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What’s the AP Capstone Diploma Program?

AP Capstone™ is a diploma program from the College Board. It’s based on two yearlong AP courses: AP Seminar and AP Research.

Rather than teaching subject-specific content, these courses develop students’ skills in research, analysis, evidence-based arguments, collaboration, writing, and presenting. Students who complete the two-year program can earn one of two different AP Capstone awards, which are valued by colleges across the United States and around the world.

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Students can earn the AP Capstone Diploma™ or the AP Seminar and Research Certificate™.

Students who earn scores of 3 or higher in AP Seminar and AP Research and on four additional AP Exams of their choosing receive the AP Capstone Diploma™.

Students who earn scores of 3 or higher in AP Seminar and AP Research but not on four additional AP Exams receive the AP Seminar and Research Certificate™.

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The Benefits of AP Capstone

Participating in AP Capstone can help students:

  • Stand out to colleges in the application process.
  • Develop key academic skills they’ll use in college and beyond.
  • Become self-confident, independent thinkers and problem solvers.
  • Earn college credit: Many colleges offer credit for qualifying scores.

See High Schools That Participate in AP Capstone


Benefits of AP Capstone Decorative Image


Benefits of AP Capstone Decorative Image

Offering the AP Capstone program gives school leaders and teachers:

  • Academic distinction, as the program is widely recognized for its skills focus and innovation.
  • Flexible student-centered curricula with room for creativity and student input.
  • Access to a weeklong, collaborative training event.

See Colleges That Endorse AP Capstone

AP Capstone helps students develop key skills that they will use over and over in college: conducting research and communicating their results.

—Stu Schmill, Dean of Admissions and Student Financial Services, Massachusetts Institute of Technology


Become an AP Capstone School

Schools must apply and be approved to offer the AP Capstone Diploma program before they can offer AP Seminar and AP Research to their students.

That’s because these skills-focused courses are different from other AP courses in many ways, including exam structure, exam scoring, and training requirements.

We want to make sure your school understands these expectations and has the resources needed to support implementation.

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Join a Live Webinar to Learn More About the AP Capstone Diploma Program

Join education professionals from around the nation at one of our six live webinars, to learn more about the AP Capstone Diploma Program.

In this hour-long session, participants will learn about: 

  • the AP Capstone Diploma Program’s two yearlong AP courses: AP Seminar and AP Research.
  • the benefits of the program for educators and students.
  • the process of becoming an approved AP Capstone school.

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Required Professional Development

All AP Seminar and AP Research teachers at approved schools must complete professional development consisting of:

  • In-person training: Teachers must complete a five-day workshop the summer before their first year of teaching the course.
  • Annual online rubric training: During the school year, teachers must also complete online training modules on scoring student work.

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AP Capstone helped me work independently, think critically about research and the research process, and organize myself so I can present to other people.

—Michael, Stanford University



What are the requirements for teachers of AP Capstone courses? Are there prerequisites for students? Get the answers to these and other questions about the AP Capstone program.

Go to FAQ


Application Timeline

See key dates and deadlines for schools applying to offer the AP Capstone Diploma program.

See Timeline