The Course

AP European History

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Course Overview

AP European History is an introductory college-level European history course. Students cultivate their understanding of European history through analyzing historical sources and learning to make connections and craft historical arguments as they explore concepts like interaction of Europe and the world; economic and commercial developments; cultural and intellectual developments; states and other institutions of power; social organization and development; national and European identity; and technological and scientific innovation.

Rubrics Updated for 2023-24

We’ve updated the AP European History document-based question (DBQ) and long essay question (LEQ) rubrics for the 2023-24 school year.

This change only affects the DBQ and LEQ scoring, with no change to the course or the exam: the exam format, course framework, and skills assessed on the exam all remain unchanged.

The course and exam description (CED) has been updated to include:

  • Revised rubrics (general scoring criteria) for the DBQ and LEQ.
  • Revised scoring guidelines for the sample DBQ and LEQ within the CED.

Course and Exam Description

Course Resources

Course Content

Influenced by the Understanding by Design® (Wiggins and McTighe) model, this course framework provides a description of the course requirements necessary for student success.

The AP European History framework is organized into nine commonly taught units of study that provide one possible sequence for the course. As always, you have the flexibility to organize the course content as you like.

 Unit  Exam Weighting
 Unit 1: Renaissance and Exploration  10%–15%
 Unit 2: Age of Reformation  10%–15%
 Unit 3: Absolutism and Constitutionalism  10%–15%
 Unit 4: Scientific, Philosophical, and Political Developments  10%–15%
 Unit 5: Conflict, Crisis, and Reaction in the Late 18th Century  10%–15%
 Unit 6: Industrialization and Its Effects  10%–15%
 Unit 7: 19th-Century Perspectives and Political Developments  10%–15%
 Unit 8: 20th-Century Global Conflicts  10%–15%
 Unit 9: Cold War and Contemporary Europe  10%–15%

Historical Thinking Skills

The AP European History framework included in the course and exam description outlines distinct skills that students should practice throughout the year—skills that will help them learn to think and act like historians.

Skill Description
1. Developments and Processes Identify and explain historical developments and processes.
2. Sourcing and Situation Analyze sourcing and situation of primary and secondary sources.
3. Claims and Evidence in Sources Analyze arguments in primary and secondary sources.
4. Contextualization Analyze the context of historical events, developments, or processes.
5. Making Connections Using historical reasoning processes (comparison, causation, continuity and change) analyze patterns and connections between and among historical developments and processes.
6. Argumentation Develop an argument.

AP and Higher Education

Higher education professionals play a key role in developing AP courses and exams, setting credit and placement policies, and scoring student work. The AP Higher Education section features information on recruitment and admission, advising and placement, and more.

This chart shows recommended scores for granting credit, and how much credit should be awarded, for each AP course. Your students can look up credit and placement policies for colleges and universities on the AP Credit Policy Search.

Meet the Development Committee for AP European History