Virtual Virginia

2399 Advanced Placement European History

Field of Study

“This course emphasizes relevant factual knowledge about European history from 1450 to the present to highlight intellectual, cultural, political, diplomatic, social, and economic developments. The course teaches students to analyze evidence and interpretations presented in historical scholarship. The course includes extensive instruction in analysis and interpretation of a wide variety of primary sources, such as documentary materials, maps, statistical tables, works of art, and pictorial and graphic materials. The course provides students with frequent practice in writing analytical and interpretive essays such as document-based questions (DBQ) and thematic essays.”

– The College Board® Advanced Placement® Program

Material Covered

  • Module 1: The Renaissance: The end of the Middle Ages to high Renaissance period are explored, as students look deeper into the intellectual impact of the arts and written literature. Beginning in the Italian city-states and migrating northward across the continent, the major themes of the course are introduced (intellectual, cultural, political, diplomatic, social and economics).
  • Module 2: Reformation and New Monarchies: The Church and monarchies of Spain, the Holy Roman Empire, England and France are the primary focus of this module. The expansion of religious ideals is investigated as students examine the intellectual, economic, political, cultural, diplomatic, and social impact on the various monarchical states and the continent.
  • Module 3: Exploration, Commercial Revolutions and Religious Wars: The emergence of the nation-states are examined as the commercial revolution, mercantilism and bullionism begins to shape the continent. Here, students will examine the causes of the decline of the Spanish empire and Thirty Years’ War.
  • Module 4: The Rise of Constitutionalism and the Age of Absolutism: Students will focus primarily on the nations of England and France in this study of the 16th and 17th centuries. Within the section of study, there will be a focus on social, political and economic divisions taking place within the nations. Students will also examine the rise of the concept of absolutism under France’s Louis XIV and the failed attempt in Britain under Charles I.
  • Module 5: 18th Century Prussia, Russia and Austria: The focus of this module includes the major social, political and economic themes as they unfolded in central and eastern Europe.
  • Module 6: The Scientific Revolution and the Enlightenment: From the 16th to 18th centuries, the rise of the ideas of natural philosophy and advances made in the area of science are examined along with the implications of the Scientific Revolution and the changing of European worldviews. Additionally, the Enlightenment is examined with the same approach as it applied to governments, economic systems and man himself. In the end, we see a shift to a belief in human progress, secularization and a passion for human liberty.
  • Module 7: French Revolution: The causes and results of the French Revolution of the late 18th century are examined. Within this module, the rise and fall of the Napoleonic era is also examined.
  • Module 8: The Industrial Revolution and its effects on Society, Economics and Politics: A look into the 18th and 19th centuries’ inventions and methods of production in areas of agriculture and industrialization sectors. A strong emphasis on the economic impact of the Industrial Revolution is studied. Additionally, students will examine the “-isms” of the 19th century: Liberalism, Nationalism, Conservatism, Romanticism, Socialism and Marxism.
  • Module 9: Romanticism, Marxism and Reaction: 1815-1871: Here, students continue the study of the 19th century “-isms” as well as a detailed look into the fate of the Jewish community from the spread of Emancipation to Anti-Semitism sentiment across many areas of the continent.
  • Module 10: Domestic and Foreign Affairs of the 19th Century: The continuation of advancements in political reforms in the various nations is examined. In-depth analysis into the urban life, religion, role of women and changes in science, literature, art, social sciences, and thought are detailed.
  • Module 11: WWI: The Great War is examined in detail regarding the causes, both short-term and long-term, fighting, and goals. The module will conclude with a review of the Treaty of Versailles, examining both the provisions and consequences of the treaty.
  • Module 12: Russia: 1881-1939: The emergence of competing factions and internal strife is examined with the culmination of the 1917 Russian Revolution. There is an in-depth analysis into life in Russia under the rule of Lenin and after his death, the struggle for succession and control by Stalin.
  • Module 13: World Between the Wars and WWII: The traits of totalitarianism in Italy and Germany are investigated as are the leaders of those nations. Next, the focus shifts to WWII causes, fighting, goals, and entry into post-war era. Both the experiences on the home front and the costs of war: human, intellectual, social, political and economic are explored.
  • Module 14: Postwar Politics and Economics (The Cold War): Causes and concepts of the Cold War from both the Capitalist and Communist standpoint are explored. This module culminates with the collapse of the Soviet Union and the influences of the Cold War on both the European and Global economies.
  • Module 15: 20th Century Culture, Demography and More: The course concludes with a look into various social changes from 1945 through present. Additionally, a number of movements are also examined, including: youth, environmental and women. Finally, current issues from across the continent, including: political, economical, social issues and the changing structure / organization of the European Union are discussed.
  • Module 16: Review: Students will be given the opportunity to explore various areas of interest for further review and development of in-depth scholarly based resource assignments.

Student Expectations

Students are expected to utilize the assigned textbook and outside scholarly resources to aid in the completion of work and assignments. Deadlines are strictly adhered to during this course.

Related Requirements

Students will find this course to be beneficial in their preparation of the World History & Geography: 1500-Present Standards of Learning (SOL) Test.

Students should coordinate with local school district to sign up for the AP® Exam and /or refer to The College Board® website at


  • Successful completion of English 9 (required)
  • Successful completion of World History (recommended)

Course Texts and Materials


  • The Western Heritage, The Combined Volume, 11th Edition.
    Donald M. Kagan, Steven Ozment, Frank M. Turner and Alison Frank
    ISBN: 9780205393923


  • The Western Heritage Since 1300, 11th Edition.*
    Donald M. Kagan, Steven Ozment, Frank M. Turner and Alison Frank
    ISBN: 9780205962402
    (*out of print)



  • Schaum’s Outline of Modern European History
    Birdsall S. Viault
    ISBN: 0070674531




  • AP® Exam Prep European History
  • Varsity Tutors AP® European History
  • K12 AP® Exam Prep
  • AP® European History: Practice Tests and Flashcards
  • AP® European History Buddy
  • AP® Euro History
  • AP® European History Review
  • AP® European History 5 Steps to a 5
  • AP® European History- Prep Me! Game
  • AP® Euro: French Revolution
  • Clegg Flashcards


  • 5 Steps to a 5: AP® European History 2017. 6th Edition
  • The Ultimate Student’s Guide to AP® European History
  • Barron’s AP® European History, 6th Edition
  • AP® European History Crash Course Book, 2nd Edition
  • CliffsNotes® AP® European History, 2nd Edition
  • The Princeton Review: Cracking the AP® European History Exam, 2017 Edition