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All schools that want to label a course “AP” must get authorization by going through the AP Course Audit. This means submitting two things:

  • A subject-specific AP Course Audit Form
  • A course syllabus

Teachers have the option to create their own syllabus or adopt one of the sample syllabi provided. A teacher-created syllabus is checked by our reviewers to ensure that the course fulfills the AP Program’s course-specific curricular and resource requirements.

We offer plenty of resources, below, to help teachers understand course requirements and create a syllabus that fulfills these.

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Designing Your AP Chemistry Course

The AP Chemistry course should be designed by your school to provide students with a learning experience equivalent to that of a one-year general chemistry college course. Your AP Chemistry course should include those topics regularly covered in a typical general chemistry college course, and differ from the usual first high school course in chemistry in respect to the kind of textbook(s) used, the range and depth of topics covered, the emphasis on chemical calculations and the mathematical formulation of principles, the nature and variety of laboratory work done by students, and the time and effort required of students.

Schools’ AP Chemistry courses are typically designed to be taken by students after the completion of a first course in high school chemistry and a second-year algebra course. Students are encouraged to keep copies of their laboratory work for use in determining college credit or placement.

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.

Creating Your Syllabus

Use these resources to design your syllabus.


Download this document for more help creating your syllabus.

  • Syllabus Development Guide: AP Chemistry (.pdf/494KB) - Includes the guidelines reviewers use to evaluate syllabi along with three samples of evidence for each requirement. This guide also specifies the level of detail required in the syllabus to receive course authorization.

These four annotated sample AP Chemistry syllabi show how the curricular requirements can be demonstrated in a syllabus and what level of detail you’ll need to include.

Your course must fulfill these requirements, and your syllabus should make it clear how the requirements will be addressed.

AP Chemistry curricular requirements:

  • The teacher has read the most recent AP Chemistry Course and Exam Description (.pdf/5MB).
  • Students and teachers use a recently published (within the last 10 years) college-level chemistry textbook.
  • The course is structured around the enduring understandings within the big ideas as described in the AP Chemistry Curriculum Framework.
  • Students are provided with opportunities to meet the learning objectives within each of the big ideas as described in the AP Chemistry Curriculum Framework. These opportunities must occur in addition to those within laboratory investigations.
  • The course provides students with the opportunity to connect their knowledge of chemistry and science to major societal or technological components (e.g., concerns, technological advances, innovations) to help them become scientifically literate citizens.
  • Students are provided the opportunity to engage in investigative laboratory work integrated throughout the course for a minimum of 25% of instructional time, which must include a minimum of 16 hands-on laboratory experiments while using basic laboratory equipment to support the learning objectives listed within the AP Chemistry Curriculum Framework.
  • The laboratory investigations used throughout the course allow students to apply the seven science practices defined in the AP Chemistry Curriculum Framework. At minimum, six of the required 16 labs are conducted in a guided-inquiry format.
  • The course provides opportunities for students to develop, record, and maintain evidence of their verbal, written, and graphic communication skills through laboratory reports, summaries of literature or scientific investigations, and oral, written, and graphic presentations.

AP Chemistry resource requirements:

  • The school ensures that each student has a college-level chemistry textbook published within the last 10 years.
  • The school ensures that the teacher has a copy of a college-level chemistry textbook published within the last 10 years and other appropriate materials to support instruction.
  • The school ensures that each student has access to the AP Chemistry Guided Inquiry Experiments: Applying the Science Practices or other inquiry-based or student-directed lab activities that meet the objectives listed in the AP Chemistry Curriculum Framework.
  • The school ensures that students have access to scientific equipment/materials, all necessary resources, and adequate time to conduct college-level chemistry laboratory investigations that meet the objectives outlined in the AP Chemistry Curriculum Framework and/or other inquiry-based or student-directed lab activities that are listed in the teacher’s course syllabus.

The list below represents examples of textbooks that meet the resource requirements of AP Chemistry and have met or exceed the required alignment to the learning objectives and skills in the course curriculum framework. The list below 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 specified editions of the following textbooks meet the AP Chemistry resource requirement. Earlier editions of these textbooks or other textbooks not listed here may meet the AP curricular requirements if published within the last 10 years. For discussions regarding the usefulness of these texts and other teaching materials in the AP Chemistry classroom, please consult the AP Chemistry Teacher Community.

  • Chang, Raymond. Chemistry, AP Edition.12th Edition. McGraw-Hill Education.
  • Kotz, John C., Paul M. Treichel, John R. Townsend, and David Treichel. Chemistry and Chemical Reactivity. 10th edition. National Geographic Learning/Cengage Learning.
  • Silberberg, Martin. Chemistry: The Molecular Nature of Matter and Change, AP Edition. 7th edition. McGraw-Hill Education.
  • Smith, Cheri, Gary Davidson, Megan Ryan, and David Toth. Edvantage Chemistry. 1st edition. Edvantage Interactive.
  • Zumdahl, Steven S., Susan A. Zumdahl, and Donald J. DeCoste. Chemistry (AP Edition). 10th edition. National Geographic Learning/Cengage Learning.
  • Jespersen, Neil D., and Alison Hyslop. Chemistry: The Molecular Nature of Matter. 7th edition. Wiley.

Before you submit your syllabus, use this checklist to make sure it has all the elements required.