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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 Human Geography Course

The AP Human Geography course should be designed by your school to provide students with a learning experience equivalent to that of an introductory college course in human geography. Your course should include the systematic study of geographic patterns and processes that have shaped human understanding, use, and alteration of Earth’s surface.

There are no specific curricular prerequisites for students taking AP Human Geography.

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 Human Geography Course Description (.pdf/1.5MB) - Describes in detail the AP Human Geography course and exam. Includes the curriculum framework and a representative sample of exam questions.

Creating Your Syllabus

Use these resources to design your syllabus.


Download this document for more help creating your syllabus.

  • Syllabus Development Guide: AP Human Geography (.pdf/773KB) - 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 Human Geography 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 Human Geography curricular requirements:

  • The teacher has read the most recent AP Human Geography Course Description (.pdf/1.5MB).
  • The course provides a systematic study of human geography, including the following topics outlined in the course description:
    • Geography: Its Nature and Perspective
    • Population
    • Cultural Patterns and Processes
    • Political Organization of Space
    • Agricultural and Rural Land Use
    • Industrialization and Economic Development
    • Cities and Urban Land Use
  • The course teaches the use of spatial concepts and landscape analysis to examine human organization of space.
  • The course teaches spatial relationships at different scales ranging from the local to the global.
  • The course teaches students how to use and interpret maps, data sets, and geographic models. GIS, aerial photographs, and satellite images, though not required, can be used effectively in the course.

AP Human Geography resource requirements:

  • The school ensures that each student has a college-level human geography textbook (supplemented when necessary to meet the curricular requirements) for individual use inside and outside of the classroom.
  • The school provides a collection of maps, atlases, and other resource materials (which could include data sources, case studies, mapping software, newspapers, and magazines) for use by students.
  • The school ensures that the teacher has copies of additional college-level geography textbooks and other appropriate college-level books for his or her consultation.

The list below represents examples of textbooks that meet the curricular requirements of AP Human Geography. 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 Human Geography 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 Human Geography classroom, please consult the AP Human Geography Teacher Community.

  • Bjelland, Mark, Daniel R. Montello, Jerome Fellman, Arthur Getis, and Judith Getis. Human Geography: Landscapes of Human Activities. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2013.
  • Domosh, Mona, Roderick P. Neumann, Patricia L. Price, and Terry G. Jordan-Bychkov. The Human Mosaic: The Cultural Approach to Human Geography. New York: W.H. Freeman and Company, 2011.
  • Fouberg, Erin H., Alexander B. Murphy, and H.J. deBlij. Human Geography: People, Place, and Culture. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, 2015.
  • Knox, Paul L., and Sallie Marston. Human Geography: Places and Regions in Global Context. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 2015.
  • Norton, William. Human Geography. New York: Oxford University Press, 2014.
  • Rubenstein, James M. The Cultural Landscape: An Introduction to Human Geography. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 2016.

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