Participate in the AP Capstone Diploma Program

Study topics you love, learn key academic skills, and stand out to colleges.

Hear From Students

These high school students were members of the first group to complete the AP Capstone Diploma™ program. Hear about their research projects and what surprised them most about the program.

What It Is

AP Capstone is not a course. It’s a two-year program based on two AP courses—AP Seminar and AP Research.Other AP courses teach you, in depth, about a specific subject, like biology or U.S. history. AP Seminar and AP Research are different. They focus on helping you develop academic skills you can use in any discipline. These skills include:

  • Critical thinking: View issues from multiple perspectives and create arguments based on evidence.

  • Collaboration: Work alone, in a group, and with expert advisers to communicate your ideas.

  • Conducting research: Explore various research methods and complete research projects on topics of your own choosing.

  • Public speaking: Present and defend your work as a group and individually. 


What It Can Do for You

Participating in AP Capstone can help you:

Develop key skills you’ll use in college and career

Become a self-confident, independent thinker and problem solver

Study topics you’re passionate about, in depth

Earn academic awards recognized by colleges worldwide

Stand out in the college admission process

Earn college credit

How It Works

You must take AP Seminar before AP Research. Each is a yearlong course. (Your school must be part of the AP Capstone Diploma program to offer AP Seminar and AP Research.)

Take AP Seminar

In AP Seminar, you’ll investigate topics in a variety of subject areas, write research-based essays, and design and give both individual and team presentations.
Go to AP Seminar Course Page

Take AP Research

In AP Research, you’ll build on what you learned in AP Seminar to design, plan, and conduct a yearlong research-based investigation on a topic of your choice.
Go to AP Research Course Page

Earn Awards

You can earn 1 of 2 AP Capstone awards if you take both courses and fulfill other requirements. And you’ll receive an AP score for each separate course.
Learn How to Qualify for Awards

AP Credit Policy Search

See colleges that offer credit, advanced placement, or both for AP Seminar and AP Research scores.

AP Seminar: College Credit and Placement

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AP Research: College Credit and Placement

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The AP Capstone program helped me so much with gaining a foundation in good research and collaborative working skills. ... It is the best program in my opinion for helping with the transition to a college environment.

Lauren, The University of Oklahoma

AP Capstone Awards

Many colleges recognize AP Capstone awards in their admissions process. There are two distinct awards with different requirements.

AP Capstone Diploma™

Earn scores of 3 or higher in AP Seminar and AP Research and on four additional AP Exams of your choice. You can take the four additional exams anytime during high school.

AP Seminar and Research Certificate™

Earn scores of 3 or higher in AP Seminar and AP Research.

I’ve done better in college English classes because of AP Seminar. It definitely gave me a leg up on my peers.

Yasmin, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill 

I use the skills and processes from AP Research in my STEM courses, and my professors and lab mates are amazed at the prior knowledge I have developed through AP Capstone.

Adonis, Stanford University 

I've gotten a research assistant position after my first year, which is not too common here. AP Capstone had a role to play in this achievement.

Jiayi, The University of British Columbia

How You Can Participate

Your school must be part of the AP Capstone Diploma program in order to offer AP Seminar and AP Research.

If Your School Offers AP Capstone

Talk to your teachers, your school counselor, or your school AP coordinator about signing up for AP Seminar, the first course in the AP Capstone program. 

If Your School Doesn’t Offer AP Capstone

Let your counselor, AP coordinator, or principal know that you’re interested. Share the page linked below with them—it explains how high schools can join the program.