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Important Updates

2019-20 AP Course Audit: What You’ll Need to Do

To give you more time to familiarize yourself with the new resources and supports that launched in August, you won’t be required to submit a syllabus for course authorization until the 2020-21 school year.

If you’re teaching a new AP Human Geography course in 2019-20, you’ll need to:

  • Submit a subject-specific AP Course Audit Form
  • Download the AP Human Geography unit guide

If you’re teaching a previously authorized AP Human Geography course, make sure your school administrator renews your course in 2019-20.

These steps will ensure that your course appears on the AP Course Ledger and you have access to online score reports in July 2020.

AP Course Audit

All schools that want to label a course “AP” must get authorization through the AP Course Audit.

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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 and Exam Description

This is the core document for this course and is new for the 2019-20 school year. New unit guides clearly lay out the course content and skills and recommend sequencing and pacing for them throughout the year. The CED also more clearly outlines how material will be assessed on the exam, provides instructional strategies, and gives information on the AP Program in general.

Creating Your Document

Use these resources to design your AP Human Geography syllabus.


Your course must fulfill these requirements.

AP Human Geography curricular requirements:

  • The students and teacher have access to a college-level human geography textbook, maps, atlases and other resource materials including data sources, case studies, mapping resources, and news media.
  • The course provides opportunities to develop student understanding of the required content outlined in each of the units described in the course and exam description.
  • The course provides opportunities to develop student understanding of the big ideas of the course.
  • The course provides opportunities for students to practice and develop the skills in the following skill categories:
    • Skill Category 1: Concepts and Processes
    • Skill Category 2: Spatial Relationships
    • Skill Category 3: Data Analysis
    • Skill Category 4: Source Analysis
    • Skill Category 5: Scale Analysis

AP Human Geography resource requirements:

  • The school ensures that each student has a college-level human geography textbook (in print or electronic format) for individual use inside and outside of the classroom. The textbook is supplemented when necessary to meet the curricular requirements.
  • The school ensures that the teacher has a copy of the most recent edition of a college-level human geography textbook or other appropriate materials to support instruction.
  • The school provides a collection of maps, atlases, and other resource materials (including data sources, case studies, mapping resources, and news media) for use by students.

The list below represents examples of textbooks that meet the curricular requirements of AP Human Geography. The list 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 current editions of the following textbooks meet the 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.