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Program Overview

A diploma program comprising two yearlong AP courses (AP Seminar and AP Research), AP Capstone assesses skills like teamwork, collaboration, and independent research that traditional exams (or AP Exams) do not measure.

Instead of focusing on one specific academic discipline, students take an interdisciplinary approach to develop the critical thinking, research, collaboration, time management, and presentation skills they need for college-level work.

In AP Capstone, students are assessed on a series of projects and presentations as well as written essays.

Student Participation

AP Capstone is one of our fastest-growing programs. In the 2018-19 school year, 59,159 unique* students participated, up from 15,145 when we first launched the program's two core courses—AP Seminar and AP Research.

Subject 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019

AP Seminar

5,288

12,308

19,943

30,964

43,441

AP Research

N/A**

2,842

5,787

9,640

15,724

AP Capstone Total

5,288

15,150

25,730

40,604

59,165

* Unique student counts are slightly lower than exam counts across multiple subjects in a given academic year.

** AP Research is the subsequent course to AP Seminar. AP Seminar launched in the 2014-15 school year, and AP Research launched in 2015–2016.

We are excited more schools are offering the AP Capstone Diploma program. We believe the research, collaboration, and presentation skills taught in the two courses will be valuable to students throughout their academic and professional careers.

–Kedra Ishop, PhD, Vice Provost for Enrollment Management, University of Michigan

Key 2019 Statistics

  • 1,453 schools offered AP Capstone, an increase of 391 schools (31%) from 2018.
  • 10,883 students earned an AP Capstone award, a 41% increase from 2018:
    • 7,194 students earned the AP Capstone Diploma
    • 3,689 students earned the AP Seminar and Research Certificate
  • 20.7% of students participating in AP Capstone received a fee reduction, nearly in line with AP overall, which reported 21.9%.
  • 30.9% of students who participated in AP Capstone were underrepresented minorities:
    • 9.4% Black/African American
    • 21.2% Hispanic/Latino
    • 61.5% Female

Student Highlight: Amer Macedonci

Amer Macedonci was born in the United States to parents who fled the Bosnian war. As a student at St. Johnsbury Academy in Vermont, Amer traveled to his family’s homeland, where he learned about the yearslong war with Serbia. Amer also made a friend that summer—a best friend—who happened to be Serbian.

When Amer returned home, his new friendship inspired him to focus his AP Capstone research. He wanted to know whether ethnic tension among Balkan youth is inherited biologically, socially, or psychologically. Amer credits his AP Capstone experience with helping him secure funding to travel back to Bosnia to continue his research. For his AP Research project, Amer designed a family-based model to treat the kind of intergenerational trauma his research uncovered.

As a senior at Clark University, Amer is now studying trauma and collective victimization, while working to preserve and code messages from conflict survivors for future generations. Amer hopes his work will someday strengthen international development, diplomacy, and mental health in postconflict areas.

A Note on the Data

Because AP Capstone is a newer offering, the data on this page is at the administration level.