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A Program of the Virginia Department of Education

04004 AP Human Geography

Field of Study

AP Human Geography introduces students to the systematic study of patterns and processes that have shaped human understanding, use, and alteration of the Earth’s surface.

Material Covered

In this course, students will study diverse peoples and areas organized around concepts that include location and place, scale, pattern, spatial organization, and regionalization. There are seven modules in the course:

  • Module 1: Tools of the Human Geographer
  • Module 2: Population and Migration
  • Module 3: Culture, Language, and Religion
  • Module 4: Ethnicity and Political Geography
  • Module 5: Industry and Development
  • Module 6: Agriculture
  • Module 7: Services, Settlements, and Urban Patterns

There are also two additional modules: an AP Exam Review Module and an Extensions Module that encapsulates the course and includes a final project.

Student Expectations

Students will complete a variety of homework assignments including vocabulary and required readings for each module. They will participate in discussion boards. Work related to each chapter of the textbook contains study guides and a culminating quiz, as well as written responses to Free Response Questions. This course contains a mix of writing, multiple choice, and other assignments. Students are expected to complete all coursework according to the schedule posted by the instructor. Map quizzes will test students’ knowledge of all of the countries in the world. Students should plan on several hours per week of work outside of the regular school day. A few assignments require students to venture into their communities to take photos or gather information about their communities. All students must complete a final exam at the end of the course.

Additional Information

AP Human Geography offers students a new way to look at the world around them and the people in it. The course takes a systematic approach to humanity by examining various models and placing people and their societies within those models.

Related Requirements

At the conclusion of the course, students will be prepared to take the AP Human Geography Exam and are expected but not required to do so. Schools may also elect to have students complete the World Geography SOL test, although Virtual Virginia does not require this.


  • Required: Enrollment in grades 9-12
  • Recommended: Completion of either a high school-level World History or World Geography course

Course Texts and Materials


  • Either of the following: 
    • The Cultural Landscape: An Introduction to Human Geography, 11th Edition, by James M. Rubenstein, 11th edition
      Print version ISBN: 9780132926584
      Digital version ISBN: 013292658X
      Publisher: Prentice Hall
    • Mastering Geography with Pearson eText for The Cultural Landscape, 11th Edition
      ISBN: 032186106X
      Publisher: Pearson


  • Barron’s AP Human Geography, 6th Edition
    ISBN: 9781438007410
    Publisher: Barron’s Educational Series
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