  • Overview of Your Research: Briefly summarise your research question and why you chose it, highlighting your methodology and the scope of your investigation.
  • Significant Findings: Share the key insights and discoveries you made during your research. This is a chance to underscore the original contributions of your EE.
  • Challenges and Solutions : Discuss any significant obstacles you faced and how you addressed them. Reflecting on these challenges shows your problem-solving skills and resilience.
  • Reflections on the Process: Share what you’ve learned about yourself as a learner, the skills you’ve developed, and how the EE has impacted your academic and personal growth.

Tips for a Successful Viva Voce

The Viva Voce is a short interview with your supervisor after you’ve submitted your EE. It’s an integral part of the reflection process, allowing you to discuss the successes and challenges of your research journey.

To Prepare for the Viva Voce:

  • Review Your EE: Be familiar with your essay’s content, as you’ll discuss your work in detail. Be ready to explain your research decisions and reflect on your learning process.
  • Anticipate Questions: Your supervisor might ask about how you selected your topic, the development of your research question, your approach to research and writing, and the skills you’ve developed.
  • Reflect on Your Learning: Think about the entire EE process, including what you learned, how you’ve grown, and how the experience might influence your future academic or career goals.

How the Viva Voce Contributes to Your Overall EE Assessment

While the Viva Voce doesn’t directly affect your EE grade, it plays a crucial role in the holistic assessment of your IB Diploma. It demonstrates the authenticity of your work and your engagement with the EE process, providing insights into your approach, dedication, and intellectual growth.

The final presentation and Viva Voce are essential milestones that mark the completion of your EE journey. They offer a platform to reflect on the challenges you’ve navigated, the knowledge you’ve gained, and the skills you’ve honed. Preparing thoroughly for these elements ensures you can confidently articulate your research journey, showcasing the depth of your inquiry and your development as an IB learner.

extended essay ess topics

The journey through the Extended Essay is more than an academic exercise; it’s a transformative experience that equips IB Diploma students with skills and insights that extend far beyond the programme.

Reflecting on how the EE prepares you for future academic and professional endeavours can highlight the lasting value of this rigorous project.

How the Skills Developed During the EE Can Benefit You in Future Academic and Professional Endeavours

Research and Analytical Skills: The EE demands a high level of research and analysis, teaching students how to gather, assess, and interpret data. These skills are invaluable in higher education and many professional fields, where evidence-based decision-making is crucial.

Critical Thinking: Crafting an EE requires students to evaluate sources critically, consider multiple perspectives, and develop well-reasoned arguments. This ability to think critically is highly sought after in both academia and the workplace.

Project Management: Completing an EE involves planning, organisation, time management, and problem-solving. Managing such a long-term project successfully can boost your confidence in handling complex tasks and projects in the future.

Communication: Writing the EE enhances your ability to communicate complex ideas clearly and effectively, a skill that is essential in any professional setting. Additionally, the final presentation and Viva Voce develop your verbal communication and presentation skills.

Examples of How the EE Has Helped Alumni in Their Post-IB Journeys

Many IB alumni attribute their success in university and their careers to the foundation laid by their EE experience. For instance, alumni often report that the EE made the transition to university-level research and writing much smoother. Others have found that the skills developed through the EE, such as critical thinking and project management, have set them apart in job interviews and workplace projects.

Encouragement to View the EE as a Stepping Stone to Lifelong Learning

The EE is not just a requirement for the IB Diploma; it’s an introduction to a lifelong journey of inquiry and discovery. It encourages a mindset of curiosity and a habit of continuous learning that can enrich both your personal and professional life. Viewing the EE through this lens can transform it from a daunting task into an exciting opportunity to explore your passions and develop essential skills for the future.

The Extended Essay is a hallmark of the IB Diploma Programme, embodying the essence of inquiry, critical thinking, and scholarly engagement. From selecting a topic and formulating a research question to conducting in-depth research and presenting findings, the EE challenges students to transcend the boundaries of traditional learning, fostering skills and insights that extend far beyond the confines of the classroom.

This comprehensive guide has navigated the critical aspects of the EE process, offering strategies for managing time, engaging with supervisors, and ensuring academic integrity. It has underscored the importance of original thought, the role of academic discipline, and the value of reflection, aiming to equip students with the tools they need to succeed in this rigorous academic endeavour.

The Extended Essay is a testament to your dedication, intellectual curiosity, and academic prowess. Embrace this opportunity to shine, to explore, and to make your mark on the world of knowledge.

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International Baccalaureate (IB)


IB students around the globe fear writing the Extended Essay, but it doesn't have to be a source of stress! In this article, I'll get you excited about writing your Extended Essay and provide you with the resources you need to get an A on it.

If you're reading this article, I'm going to assume you're an IB student getting ready to write your Extended Essay. If you're looking at this as a potential future IB student, I recommend reading our introductory IB articles first, including our guide to what the IB program is and our full coverage of the IB curriculum .

IB Extended Essay: Why Should You Trust My Advice?

I myself am a recipient of an IB Diploma, and I happened to receive an A on my IB Extended Essay. Don't believe me? The proof is in the IBO pudding:


If you're confused by what this report means, EE is short for Extended Essay , and English A1 is the subject that my Extended Essay topic coordinated with. In layman's terms, my IB Diploma was graded in May 2010, I wrote my Extended Essay in the English A1 category, and I received an A grade on it.

What Is the Extended Essay in the IB Diploma Programme?

The IB Extended Essay, or EE , is a mini-thesis you write under the supervision of an IB advisor (an IB teacher at your school), which counts toward your IB Diploma (learn more about the major IB Diploma requirements in our guide) . I will explain exactly how the EE affects your Diploma later in this article.

For the Extended Essay, you will choose a research question as a topic, conduct the research independently, then write an essay on your findings . The essay itself is a long one—although there's a cap of 4,000 words, most successful essays get very close to this limit.

Keep in mind that the IB requires this essay to be a "formal piece of academic writing," meaning you'll have to do outside research and cite additional sources.

The IB Extended Essay must include the following:

  • A title page
  • Contents page
  • Introduction
  • Body of the essay
  • References and bibliography

Additionally, your research topic must fall into one of the six approved DP categories , or IB subject groups, which are as follows:

  • Group 1: Studies in Language and Literature
  • Group 2: Language Acquisition
  • Group 3: Individuals and Societies
  • Group 4: Sciences
  • Group 5: Mathematics
  • Group 6: The Arts

Once you figure out your category and have identified a potential research topic, it's time to pick your advisor, who is normally an IB teacher at your school (though you can also find one online ). This person will help direct your research, and they'll conduct the reflection sessions you'll have to do as part of your Extended Essay.

As of 2018, the IB requires a "reflection process" as part of your EE supervision process. To fulfill this requirement, you have to meet at least three times with your supervisor in what the IB calls "reflection sessions." These meetings are not only mandatory but are also part of the formal assessment of the EE and your research methods.

According to the IB, the purpose of these meetings is to "provide an opportunity for students to reflect on their engagement with the research process." Basically, these meetings give your supervisor the opportunity to offer feedback, push you to think differently, and encourage you to evaluate your research process.

The final reflection session is called the viva voce, and it's a short 10- to 15-minute interview between you and your advisor. This happens at the very end of the EE process, and it's designed to help your advisor write their report, which factors into your EE grade.

Here are the topics covered in your viva voce :

  • A check on plagiarism and malpractice
  • Your reflection on your project's successes and difficulties
  • Your reflection on what you've learned during the EE process

Your completed Extended Essay, along with your supervisor's report, will then be sent to the IB to be graded. We'll cover the assessment criteria in just a moment.


We'll help you learn how to have those "lightbulb" moments...even on test day!  

What Should You Write About in Your IB Extended Essay?

You can technically write about anything, so long as it falls within one of the approved categories listed above.

It's best to choose a topic that matches one of the IB courses , (such as Theatre, Film, Spanish, French, Math, Biology, etc.), which shouldn't be difficult because there are so many class subjects.

Here is a range of sample topics with the attached extended essay:

  • Biology: The Effect of Age and Gender on the Photoreceptor Cells in the Human Retina
  • Chemistry: How Does Reflux Time Affect the Yield and Purity of Ethyl Aminobenzoate (Benzocaine), and How Effective is Recrystallisation as a Purification Technique for This Compound?
  • English: An Exploration of Jane Austen's Use of the Outdoors in Emma
  • Geography: The Effect of Location on the Educational Attainment of Indigenous Secondary Students in Queensland, Australia
  • Math: Alhazen's Billiard Problem
  • Visual Arts: Can Luc Tuymans Be Classified as a Political Painter?

You can see from how varied the topics are that you have a lot of freedom when it comes to picking a topic . So how do you pick when the options are limitless?


How to Write a Stellar IB Extended Essay: 6 Essential Tips

Below are six key tips to keep in mind as you work on your Extended Essay for the IB DP. Follow these and you're sure to get an A!

#1: Write About Something You Enjoy

You can't expect to write a compelling essay if you're not a fan of the topic on which you're writing. For example, I just love British theatre and ended up writing my Extended Essay on a revolution in post-WWII British theatre. (Yes, I'm definitely a #TheatreNerd.)

I really encourage anyone who pursues an IB Diploma to take the Extended Essay seriously. I was fortunate enough to receive a full-tuition merit scholarship to USC's School of Dramatic Arts program. In my interview for the scholarship, I spoke passionately about my Extended Essay; thus, I genuinely think my Extended Essay helped me get my scholarship.

But how do you find a topic you're passionate about? Start by thinking about which classes you enjoy the most and why . Do you like math classes because you like to solve problems? Or do you enjoy English because you like to analyze literary texts?

Keep in mind that there's no right or wrong answer when it comes to choosing your Extended Essay topic. You're not more likely to get high marks because you're writing about science, just like you're not doomed to failure because you've chosen to tackle the social sciences. The quality of what you produce—not the field you choose to research within—will determine your grade.

Once you've figured out your category, you should brainstorm more specific topics by putting pen to paper . What was your favorite chapter you learned in that class? Was it astrophysics or mechanics? What did you like about that specific chapter? Is there something you want to learn more about? I recommend spending a few hours on this type of brainstorming.

One last note: if you're truly stumped on what to research, pick a topic that will help you in your future major or career . That way you can use your Extended Essay as a talking point in your college essays (and it will prepare you for your studies to come too!).

#2: Select a Topic That Is Neither Too Broad nor Too Narrow

There's a fine line between broad and narrow. You need to write about something specific, but not so specific that you can't write 4,000 words on it.

You can't write about WWII because that would be a book's worth of material. You also don't want to write about what type of soup prisoners of war received behind enemy lines, because you probably won’t be able to come up with 4,000 words of material about it. However, you could possibly write about how the conditions in German POW camps—and the rations provided—were directly affected by the Nazis' successes and failures on the front, including the use of captured factories and prison labor in Eastern Europe to increase production. WWII military history might be a little overdone, but you get my point.

If you're really stuck trying to pinpoint a not-too-broad-or-too-narrow topic, I suggest trying to brainstorm a topic that uses a comparison. Once you begin looking through the list of sample essays below, you'll notice that many use comparisons to formulate their main arguments.

I also used a comparison in my EE, contrasting Harold Pinter's Party Time with John Osborne's Look Back in Anger in order to show a transition in British theatre. Topics with comparisons of two to three plays, books, and so on tend to be the sweet spot. You can analyze each item and then compare them with one another after doing some in-depth analysis of each individually. The ways these items compare and contrast will end up forming the thesis of your essay!

When choosing a comparative topic, the key is that the comparison should be significant. I compared two plays to illustrate the transition in British theatre, but you could compare the ways different regional dialects affect people's job prospects or how different temperatures may or may not affect the mating patterns of lightning bugs. The point here is that comparisons not only help you limit your topic, but they also help you build your argument.

Comparisons are not the only way to get a grade-A EE, though. If after brainstorming, you pick a non-comparison-based topic and are still unsure whether your topic is too broad or narrow, spend about 30 minutes doing some basic research and see how much material is out there.

If there are more than 1,000 books, articles, or documentaries out there on that exact topic, it may be too broad. But if there are only two books that have any connection to your topic, it may be too narrow. If you're still unsure, ask your advisor—it's what they're there for! Speaking of advisors...


Don't get stuck with a narrow topic!

#3: Choose an Advisor Who Is Familiar With Your Topic

If you're not certain of who you would like to be your advisor, create a list of your top three choices. Next, write down the pros and cons of each possibility (I know this sounds tedious, but it really helps!).

For example, Mr. Green is my favorite teacher and we get along really well, but he teaches English. For my EE, I want to conduct an experiment that compares the efficiency of American electric cars with foreign electric cars.

I had Ms. White a year ago. She teaches physics and enjoyed having me in her class. Unlike Mr. Green, Ms. White could help me design my experiment.

Based on my topic and what I need from my advisor, Ms. White would be a better fit for me than would Mr. Green (even though I like him a lot).

The moral of my story is this: do not just ask your favorite teacher to be your advisor . They might be a hindrance to you if they teach another subject. For example, I would not recommend asking your biology teacher to guide you in writing an English literature-based EE.

There can, of course, be exceptions to this rule. If you have a teacher who's passionate and knowledgeable about your topic (as my English teacher was about my theatre topic), you could ask that instructor. Consider all your options before you do this. There was no theatre teacher at my high school, so I couldn't find a theatre-specific advisor, but I chose the next best thing.

Before you approach a teacher to serve as your advisor, check with your high school to see what requirements they have for this process. Some IB high schools require your IB Extended Essay advisor to sign an Agreement Form , for instance.

Make sure that you ask your IB coordinator whether there is any required paperwork to fill out. If your school needs a specific form signed, bring it with you when you ask your teacher to be your EE advisor.

#4: Pick an Advisor Who Will Push You to Be Your Best

Some teachers might just take on students because they have to and aren't very passionate about reading drafts, only giving you minimal feedback. Choose a teacher who will take the time to read several drafts of your essay and give you extensive notes. I would not have gotten my A without being pushed to make my Extended Essay draft better.

Ask a teacher that you have experience with through class or an extracurricular activity. Do not ask a teacher that you have absolutely no connection to. If a teacher already knows you, that means they already know your strengths and weaknesses, so they know what to look for, where you need to improve, and how to encourage your best work.

Also, don't forget that your supervisor's assessment is part of your overall EE score . If you're meeting with someone who pushes you to do better—and you actually take their advice—they'll have more impressive things to say about you than a supervisor who doesn't know you well and isn't heavily involved in your research process.

Be aware that the IB only allows advisors to make suggestions and give constructive criticism. Your teacher cannot actually help you write your EE. The IB recommends that the supervisor spends approximately two to three hours in total with the candidate discussing the EE.

#5: Make Sure Your Essay Has a Clear Structure and Flow

The IB likes structure. Your EE needs a clear introduction (which should be one to two double-spaced pages), research question/focus (i.e., what you're investigating), a body, and a conclusion (about one double-spaced page). An essay with unclear organization will be graded poorly.

The body of your EE should make up the bulk of the essay. It should be about eight to 18 pages long (again, depending on your topic). Your body can be split into multiple parts. For example, if you were doing a comparison, you might have one third of your body as Novel A Analysis, another third as Novel B Analysis, and the final third as your comparison of Novels A and B.

If you're conducting an experiment or analyzing data, such as in this EE , your EE body should have a clear structure that aligns with the scientific method ; you should state the research question, discuss your method, present the data, analyze the data, explain any uncertainties, and draw a conclusion and/or evaluate the success of the experiment.

#6: Start Writing Sooner Rather Than Later!

You will not be able to crank out a 4,000-word essay in just a week and get an A on it. You'll be reading many, many articles (and, depending on your topic, possibly books and plays as well!). As such, it's imperative that you start your research as soon as possible.

Each school has a slightly different deadline for the Extended Essay. Some schools want them as soon as November of your senior year; others will take them as late as February. Your school will tell you what your deadline is. If they haven't mentioned it by February of your junior year, ask your IB coordinator about it.

Some high schools will provide you with a timeline of when you need to come up with a topic, when you need to meet with your advisor, and when certain drafts are due. Not all schools do this. Ask your IB coordinator if you are unsure whether you are on a specific timeline.

Below is my recommended EE timeline. While it's earlier than most schools, it'll save you a ton of heartache (trust me, I remember how hard this process was!):

  • January/February of Junior Year: Come up with your final research topic (or at least your top three options).
  • February of Junior Year: Approach a teacher about being your EE advisor. If they decline, keep asking others until you find one. See my notes above on how to pick an EE advisor.
  • April/May of Junior Year: Submit an outline of your EE and a bibliography of potential research sources (I recommend at least seven to 10) to your EE advisor. Meet with your EE advisor to discuss your outline.
  • Summer Between Junior and Senior Year: Complete your first full draft over the summer between your junior and senior year. I know, I know—no one wants to work during the summer, but trust me—this will save you so much stress come fall when you are busy with college applications and other internal assessments for your IB classes. You will want to have this first full draft done because you will want to complete a couple of draft cycles as you likely won't be able to get everything you want to say into 4,000 articulate words on the first attempt. Try to get this first draft into the best possible shape so you don't have to work on too many revisions during the school year on top of your homework, college applications, and extracurriculars.
  • August/September of Senior Year: Turn in your first draft of your EE to your advisor and receive feedback. Work on incorporating their feedback into your essay. If they have a lot of suggestions for improvement, ask if they will read one more draft before the final draft.
  • September/October of Senior Year: Submit the second draft of your EE to your advisor (if necessary) and look at their feedback. Work on creating the best possible final draft.
  • November-February of Senior Year: Schedule your viva voce. Submit two copies of your final draft to your school to be sent off to the IB. You likely will not get your grade until after you graduate.

Remember that in the middle of these milestones, you'll need to schedule two other reflection sessions with your advisor . (Your teachers will actually take notes on these sessions on a form like this one , which then gets submitted to the IB.)

I recommend doing them when you get feedback on your drafts, but these meetings will ultimately be up to your supervisor. Just don't forget to do them!


The early bird DOES get the worm!

How Is the IB Extended Essay Graded?

Extended Essays are graded by examiners appointed by the IB on a scale of 0 to 34 . You'll be graded on five criteria, each with its own set of points. You can learn more about how EE scoring works by reading the IB guide to extended essays .

  • Criterion A: Focus and Method (6 points maximum)
  • Criterion B: Knowledge and Understanding (6 points maximum)
  • Criterion C: Critical Thinking (12 points maximum)
  • Criterion D: Presentation (4 points maximum)
  • Criterion E: Engagement (6 points maximum)

How well you do on each of these criteria will determine the final letter grade you get for your EE. You must earn at least a D to be eligible to receive your IB Diploma.

Although each criterion has a point value, the IB explicitly states that graders are not converting point totals into grades; instead, they're using qualitative grade descriptors to determine the final grade of your Extended Essay . Grade descriptors are on pages 102-103 of this document .

Here's a rough estimate of how these different point values translate to letter grades based on previous scoring methods for the EE. This is just an estimate —you should read and understand the grade descriptors so you know exactly what the scorers are looking for.

Here is the breakdown of EE scores (from the May 2021 bulletin):

How Does the Extended Essay Grade Affect Your IB Diploma?

The Extended Essay grade is combined with your TOK (Theory of Knowledge) grade to determine how many points you get toward your IB Diploma.

To learn about Theory of Knowledge or how many points you need to receive an IB Diploma, read our complete guide to the IB program and our guide to the IB Diploma requirements .

This diagram shows how the two scores are combined to determine how many points you receive for your IB diploma (3 being the most, 0 being the least). In order to get your IB Diploma, you have to earn 24 points across both categories (the TOK and EE). The highest score anyone can earn is 45 points.


Let's say you get an A on your EE and a B on TOK. You will get 3 points toward your Diploma. As of 2014, a student who scores an E on either the extended essay or TOK essay will not be eligible to receive an IB Diploma .

Prior to the class of 2010, a Diploma candidate could receive a failing grade in either the Extended Essay or Theory of Knowledge and still be awarded a Diploma, but this is no longer true.

Figuring out how you're assessed can be a little tricky. Luckily, the IB breaks everything down here in this document . (The assessment information begins on page 219.)

40+ Sample Extended Essays for the IB Diploma Programme

In case you want a little more guidance on how to get an A on your EE, here are over 40 excellent (grade A) sample extended essays for your reading pleasure. Essays are grouped by IB subject.

  • Business Management 1
  • Chemistry 1
  • Chemistry 2
  • Chemistry 3
  • Chemistry 4
  • Chemistry 5
  • Chemistry 6
  • Chemistry 7
  • Computer Science 1
  • Economics 1
  • Design Technology 1
  • Design Technology 2
  • Environmental Systems and Societies 1
  • Geography 1
  • Geography 2
  • Geography 3
  • Geography 4
  • Geography 5
  • Geography 6
  • Literature and Performance 1
  • Mathematics 1
  • Mathematics 2
  • Mathematics 3
  • Mathematics 4
  • Mathematics 5
  • Philosophy 1
  • Philosophy 2
  • Philosophy 3
  • Philosophy 4
  • Philosophy 5
  • Psychology 1
  • Psychology 2
  • Psychology 3
  • Psychology 4
  • Psychology 5
  • Social and Cultural Anthropology 1
  • Social and Cultural Anthropology 2
  • Social and Cultural Anthropology 3
  • Sports, Exercise and Health Science 1
  • Sports, Exercise and Health Science 2
  • Visual Arts 1
  • Visual Arts 2
  • Visual Arts 3
  • Visual Arts 4
  • Visual Arts 5
  • World Religion 1
  • World Religion 2
  • World Religion 3


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100 IB Extended Essay Topic Ideas!

extended essay ess topics

One of the biggest keys to the Extended Essay is choosing which subject you want to write your work in and developing that crucial research question. Read on to find inspiration for topics across a wide range of subjects.

Extended Essay: The Love/Hate aspect of the IB

One of the biggest keys to the Extended Essay is choosing which subject you want to write your work in and developing that crucial research question. Annoyingly, coming up with that idea and research question can be the toughest part of the entire process. Writing 4,000 words about something you are interested in is a big ask and it often feels impossible to narrow down your thoughts. To make everything super clear, here are 100 Extended Essay Topics for you to draw inspiration from! Use these as a springboard to create your own research question !

Get Support from A Top Tutor Today

At Lanterna we have over 300 tutors who smashed their Extended Essay. They know exactly how to get an A in your EE and can give you tips and tricks on how you can do the same. What are you waiting for? Get your own tutor today !

How to Begin Your IB Extended Essay

To make everything super clear, here are 100 Extended Essay Topics for you to draw inspiration from! Use these as a springboard to  create your own research question !

Get Support from a Top Tutor Today

At Lanterna, we have over 300 tutors who smashed their Extended Essay. They know exactly how to get an A in your EE and can give you tips and tricks on how you can do the same. What are you waiting for? Get your own tutor today!

10 Steps to Writing an Extended Essay

Before we look at specific topics for your essay, let’s recap the 10-steps you’ll need to follow to complete your extended essay.

1. Define the Topic and Draft the Research Question

2. Create a Timeline

3. Identify and gather Sources

4. Set Deadlines

5. Plan the structure according to the total word count

6. Evaluate

7. independent Research

8. Write the extended essay draft

10. Present

By following the steps above, you should be able to produce a logical and coherent rationale to follow when writing the extended essay for your IB diploma programme.

By starting with a solid research question, you’ll be able to put an extended essay of global significance together, from the research and writing process all the way through to your final submission with a favourable extended essay grade.

Below, we’re sharing 10 topics across 10 subjects to inspire your next IB extended essay.

1. How the change of habitat affects an X organism?

2. How does climate affect the growth of X plant?

3. Can photosynthesis take place without sunlight?

4. What is the effect of age and gender on the photoreceptor cells in the human retina?

5. How is climate change impacting the appearance of coral reefs?

6. An evaluation of how  antioxidants  work in our bodies?

7. Does hand sanitizer, hand soap or antibacterial wipes have the greatest ability to inhibit the growth of E. Coli?

8. To what extent do live cultures in yogurts/milk/other dairy products reduce the concentration of lactose present over the course of a 2 hour incubation period at x°C?

9. What is the relationship between  population density  between X and population size of X?

10. What is the relationship between indoleacetic acid, a growth hormone, and the growth of X (a crop)?

11. How does human influence impact an aquatic ecosystem?

12. How can one organize a pollution check along a X canal in X?

13. What is the effect of the increased ecological footprint in the  Amazon ?

14. What are the forest and woodland restoration in Siberia, Russia and which one is most effective?

15. How does human interference cause ecological imbalances in an X city/country/continent?

16. What is the impact of urban development on the  bee population  in X city?

17. What are the differences in the conversation efforts in Yosemite National Park (California, USA) and the Lake District National Park (UK)?

18. To what extent have healthcare policies in X country influenced their human population curve?

19. How have changes in environmental systems influenced the value system of X country?

20. How has X landfill site affected the surrounding terrestrial ecosystem?

21. What is the profitability of  airline companies ?

22. How does unemployment affect the market?

23. Why did X recession occur?

24. How did the financial Policy affect the economy in X?

25. How effective are government policies in reducing overconsumption of alcohol (specifically hard liquor)?

26. To what extent are public buses and subways substitute goods in a country?

27. How did the tax reform in country x affect its growth and development? (many countries to choose from)

28. To what extent was weak government policy responsible for the Latin American financial crisis of 1997?

29. How effective is the  Big Mac Index  in measuring purchasing power parity?

30. To what extent would the UK suffer from leaving the European Customs Union if Brexit happens?

31. Is there an association between viewing violence on television and the display of violent acts?

32. What motivational climate should a coach employ in order to achieve optimal performance in athletes?

33. How does  X hormone affect human behavior ?

34. Compare theories explaining altruism in human behaviour

35. Discuss short-term and long-term consequences of exposure to violence

36. Why do relationships change or end?

37. Discuss how  social variables (poverty, parenting, educational environment) may the affect cognitive environment.

38. To what extent do mirror neurons play a role in empathy? (2014)

39. To what extent does Mindfulness help people cope with General Anxiety Disorder (GAD)?

40. To what extent is drug therapy effective in the treatment of bipolar disorder?

41. Does the British Parliamentary reforms act of 1832 deserve its title as the great reform act?

42. To what extent are there similarities in Hitler and Mussolini’s Rise to Power?

43. To what extent did Mao’s tackle the problems which he faced?

44. Was Tsar Alexander II of Russia reforms a success or failure?

45. To what extent was the bombing of Dresden in 1945 justifiable?

46. To what extent can  Sweden be considered neutral during WWII ?

47. The impact of structural economic weakness on the collapse of the Soviet Union.

48. How were women treated differently in 1920s and 1950s Great Britain?

49. Why did Israel win the  Six Day War  of 1967?

50. What role did economics play in the unification of Germany from 1834 to 1871?

English Literature

51. What are the Compare and Contrast Jane Austen Books?

52. How does Joseph Conrad’s portray Racism in A Heart of Darkness?

53. How does Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman critique today’s capitalist society? The American Dream?

54. To what extent does Chris McCandless in Jon Krakauer’s Into the Wild escape familial influence?

55. What are the similarities and differences between J.K. Rowling’s characterization of Severus Snape in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows?

56. How does Yaa Gyasi use structure in her novel Homegoing to portray the evolution of time?

57. What is the impact of the social context on Holden Caufield and Huckleberry Finn?

58. How does Sylvia Path’s use of Inanimate objects in Bell Jar?

59. How is the empowerment of Feminine portrayed in the Lord of the Rings?

60. Compare the political rhetoric as used in the inaugural addresses of George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and Donald Trump.

61. The design, construction and calibration of an apparatus for measuring lipid concentration in milk.

62. What is the effect of a change in the optimal lift on the horizontal gliding distance of an aircraft?

63. How does the sugar concentration affect the refractive index of water?

64. How does temperature affect the viscosity of X juice/soda?

65. Is the relationship between temperature and conductivity and insulators and conductors?

66. What is the Oberth Effect?

67. What is the temperature dependence of work performed on an AA battery?

68. How can the rotational frequency of a fan driven by a flame measure distance?

69. Do wine bottles of different shapes behave as Helmholtz resonators?

70. How does the diameter of a wheel affect stability in different weather conditions?

71. What factors influence the location of industries in country/city X?

72. An investigation into the significance of preserving the quality of water in a continent/country/city?

73. An investigation into the degree to which City X can be considered a Sustainable City/Community.

74. To what extent is Biodiversity being managed successfully in city X?

75. To what extent does the education and employment of women affect Country x’s fertility rate?

76. To what extent do gender, educational attainment, and working parameters influence obesity risk?

77. To what extent has urban development affected human thermal comfort levels in Country/city x (a country/city that has developed in a rapid rate over the past decades)?

78. To what extent is the Company x corporate waste management program effective, demonstrating environmental sustainability?

79. To what extent is biodiversity being managed successfully at National Park X?

80. What types of urban design encourage high rates of vandalism in X neighbourhoods?

81. The kinetics of Enzymatic Reactions.

82. How do Iron Intake Diets differ in X country?

83. What are the different factors that affect the iodine values in cooking oils?

84. What is the effect of standing time and temperate on the acid content in X juice or soda?

85. Can caffeine in tea or coffee be reduced?

86. What is the effect of temperature on the souring of milk?

87. What are the sources of error in calorimetry?

88. Does brushing your teeth affect the pH in your mouth after eating?

89. How does changing the concentration of the reagents affect the formation and spacing between Liesehang rings in the reaction between X chloride and X when conducted in a test tube?

90. What effect does the coating of aspirin tablets have on the hydrolysis of aspirin?

Social and Cultural Anthropology

91. How clothing relates to the cultural anthropology of X culture.

92. The extent to which social media networks affect different societies.

93. The relationship between ritual, myths and faith in an X society.

94. The history of rituals in X culture.

95. How different marriage rituals inform the cultural anthropology of X culture.

96. Climate change and its impact on the evolution of different creatures on the planet.

97. Understanding the social and cultural anthropology of the supernatural in X culture.

98. An analysis of body modification in relation to social and cultural anthropology.

100. Chaste systems and social ranks in societies.

There are so many class subjects that can form the basis of your extended essay, including these popular six subjects:

– Information technology

– Computer science

– Health science

– World studies

– Visual arts

– Business management

Extended essays are a great way to improve your writing skills in academic writing. Essays of a high standard that demonstrate critical thinking and in depth analysis can be submitted to academic journals. These have the potential to reach the global society.

Start Writing Your Extended Essay Topic

We hope this gave you some great inspiration for the variation of topics available for your Extended Essay . The research question you select is what will carry you through the entire process, so be sure to choose wisely!

Remember, if you are looking for more help with your Extended Essay, make sure to check out our guide which will tell you exactly how to plan, structure, research and write your Extended Essay!

Grab Free Extended Essay Resources!

No matter the subject groups in your diploma program, we’re here to help all of our IB students. Whether you’re writing about social and cultural anthropology, business management, design technology, or scientific methods for your IB diploma, Lanterna has you covered.

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Example essays

The International Baccalaureate® (IB)  programme resource centre,  a key resource for educators at IB World Schools, includes several examples of  extended essay titles .

These highlight the diverse range of topics covered by International Baccalaureate® (IB) Diploma Programme (DP) students during their extended essays.

Some examples are:

  • “An analysis of costume as a source for understanding the inner life of the character”
  • “A study of malnourished children in Indonesia and the extent of their recovery after a period of supervised improved nutrition.”
  • “Doing  versus  being: language and reality in the Mimamsa school of Indian philosophy.” 
  • “The effects of sugar-free chewing gum on the pH of saliva in the mouth after a meal.”
  • “To what extent has the fall in the exchange rate of the US dollar affected the tourist industry in Carmel, California?”
  •  “What level of data compression in music files is acceptable to the human ear?”

Also available in the programma resource centre , the Diploma Programme Assessment Procedures has guidance on choosing a subject for the extended essay.

The PRC is only available to existing IB World Schools.

You can also purchase examples of essays in the IB Store . These essays fulfil the requirements for an ‘A’ grade in the extended essay.

If your school is not one already, learn how to become an IB World School  in order to implement the DP.

extended essay ess topics

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World Studies Extended Essay: Global Themes

  • Introduction
  • Getting Started
  • Global Themes
  • Interdisciplinary Research
  • What Makes Up a "Discipline"?
  • Evaluating the Insights of Academic Disciplines
  • Multiple Forms of Integration
  • Evaluating Your Essay
  • Common Stumbling Blocks
  • Examples of Globally Conscious Students

World Studies Global Themes

Globe - Britannica ImageQuest

Conflict, peace, and security Culture, language, and identity Environmental and/or economic sustainability Equality and inequality Health and development Science, technology and society

Conflict, peace, and security

Culture, language, and identity, environmental and/or economic sustainability, equality and inequality, health and development, science, technology and society, wsee documents.

WSEE Subject Guide and worksheets

  • IB EE Subject Guide - World Studies, 2018
  • Making Meaningful Connections Use this worksheet to help you think about your research plans: the concepts or methods your will be using, the global topic you're focusing on, and the academic disciplines you will be using.

RRS (Researcher's Reflection Space)

  • Sample Prompts for the WSEE RRS What should you write in your RRS? Use these questions and prompts to help you think through the various stages of the research for your WSEE: your initial ideas, your thoughts and reflections during the process, and your conclusions.
  • RRS Example B - World Studies

RPPF (Researcher's Planning and Progress Form) examples:

  • RPPF Example 5 - World Studies
  • RPPF Example 7 - World Studies

IB Extended Essay Guide & Timeline

Check the Extended Essay guide for specific guidance on completing the various steps in the research and writing process of the EE, and  these documents:

extended essay ess topics

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Splendid Ideas for Extended Essay Topics

As opposed to ordinary essays, extended essays require more factual backup. Therefore, writing a solid extended essay requires considerably more dedication and research, as well as more critical thinking and experimentation. When writing an extended essay, it is crucial to keep in mind all the existing relevant theories and keep all the facts you refer to substantiated.

Here are some examples of possible topics in various fields of study for a splendid extended essay for you to choose from:

  • How photosynthesis can take place without sunlight
  • How does a plant grow differently when it has to share its habitat with others
  • How to store cow milk safely
  • How does change of habitat affect an organism
  • How are land plants different from aquatic ones
  • Is remote pollination possible
  • How various drugs affect human brain
  • How plants can heal disease
  • Can flowers be manufactured
  • How climate affects the reproduction process of plants
  • Trade policies in different countries
  • What does the industrial policy mean
  • The overall influence of fiscal policy on the economy
  • Expansionary fiscal policy and when it can be used
  • Taxes and Spending: The tools to make it more effective
  • How big is the government sector in economy and is it justified
  • Why does personal income tax go to the federal budget
  • How do transfer payments work
  • How does the business cycle cause instability in the labor market
  • Why does recessionary gap occur
  • Racial Conflict and racism throughout the 20th century
  • Spirituality Attitudes of People
  • Ethnic and sexual identity in the 1990s
  • How ideas of social Darwinism got translated into politics
  • The significance of the literary function of a language
  • How does media portrayal influence everyday life
  • Female empowerment in Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings
  • Why is it important to learn English literature
  • John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars
  • Sarah Dessen’s Just Listen
  • Lisa Kleypas’s Devil In Winter
  • The Importance of Dance in Emma by Jane Austen
  • Possible parallels between Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein monster and Gregor Samsa from Franz Kafka’s Metamorphosis
  • Noblemen and noble traits. Illustrated by three exemplary characters
  • Religion and religious imagery in Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights
  • Racism as illustrated by James Baldwin
  • Exploring Jane Austen
  • Inanimate objects in Sylvia Plath’s Bell Jar
  • How did the continents come to their present-day location
  • What factors influence the location of industries
  • The impact of economic development on the environment
  • Levels of cultural interaction between the neighboring nations
  • How geography affects the relationships between people
  • Does gendered economy have any connection to geography
  • How are nations with access to the sea different from the ones without
  • Oceanography and its significance for preserving the quality of water
  • How the knowledge of the terrestrial crust has evolved in the past 100 years
  • Why is it important to explore the seabed

extended essay topics

  • Why did the USSR fall apart
  • The bias in the Salem witch trials
  • The Treaty of Versailles and its significance
  • Cuban missile crisis and its consequences
  • The pact between Stalin and Hitler and its realization
  • Why was Pearl Harbor a game-changing checkpoint in the 2nd World War
  • The evolution of perception of opium as a rural culture
  • Political motives in Shakespeare's drama
  • The reasons for the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki
  • How the Roman Empire conquered Britain
  • Spirograph and curves
  • Using color polynomials to distinguish knots
  • Voting polynomials and fairness of constitution
  • Methodology employed by statistics
  • Why planets move the way they do
  • Egyptian forces in arithmetic
  • Symmetries of plane tessellations
  • General relativity and cosmology
  • Egyptian fractions and their significance for arithmetic
  • General functions of the theory of partitions
  • Understanding the terminology of physics
  • The basics of dynamics: forces and motion
  • How energy can be conserved
  • The phenomenon of heat
  • The nature of electricity and electrical energy
  • The nature of magnetism and magnetic force
  • Particles and their interactions
  • The nature and behavior of light
  • Main stages in the development of the physical thought
  • The scientific methods employed by modern physics
  • How parental negligence leads to child obesity
  • Why are we so obsessed with fast food
  • How narcissist mother influences her child
  • How is television connected to obesity
  • Preterm delivery and adjacent stress
  • Types of suicidal behaviors and how they develop
  • How not to allow an abortion damage the mental health
  • Violence and other abuse among teenage couples
  • Difference between male and female schizophrenia
  • Psychological reasons causing depression
  • Intelligent machines essay
  • How global food crisis affects our everyday lives
  • How to tell that an issue is of global significance
  • How local factors influence the developing expressions
  • How to make globally appreciated contributions
  • How global climate changes affect our view of the world
  • Global terrorism: Its causes and consequences
  • Why energy security is necessary
  • Health safety precautions every traveler should know
  • The importance of ongoing cultural exchange
  • Immigration and emigration: Causes and consequences

There are your ultimate topics for extended essays in English, History, Mathematics, and other subjects. The final word of advice while choosing an extended essay topic on any of those subjects would be to pick something that you feel passionate about. And, of course, you have to make sure that the scope of your topic meets the number of pages you have to write. Say, for example, you are a high school student, and you are supposed to write a 3-page essay. Obviously, you will not be able to dig into many details; so choose accordingly.

If you are feeling uncertain that you can write an excellent grade extended essay yourself, you are welcome to employ our assistance in this issue. We cooperate only with top experts with a Ph.D. degree or higher in the topic that they are to write about, and being an English native speaker is another key requirement, so our writers writing skills are also unsurpassed. So, if there is any reason why you cannot have your extended essay written on time yourself, all you need to do is place your order on our website, and leave the rest to us! If you are curious how to write a definition essay feel free to explore our blog.

Top 100 Excellent Topics for Illustration Essay

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extended essay ess topics


The extended essay (EE) is an integral part of the IB Diploma course. In order to write a good extended essay in ESS you need to first of all be interested in and passionate about the environment; and secondly be prepared to put in the hard work.

You will research and write about an environmental topic or issue of relevance to you and your environment. Your writing should cover the environmental system and how society functions – you must conduct an analytical argument.

Extended Essay Information Guide (from the IBO) Overview

Environmental issues are occupying a position of increasing significance on the world agenda, and an extended essay in environmental systems and societies provides students with an opportunity to explore an environmental topic or issue of particular interest or relevance to themselves and their localities.

You will be expected to: • integrate theoretical contexts and methodologies with academic disciplines appropriate to the chosen topic • use a systems approach in the analysis and interpretation of their data.

An extended essay in Environmental Systems and Societies provides you with the opportunity to explore questions in terrestrial, freshwater or marine environments. The characteristic nature of an essay in this subject will lie in the application of a systems approach to an environmental issue.

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IB Extended Essay: Past Essays

  • Research Questions
  • Past Essays
  • Notes & Outlines
  • Works Cited Page
  • In-Text Citations
  • Assessment Criteria
  • Reflections
  • Supervisor Info
  • Net Valley Library This link opens in a new window

extended essay ess topics

Check these CAREFULLY to be sure your topic fits with IB expectations!

  • Language & literature (language A)
  • Language acquisition (language B)
  • Mathematics
  • Visual Arts
  • World Studies

Business Management

English a & b ee examples.

  • English A EE Example
  • English A EE Example 1
  • English A EE Example 2
  • English A EE Example 3
  • English B EE Example
  • English B EE Example 1
  • English B EE Example 2
  • English B EE Example 3
  • English B EE Example 4
  • English B EE Example 5
  • English B EE Example 6

Philosophy EE Examples

  • Philosophy Example 1
  • Philosophy Example 2
  • Philosophy Example 3
  • Philosophy Example 4

Economics EE Examples

  • Econ Example 1
  • Econ Example 2
  • Econ Example 3
  • Econ Example 4
  • Econ Example 5
  • Econ Example 6
  • Econ Example 7
  • Econ Example 8

Review Past Papers

  • From the IB:  papers from other students and how they scored
  • Renaissance Library Past Essays :  Links to all subject area examples

Music EE Examples

  • Music EE Example 1
  • Music EE Example 2
  • Music EE Example 3
  • Music EE Example 4

Psychology EE Examples

  • Psych EE Example 1
  • Psych EE Example 2
  • Psych EE Example 3

Chinese EE Examples

  • Chinese EE Example 1
  • Chinese EE Example 2
  • Chinese EE Example 3
  • Chinese A EE Cat 1
  • Chinese A EE Cat 2
  • Chinese A EE Cat 3
  • Chinese B EE Example 1
  • Chinese B EE Example 2
  • Chinese B Example 3
  • Business EE Example 1
  • Business EE Example 2
  • Business EE Example 3

Visual Arts EE Examples

  • Visual Arts EE Example 1
  • Visual Arts EE Example 2
  • Visual Arts EE Example 3
  • Visual Arts EE Example 4

Film EE Examples

  • Film Example 1
  • Film Example 2

Chemistry EE Examples

  • Chemistry EE Example

Biology EE Examples

  • Biology EE Example
  • Biology EE Example 1
  • Biology EE Example 2
  • Biology EE Example 3

Physics EE Examples

  • Physics EE Example
  • Physics EE Example 1
  • Physics EE Example 2
  • Physics EE Example 3
  • Physics EE Example 4
  • Physics EE Example 5

Math EE Examples

  • Math EE Example 1
  • Math EE Example 2
  • Math EE Example 3
  • Math EE Example 4
  • Math EE Example 5
  • Math EE Example 6

World Studies EE Examples

  • World Studies Example 1
  • World Studies Example 2
  • World Studies Example 3
  • World Studies Example 4
  • World Studies Example 5
  • World Studies Example 6
  • World Studies Example 7
  • World Studies Example 8
  • World Studies Example 9
  • World Studies Example 10
  • World Studies Example 11
  • World Studies Example 12
  • World Studies Example 13
  • World Studies Example 14
  • World Studies Example 15
  • World Studies Example 16
  • World Studies Example 17
  • World Studies Example 18
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  • Last Updated: Dec 15, 2023 10:08 AM
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Introducing The Topics

This current ESS curriculum is for first teaching in September 2015 and was prepared from about 2011-2013 by a group of educators from around the world each bringing a different perspective on the course. The course hasn't changed greatly but is updated and remains flexible for teaching to your local setting. One important idea during the curriculum review was to try and make explicit parts of the course which were previously a little hidden and required experience of the exams. In these sections of the website we will provide teaching resources, notes and ideas. You could also use it as an interactive textbook with students. Our own students really like using it for their review.

Selected Pages

extended essay ess topics

Topic 2: Ecosystems and Ecology Free

There are five sub-topics in this topic. You may need to think carefully about whether you split this topic into several...

extended essay ess topics

Topic 8: Human systems and resource use Free

In the first year teaching the new guide I taught sub-topic 1.4 first combining it with sub-topic 8.1. This year I am going...

extended essay ess topics

Topic 7: Climate change and energy production Free

This topic has been greatly updated and has moved from "the issue of global warming" to a much more integrated approach...

extended essay ess topics

Topic 6: Atmospheric Systems & Societies Free

In comparison to the 2010 ESS Guide this topic is largely a sub-set of the old topic 5 on pollution. I like the inclusion...

extended essay ess topics

Topic 5: Soil systems, terrestrial food production Free

With the rise of veganism and recent reports from the Lancet commission and Oxford University , this part of the course...

extended essay ess topics

Topic 4: Aquatic Systems Free

This is a new emphasis in the course, requiring the study of aquatic food production systems. They have regularly been included...

What is Presidents Day and how is it celebrated? What to know about the federal holiday

Many will have a day off on monday in honor of presidents day. consumers may take advantage of retail sales that proliferate on the federal holiday, but here's what to know about the history of it..

extended essay ess topics

Presidents Day is fast approaching, which may signal to many a relaxing three-day weekend and plenty of holiday sales and bargains .

But next to Independence Day, there may not exist another American holiday that is quite so patriotic.

While Presidents Day has come to be a commemoration of all the nation's 46 chief executives, both past and present, it wasn't always so broad . When it first came into existence – long before it was even federally recognized – the holiday was meant to celebrate just one man: George Washington.

How has the day grown from a simple celebration of the birthday of the first president of the United States? And why are we seeing all these ads for car and furniture sales on TV?

Here's what to know about Presidents Day and how it came to be:

When is Presidents Day 2024?

This year, Presidents Day is on Monday, Feb. 19.

The holiday is celebrated on the third Monday of every February because of a bill signed into law in 1968 by President Lyndon B. Johnson. Taking effect three years later, the Uniform Holiday Bill mandated that three holidays – Memorial Day, Presidents Day and Veterans Day – occur on Mondays to prevent midweek shutdowns and add long weekends to the federal calendar, according to Britannica .

Other holidays, including Labor Day and Martin Luther King Jr. Day , were also established to be celebrated on Mondays when they were first observed.

However, Veterans Day was returned to Nov. 11 in 1978 and continues to be commemorated on that day.

What does Presidents Day commemorate?

Presidents Day was initially established in 1879 to celebrate the birthday of the nation's first president, George Washington. In fact, the holiday was simply called Washington's Birthday, which is still how the federal government refers to it, the Department of State explains .

Following the death of the venerated American Revolution leader in 1799, Feb. 22, widely believed to be Washington's date of birth , became a perennial day of remembrance, according to History.com .

The day remained an unofficial observance for much of the 1800s until Sen. Stephen Wallace Dorsey of Arkansas proposed that it become a federal holiday. In 1879, President Rutherford B. Hayes signed it into law, according to History.com.

While initially being recognized only in Washington D.C., Washington's Birthday became a nationwide holiday in 1885. The first to celebrate the life of an individual American, Washington's Birthday was at the time one of only five federally-recognized holidays – the others being Christmas, New Year's, Thanksgiving and the Fourth of July.

However, most Americans today likely don't view the federal holiday as a commemoration of just one specific president. Presidents Day has since come to represent a day to recognize and celebrate all of the United States' commanders-in-chief, according to the U.S. Department of State .

When the Uniform Holiday Bill took effect in 1971, a provision was included to combine the celebration of Washington’s birthday with Abraham Lincoln's on Feb. 12, according to History.com. Because the new annual date always fell between Washington's and Lincoln's birthdays, Americans believed the day was intended to honor both presidents.

Interestingly, advertisers may have played a part in the shift to "Presidents Day."

Many businesses jumped at the opportunity to use the three-day weekend as a means to draw customers with Presidents Day sales and bargain at stores across the country, according to History.com.

How is the holiday celebrated?

Because Presidents Day is a federal holiday , most federal workers will have the day off .

Part of the reason Johnson made the day a uniform holiday was so Americans had a long weekend "to travel farther and see more of this beautiful land of ours," he wrote. As such, places like the Washington Monument in D.C. and Mount Rushmore in South Dakota – which bears the likenesses of Presidents Washington, Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson and Theodore Roosevelt – are bound to attract plenty of tourists.

Similar to Independence Day, the holiday is also viewed as a patriotic celebration . As opposed to July, February might not be the best time for backyard barbecues and fireworks, but reenactments, parades and other ceremonies are sure to take place in cities across the U.S.

Presidential places abound across the U.S.

Opinions on current and recent presidents may leave Americans divided, but we apparently love our leaders of old enough to name a lot of places after them.

In 2023, the U.S. Census Bureau pulled information from its databases showcasing presidential geographic facts about the nation's cities and states.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the census data shows that as of 2020 , the U.S. is home to plenty of cities, counties and towns bearing presidential names. Specifically:

  • 94 places are named "Washington."
  • 72 places are named "Lincoln."
  • 67 places are named for Andrew Jackson, a controversial figure who owned slaves and forced thousands of Native Americans to march along the infamous Trail of Tears.

Contributing: Clare Mulroy

Eric Lagatta covers breaking and trending news for USA TODAY. Reach him at [email protected]


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