Designing Your AP Seminar Course
AP Seminar is unique in that it can only be taught as part of the larger AP Capstone™ program. This course may only be offered to students at participating schools where teachers have completed the required professional development. Visit the AP Capstone page to learn more about how to participate in this program.
Use the resources below to design your AP Seminar syllabus.
AP Seminar Course and Exam Description
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 course and exam.
Guide to Developing Your Syllabus
Download this document for more help creating your syllabus.
Syllabus Development Guide: AP Seminar 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.
Curricular and Resource Requirements
Your course must fulfill these requirements.
AP Seminar curricular requirements:
- Students explore complexities of one or more themes by making connections within, between, and/or among multiple cross-curricular areas and by exploring multiple perspectives and lenses (e.g., cultural and social, artistic and philosophical, political and historical, environmental, economic, scientific, futuristic, ethical) related to those themes.
- Students develop and apply discrete skills identified in the learning objectives of the enduring understandings within the following 5 big ideas: Question and Explore; Understand and Analyze; Evaluate Multiple Perspectives; Synthesize Ideas; and Team, Transform, and Transmit.
- Students gain a rich appreciation and understanding of the issues through the following activities: reading articles and research studies; reading foundational, literary, and philosophical texts; viewing and listening to speeches, broadcasts, and/or personal accounts; and experiencing artistic works and performances.
- Students develop an understanding of ethical research practices and the AP Capstone™ Policy on Plagiarism and Falsification or Fabrication of Information.
- Students work collaboratively with a team to identify, investigate, analyze, and evaluate a real-world or academic problem or issue; consider and evaluate alternatives or options; propose one or more solutions or resolutions; and present and defend the argument for their solutions through a multimedia presentation.
- Students work independently to identify a research question based on provided stimulus material; research the issue; analyze, evaluate, and select evidence to develop an argument; present and defend a conclusion; and produce a multimedia presentation to be delivered to their peers.
AP Seminar resource requirements:
- The school ensures that each student and teacher has access to appropriate instructional resources and technology (i.e., library and research databases, the internet, college-level texts, presentation software).
- The school ensures that each participating student is provided computer and internet access for completion of course requirements.
Example Textbook List
The list below shows examples of textbooks that meet the curricular requirements of AP Seminar. The list is not exhaustive and the texts listed should not be regarded as endorsed, authorized, recommended, or approved by 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 resources to confirm that the course as a whole provides students with the content delineated in the curricular requirements of the AP Course Audit. More textbooks/handbooks than those listed below may be appropriate for the AP Seminar course. However, schools should make every effort to acquire textbooks/handbooks no older than ten years old for use in this course. In addition, disciplinary style guidelines change frequently and teachers are advised to consult the most recent style guide for a particular discipline (e.g., Chicago, MLA, APA, etc.). While every effort is made to keep this list current, it can take a few months for newly published titles and revised editions to be reviewed.
- Booth, Wayne C., Gregory G. Colomb, and Joseph M. Williams. The Craft of Research. 3rd edition. University of Chicago Press.
- Burk, Jim. Uncharted Territory. 1st edition. W.W. Norton and Company.
- Turabian, Kate L., Gregory C. Colomb, Joseph M. Williams, and the University of Chicago Press Editorial Staff. The Student’s Guide to Writing College Papers and Turabian Teacher Collaborative Topic Sheets. 4th edition. University of Chicago Press.
- Upson, Matt, C. Michael Hall, and Kevin Cannon. Information Now. 1st edition. University of Chicago Press.
- Austin, Michael. Reading the World: Ideas that Matter. W.W. Norton and Company.
- Chaffee, John. Critical Thinking, Thoughtful Writing. Cengage Learning.
- Jacobus, Lee A. A World of Ideas: Essential Readings for College Writers. Bedford/St Martins.
- Graff, Gerald, Cathy Birkenstein, and Russel Durst. "They Say, I Say" The Moves That Matter in Academic Writing. W.W. Norton and Company.
- Johnson, June. Global Issues, Local Arguments. Pearson.
- Palmquist, Mike. The Bedford Researcher. Boston, MA: Bedford/St. Martin’s
These five annotated sample AP Seminar syllabi show how the curricular requirements can be demonstrated in a syllabus and what level of detail you’ll need to include: