The European Baccalaureate

The European Baccalaureate

The name ‘European Baccalaureate’ belongs solely to the European Schools, which, since their establishment, have had a monopoly over its use in all the official languages of the European Union.


The European Baccalaureate cycle

The European Baccalaureate cycle comprises the two last years of secondary education (s6 and s7) in the European Schools or in Schools Accredited by the Board of Governors.

The European Baccalaureate cycle consists of a comprehensive multilingual curriculum. Pupils must always follow a combination of language, humanities and scientific subjects with subjects taught through more than one language. The core curriculum consists of the following compulsory subjects, some of which can be taken at different levels of complexity:

  • At least two language subjects (the dominant language and another one)
  • Mathematics, either 3 periods/week or 5 periods/week
  • One scientific subject, either Biology 2 periods/week or any other 4-period scientific subject in either Biology, Chemistry or Physics
  • History and Geography, either 2 periods/week or 4 periods/week, which are taught through a different language from the dominant one, either in French, English or German.
  • Philosophy, either 2 periods/week or 4 periods/week
  • Physical Education
  • Ethics or Religion

In addition to the core curriculum, pupils have a wide range of options and complementary subjects they can choose from to complete their subject package, which will amount to a minimum of 31 periods per week and to a maximum of 35.

The following table shows the curriculum structure and choice possibilities:

​Column 1 ​Column 2 ​Column 3 ​Column 4 ​Column 5
Language 14 p.​Biology1​2 p.​Ancient Greek4 p.Advanced L13 p.Biology Lab62 p.
​​Language 23 p.Geography22 p.​Latin4 p.​Advanced L23 p.Chemistry Lab62 p.
Maths 3
3 p.History²2 p.​Biology4 p.​Advanced Maths4​3 p.​Physics Lab62 p.
​​​​Maths 55 p.Philosophy²2 p.​Chemistry4 p. ICT2 p.
1 p. ​Physics4 p. Sociology2 p.
Physical Education
2 p. Geography4 p. ​Art72 p.
  History4 p. Music72 p.​
  Economics4 p. Language 572 p.
  Philosophy4 p. ​ 

​ONL3​4 p.​...
​2 p.
  ​Language 34 p.  
  Language 44 p.   
  ​Art4 p.   
  Music4 p.   ​
  ​1 Biology 2p. is compulsory unless Physics or Chemistry or Biology is chosen in column 3.
2 All courses in column 2 must be taken if not chosen in column 3.
3 If ONL is chosen, L4 cannot be chosen. 4 Advanced Maths can only be chosen together with Maths 5 periods in column 1.5 The catalogue of complementary courses varies from one school to another.
6 Laboratory subjects should only be taken if the corresponding 4-period subject has been chosen.
7 Art 2 p. and Music 2 p. not allowed if taken in column 3.

The European Baccalaureate examinations

Secondary education is validated by the European Baccalaureate examinations held at the end of year s7. Candidates will sit five written examinations and three oral examinations. L1, L2 and Mathematics are compulsory written examinations. L1, L2 or a subject taught through L2 (History or Geography) are compulsory oral examinations. Therefore, candidates must demonstrate written and oral proficiency in at least two languages.
Each examination will cover the entire syllabus of the corresponding subject in s7 but will also assess the competences (knowledge, skills and attitudes) acquired in previous years, especially in s6.

Both written and oral examinations are subject to double correction and marking by both the candidates’ teachers and external examiners. The final mark will be the average of the two examiners’ marks. In the case of a mark-disagreement of over two points, a third external corrector will be brought in and will establish through a thorough analysis of the previous corrections a final mark between the highest and the lowest awarded by the two previous correctors.

The external examiners are appointed annually by the Board of Governors of the European Schools and must meet the requirements laid down in their home countries for appointment to examining boards of the same level.

Quality assurance of the European Baccalaureate

The European Baccalaureate session will be overseen by the Chairman of the European Baccalaureate and the national inspectors acting as Vice-chairmen. They will guarantee the high level and quality of the Baccalaureate examination papers, a fair and reliable assessment of the candidates and will ensure that the examination proceedings are adjusted to the European Schools regulations.

The Chairmanship of the European Baccalaureate rotates every year with the yearly presidency of the European Schools. The country holding the annual presidency will propose a prestigious university professor to chair the European Baccalaureate session, who will be appointed by the Board of Governors.


Assessment principles in the European Baccalaureate

Assessment in the European Baccalaureate cycle is criteria referenced. It measures pupils’ attainment in relation to the level at which the learning objectives and required competences defined in a given syllabus have been attained. The inspectorate also provides very clear assessment and marking guidelines for criteria for both oral and written examinations.

Assessment in the European Baccalaureate is both formative and summative.
Formative assessment focuses on the process of learning. It is reflected by the so called “A marks”. The A marks represent the pupils’ daily work in a subject, which consists of a variety of tasks and aspects such as:

  • focus and attention in class;
  • active participation and quality of interventions in class;
  • regularity and consistency in the work in class and at home;
  • positive attitude towards the subject;
  • signs of initiative, independence and autonomy;
  • short written progress tests or oral interrogations;
  • noted progress;
  • etc.

Summative assessment reflects the performance of a pupil at the end of a given period of instruction. It is reflected in the so called “B marks”, which are obtained in the term or semester Pre-Baccalaureate examinations. These examinations check the pupils’ competences acquired during an extensive period of time in certain subjects. They are held under certain physical conditions (room arrangement, use of specific formats, invigilation, etc.) and under time constraints.

At the end of year s7, the pupils obtain a preliminary mark, which accounts for 50% of the final mark. This preliminary mark reflects all the formative assessment and summative assessment (Pre-Baccalaureate examinations) carried out by the teachers during s7.

The other 50% of the final mark is obtained through the double correction of the written and oral European Baccalaureate examinations by internal and external examiners. The five written examinations account for 35% of this part and the three oral examinations for 15% of this part.

The overall pass mark for the European Baccalaureate is 5 out 10 (50 out of 100).

The European Baccalaureate diploma

The European Baccalaureate diploma is awarded to successful candidates by the Secretary-General of the European Schools on behalf of the Board of Governors. It certifies the completion of secondary studies in a European School or in a School Accredited by the Board of Governors. It is officially recognised as an entry qualification for Higher Education in all the countries of the European Union, as well as in a number of others.

European Baccalaureate diploma holders enjoy the same rights and benefits as other holders of secondary school-leaving certificates in their countries, including the same right as nationals with equivalent qualifications to seek admission to any university or institution of tertiary education in the European Union.


See more about the European Baccalaureate in the following links:

Timetable for the 2024 European Baccalaureate session examinations - Published on 11 December 2023
The European Baccalaureate Handbook: A Guide for European Baccalaureate Candidates - Last updated: 17 October 2023

European Baccalaureate Regulations: see the Official Texts


Equivalences and admission to Universities:

Equivalences between the European Baccalaureate and the upper secondary leaving certificate of national schools and admission of European Baccalaureate-holders to Universities in the member countries - 2014-03-D-25-en-14 - Updated on 12 September 2023
The European Baccalaureate: Information for admissions officers of universities and other higher education institutions​ (Department for Education - UK)

Le Baccalauréat européen : brochure à l’attention des services chargés de l’admission dans les universités, les grandes écoles et autres établissements d’enseignement supérieur (Ministère de l'Education nationale, de l'enseignement supérieur et de la recherche - France)

The European Baccalaureate described and compared with the Dutch system (Nuffic)

Reports on European Baccalaureate: see Reports and Statistical data