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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 Comparative Government and Politics Course

The AP Comparative Government and Politics course should be designed by your school to provide students with a learning experience equivalent to that of an introductory college course in comparative government and politics. Your course needs to introduce students to fundamental concepts used by political scientists to study the processes and outcomes of politics in a variety of countries and settings. The course should aim to illustrate the rich diversity of political life, to show available institutional alternatives, to explain differences in processes and policy outcomes, and to communicate to students the importance of global political and economic changes.

There are no specific curricular prerequisites for students taking AP Comparative Government and Politics.

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.

These four annotated sample AP Comparative Government and Politics 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 Comparative Government and Politics curricular requirements:

  • The teacher has read the most recent AP Government and Politics Course Description (.pdf/547KB).
  • The course provides instruction in each of the following six topics outlined in the course description:
    • Introduction to Comparative Politics
    • Sovereignty, Authority, and Power
    • Political Institutions
    • Citizens, Society, and the State
    • Political and Economic Change
    • Public Policy
  • Six countries form the core of the course: China, Great Britain, Iran, Mexico, Nigeria, and Russia. The course uses concrete examples from these six countries, including contemporary political changes, to illustrate the six major content areas of the course.
  • The course teaches students to compare and contrast political institutions and processes across countries and to derive generalizations.
  • The course introduces students to the analysis and interpretation of data relevant to comparative government and politics.
  • The course requires students to write analytical and interpretive essays frequently.
  • The course includes supplemental readings, including primary source materials and contemporary news analyses, that strengthen student understanding of the curriculum.

AP Comparative Government and Politics resource requirements:

  • The school ensures that each student has a copy of a college-level comparative government and politics textbook (supplemented when necessary to meet the curricular requirements) or other supplemental materials and primary sources, for individual use inside and outside of the classroom.
  • The school ensures that each student has access to news sources and other information sources in order to understand contemporary political changes that may not be in the textbook.
  • The school ensures that the teacher has copies of additional college-level comparative government and politics textbooks or other appropriate college-level books for their own consultation, including the most recent edition for one of these.

The list below represents examples of textbooks that meet the curricular requirements of AP Comparative Government and Politics. 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 Comparative Government and Politics 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 Comparative Government and Politics classroom, please consult the AP Comparative Government and Politics Teacher Community.

  • Barrington, Lowell. Comparative Politics: Structures and Choices. Wadsworth, Cengage Learning.
  • Clark, William Roberts, Matt Golder, and Sona Nadenichek Golder. Principles of Comparative Politics. Sage, CQ Press
  • Danzinger, James N. Understanding the Political World: A Comparative Introduction to Political Science. Pearson.
  • Green, December, and Laura Luehrmann. Comparative Politics of the Third World: Linking Concepts and Cases. Rienner.
  • Hague, Rod, and Martin Harrop. Political Science: A Comparative Introduction. Palgrave.
  • Hauss, Charles, and Melissa Hauss. Comparative Politics: Domestic Responses to Global Challenges. Wadsworth, Cengage Learning.
  • Kesselman, Mark, Joel Krieger, and William A. Joseph. Introduction to Comparative Politics. Wadsworth, Cengage Learning.
  • McCormick, John. Comparative Politics in Transition. Wadsworth, Cengage Learning.
  • O’Neil, Patrick, Essentials of Comparative Politics, Norton.
  • O’Neil, Patrick H., Karl Fields, and Don Share. Cases in Comparative Politics. Norton.
  • O’Neil, Patrick H., Karl Fields, and Don Share. Essentials of Comparative Politics with Cases AP edition. Norton.
  • Powell, G, Bingham, Russel J. Dalton, and Kaare Strom. Comparative Politics Today, A World View. Pearson.
  • Roskin, Michael G. Countries and Concepts: Politics, Geography, Culture. Pearson.
  • Samuels, David J. Comparative Politics and Cases in Comparative Politics. Pearson.
  • Wood, Ethel. AP Comparative Government and Politics: An Essential Coursebook and Study Guide. Woodyard Publications.

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