IB Physics SL and HL Syllabus
IB DP Physics HL & SL Syllabus Download
IB Physics is no different today compared to what it used to be earlier. IB Physics SL or HL topic, I was always afraid about this, but trust me that you can score well in Physics SL or HL topics if you have made a plan for yourself.
I have students with terrible scores and the same students with great scores later. It's your methodology that will make a difference which will reflect in your grades.
Below are the topics to be covered in IB SL and HL levels, including the optional ones to choose from. More or less you have common topics in Physics HL and SL with some addon topics at HL level.
IB DP Physics Standard Level Syllabus
SL (Standard Level) consists of 8 Topics in 150 hours.
HL & SL  Topic Name  No. of Hours 
Topic  1  Measurements and Uncertainties  5 Hours 
Topic  2  Mechanics  22 Hours 
Topic  3  Thermal Physics  11 Hours 
Topic  4  Waves  15 Hours 
Topic  5  Electricity and Magnetism  15 Hours 
Topic  6  Circular Motion and Gravitation  5 Hours 
Topic  7  Atomic, Nuclear, and Particle Physics  14 Hours 
Topic  8  Energy Production  8 Hours 
Guide for IBDP Physics Standard Level Syllabus
IB DP Physics Higher Level Syllabus
HL (Higher Level) consists of 8 + 4 = 12 Topics in 240 hours. (HL includes SL syllabus and 4 more additional topics)
AHL  Additional HL Topics  No. of Hours 
Topic  9  Wave Phenomena  17 Hours 
Topic  10  Fields  11 Hours 
Topic  11  Electromagnetic Induction  16 Hours 
Topic  12  Quantum and Nuclear Physics  16 Hours 
Guide for IBDP Physics Higher Level Syllabus
Optional IB Physics Topics
Your teacher or you will choose to cover 3 or 4 topics (15 hours total) for SL and an additional 2 or 3 topics (25 hours total) for HL.
Optional  Optional IB Physics Topics 
Option 1  Relativity 
Option 2  Engineering Physics 
Option 3  Imaging 
Option 4  Astrophysics 
The Complete IB Physics HL & SL Syllabus in detail with subtopics explained below:
IB Physics SL and HL Syllabus
Physics SL Topics
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Guide for IBDP Physics SL and HL
Topic 1: Measurements and Uncertainties
Measurements in physics
 Fundamental and derived SI units
 Scientific notation and metric multipliers
 Significant figures
 Orders of magnitude
 Estimation
Uncertainties and errors
 Random and systematic errors
 Absolute, fractional and percentage uncertainties
 Error bars
 Uncertainty of gradient and intercepts
Vectors and scalars
 Vector and scalar quantities
 Combination and resolution of vectors
Topic 2: Mechanics (22 Hours)
Motion
 Distance and displacement
 Speed and velocity
 Acceleration
 Graphs describing motion
 Equations of motion for uniform acceleration
 Projectile motion
 Fluid resistance and terminal speed
Forces
 Objects as point particles
 Freebody diagrams
 Translational equilibrium
 Newton’s laws of motion
 Solid friction
Work, energy and power
 Kinetic energy
 Gravitational potential energy
 Elastic potential energy
 Work done as energy transfer
 Power as rate of energy transfer
 Principle of conservation of energy
 Efficiency
Momentum and impulse
 Newton’s second law expressed in terms of rate of change of momentum
 Impulse and force–time graphs
 Conservation of linear momentum
 Elastic collisions, inelastic collisions and explosions
Topic 3: Thermal Physics (11 Hours)
Thermal concepts
 Molecular theory of solids, liquids and gases
 Temperature and absolute temperature
 Internal energy
 Specific heat capacity
 Phase change
 Specific latent heat
Modelling a gas
 Pressure
 Equation of state for an ideal gas
 Kinetic model of an ideal gas
 Mole, molar mass and the Avogadro constant
 Differences between real and ideal gases
Topic 4: Waves (15 Hours)
Oscillations
 Simple harmonic oscillations
 Time period, frequency, amplitude, displacement and phase difference
 Conditions for simple harmonic motion
Travelling waves
 Travelling waves
 Wavelength, frequency, period and wave speed
 Transverse and longitudinal waves
 The nature of electromagnetic waves
 The nature of sound waves
Wave characteristics
 Wavefronts and rays
 Amplitude and intensity
 Superposition
 Polarization
Wave behaviour
 Reflection and refraction
 Snell’s law, critical angle and total internal reflection
 Diffraction through a singleslit and around objects
 Interference patterns
 Doubleslit interference
 Path difference
Standing waves
 The nature of standing waves
 Boundary conditions
 Nodes and antinodes
Topic 5: Electricity and Magnetism (15 Hours)
Electric fields
 Charge
 Electric field
 Coulomb’s law
 Electric current
 Direct current (dc)
 Potential difference
Heating effect of electric currents
 Circuit diagrams
 Kirchhoff’s circuit laws
 Heating effect of current and its consequences
 Resistance expressed as R = V/I
 Ohm’s law
 Resistivity
 Power dissipation
Electric cells
 Cells
 Internal resistance
 Secondary cells
 Terminal potential difference
 Electromotive force
Magnetic effects of electric currents
 Magnetic fields
 Magnetic force
Topic 6: Circular Motion and Gravitation (5 Hours)
Circular motion
 Period, frequency, angular displacement and angular velocity
 Centripetal force
 Centripetal acceleration
Newton’s law of gravitation
 Newton’s law of gravitation
 Gravitational field strength
Topic 7: Atomic, Nuclear and Particle Physics (14 Hours)
Discrete energy and radioactivity
 Discrete energy and discrete energy levels
 Transitions between energy levels
 Radioactive decay
 Fundamental forces and their properties
 Alpha particles, beta particles and gamma rays
 Halflife
 Absorption characteristics of decay particles
 Isotopes
 Background radiation
Nuclear reactions
 The unified atomic mass unit
 Mass defect and nuclear binding energy
 Nuclear fission and nuclear fusion
The structure of matter
 Quarks, leptons and their antiparticles
 Hadrons, baryons and mesons
 The conservation laws of charge, baryon number, lepton number and strangeness
 The nature and range of the strong nuclear force, weak nuclear force and electromagnetic force
 Exchange particles
 Feynman diagrams
 Confinement
 The Higgs boson
Topic 8: Energy Production (8 Hours)
Energy sources
 Specific energy and energy density of fuel sources
 Sankey diagrams
 Primary energy sources
 Electricity as a secondary and versatile form of energy
 Renewable and nonrenewable energy sources
Thermal energy transfer
 Conduction, convection and thermal radiation
 Blackbody radiation
 Albedo and emissivity
 The solar constant
 The greenhouse effect
 Energy balance in the Earth surface–atmosphere system
Physics HL Topics
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Topic 1: Measurements and Uncertainties
Measurements in physics
 Fundamental and derived SI units
 Scientific notation and metric multipliers
 Significant figures
 Orders of magnitude
 Estimation
Uncertainties and errors
 Random and systematic errors
 Absolute, fractional and percentage uncertainties
 Error bars
 Uncertainty of gradient and intercepts
Vectors and scalars
 Vector and scalar quantities
 Combination and resolution of vectors
Topic 2: Mechanics (22 Hours)
Motion
 Distance and displacement
 Speed and velocity
 Acceleration
 Graphs describing motion
 Equations of motion for uniform acceleration
 Projectile motion
 Fluid resistance and terminal speed
Forces
 Objects as point particles
 Freebody diagrams
 Translational equilibrium
 Newton’s laws of motion
 Solid friction
Work, energy and power
 Kinetic energy
 Gravitational potential energy
 Elastic potential energy
 Work done as energy transfer
 Power as rate of energy transfer
 Principle of conservation of energy
 Efficiency
Momentum and impulse
 Newton’s second law expressed in terms of rate of change of momentum
 Impulse and force–time graphs
 Conservation of linear momentum
 Elastic collisions, inelastic collisions and explosions
Topic 3: Thermal Physics (11 Hours)
Thermal concepts
 Molecular theory of solids, liquids and gases
 Temperature and absolute temperature
 Internal energy
 Specific heat capacity
 Phase change
 Specific latent heat
Modelling a gas
 Pressure
 Equation of state for an ideal gas
 Kinetic model of an ideal gas
 Mole, molar mass and the Avogadro constant
 Differences between real and ideal gases
Topic 4: Waves (15 Hours)
Oscillations
 Simple harmonic oscillations
 Time period, frequency, amplitude, displacement and phase difference
 Conditions for simple harmonic motion
Travelling waves
 Travelling waves
 Wavelength, frequency, period and wave speed
 Transverse and longitudinal waves
 The nature of electromagnetic waves
 The nature of sound waves
Wave characteristics
 Wavefronts and rays
 Amplitude and intensity
 Superposition
 Polarization
Wave behaviour
 Reflection and refraction
 Snell’s law, critical angle and total internal reflection
 Diffraction through a singleslit and around objects
 Interference patterns
 Doubleslit interference
 Path difference
Standing waves
 The nature of standing waves
 Boundary conditions
 Nodes and antinodes
Topic 5: Electricity and Magnetism (15 Hours)
Electric fields
 Charge
 Electric field
 Coulomb’s law
 Electric current
 Direct current (dc)
 Potential difference
Heating effect of electric currents
 Circuit diagrams
 Kirchhoff’s circuit laws
 Heating effect of current and its consequences
 Resistance expressed as R = V/I
 Ohm’s law
 Resistivity
 Power dissipation
Electric cells
 Cells
 Internal resistance
 Secondary cells
 Terminal potential difference
 Electromotive force
Magnetic effects of electric currents
 Magnetic fields
 Magnetic force
Topic 6: Circular Motion and Gravitation (5 Hours)
Circular motion
 Period, frequency, angular displacement and angular velocity
 Centripetal force
 Centripetal acceleration
Newton’s law of gravitation
 Newton’s law of gravitation
 Gravitational field strength
Topic 7: Atomic, Nuclear and Particle Physics (14 Hours)
Discrete energy and radioactivity
 Discrete energy and discrete energy levels
 Transitions between energy levels
 Radioactive decay
 Fundamental forces and their properties
 Alpha particles, beta particles and gamma rays
 Halflife
 Absorption characteristics of decay particles
 Isotopes
 Background radiation
Nuclear reactions
 The unified atomic mass unit
 Mass defect and nuclear binding energy
 Nuclear fission and nuclear fusion
The structure of matter
 Quarks, leptons and their antiparticles
 Hadrons, baryons and mesons
 The conservation laws of charge, baryon number, lepton number and strangeness
 The nature and range of the strong nuclear force, weak nuclear force and electromagnetic force
 Exchange particles
 Feynman diagrams
 Confinement
 The Higgs boson
Topic 8: Energy Production (8 Hours)
Energy sources
 Specific energy and energy density of fuel sources
 Sankey diagrams
 Primary energy sources
 Electricity as a secondary and versatile form of energy
 Renewable and nonrenewable energy sources
Thermal energy transfer
 Conduction, convection and thermal radiation
 Blackbody radiation
 Albedo and emissivity
 The solar constant
 The greenhouse effect
 Energy balance in the Earth surface–atmosphere system
Topic 9: Wave Phenomena (17 Hours)
Simple harmonic motion
 The defining equation of SHM
 Energy changes
Singleslit diffraction
 The nature of singleslit diffraction
Interference
 Young’s doubleslit experiment
 Modulation of twoslit interference pattern by oneslit diffraction effect
 Multiple slit and diffraction grating interference patterns
 Thin film interference
Resolution
 The size of a diffracting aperture
 The resolution of simple monochromatic twosource systems
Doppler effect
 The Doppler effect for sound waves and light waves
Topic 10: Fields (11 Hours)
Describing fields
 Gravitational fields
 Electrostatic fields
 Electric potential and gravitational potential
 Field lines
 Equipotential surfaces
Fields at work
 Potential and potential energy
 Potential gradient
 Potential difference
 Escape speed
 Orbital motion, orbital speed and orbital energy
 Forces and inversesquare law behaviour
Topic 11: Electromagnetic Induction (16 Hours)
Electromagnetic induction
 Electromotive force (emf)
 Magnetic flux and magnetic flux linkage
 Faraday’s law of induction
 Lenz’s law
Power generation and transmission
 Alternating current (ac) generators
 Average power and root mean square (rms) values of current and voltage
 Transformers
 Diode bridges
 Halfwave and fullwave rectification
Capacitance
 Capacitance
 Dielectric materials
 Capacitors in series and parallel
 Resistorcapacitor (RC) series circuits
 Time constant
Topic 12: Quantum and Nuclear Physics (16 Hours)
The interaction of matter with radiation
 Photons
 The photoelectric effect
 Matter waves
 Pair production and pair annihilation
 Quantization of angular momentum in the Bohr model for hydrogen
 The wave function
 The uncertainty principle for energy and time and position and momentum
 Tunnelling, potential barrier and factors affecting tunnelling probability
Nuclear physics
 Rutherford scattering and nuclear radius
 Nuclear energy levels
 The neutrino
 The law of radioactive decay and the decay constant
Optional Physics Topics
As a part of IB Physics curriculum, you need to choose from the Optional Physics topics which are listed below. You will be spending approx 15 hours here in Physics IB Optional topics.
Option 1: Relativity (15 Hours)
The beginnings of relativity
 Reference frames
 Galilean relativity and Newton’s postulates concerning time and space
 Maxwell and the constancy of the speed of light
 Forces on a charge or current
Lorentz transformations
 The two postulates of special relativity
 Clock synchronization
 The Lorentz transformations
 Velocity addition
 Invariant quantities (spacetime interval, proper time, proper length and rest mass)
 Time dilation
 Length contraction
 The muon decay experiment
Spacetime diagrams
 Spacetime diagrams
Option 2: Engineering Physics (15 Hours)
Rigid bodies and rotational dynamics
 Torque
 Moment of inertia
 Rotational and translational equilibrium
 Angular acceleration
 Equations of rotational motion for uniform angular acceleration
 Newton’s second law applied to angular motion
 Conservation of angular momentum
Thermodynamics
 The first law of thermodynamics
 The second law of thermodynamics
 Entropy
 Cyclic processes and pV diagrams
 Isovolumetric, isobaric, isothermal and adiabatic processes
 Carnot cycle
 Thermal efficiency
Fluids and fluid dynamics
 Density and pressure
 Buoyancy and Archimedes’ principle
 Pascal’s principle
 Hydrostatic equilibrium
 The ideal fluid
 Streamlines
 The continuity equation
 The Bernoulli equation and the Bernoulli effect
 Stokes’ law and viscosity
 Laminar and turbulent flow and the Reynolds number
Forced vibrations and resonance
 Natural frequency of vibration
 Q factor and damping
 Periodic stimulus and the driving frequency
 Resonance
Option 3: Imaging (15 Hours)
Introduction to imaging
 Thin lenses
 Converging and diverging lenses
 Converging and diverging mirrors
 Ray diagrams
 Real and virtual images
 Linear and angular magnification
 Spherical and chromatic aberrations
Imaging instrumentation
 Optical compound microscopes
 Simple optical astronomical refracting telescopes
 Simple optical astronomical reflecting telescopes
 Singledish radio telescopes
 Radio interferometry telescopes
 Satelliteborne telescopes
Fibre optics
 Structure of optic fibres
 Stepindex fibres and gradedindex fibres
 Total internal reflection and critical angle
 Waveguide and material dispersion in optic fibres
 Attenuation and the decibel (dB) scale
Option 4: Astrophysics (15 Hours)
Stellar quantities
 Objects in the universe
 The nature of stars
 Astronomical distances
 Stellar parallax and its limitations
 Luminosity and apparent brightness
Stellar characteristics and stellar evolution
 Stellar spectra
 Hertzsprung–Russell (HR) diagram
 Mass–luminosity relation for main sequence stars
 Cepheid variables
 Stellar evolution on HR diagrams
 Red giants, white dwarfs, neutron stars and black holes
 Chandrasekhar and Oppenheimer–Volkoff limits
Cosmology
 The Big Bang model
 Cosmic microwave background (CMB) radiation
 Hubble’s law
 The accelerating universe and redshift (z)
 The cosmic scale factor (R)
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