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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 World History Course

The AP World History course should be designed by your school to provide students with a learning experience equivalent to that of an introductory college course in world history. The purpose of your course should be to understand the evolution of global processes and contacts, in interaction with different types of human societies. Your course should highlight the nature of changes and continuities over time and their causes and consequences, as well as comparisons among major societies. Students develop analytic skills through exposure to historical documents, visual and statistical evidence, and conflicting interpretations.

There are no specific curricular prerequisites for students taking AP World History.

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.

Creating Your Syllabus

Use these resources to design your syllabus.


Download this document for more help creating your syllabus.

  • Syllabus Development Guide: AP World History (.pdf/158KB) - 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 World History 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 World History curricular requirements:

  • The course includes a college-level world history textbook, diverse primary sources, and multiple secondary sources written by historians or scholars interpreting the past.
  • Each of the course historical periods receives explicit attention.
  • Students are provided opportunities to investigate key and supporting concepts through the in-depth study and application of specific historical evidence or examples.
  • Students are provided opportunities to apply learning objectives in each of the themes throughout the course.
  • The course provides balanced global coverage, with Africa, the Americas, Asia, Oceania, and Europe all represented. No more than 20% of course time is devoted to European history. (Geographic Coverage)
  • Students are provided opportunities to analyze primary sources and explain the significance of an author’s point of view, author’s purpose, audience, and historical context. (Analyzing Primary Sources)
  • Students are provided opportunities to analyze and evaluate diverse historical interpretations. (Analyzing Secondary Sources)
  • Students are provided opportunities to compare historical developments across or within societies in various chronological and geographical contexts. (Comparison)
  • Students are provided opportunities to explain the relationship between historical events, developments, or processes and the broader regional, national, or global contexts in which they occurred. (Contextualization)
  • Students are provided opportunities to explain different causes and effects of historical events or processes, and to evaluate their relative significance. (Causation)
  • Students are provided opportunities to identify and explain patterns of continuity and change over time, explaining why these patterns are historically significant. (Continuity and Change Over Time)
  • Students are provided opportunities to articulate a historically defensible and evaluative claim (thesis). (Argument Development)
  • Students are provided opportunities to develop and substantiate an argument using historical reasoning, considering ways diverse or alternative evidence could be used to support, qualify, or modify the argument. (Argument Development)

AP World History resource requirements:

  • The school ensures that each student has a college-level world history textbook (supplemented when necessary to meet the curricular requirements) for individual use inside and outside of the classroom.
  • The school ensures that each student has copies of primary sources and other instructional materials used in the course for individual use inside and outside of the classroom.
  • The school ensures that students have access to support materials for the AP World History course, including scholarly, college-level works that correspond with course topics, as well as standard reference works such as encyclopedias, atlases, collections of historical documents, and statistical compendiums, either in a school or public library or via the internet.

The list below represents examples of textbooks that meet the curricular requirements of AP World History and have met or exceed the required alignment to the learning objectives and skills in the course curriculum framework. 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.

  • AMSCO. AP World History: Preparing for the Advanced Placement Examination. 1st edition. Perfection Learning.
  • Bulliet, Richard W., Pamela Kyle Crossley, Daniel R. Headrick, Steven W. Hirsch, Lyman L. Johnson, and David Northup. The Earth and Its Peoples: A Global History. 6th edition. National Geographic/Cengage Learning.
  • Bentley, Jerry, Herbert Ziegler, and Heather Streets Salter. Traditions & Encounters: A Global Perspective on the Past, AP® UPDATED Edition. 6th edition. McGraw-Hill Education.
  • Hansen, Valerie and Kenneth R. Curtis. Voyages in World History. 2nd edition. National Geographic/Cengage Learning.
  • Pollard, Elizabeth, Clifford Rosenberg, and Robert Tignor. Worlds Together, Worlds Apart. 1st edition. W.W. Norton.
  • Strayer, Robert W., and Eric W. Nelson. Ways of the World with Sources, for the AP® Course. 3rd edition. Bedford, Freeman and Worth Publishing Group.
  • Von Sivers, Peter, Charles A. Desnoyers, and George B. Stow. Patterns of World History: Combined Volume. 2nd edition. Perfection Learning. 

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