Virtual Virginia

2380 Advanced Placement World History

Field of Study

AP World History is designed to be the equivalent of a two-semester introductory college or university world history course in which students investigate significant events, individuals, developments, and processes in six historical periods from approximately 8,000 B.C.E. to the present.

Material Covered

Students develop and use the same skills, practices, and methods employed by historians: analyzing primary and secondary sources; developing historical arguments; making historical comparisons; and utilizing reasoning about contextualization, causation, and continuity and change over time. The course provides five themes that students explore throughout the course in order to make connections among historical developments in different times and places: interaction between humans and the environment; development and interaction of cultures; state building, expansion, and conflict; creation, expansion, and interaction of economic systems; and development and transformation of social structures. There are nine modules in the course:

  • Module 1: Introduction to World History
  • Module 2: Technological and Environmental Transformations
  • Module 3: Organization and Reorganization of Human Societies
  • Module 4: Regional and Interregional Interactions
  • Module 5: Global Interactions
  • Module 6: Industrialization and Global Integration
  • Module 7: Accelerating Global Change and Realignments
  • Module 8: AP Exam Review
  • Module 9: Final Project

Student Expectations

Students should keep in mind that this is a college-level course and that a considerable amount of reading and writing is required. Classwork assignments will involve about 4-5 hours per week with an additional 10 hours per week of homework. Students are expected to not only read, but also take notes and study each chapter in the textbook and other readings as assigned. Detailed instructions on how to do this are given in the first module of the course. In addition to the readings, students will complete a variety of assignments aimed at helping them analyze historical evidence and develop valid historical arguments. Within those practices, students will learn to describe, explain, and analyze historical context, comparisons, causation, and continuity and change over time. From time to time, students will interact with the instructor in oral assignments, and with the instructor and other classmates in online sessions and asynchronous discussions. All students are required to take the final exam given in the course and complete a final project. Specific dates for each assignment will be given in the Calendar of the course to keep you on task with your assignments. It is very important that students complete all work by the given deadlines.

Related Requirements

At the end of the course, students have the opportunity to take the AP World History Exam. Students are highly encouraged to take the exam and should check with their individual schools about how much the exam will cost and when they should register (usually late Winter to early Spring). Also, students should check with the individual colleges/universities they might be attending later to verify if college credit can be given based on AP exam scores. Schools may also elect to have students complete the World History and Geography to 1500 and World History and Geography 1500 – Present SOL tests, although Virtual Virginia does not require these.


  • Enrolled in grades 9-12
  • There are no required pre-requisites, but completion of World History and Geography to 1500 is recommended.

Course Texts and Materials


  • World Civilizations: The Global Experience, AP* Edition, 7th Edition, by Peter N. Stearns, Stuart B. Schwartz, Michael B. Adas, Marc Jason Gilbert
    ISBN: 9780133447705
    Pearson Education.