ESS extended essay

ESS extended essay

ESS extended essay

The ESS extended essay (EE) is an integral part of the IB Diploma course. In order to write a good ESS EE 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.


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 ESS extended essay 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.

Choice of topic

Environmental systems and societies focuses upon the interaction and integration of “natural” environmental systems and human societies. Your topic should:

  • have a sharp focus on the interaction between environmental systems and societies,
  • should give significant (though not necessarily equal) weight to both the ecological processes and societal activities
  • be interdisciplinary in nature,
  • be open to analytical argument,
  • allow you to demonstrate some grasp of how both environmental systems and societies function in the relationship.  Your study have to explore the context of some human interaction with the environmental system.
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