Physics Extended Essay Topics

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Physics Extended Essay Topics


An Extended Essay is an in-depth academic research paper that allows students to explore a specific topic in great detail. Extended Essays are typically written in the context of the International Baccalaureate program and form an essential part of the curriculum for students pursuing Physics. This type of project requires intensive research and allows students to demonstrate their critical thinking, problem-solving and analytical skills.

Writing an Extended Essay in Physics can provide students with the opportunity to develop an understanding of scientific principles and theories and how these are applied in real-world situations. It also allows students to demonstrate their ability to work independently in gathering and evaluating relevant information from multiple sources in order to construct a reasoned argument on a particular topic.

The Extended Essay encourages students to think more deeply and broadly about the subject they are studying and ultimately gives them the confidence to tackle physics related challenges in their future career.

Overview of International Baccalaureate (IB)

The International Baccalaureate (IB) is a recognized and respected educational programme for students aged between 16-19. It was founded in 1968 and has since then developed into one of the most widely known and accepted qualifications worldwide.

IB is designed to provide students with a comprehensive education that encourages critical thinking, creativity, and independence. It supports students’ academic success while developing their intellectual, social, and emotional skills. With IB, students can earn college credits, develop lifelong friendships and become well-rounded individuals with an international perspective.

In the Elementary Years Programme (PYP) and the Middle Years Programme (MYP), IB offers an interdisciplinary curriculum with a strong foundation in English, Mathematics, Science, and Humanities. As part of the IB Diploma Programme (DP), students have the opportunity to complete an Extended Essay. This is a research paper of up to 4000 words that makes up part of the final exam. The Extended Essay focuses on a specific academic topic and allows students to demonstrate their knowledge and skills in this area.

By completing an Extended Essay, students develop important skills such as research, writing, analysis, and reflection. They also learn how to work independently and how to manage their time. These qualities are essential for success not only in college, but also in any career. Furthermore, completing the Extended Essay is a requirement for an IB Diploma, which means that it holds a special place in the IB curriculum.

In summary, the International Baccalaureate is an amazing educational programme that provides students with an opportunity to gain valuable skills while earning college credits. Moreover, the Extended Essay is particularly beneficial as it allows students to develop essential abilities while also showing their achievements.

Insights into the Physics Extended Essay

An Extended Essay (EE) in Physics is a great way for students to demonstrate their understanding of the subject, as well as their ability to research and analyze evidence. To ensure that each student’s EE meets the high standards expected by the International Baccalaureate (IB), it is important to understand the grading criteria, select a suitable topic and carry out thorough research.

Grading Criteria

The IB has set a number of criteria which must be met by each EE. These include having a clear focus, demonstrating an inquiring and reflective approach to the research, using a logical and scientific approach to the investigation, and showing evidence of critical thinking. Students should be aware of how the EE will be assessed to ensure they produce an essay which meets this criteria.

Topic Selection

The EE should focus on a specific area of Physics, such as classical mechanics, quantum physics or special relativity. It is important to choose a topic which is relevant and interesting, whilst also being achievable within the given timeframe. Additionally, students should consider any limitations which may affect the accuracy of their results, such as the availability of equipment.

Research Tips

When researching an EE topic, it is important to use a range of sources. Both primary and secondary sources should be used to ensure the most accurate results. Students should also take care to document any information they have obtained, so that they can reference it accurately in the essay.

By understanding the grading criteria, selecting an appropriate topic, and carrying out thorough research, students can ensure their Physics EE meets the standards expected by the IB. With the right approach, an EE can be a rewarding experience, demonstrating a student’s understanding of the subject and helping them towards achieving their goals.

Examining Physics Themes

When it comes to writing an International Baccalaureate (IB) Physics Extended Essay, there is a wide range of topics available for study. Being able to select the right topic is key, as it should be something that interests you and can be explored within the subject area. As students are expected to demonstrate their knowledge, understanding and application of the relevant principles and theories in their essay, the topic of choice should be something that will allow students to do this.

When considering potential topics, consider aspects such as:

  • What have you been studying in class?
  • What piques your interest?
  • What problems may you be able to solve or explain?

Students will need to identify whether their topic fits the criteria typically associated with an IB Physics extended essay. This includes topics around the fundamental concepts of Physics, such as motion, energy, forces and modern physics, or experimental areas such as biophysics, solid state physics, nuclear astrophysics and laser physics.

However, it’s also important to remember that there are other avenues to explore. Topics that target the history of physics, public awareness of physics and its applications, teachable resources and simulations and the application of physics in sports and other activities, can also be explored.

When deciding on a topic, make sure that it is something that can be explored in an appropriate amount of detail. If you decide to choose a more complex topic, ensure that you have a well-developed research plan to back you up.

Outline of Different Areas

When writing an International Baccalaureate (IB) Physics Extended Essay, it is important to have a clear structure. This will help ensure the essay is coherent and easy to read.

There are several possible areas that could be included in the essay:

  • Introduction: Outlining the aims of the essay and summarising what it will cover
  • Experimentation and Methodology: Discussing the experiments and methods used in the research
  • Analysis: Presenting the analysis and results of the experiments or survey
  • Conclusion: Summarising the findings of the research and drawing any meaningful conclusions

It is important to provide a clear structure that allows different sections to be separated from each other. Additionally, it is important to provide an example of what could be included in each area as this will help guide the essay in the right direction.

For instance, in the introduction a brief description of the research project should be given and any underlying concepts that will be discussed should be outlined. In the experimentation and methodology section, the steps involved in carrying out the research should be detailed. In the analysis section, the data collected should be presented and discussed. Finally, the conclusion section should summarise the overall findings and provide any recommendations for further research.

By following this structure and providing a brief example of what could be included in each area, it will help create a clear and concise essay that will be better received by the graders.

Conducting Research for an International Baccalaureate Physics Essay

When it comes to researching for your International Baccalaureate (IB) Physics Extended Essay, it is important to not only use a range of sources but also to focus on both primary and secondary sources.

Primary sources are documents or other records directly from the time period or from witnesses of the event. They can be something such as an experiment log book, newspaper article, diaries or interviews. Secondary sources are interpretations or analyses of primary sources created by historians or academics. Examples of secondary sources include literature reviews, articles and books.

Using both primary and secondary sources helps to provide a well-rounded view of the topic to give a more comprehensive evaluation and analysis. When searching for primary sources, try to access archives through libraries or consult the websites of research institutions. Secondary sources can be accessed by using search engines such as Google Scholar or databases like JSTOR.

You should also make sure that you stay up to date with any developments in the field by reading recent articles or books on the topic. This will help you to gain an understanding of any new developments that have occurred and will ensure that your essay is not out of date.

By utilising both primary and secondary sources, you will ensure that your essay is well researched and will provide a more in-depth analysis of the topic.

Writing the Essay

Writing an Extended Essay for International Baccalaureate Physics can seem like an overwhelming task. Yet, with a few simple tips and tricks you can make the whole process easier and more successful.

The most important part of writing an essay is getting the structure right. Firstly, make sure your essay has an introduction, main body, and conclusion. The introduction should set the scene and present your thesis statement. The body should be split into different sections to explore the evidence you have gathered in relation to your thesis. The conclusion should tie together all of your findings and reiterate your thesis statement.

In addition to structure, you must also make sure the essay flows logically. Glue sentences and paragraphs together using words such as ‘therefore’, ‘moreover’ and ‘subsequently’. Use headings and subheadings to break up long pieces of text, making it easier to understand. Make sure to use formal language throughout, avoiding colloquialisms or slang.

This essay is based on your research, so you must include evidence from the sources you have used to back up your argument. When you include evidence, provide a short quotation and make sure to reference the source. It may be useful to add commentary to the quotation to draw out its meaning.

Finally, your essay must be written in clear and concise prose. There is no need to pad out the essay with fluff: stick to the point and focus on the facts. Check your essay for grammar and spelling mistakes, to ensure it is well presented and easy to read.

Although writing an extended essay may be challenging, taking these simple steps to structure, flow and evidence your essay can help you create a well-crafted and persuasive argument that will get you the best grade possible.

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Peer Reviewing for Your Extended Essay

When writing an International Baccalaureate (IB) Physics Extended Essay, it’s important to get feedback from peers. Peer reviewing can help you improve your essay before you submit it. After all, others may be able to spot typos or ideas you may have missed.

There are a few ways to get peer reviewed. You could do it in a group setting with classmates who are also doing Extended Essays or you could find someone in the same year as you who is knowledgeable about the topic you are writing on. Before you start, make sure it is clear what feedback you want.

Once you get feedback, you need to decide which suggestions to accept. If someone suggests something that does not align with your own ideas, chances are you will not accept it. However, if someone points out a factual error or typo, then it would be wise to take this advice. Furthermore, there may be new insights that you may find more palatable that could help improve the quality of your essay.

It’s important to remember when taking feedback from peers that some may be harsher than necessary. That being said, criticism can sometimes help to improve your essay even if it feels a bit uncomfortable. If someone is truly too harsh, take their ideas with a grain of salt and consider them while keeping your own opinion in mind.

In conclusion, peer reviewing can be a great tool for improving your IB Physics Extended Essay. Make sure you’re clear about the type of feedback that you’re looking for and consider each suggestion objectively. Don’t forget that criticism can sometimes help improve the quality of the essay. With a bit of luck, your essay will be the best it can be by the time you submit it!

Reflecting on the Research

A key part of writing a successful Extended Essay in Physics is reflecting on the research you have done. This process helps you to understand what areas you need to improve upon, and the ways you can improve for future essays.

It is a good idea to step away from the essay after completing the writing process and take some time for self-reflection. This helps to give you an outside perspective and think more critically about the essay.

For self-reflection, it can be helpful to ask yourself questions such as: What did I do well in this essay? What could I have done better? Have I explained my points clearly and supported my argument appropriately? Am I satisfied with my overall conclusion? Can I identify any potential flaws in my argument?

You should also consider getting feedback from other people, such as peers and teachers. This allows you to gain further insights and identify any areas you may have missed in your self-reflection.

By reflecting on your research, you can develop a clearer understanding of the topics discussed in your essay and identify ways you can improve. This will help you to achieve a higher grade and make your essay stand out.

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Submitting the Document

Once you have finished your Extended Essay and feel confident in presenting it, you need to submit it for marking and registering. Making sure that you’ve read all of the guidelines correctly and prepared everything correctly is essential before you submit it. There are several steps required in order to submit your document correctly.


The correct formatting of the document must be followed in order to ensure that it meets the requirements of the International Baccalaureate. This includes having margins of 2.5 cm, a font size of 11pt and double-spaced text. Careful proofreading and editing must also be completed prior to submission to make sure the essay is the best it can be.


Along with the extended essay document, you will also need to submit a number of other documents. These include:

  • Proof of registration with the IB
  • Signed copy of the candidate’s statement of commitment
  • Proof of payment of application fee

It is important to make sure all these documents are uploaded along with the essay in order to ensure that your document is registered with the IB.


Making sure that you submit your Extended Essay correctly is essential in order to get it registered with the International Baccalaureate. This includes following the correct formatting requirements and submitting all the necessary proofs. If you’re unsure about what these are, it’s important to check the IB guidelines or seek help from your teachers.

Referencing and Citing Sources

When writing an International Baccalaureate (IB) Physics Extended Essay, it is important to correctly cite and reference all sources used for research and to build the essay. Referencing and citing sources will not only help prove the authenticity of your work to external markers, but it also allows others to easily identify and check the sources you have used.

When citing sources in your extended essay, it is important to include both in-text citations and a reference list. An in-text citation should be included every time you use information from a source, such as a quote, statistic or article. These can take the form of either a parenthetical citation, i.e. (Author, Year) or a footnote citation. In addition, a reference list should also be included at the end of the essay, following the essay structure. This should include full details of all the sources you have cited within the essay.

Different referencing systems may require different formats when referencing sources, so it is important to ensure that you are using the correct format for your Extended Essay. Commonly used formats include the Harvard Research Referencing System, the American Psychological Association (APA) format and the Modern Language Association (MLA) format. Along with the source name and author, other important information to include are the year the source was published, the title of the source and the publication medium, i.e. print or online.

By correctly citing and referencing all sources, your Extended Essay will have credibility and validity, and be easily verifiable. As well as this, it also ensures that your essay meets academic standards and allows readers to access the same sources to find out more.


Writing a Physics Extended Essay for the International Baccalaureate can be a daunting task, and to make sure you do the best job possible it is important to understand all the different aspects. We have discussed what an extended essay is and why it is important in the IB Programme, the physics themes that can be studied, and how to conduct research, write and review.

By becoming familiar with these aspects you will be better equipped to create an essay which meets the criteria for the IB assessment. After completing the essay it is crucial to reflect on the research and use the peer feedback to improve the paper and submit it in the correct formatting. When referencing other sources it is important to cite them accurately.

The Physics Extended Essay is an important part of the IB, showing you can accurately assess an issue while providing evidence from reliable sources. By following the steps outlined in this guide you can ensure your essay meets the requirements and has the highest potential to achieve the best possible grade.

Frequently Asked Questions about Physics Extended Essays

  • Q: What is an Extended Essay and why is it important?
    A: An Extended Essay is a 4,000 word in-depth research paper completed as part of the International Baccalaureate curriculum. The EE helps to develop important scholarly and communication skills, making it a key preparatory step for further studies such as at university.
  • Q: What is International Baccalaureate (IB)?
    A: International Baccalaureate (IB) is an academically demanding pre-university programme in education, consisting of end of school year examinations and other assessments. It is respected by universities worldwide and offers students a globally recognised qualification.
  • Q: What kind of topics can I write about for my Physics Extended Essay?
    A: Students are encouraged to choose topics that appeal to their interests within the realm of Physical Science, some examples include mechanics and optics, electricity, magnetism and thermal physics, quantitative and qualitative experiments.
  • Q: How should I conduct my research?
    A: Research should be approached by gathering primary and secondary sources to draw upon. Considerations such as interviews, surveys and reviews, as well as online research should all be explored.
  • Q: What advice is there for writing the essay?
    A: Ensuring clarity and precision in the written language and presentation should be considered when writing the essay. Paying attention to structure, include referencing and citing sources appropriately, as well as proof reading your work.
  • Q: What methods are there to receive feedback from peers?
    A: A peer review is an effective way to improve your essay. This can be received by having peers provide feedback, editing and critiquing your work with an unbiased viewpoint.
  • Q: How can I reflect on my research?
    A: Self-reflection is an important aspect of completing an extended essay as this helps to identify any areas for improvement. Consider past research and studies to form an understanding of the subject.
  • Q: What are the formatting and registration requirements for submitting the document?
    A: Ensure that all documents are formatted properly, including figures, tables, contents and appendices. Submissions must be made online with a valid registration.
  • Q: How do I cite and reference sources?
    A: Sources should be cited in-text,with appropriate references being included in the bibliography. Sources must also be referenced consistently according to the chosen style guide.
  • Q: What are the main points of an extended essay in the IB programme?
    A: An extended essay in the IB programme needs to demonstrate the student’s ability to conduct focussed and accurate research using primary and secondary sources. The essay should adhere to the correct formatting, referencing, cover page and timeline allocated by the coordinators.
Valerie Green

Valerie Green

Valerie Green is a dedicated educator who spends her time helping high school and college students succeed. She writes articles and guides for various online education projects, providing students with the tools they need to excel in their studies. Friendly and approachable, she is committed to making a difference in the lives of students.