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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 Physics C: Mechanics Course

The AP Physics C: Mechanics course should be designed by your school to provide students with a learning experience equivalent to that of a semester-long, calculus-based college course in physics that includes a laboratory component. Your course must be devoted to Newtonian mechanics. Introductory differential and integral calculus is used throughout the course and on the AP Physics C Exams.

Schools’ AP Physics C courses are typically designed to be taken by students after the completion of a first-year high school physics course. Prior or concurrent course work in calculus is highly recommended and is necessary for success in Physics C. Graphing calculators are recommended (but not required) for use during the course and during the free-response section of the exam. 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.

  • AP Physics C Course and Exam Description (.pdf/3.21MB) - Describes in detail the AP Physics C: Electricity and Magnetism and AP Physics C: Mechanics courses and exams. 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 Physics C—Mechanics (.pdf/801KB) - 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 Physics C: Mechanics 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 Physics C: Mechanics curricular requirements:

  • The teacher has read the most recent AP Physics C Course Description.
  • The course covers Newtonian mechanics in depth and provides instruction in each of the following six content areas outlined in the course description:
    • Kinematics
    • Newton’s laws of motion
    • Work, energy, and power
    • Systems of particles, linear momentum
    • Circular motion and rotation
    • Oscillations and gravitation
  • The course utilizes guided inquiry and student-centered learning to foster the development of critical thinking skills.
  • Introductory differential and integral calculus is used throughout the course.
  • The course includes a laboratory component comparable to a semester-long, college-level physics laboratory. Students spend a minimum of 20% of instructional time engaged in laboratory work. A hands-on laboratory component is required. Each student should complete a lab notebook or portfolio of lab reports. Note: Online course providers utilizing virtual labs (simulations rather than hands-on) should submit their laboratory materials for the audit. If these lab materials are determined to develop the skills and learning objectives of hands-on labs, then courses which use these labs may receive authorization to use the “AP” designation.

AP Physics C: Mechanics resource requirements:

  • The school ensures that each student has a calculus-based college-level physics textbook (supplemented when necessary to meet the curricular requirements) for individual use inside and outside of the classroom.
  • The school ensures that students have access to scientific equipment and all necessary materials for students to conduct hands-on, college-level physics laboratory investigations as outlined in the teacher’s course syllabus.

The list below represents examples of textbooks that meet the curricular requirements of AP Physics C: Mechanics. 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 Physics C 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 Physics C classroom, please consult the AP Physics Teacher Community.

  • Bauer, Wolfgang, and Gary Westfall. University Physics. New York: McGraw- Hill
  • Chabay, Ruth W., and Bruce A. Sherwood. Electric and Magnetic Interactions. New York: John Wiley & Sons.
  • Chabay, Ruth W., and Bruce A. Sherwood. Matter and Interactions I: Modern Mechanics. New York: John Wiley & Sons.
  • Chabay, Ruth W., and Bruce A. Sherwood. Matter and Interactions II: Electricity and Magnetic Interactions. New York: John Wiley & Sons.
  • Fishbane, Paul M., Stephen Gasiorowicz, and Stephen M. Thornton. Physics for Scientists and Engineers. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.
  • Giancoli, Douglas C. Physics for Scientists and Engineers. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.
  • Halliday, David, Robert Resnick, and Kenneth Krane. Physics. Vols. 1 & 2. New York: John Wiley & Sons.
  • Halliday, David, Robert Resnick, and Jearl Walker. Fundamentals of Physics. New York: John Wiley & Sons.
  • Hecht, Eugene. Physics: Calculus. New York: Brooks/Cole.
  • Knight, Randall D. Physics for Scientists and Engineers: A Strategic Approach with Modern Physics. Boston, MA: Addison-Wesley.
  • Sanny, Jeff, and William Moebs. University Physics. New York: McGraw-Hill.
  • Serway, Raymond A. Principles of Physics. Fort Worth, TX: Saunders.
  • Serway, Raymond A., and John W. Jewett, Jr. Physics for Scientists and Engineers with PhysicsNow and InfoTrac. New York: Brooks/Cole.
  • Tipler, Paul A. Physics for Scientists and Engineers. New York: W. H. Freeman.
  • Wolfson, Richard, and Jay M. Pasachoff. Physics for Scientists and Engineers. Reading, MA: Addison Wesley Longman.
  • Young, Hugh D., and Roger A. Freedman. University Physics. Reading, MA: Addison Wesley Longman.
  • Young, Hugh D., Roger A. Freedman, T.R. Sandin, and A. Lewis Ford. Sears and Semansky's University Physics. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley.

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