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Advanced Placement (AP) Courses

Approved Courses

The Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) offers a number of online Advanced Placement (AP) courses to students in the state of Maryland through its Maryland Virtual School (MVS) initiative. MCPS has approved the courses listed below for credit within MCPS.

pdf Download handout of the course descriptions on this page.

Google form Pre-registration approval form for online AP courses.

This Google form sends you an e-mail with PDF form attached. Print PDF form; obtain signatures; and then fax, mail, or hand-deliver to Student eLearning office.

FAQs About AP Courses

What do I need to know before I sign up for an online AP course?

  • Students, parents, or school counselors interested in online AP courses should first contact the Student eLearning office for important information specific to each course.
  • Parents should work closely with their students' local schools to determine eligibility.
  • Students are only able to take and earn AP credit from MCPS-approved AP courses and vendors.

Who can take online AP courses?

  • Many AP courses have prerequisites and/or eligibility requirements. Students and parents need to work closely with their local schools to determine eligibility for the AP course.
  • Students take these courses outside of the school day if the course is not available at the local school or the student cannot schedule the school-based course within the school day schedule.

How do I enroll in an online AP course?

  • Course registrations must be completed through the MCPS Student eLearning online AP course enrollment procedure. This procedure includes:
    1. discussing AP eligibility with a guidance counselor,
    2. contacting (phone or e-mail) the Student eLearning office about AP course interest,
    3. obtaining required signatures on provided forms,
    4. submitting completed forms with signatures to the Student eLearning office,
    5. subsequently receiving information (e-mail) on how to enroll in the AP course offered through a particular vendor, and then
    6. enrolling in the course(s) through the vendor and paying the vendor directly.
     
  • Students may not enroll in an AP course directly through the MVS. Any enrollment directly into an AP course through the MVS's system, even into an MCPS-approved course from an MCPS-approved vendor, without following the MCPS enrollment procedure may result in no credit awarding.

When are online AP courses offered?

  • Online AP courses start and run at various times throughout the year.
  • Students should expect to work 9 – 15 hours per week in an AP course.

What is the cost for an online AP course?

  • AP course tuition varies, but it is generally between $400.00 and $450.00 per half (0.5) credit course, and between $800.00 and $900.00 per full (1.0) credit course.
  • Cost does not include required and optional course materials.

List of AP Courses

MCPS-approved Online AP Courses Available Now

Select the course name for additional details.

Course

AP Art History (MCPS course is 6456/6457 Art History, Advanced Placement, A/B)

Number of credits and course duration: 1 credit (2 semesters)

Recommended Grade level: 10–12

Course description: During AP® Art History, students investigate the history of art and the intricacies of composition, color and presentation. Students begin by studying art of the ancient world and progress through the ancient Near-East, Egypt, Aegean, Greek, Etruscan, Roman and Early Christian art to the art of the Middle Ages. Students also study about art beyond Europe and examine the native arts of Asia, the Americas and of Oceania before returning to study the Renaissance, Baroque, Rococo, Modern, and Postmodern art. During the course they will visit as many online art displays as possible, participate in local field trips to museums and art galleries, and demonstrate mastery of some of the techniques of color, composition and presentation by preparing art work of their own in different styles. Students are encouraged to participate in group research projects and activities throughout the course, so that they may collaborate with other students and instructors.

AP Biology (MCPS course is 3641/3642 Biology, Advanced Placement, A/B)

Number of credits and course duration: 1 credit (2 semesters)

Recommended Grade level: 9–12

Recommended Prerequisites: Biology A/B

Recommended Corequisite: Chemistry A/B

Course description: In AP® Biology, students build the conceptual framework necessary to understand science as a process. The course is divided into three sections with correlating laboratory exercises: molecules and cells; heredity and evolution; and organisms and populations. Students will also explore evolution, energy transfer, continuity and change, the relationship of structure to function, regulation, interdependence in nature, and the balance of science, technology, and nature. The equivalent of an introductory college-level biology course, AP Biology prepares students for the AP Exam and for further study in health sciences.

AP Calculus AB (MCPS course is 3452/3453 Calculus AB, Advanced Placement, A/B)

Number of credits and course duration: 1 credit (2 semesters)

Recommended Grade level: 9–12

Recommended Prerequisites: Precalculus A/B

Course description: In AP® Calculus AB, students learn to understand change geometrically and visually (by studying graphs of curves), analytically (by studying and working with mathematical formulas), numerically (by seeing patterns in sets of numbers), and verbally. Instead of simply getting the right answer, students learn to evaluate the soundness of proposed solutions and to apply mathematical reasoning to real-world models. Calculus helps scientists, engineers, and financial analysts understand the complex relationships behind real-world phenomena. The equivalent of an introductory college-level calculus course, AP Calculus AB prepares students for the AP Exam and further studies in science, engineering, and mathematics.

AP Calculus BC (MCPS course is 3491/3492 Calculus BC, Advanced Placement, A/B)

Number of credits and course duration: 1 credit (2 semesters)

Recommended Grade level: 9–12

Recommended Prerequisites: Precalculus A/B, Honors A/B

Course description: The AP® Calculus BC course covers all of the material outlined by the College Board as necessary to prepare students to pass the AP Calculus BC exam. This course is divided into two semesters and is designed to acquaint you with calculus principles such as derivatives, integrals, limits, approximation, applications and modeling, and sequences and series. During this course you will gain experience in the use of calculus methods and learn how calculus methods may be applied to practical applications. Upon completion of this course you will:

  • be able to work with functions represented in a variety of ways: graphical, numerical, analytical, or verbal;
  • understand the connections among these representations;
  • understand the meaning of the derivative in terms of a rate of change and local linear approximation;
  • be able to use derivatives to solve a variety of problems;
  • understand the meaning of the definite integral both as a limit of Riemann sums and as the net accumulation of change;
  • be able to use integrals to solve a variety of problems; and
  • understand the relationship between the derivative and the definite integral as expressed in both parts of the fundamental theorem of calculus.

 

AP Chemistry (MCPS course title is Chemistry, Advanced Placement, A/B)

Number of credits and course duration: 1 credit (2 semesters)

Recommended Grade level: 9–12

Recommended Prerequisites: Chemistry A/B, Algebra II A/B

Course description: AP® Chemistry builds students’ understanding of the nature and reactivity of matter. After studying the structure of atoms, molecules, and ions, students move on to solve quantitative chemical problems and explore how molecular structure relates to chemical and physical properties. Students will examine the molecular composition of common substances and learn to predictably transform them through chemical reactions. The equivalent of an introductory college-level chemistry course, AP Chemistry prepares students for the AP Exam and for further study in science, health sciences, or engineering.

AP Computer Science A (MCPS course is 2901/2902 Computer Programming 2, Advanced Placement Computer Science A/B)

Number of credits and course duration: 1 credit (2 semesters)

Recommended Grade level: 10–12

Recommended Prerequisites: Computer Programming I A/B

Course description: The AP® Computer Science A course is an introductory computer course which involves developing the skills to write programs or parts of programs that correctly solve specific problems. AP Computer Science A also emphasizes the design issues that make programs understandable, adaptable, and when appropriate, reusable. At the same time, the development of useful computer programs and classes is used as a context for introducing other important concepts in computer science, including the development and analysis of algorithms, the development and use of fundamental data structures, and the study of standard algorithms and typical applications. In addition an understanding of the basic hardware and software components of computer systems and the responsible use of these systems are integral parts of the course.

AP English Language and Composition (MCPS course is 1015/1016 English Language and Composition, Advanced Placement, A/B)

Number of credits and course duration: 1 credit (2 semesters)

Recommended Grade level: 11

Recommended Prerequisites: English 10 A/B

Course description: In AP® English Language and Composition, students learn to understand and analyze complex styles of writing by reading works from a variety of authors. They’ll explore the richness of language, including syntax, imitation, word choice, and tone. They’ll also learn about their own composition style and process, starting with exploration, planning, and writing, and continuing through editing, peer review, rewriting, polishing, and applying what they learn to a breadth of academic, personal, and professional contexts. The equivalent of an introductory college-level survey class, this course prepares students for the AP Exam and for further study in communications, creative writing, journalism, literature, and composition.

AP English Literature and Composition (MCPS course is 1017/1018 English Literature and Composition, Advanced Placement, A/B)

Number of credits and course duration: 1 credit (2 semesters)

Recommended Grade level: 12

Recommended Prerequisites: English 11 A/B

Course description: AP® English Literature and Composition immerses students in novels, plays, poems, and short stories from various periods. Students will read and write daily, using a variety of multimedia and interactive activities, interpretive writing assignments, and class discussions to assess and improve their skills and knowledge. The course places special emphasis on reading comprehension, structural and critical analysis of written works, literary vocabulary, and recognizing and understanding literary devices. The equivalent of an introductory college-level survey class, this course prepares students for the AP Exam and for further study in creative writing, communications, journalism, literature, and composition.

AP Environmental Science (MCPS course is 3659/3660 Environmental Science, Advanced Placement A/B (SC))

Number of credits and course duration: 1 credit (2 semesters)

Recommended Grade level: 9-12

Recommended Prerequisites: Biology A/B

Recommended Corequisite: Chemistry A/B

Course description: The goal of the AP® Environmental Science course is to provide students with the scientific principles, concepts, and methodologies required to understand the interrelationships of the natural world, to identify and analyze environmental problems both natural and human-made, to evaluate the relative risks associated with these problems, and to examine alternative solutions for resolving or preventing them. Environmental Science is interdisciplinary, embracing topics from geology, biology, environmental studies, environmental science, chemistry, and geography.

AP French Language and Culture (MCPS course is 1635/1636 French Language and Culture, Advanced Placement, A/B)

Number of credits and course duration: 1 credit (2 semesters)

Recommended Grade level: 9–12

Course description: In AP® French Language and Culture, students will use authentic French materials and sources to develop language skills in multiple modes of communication, including two-way interactions in both writing and speaking, interpretation of audio, audiovisual, and print materials, and oral and written presentation of information and ideas. During the course, students will learn about contemporary Francophone societies and cultures by examining their products, practices and perspectives through thematic study; use authentic sources such as newspaper and magazine articles, websites, films, music, video clips, blogs, podcasts, stories, and literary excerpts in French to develop language skills and communicative proficiency in real life settings; and build communication skills through regular class discussion, one-on-one conversation, collaboration with classmates, role plays, email responses, essay and journal writing, and oral presentations. The intensity, quality, and amount of course material in AP® French Language and Culture can be compared to that of a third-year college course.

AP Human Geography (MCPS course is 2332/2333 Human Geography, Advanced Placement A/B)

Number of credits and course duration: 1 credit (2 semesters)

Recommended Grade level: 11–12

Course description: The purpose of the AP® Human Geography course is to introduce students to the systematic study of patterns and processes that have shaped human understanding, use, and alteration of Earth’s surface. Students learn to employ spatial concepts and landscape analysis to examine human socioeconomic organization and its environmental consequences. They also learn about the methods and tools geographers use in their research and applications.

AP Macroeconomics (MCPS course is 2315 Economics, Macroeconomics, Advanced Placement)

Number of credits and course duration: 0.5 credit (1 semester)

Recommended Grade level: 11–12

Course description: AP® Macroeconomics students learn why and how the world economy can change from month to month, how to identify trends in our economy, and how to use those trends to develop performance measures and predictors of economic growth or decline. They’ll also examine how individuals, institutions, and influences affect people, and how those factors can impact everyone’s life through employment rates, government spending, inflation, taxes, and production. The equivalent of a 100-level college-level class, this course prepares students for the AP Exam and for further study in business, political science and history.

AP Microeconomics (MCPS course is 2316 Economics, Microeconomics, Advanced Placement)

Number of credits and course duration: 0.5 credit (1 semester)

Recommended Grade level: 11–12

Course description: AP® Microeconomics studies the behavior of individuals and businesses as they exchange goods and services in the marketplace. Students will learn why the same product costs different amounts at different stores, in different cities, at different times. They’ll also learn to spot patterns in economic behavior and how to use those patterns to explain buyer and seller behavior under various conditions. Microeconomics studies the economic way of thinking, understanding the nature and function of markets, the role of scarcity and competition, the influence of factors such as interest rates on business decisions, and the role of government in promoting a healthy economy. The equivalent of a 100-level college course, AP Microeconomics prepares students for the AP Exam and for further study in business, history, and political science.

AP Psychology (MCPS course is 2330/2331 Psychology, Advanced Placement A/B )

Number of credits and course duration: 0.5 (1 semester)

Recommended Grade level: 11–12

Course description: AP® Psychology provides an overview of current psychological research methods and theories. Students will explore the therapies used by professional counselors and clinical psychologists and examine the reasons for normal human reactions: how people learn and think the process of human development and human aggression, altruism, intimacy, and self-reflection. They’ll study core psychological concepts, such as the brain and sense functions, and learn to gauge human reactions, gather information, and form meaningful syntheses. Along the way, students will also investigate relevant concepts like study skills and information retention. The equivalent of a 100-level college survey course, AP Psychology prepares students for the AP Exam and for further studies in psychology and life sciences.

AP Spanish Language and Culture (MCPS course is 1759/1760 Spanish Language, Advanced Placement, A/B)

Number of credits and course duration: 1 credit (2 semesters)

Recommended Grade level: 9–12

Course description: AP ® Spanish Language students practice perfecting their Spanish speaking, listening, reading, and writing skills. They study vocabulary, grammar, and cultural aspects of the language, and then apply what they learn in extensive written and spoken exercises. The course addresses the broad themes of Global Challenges, Science and Technology, Contemporary Life, Personal and Public Identities, Families and Communities, and Beauty and Aesthetics. By the end of the course, students will have an expansive vocabulary, a solid, working knowledge of all verb forms and tenses, strong command of other language structures, and an ability to use language in many different contexts and for varied purposes. The equivalent of a college-level language course, AP Spanish Language prepares students for the AP exam and for further study of Spanish language, culture, or literature.

AP Statistics (MCPS course is 3320/3321 Statistics, Advanced Placement, A/B)

Number of credits and course duration: 1 credit (2 semesters)

Recommended Grade level: 9–12

Recommended Prerequisites: Algebra II A/B

Course description: AP® Statistics gives students hands-on experience collecting, analyzing, graphing, and interpreting real-world data. They will learn to effectively design and analyze research studies by reviewing and evaluating real research examples taken from daily life. The next time they hear the results from another poll or study, they will know whether the results are valid. As the art of drawing conclusions from imperfect data and the science of real world uncertainties, statistics plays an important role in many fields. The equivalent of an introductory college-level course, AP Statistics prepares students for the AP Exam and for further study in science, sociology, medicine, engineering, political science, geography, and business.

AP U.S. Government and Politics (MCPS course is 2131 Government, United States Government and Politics, Advanced Placement)

Number of credits and course duration: 0.5 credit (1 semester)

Recommended Grade level: 11–12

Course description: AP® U.S. Government and Politics studies the operations and structure of the U.S. government and the behavior of the electorate and politicians. Students will gain the analytic perspective necessary to critically evaluate political data, hypotheses, concepts, opinions, and processes. Along the way, they’ll learn how to gather data about political behavior and develop their own theoretical analysis of American politics. They’ll also build the skills they need to examine general propositions about government and politics, and to analyze the specific relationships between political, social, and economic institutions. The equivalent of an introductory college-level course, AP U.S. Government and Politics prepares students for the AP Exam and for further study in political science, law, education, business, and history.

** This course does NOT meet NSL graduation requirement.

AP U.S. History (MCPS course is 2114/2124 History, United States, Advanced Placement, A/B)

Number of credits and course duration: 1 credit (2 semesters)

Recommended Grade level: 11–12

Course description: AP® U.S. History analyzes and explores the economic, political, and social changes in America since Columbus. Student’s master historical knowledge and critical analysis, build reading, writing, and communication skills, and discover how historical events have contributed to American culture. In the process, they’ll learn how decisions and events of the past continue to have profound effects on the world today and how knowledge of the causes behind past events can influence future decisions. By the end of the course, students will be ready to put their factual knowledge to work by weighing evidence and interpreting problems presented by historians. 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.

** This course does NOT meet NSL graduation requirement.

AP World History (Unavailable for 2017-2018 school year)

AP World History (Unavailable for 2017-2018 school year) (MCPS course is 2240/2241 History, World, Advanced Placement, A/B)

Number of credits and course duration: 1 credit (2 semesters)

Recommended Grade level: 9–12

Course description: AP® World history combines historical thinking skills with the in-depth exploration of major course themes such as the interaction between humans and the environment; development and interaction of cultures; state-building, expansion, and interaction of economic systems; and more. Students engage in reading, writing, and discussion as they trace history from before the Common Era to the present.

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