AP Capstone

About the AP CapstoneProgram

AP Capstone is an innovative diploma program from the College Board that equips students with the independent research, collaborative teamwork, and communication skills that are increasingly valued by colleges. AP Capstone is built on the foundation of two AP® courses — AP Seminar and AP Research — and is designed to complement and enhance the in-depth, discipline-specific study experienced in other AP courses.

In AP Seminar, students investigate real-world issues from multiple perspectives, gathering and analyzing information from various sources in order to develop credible and valid evidence-based arguments. In AP Research, students cultivate the skills and discipline necessary to conduct independent research and inquiry in order to produce and defend their scholarly work.

The AP Capstone program aims to empower students by:

  • ▶  engaging them with rigorous college-level curricula focused on the skills necessary for successful college completion;
  • ▶  extending their abilities to synthesize information from multiple perspectives and apply skills in new situations and cross-curricular contexts;
  • ▶  enabling them to collect and analyze information with accuracy and precision;
  • ▶  cultivating their abilities to craft, communicate, and defend evidence-based

    arguments; and

  • ▶  providing opportunities for them to practice disciplined and scholarly research skills while exploring relevant topics that appeal to their interests and curiosity.

    Research Base

    The big ideas and learning objectives in the AP Capstone program reflect the core academic skills needed for college, career, and life readiness identified by leading educational organizations and College Board membership, including the following:

  • ▶  The American Association of Colleges and Universities (AAC&U), College Learning for the New Global Century, Essential Learning Outcomes
  • ▶  Advanced Placement Program, skills and practices identified in AP courses
  • ▶  The Partnership for 21st Century Skills (P21), A Framework for 21st Century Learning
  • ▶  Association of College and Research Libraries, Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education
  • ▶  Council of Writing Program Administrators, Framework for Success in Postsecondary Writing

    Return to Table of Contents

AP Capstone Program

The AP Capstone DiplomaTM and
AP Seminar and Research CertificateTM

Students who earn scores of 3 or higher in AP Seminar and AP Research and on four additional AP Exams of their choosing will receive the AP Capstone DiplomaTM.

Students who earn scores of 3 or higher in AP Seminar and AP Research but not on four additional AP Exams will receive the AP Seminar and Research CertificateTM.

AP Capstone DiplomaTM

AP Seminar and Research CertificateTM


Team Project & Presentation

Individual Research-Based Essay & Presentation

End-of-Course Exam


Academic Paper

Presentation & Oral Defense

(Taken at any point throughout high school)