Advanced Placement Capstone Diploma

  • Students who are in the graduating classes of 2020 and beyond are eligible to earn the Advanced Placement Capstone Diploma. This nationally-recognized program combines a rigorous plan of study throughout high school with two additional in-depth courses focusing on research. This diploma program was developed and is sanctioned by the College Board, and it is listed as one of the Honors Diploma options on the “Common App” (a college application many students use when applying to multiple universities).

    The AP Capstone Diploma can be earned by students who successfully complete the AP Capstone courses – AP Seminar and AP Research – with a score of 3 or above on the assessments, and earn a 3 or above on 4 additional AP courses taken at any point during a student’s high school career. AP Seminar is an elective course open to any student in grades 10 through 12. AP Research is an English Language Arts (ELA) course and can only be taken by seniors who have completed AP Seminar as a prerequisite. AP Seminar and AP Research cannot be taken concurrently.

    Students may choose to take AP Seminar and AP Research as stand-alone courses, and successful completion of those courses with a score of 3 or above on the exams allows a student to earn an AP Seminar and Research Certificate. Students in the class of 2020 who want to earn the AP Capstone Diploma or the AP Seminar and Research Certificate must enroll in AP Seminar for the 2018-19 school year.

    capstone curriculum

AP Capstone & Gold Medallion

  • Beginning in 2018-19, students who are pursuing the Gold Medallion Honors Diploma are required to take the year-long AP Seminar course instead of the retired Research Methods and Research & Exhibition courses (each one semester). The shift from two one-semester courses to a year-long course does not change the number of credits required for the Gold Medallion Honors Diploma. Only current juniors who have already taken Research Methods this year will take Research & Exhibition next year.

    The AP Capstone Diploma can be earned as an extension of, or in addition to, the current Gold Medallion Diploma. The chart below provides a comparison of the requirements of both diploma programs, as well as the requirements needed to earn both challenging diplomas simultaneously:

    capstone vs gold medallion

    For more information on the AP Capstone diploma or developing a personal plan of study, contact your school counseling department.