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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 Psychology course in 2019-20, you’ll need to:

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

If you’re teaching a previously authorized AP Psychology 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 Psychology Course


The AP Psychology course should be designed by your school to provide students with a learning experience equivalent to that of an introductory college course in psychology. Your course should introduce students to the systematic and scientific study of the behavior and mental processes of human beings and other animals in context.

There are no specific curricular prerequisites for students taking AP Psychology.

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 Psychology 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.

Course Requirements

Use these resources to design your AP Psychology syllabus.


Your course must fulfill these requirements, and your syllabus should make it clear how the requirements will be addressed.

AP Psychology curricular requirements:

  • The students and teacher have access to college-level resources including a recently published (within the last 10 years) college-level textbook in print or electronic format.
  • The course provides opportunities to deepen student understanding of the required content outlined in each of the units described in the course and exam description.
  • The course provides opportunities for students to develop the skills related to the course skills:
    • Course Skill 1: Define, explain, and apply concepts, behavior, theories, and perspectives
    • Course Skill 2: Analyze and interpret quantitative data
    • Course Skill 3: Analyze psychological research studies

AP Psychology resource requirements:

  • The school ensures that each student has a college-level psychology textbook (in print or electronic format) published within the last 10 years for individual use inside and outside 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 psychology textbook or other appropriate materials to support instruction.

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

  • Bernstein, Douglas A., Louis A. Penner, Alison Clarke-Stewart, and Edward J. Roy. Psychology. Boston: Cengage Learning.
  • Bernstein, Douglas A. Essentials of Psychology. Boston: Cengage Learning.
  • Cacioppo, John T. and Laura A. Freberg. Discovering Psychology: The Science of Mind. Boston: Cengage Learning.
  • Carlson, Neil R., Harold Miller, C. Donald Heth, John W. Donahoe, and G. Neil Martin. Psychology: The Science of Behavior. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.
  • Carpenter, Siri and Karen Huffman. Visualizing Psychology. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.
  • Ciccarelli, Saundra K., and J. Noland White. Psychology, AP Edition. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.
  • Coon, Dennis, and John O. Mitterer. Psychology: A Journey. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning
  • Davis, Stephen. F., Joseph J. Palladino, and Kimberly M. Christopherson. Psychology. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.
  • Feldman, Robert S. Understanding Psychology. New York: McGraw-Hill.
  • Feldman, Robert S. Essentials of Understanding Psychology. New York: McGraw-Hill.
  • Gazzaniga, Michael S., and Diane Halpern. Psychological Science. New York: W. W. Norton.
  • Gray, Peter, and David F. Bjorklund. Psychology. New York: Worth.
  • Griggs, Richard A. Psychology: A Concise Introduction. New York: Worth.
  • Grison, Sarah, and Michael S. Gazzaniga. Psychology in Your Life. New York: W.W. Norton.
  • Hockenbury, Don H., and Sandra E. Hockenbury. Discovering Psychology. New York: Worth.
  • Huffman, Karen. Psychology in Action. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.
  • Kalat, James W. Introduction to Psychology. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.
  • King, Laura. The Science of Psychology: An Appreciative View. New York: McGraw-Hill.
  • Kowalski, Robin M., and Drew Westen. Psychology. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.
  • Krause, Mark, and Daniel Corts. Psychological Science: Modeling Scientific Literacy. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.
  • Lilienfeld, Scott O., Steven Jay Lynn, Laura L. Namy, and Nancy J. Woolf. Psychology: From Inquiry to Understanding. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.
  • Morris, Charles G., and Albert A. Maisto. Understanding Psychology. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.
  • Myers, David G. Exploring Psychology. New York: Worth.
  • Myers, David G. Psychology. New York: Worth.
  • Myers, David G. Myers’ Psychology for AP. New York: Worth.
  • Nairne, James S. Psychology. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning.
  • Nevid, Jeffrey S. Psychology: Concepts and Applications. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning.
  • Pastorino, Ellen and Susann Doyle-Portillo. What is Psychology, Essentials. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Cengage Learning.
  • Plotnik, Rod, and Haig Kouyoumadjian. Introduction to Psychology. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning.
  • Schacter, Daniel, Daniel Gilbert, Daniel Wegner, and Matthew K. Nock. Psychology. New York: Worth.
  • Wade, Carole, and Carol Tavris. Invitation to Psychology. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.
  • Weiten, Wayne. Psychology: Themes and Variations. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning.
  • Wood, Samuel E., Ellen G. Wood, and Denise G. Boyd. The World of Psychology. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.