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AP Capstone

AP Capstone is an innovative diploma program that provides students with an opportunity to engage in rigorous scholarly practice of the core academic skills necessary for successful college completion.

AP Capstone is built on the foundation of two courses — AP Seminar and AP Research — and is designed to complement and enhance the in-depth, discipline-specific study provided through AP courses. It cultivates curious, independent, and collaborative scholars and prepares them to make logical, evidence-based decisions.

Read the AP Capstone video transcript

Benefits of AP Capstone

For Students

  • Fosters the research, argumentation, and communication skills that are at the core of college readiness and essential for lifelong learning
  • Provides a setting to build on the knowledge and rigorous course work of AP in an interdisciplinary format
  • Offers students a unique opportunity to distinguish themselves to colleges and universities

For Teachers and Schools

  • Builds professional excellence through participation in an intensive, weeklong collaborative professional development institute
  • Offers a flexible curricular content model with room for creativity and student input
  • Affords schools and districts the distinction of offering a rigorous, widely recognized diploma program

For Colleges and Universities

  • Helps identify students who are prepared to enter college with the research, writing, and collaboration skills necessary for successful college completion
  • Provides consistent, externally validated measures of student ability
  • Demonstrates student research and writing abilities through a 5,000-word scholarly research paper

Combining Scholarly Practice with Academic Intensity

AP Capstone was developed in response to feedback from higher education. The two AP Capstone courses, with their associated performance tasks, assessments, and application of research methodology, complement the rigor of AP courses and exams by equipping students with the power to analyze and evaluate information with accuracy and precision in order to craft and communicate evidence-based arguments.

  • Analyze topics through multiple lenses to construct meaning or gain understanding
  • Plan and conduct a study or investigation
  • Propose solutions to real-world problems
  • Plan and produce communication in various forms
  • Collaborate to solve a problem
  • Integrate, synthesize, and make cross-curricular connections

Building Skills Identified by Leading Educational Organizations

AP Capstone has collaborated with colleges and universities to define its content and standards. It utilizes frameworks and learning objectives uniquely aligned with core AP skills and practices and other skills-based learning objectives as identified by:

  • Advanced Placement® Program, Skills and Practices
  • The Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U), The Essential learning Outcomes, College Learning for the New Global Century
  • The Partnership for 21st Century Skills (P21), A Framework for 21st Century Learning
  • Common Core State Standards Initiative, Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subjects 6–12
  • Council of Writing Program Administrators, Framework for Success in Postsecondary Writing
  • The Association of College & Research Libraries, Information Literacy Standards for Higher Education

Fostering Excellence through Professional Development

Professional development is required for all AP Seminar and AP Research instructors. Teachers must complete a five-day face-to-face curricular training in the summer prior to the first year of teaching the course. In addition, teachers must complete an assessment scoring training during the first year of teaching each course . College Board may require teachers to complete additional training when necessary to ensure high quality delivery of the curriculum and/or assessment scoring.

Are You a Student?

Visit the AP Student website to learn more about AP Capstone courses.

Participate in AP Capstone

Interested in offering the AP Capstone program at your school starting in fall 2017? Complete the online application.

If you’re interested in implementation in 2018-19, please fill out our interest form and we’ll contact you with more information.

Current AP Capstone Schools

View key program dates and the list of high schools currently offering AP Capstone.

More Information

AP Capstone Program Brochure

AP Capstone Student Brochure

2015-16 AP Capstone Implementation Guide

AP Seminar Course Overview

AP Research Course Overview

AP Seminar Course and Exam Description

AP Research Course and Exam Description

For inquiries, email

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