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All schools that want to label a course “AP” must get authorization through the AP Course Audit. This means submitting two things:

  • A subject-specific AP Course Audit form
  • A course syllabus

The submitted course syllabus is checked by our reviewers to ensure that the course fulfills the AP Program’s course-specific curricular requirements.

We offer plenty of resources, below, to help teachers understand course requirements and create a syllabus that fulfills these.

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Offering AP Research

AP Research can only be taught as part of the larger AP Capstone™ program. This course may only be offered to students at schools where teachers have completed the required professional development. High schools have already been selected for participation in the 2017-18 academic year. Schools interested in offering AP Capstone in the 2018-19 academic year will need to complete the application process. Visit AP Capstone to learn more about how to participate in this program.

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 Research Course and Exam Description (.pdf/1008.2KB) - Describes in detail the AP Research course and exam. Includes the curriculum framework and a representative sample of exam questions.  

Creating Your Syllabus

Use these resources to design your syllabus.


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

AP Research curricular requirements:

  • Students develop and apply discrete skills identified in the learning objectives of the enduring understandings within the following five big ideas: Question and Explore; Understand and Analyze; Evaluate Multiple Perspectives; Synthesize Ideas; and Team, Transform, and Transmit.
  • Students develop an understanding of ethical research practices and the AP Capstone™ Policy on Plagiarism and Falsification or Fabrication of Information.
  • In the classroom and independently, students learn and employ research and inquiry methods to develop, manage, and conduct an in-depth investigation of an area of personal interest, culminating in an academic paper of 4,000–5,000 words that includes the following elements:
    • Introduction
    • Method, Process, or Approach
    • Results, Product, or Findings
    • Discussion, Analysis, and/or Evaluation
    • Conclusion and Future Directions
    • Bibliography
  • Using a process and reflection portfolio (PREP), students document their inquiry processes, communication with their teachers and any expert advisors, and reflections on their thought processes. Students have regular work-in-progress interviews with their teachers to review their progress and to receive feedback on their scholarly work.
  • Students develop and deliver a presentation (using an appropriate medium) and an oral defense to a panel on their research processes, methods, and findings.

AP Research resource requirements:

  • The school ensures that each student and teacher has access to appropriate instructional resources (i.e., library and research databases, the internet, college-level texts, presentation software) and technology.
  • The school ensures that each participating student is provided computer and internet access for completion of course requirements.