• Course Overview

    AP U.S. Government and Politics is an introductory college-level course in U.S. government and politics. Students cultivate their understanding of U.S. government and politics through analysis of data and text- based sources as they explore topics like constitutionalism, liberty and order, civic participation in a representative democracy, competing policy-making interests, and methods of political analysis.


    Click here to access AP Central information about this course.


    Equivalent Course 

    GOVT 2305 Federal Government  /Sem. Hr. 3



    There are no prerequisite courses for AP U.S. Government and Politics. Students should be able to read a college-level textbook and write grammatically correct, complete sentences.


    Course Content

    Based on the Understanding by Design® (Wiggins and McTighe) model, this course framework provides a description of the course requirements necessary for student success. The framework specifies what students should know and be able to do, with a focus on big ideas that encompass core principles and theories of the discipline. The framework also encourages instruction that prepares students for advanced political science coursework and active, informed participation in our constitutional democracy.

    The AP U.S. Government and Politics framework is organized into five commonly taught units of study that provide one possible sequence for the course. As always, you have the flexibility to organize the course content as you like.


    Exam Weighting (Multiple-Choice Section)

    Unit 1: Foundations of American Democracy


    Unit 2: Interactions Among Branches of Government


    Unit 3: Civil Liberties and Civil Rights


    Unit 4: American Political Ideologies and Beliefs


    Unit 5: Political Participation


    Disciplinary Practices

    The AP U.S. Government and Politics framework included in the CED outlines distinct skills, called disciplinary practices, that students should practice throughout the year—practices that will help them learn to think and act like political scientists.



    1. Concept Application

    Apply political concepts and processes to scenarios in context.

    2. SCOTUS Application

    Apply Supreme Court decisions.

    3. Data Analysis

    Analyze and interpret quantitative data represented in tables, charts, graphs, maps, and infographics.

    4. Source Analysis

    Read, analyze, and interpret foundational documents and other text-based and visual sources.

    5. Argumentation

    Develop an argument in essay format.

    AP and Higher Education

    Higher education professionals play a key role developing AP courses and exams, setting credit and placement policies, and scoring student work. The AP Higher Education site features information on recruitment and admission, advising and placement, and more.

    This chart shows recommended scores for granting credit, and how much credit should be awarded, for each AP course. Your students can look up credit and placement policies for colleges and universities on the AP Credit Policy Search.

    Meet the Development Committee for AP U.S. Government and Politics.