AP United States History

Learn about the developments that have shaped U.S. history though the critical analysis of historical events and materials.

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Two Semesters


Social Science

In AP U.S. History, students investigate the development of American economics, politics, and culture through historical analysis grounded in primary sources, research, and writing. The equivalent of an introductory college-level course, AP U.S. History prepares students for the AP exam and for further study in history, political science, economics, sociology, and law.

Through the examination of historical themes and the application of historical thinking skills, students learn to connect specific people, places, events, and ideas to the larger trends of U.S. history. Critical-reading activities, feedback-rich instruction, and application-oriented assignments hone students’ ability to reason chronologically, to interpret historical sources, and to construct well-supported historical arguments. Students write throughout the course, responding to primary and secondary sources through journal entries, essays, and visual presentations of historical content. In discussion activities, students respond to the positions of others while staking and defending claims of their own. Robust scaffolding, rigorous instruction, relevant material, and regular opportunities for active learning ensure that students can achieve mastery of the skills necessary to excel on the AP exam.

Semesters 1 and 2: RequiredAP U.S. History requires a college-level U.S. history textbook. Students may use any college-level U.S. history textbook to successfully complete the course. Though students may use any college-level textbook, resources such as page references and scaffolded reading guides are provided in the course to support students who use any of the following texts:

  • America’s History, 8th ed. James A. Henretta et al. (Bedford, Freeman, & Worth, 2014).
    ISBN-10: 1457628937 / ISBN-13: 9781457628931
  • American History: Connecting with the Past, 14th AP ed. Alan Brinkley. (McGraw-Hill, 2011)
    ISBN-10: 0076621421 / ISBN-13: 9780076621422
  • America: A Narrative History, 9th ed. George Tindall and David E. Shi (W.W. Norton, 2013)
    ISBN-10: 0393912620 / ISBN-13: 9780393912623

Students using other college-level U.S. history texts or older editions will need to identify the appropriate sections of their text to complete each reading assignment.