AP European History

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In AP European History, students investigate significant events, individuals, developments, and processes in four historical periods from approximately 1450 to the present. Students develop and use the same skills, practices, and methods employed by historians. The course also gives students six themes to explore throughout the course in order to make connections among historical developments in different times and places.

According to surveys of comparable curricula at four-year colleges and universities, AP European History is aligned to a two-semester introductory college course

Course Overview

AP European History is structured around themes and concepts in four different chronological periods from approximately 1450 to the present:

  • Period 1: c. 1450 to c. 1648
  • Period 2: c. 1648 to c. 1815
  • Period 3: c. 1815 to c. 1914
  • Period 4: c. 1914 to the present

Within each period, key concepts organize and prioritize historical developments. The course is also organized around six themes:

  • Interaction of Europe and the World
  • Poverty and Prosperity
  • Objective Knowledge and Subjective Visions
  • States and Other Institutions of Power
  • Individual and Society
  • National and European Identity

These themes help students connect the historical content they study to broad trends and processes that have emerged over centuries. The learning objectives within each theme clearly state what students should know and be able to do by the end of the course.

AP History Disciplinary Practices and Reasoning Skills

Using the AP history disciplinary practices and reasoning skills students learn to think like historians, analyze evidence about the past, and create persuasive historical arguments. By focusing on these practices and skills, teachers create learning opportunities for students that emphasize the conceptual and interpretive nature of history.

AP History Disciplinary Practices

  1. Analyzing historical evidence
  2. Argument development

AP History Reasoning Skills

  1. Contextualization
  2. Comparison
  3. Causation
  4. Continuity and change over time

About the AP European History Exam

Exam questions measure students’ achievement of the thematic learning objectives, use of the AP history disciplinary practices and reasoning skills, and understanding of all four periods of European history. Each exam question will explicitly target one or more learning objectives and the corresponding parts of the concept outline. For detailed information on the exam, see the course and exam description (.pdf/5.3MB) and exam information page.

AP European History Development Committee

Committee Co-Chairs

Kim M. Jago, Tampa Preparatory School, Tampa, Florida

Victoria E. Thompson, Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona

Committee Members

Jennifer Foray, Prudue University, West Lafayette, Indiana

Carolyn C. Lougee, Stanford University, Palo Alto, California

Aaron D. Marcarelli, Oaks Christian School , Westlake Village, California

Karen Phillips, Pope John Paul II High School, Hendersonville, Tennessee

Annemarie Sammartino, Oberlin College, Oberlin, Ohio

College Board Advisor

Colin Baker, Blacksburg High School, Blacksburg, Virginia

Chief Reader

Paul Deslandes, University of Vermont, Burlington, Vermont