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Important Updates

2019-20 AP Course Audit: What You'll Need to Do

To give you more time to familiarize yourself with the new resources and supports that launched in August, you won’t be required to submit a syllabus for course authorization until the 2020-21 school year.

If you’re teaching AP Art History in 2019-20, you’ll need to:

  • Submit an AP Course Audit Form
  • Download the AP Art History unit guide

If you’re teaching a previously authorized AP Art History course, make sure your school administrator renews your course in 2019-20.

These steps will ensure that your course appears on the AP Course Ledger and you have access to online score reports in July 2020.

AP Course Audit

All schools that want to label a course “AP” must get authorization through the AP Course Audit.

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Designing Your AP Art History Course


The AP Art History course should be designed to provide students with a learning experience equivalent to that of an introductory college art history survey. The course should develop an understanding and knowledge of diverse historical and cultural contexts of architecture, sculpture, painting, and other art media. Teachers of AP Art History can come from a variety of backgrounds, including history, the humanities, and art.

There are no specific curricular prerequisites for students taking AP Art History.

Getting to Know the Course and Exam

The key document for each AP course is the course and exam description. Start by reviewing it to understand the objectives and expectations of the AP course and exam.

AP Art History Course and Exam Description

This is the core document for this course and is new for the 2019-20 school year. New unit guides clearly lay out the course content and skills and recommend sequencing and pacing for them throughout the year. The CED also more clearly outlines how material will be assessed on the exam, provides instructional strategies, and gives information on the AP Program in general.

Course Requirements


Your course must fulfill these requirements.

AP Art History Curricular Requirements

  • The students and teacher have access to a college-level art history textbook and images of the required works of art.
  • The students and teacher have access to diverse primary sources, and multiple secondary sources, written by historians or scholars interpreting the past.
  • The course provides opportunities to deepen student understanding of the required content outlined in each of the units described in the course and exam description.
  • The course provides opportunities to deepen student understanding of the big ideas of the course.
  • The course provides opportunities for students to develop the art historical thinking skills:
    • Skill 1: Visual Analysis
    • Skill 2: Contextual Analysis
    • Skill 3: Comparison of Works of Art
    • Skill 4: Artistic Traditions
    • Skill 5: Visual Analysis of Unknown Works
    • Skill 6: Attribution of Unknown Works
    • Skill 7: Art Historical Interpretations
    • Skill 8: Argumentation

AP Art History resource requirements:

  • The school ensures that each student has a college-level art history textbook (in print or electronic format) for individual use inside and outside of the classroom. The textbook is supplemented when necessary to meet the curricular requirements.
  • The school ensures that the teacher has a copy of the most recent edition of a college-level art history textbook or other appropriate materials to support instruction.
  • The school ensures that each AP Art History class has access to a digital projector and screens for viewing at least 2 works of art side by side.
  • The school ensures that each AP Art History class has access to digital images covering the material addressed in the course.

The list below shows examples of textbooks that meet the curricular requirements of AP Art History. The list is not exhaustive and the texts listed should not be regarded as endorsed, authorized, recommended, or approved by the College Board. Not using a book from this list does not mean that a course will not receive authorization. Syllabi submitted as part of the AP Course Audit process will be evaluated holistically, with textbooks considered along with supplementary, supporting resources to confirm that the course as a whole provides students with the content delineated in the curricular requirements of the AP Course Audit.

The current editions of the following textbooks meet the AP Course Audit curricular requirements. Earlier editions of these texts or other textbooks not listed here may meet the AP Course Audit curricular requirements if supplemented with appropriate college-level instructional resources. For discussions regarding the usefulness of these texts and other teaching materials in the AP Art History classroom, please consult the AP Art History Teacher Community.

  • DeWitte, Debra J., Ralph M. Larmann, and M. Kathryn Shields. Gateways to Art: Understanding the Visual Arts. New York: Thames and Hudson Inc. & W.W. Norton.
  • Graham-Dixon, Andrew. Art: Over 2,500 Works from Cave to Contemporary. DK Publishing.
  • Honour, Hugh, and John F. Fleming. The Visual Arts: A History. London: Laurence King Publishing Ltd.
  • Kleiner, Fred S. Gardner’s Art Through the Ages: A Global History. Cengage Learning.
  • Lazzari, Margaret, and Dona Schlesier. Exploring Art: A Global, Thematic Approach. Cengage Learning.
  • Stokstad, Marilyn, and Michael Cothren. Art History. Pearson.
  • Wilkins, David, Bernie Schultz, and Katheryn M. Linduff. Art Past, Art Present. Pearson.