Thursday, February 21st, 2019


AP World History

The AP World History course content is structured around the investigation of five course themes and 19 key concepts in six different chronological periods, from approximately 8000 B.C.E. to the present.

• The Four Historical Thinking Skills

The framework defines a set of shared historical thinking skills,
which allows teachers to make more informed choices about
appropriate ways of linking content and thinking skills.

• Key Concepts and Themes

  • The use of key concepts and themes to organize the course facilitates both chronological and thematic approaches to teaching AP World History. Given the vast nature of the subject matter, using both approaches — even alternating between the two — often aids instruction.
  • The key concepts support the investigation of historical developments within a chronological framework, while the course themes allow students to make crucial connections across the six historical periods and across geographical regions.
  • The concepts are designed to provide structure for teaching the course, serving as instructional units that can be addressed separately or in conjunction with other key concepts within any given period.
  • By framing historical processes and developments beyond a perceived list of facts, events, and dates, the key concepts help teachers and their students understand, organize, and prioritize historical developments within each period. So the framework provides a comprehensive content outline organized by key concepts.

Overall, the framework gives teachers the flexibility to teach each key concept in a variety of ways, providing greater options for designing instruction. The AP World History course develops students’ capacity and ability to think and reason in a deeper, more systematic way, better preparing them for subsequent college courses. The skills, course themes, periodization, and key concepts are explained in detail in the curriculum framework.

Course Themes
The five course themes below present areas of historical inquiry that should be investigated at various points throughout the course and revisited as manifested in particular historical developments over time. These themes articulate at a broad level the main ideas that are developed throughout the entire span of the course. Each theme includes a list of related key topics as well as a description.

The key concepts were derived from an explicit consideration of these themes, with the goal of making the themes more concrete for the course content within each historical period. This clear connection between
themes and key concepts means students can put what is particular about one historical period into a larger framework. In this way, the themes facilitate cross-period questions and help students recognize broad trends
and processes that have developed over centuries in various regions of the world.

These themes are unchanged from the current AP World History course.

Theme 1: Interaction Between Humans and the Environment
Theme 2: Development and Interaction of Cultures
Theme 3: State-Building, Expansion, and Conflict
Theme 4: Creation, Expansion, and Interaction of Economic Systems
Theme 5: Development and Transformation of Social Structures