Advanced Placement Courses

The College Board’s Advanced Placement Program® (AP) enables students to pursue college-level studies while still in high school. Advanced Placement courses provide challenging learning opportunities that parallel the expectations of college level courses. These courses prepare students to take the Advanced Placement examinations administered in May of each year. Students may earn college credit by performing at an exemplary level on these end-of-course examinations.  Each college/university establishes their own AP policy and will require different scores in order to earn college credit.  Please note that some colleges/programs do not grant credit for AP courses regardless of the score achieved. We encourage students to go to the college website and conduct a search on “AP Policy” for each school they are considering in order to learn more.

All students taking Advanced Placement (AP) courses are required to take the respective AP exam for each course.  The Johnson City Board of Education is paying for the AP exam for every student that has completed the entire AP curriculum for the course in which they are enrolled. Any student that does not complete the AP curriculum and/or does not take the AP exam is at risk of losing the AP designation on their transcript, losing the additional 5 percentage points, reimbursing the district of AP exam cost and/or loss of future opportunities to take AP courses.   


Advanced Placement Courses Offered at Science Hill

Includes courses that are planned to be offered in 2020-21


  • AP Music Theory
  • AP Studio Art:2-D Design 
  • AP Studio Art:3-D Design
  • AP Studio Art: Drawing


  • AP Seminar
  • AP Research


  • AP English Language & Composition 
  • AP English Literature & Composition


  • AP European History
  • AP Human Geography
  • AP Macroeconomics
  • AP Microeconomics
  • AP Psychology
  • AP United States Government & Politics 
  • AP United States History
  • AP World History (2020-21)


  • AP Calculus AB
  • AP Calculus BC
  • AP Statistics
  • AP Computer Science Principles (2020-21)


  • AP Biology
  • AP Chemistry
  • AP Physics 1: Algebra-Based
  • AP Physics 2: Algebra-Based
  • AP Environmental Science 


  • AP Latin
  • AP Spanish Language and Culture
  • AP French Language and Culture (2020-21)

*All AP course offerings in the school schedule are dependent on yearly student requests.

Advanced Placement Capstone™

In winter 2018, Science Hill High School was chosen by the College Board to offer the AP Capstone™ program.  AP Capstone is an innovative diploma program from the College Board that equips students with the independent research, collaborative teamwork, and communication skills that are increasingly valued by colleges. AP Capstone is built on the foundation of two AP courses — AP Seminar and AP Research — and is designed to complement and enhance the in-depth, discipline-specific study experienced in other AP courses. In AP Seminar, students investigate real-world issues from multiple perspectives, gathering and analyzing information from various sources in order to develop credible and valid evidence-based arguments. In AP Research, students cultivate the skills and discipline necessary to conduct independent research in order to produce and defend a scholarly academic paper. Students who earn scores of 3 or higher in AP Seminar and AP Research and on four additional AP Exams of their choosing will receive the AP Capstone Diploma. Students who earn scores of 3 or higher in AP Seminar and AP Research but not on four additional AP Exams will receive the AP Seminar and Research Certificate. AP Seminar may also be taken as a stand-alone option without taking AP Research.

Advanced Placement Capstone Recognitions

Students who earn scores of 3 or higher in AP Seminar and AP Research and on four additional AP Exams of their choosing receive the AP Capstone Diploma™. Students who earn scores of 3 or higher in AP Seminar and AP Research but not on four additional AP Exams receive the AP Seminar and Research Certificate™.


AP Capstone Diploma

Students who earn scores of 3 or higher in both of the AP Capstone courses and on four additional AP Exams of their choosing will receive the AP Capstone Diploma from the College Board.

(A,B, and C required)

AP Seminar and Research Certificate

Students who earn scores of 3 or higher in both of the AP Capstone courses but not on the four additional AP Exams will receive the AP Seminar and Research Certificate, signifying successful performance in those courses.

(A and B required)

A) AP SEMINAR (Year 1)

  • Team Project & Presentation
  • Individual Research-Based Essay & Presentation
  • End-of-Course Exam


  • Academic Thesis Paper
  • Presentation & Oral Defense


  • (Taken at any point throughout high school)


ADVANCED PLACEMENT SEMINAR | One Credit | Year-Long | Grade 11

AP Seminar is a foundational course that engages students in cross-curricular conversations that explore the complexities of academic and real-world topics and issues by analyzing divergent perspectives. Using an inquiry framework, students practice reading and analyzing articles, research studies, and foundational literary and philosophical texts; listening to and viewing speeches, broadcasts, and personal accounts; and experiencing artistic works and performances. Students learn to synthesize information from multiple sources, develop their own perspectives in research based written essays, and design and deliver oral and visual presentations, both individually and as part of a team. Ultimately, the course aims to equip students with the power to analyze and evaluate information with accuracy and precision in order to craft and communicate evidence-based arguments. AP Seminar may be taken as a stand-alone option without progressing to AP Research.

ADVANCED PLACEMENT RESEARCH | One Credit | Year-Long | Grade 12

Passing AP Seminar and AP Research may substitute for the required English 12 credit if AP Research is taken in the 12th grade

AP Research allows students to deeply explore an academic topic, problem, or issue of individual interest. Through this exploration, students design, plan, and conduct a year-long research based investigation to address a research question. In the AP Research course, students further their skills acquired in the AP Seminar course by understanding research methodology; employing ethical research practices; and accessing, analyzing, and synthesizing information as they address a research question. Students explore their skill development, document their processes, and curate the artifacts of the development of their scholarly work in a portfolio. The course culminates in an academic paper of 4000–5000 words (accompanied by a performance or exhibition of product where applicable) and a presentation with an oral defense.

Keep EXCELING... The Advanced Placement Program at SHHS

With AP®, students can pursue academic EXCELlence by taking college-level course work in high school. When you take an AP course, you tackle challenging and engaging topics and delve deeper into subjects that interest you. You will also have the unique opportunity to discuss and debate your perspectives with your AP teacher and classmates. Give one or more AP courses a consideration and keep EXCELING!



AP courses are for students who always get good grades.

AP courses are for any students who are academically prepared and motivated to take college-level courses.

AP courses are too stressful.

It's no secret that AP courses are challenging, but the support you receive from your classmates and teachers can help you manage the work load.

I don't think I will score high enough on the AP Exam to get college credit.

You don’t need to score a 5. Many colleges grant credit and placement based on a 3 or higher on an AP Exam.

Taking AP courses could hurt my GPA.

Taking AP courses shows colleges that you’re willing to challenge yourself academically. Plus, AP courses receive the addition of 5 percentage points to the grades used to calculate the semester average.

I can’t take AP because no one has recommended me.

If you think you’re ready to take an AP course, then you’re ready to advocate for yourself — just talk to a teacher or counselor.

What is AP? AP programs:

  • Promote educational excellence in high schools
  • Enable willing and academically motivated students to pursue college-level studies with the support of teachers and peers
  • Offer internationally recognized exams
  • Meet high school graduation credit requirements
  • Provide opportunities to take one or multiple courses in the AP program

Why take AP? AP enables you to:

  • Stand out in college admission
  • Receive AP Scholar Awards—academic distinctions that you may cite among your credentials on applications and résumés
  • Receive an AP designated diploma—The AP Capstone Diploma and/or the AP International Diploma
  • Earn college credit with a qualifying AP exam score
  • Skip introductory college classes
  • Build college skills and confidence
  • Explore potential majors based on your interests
  • Turn subjects you love into fulfilling career paths

Who should take AP? At SHHS, we believe in:

  • Equitable access to our AP programs by giving all willing and academically prepared students the opportunity to participate
  • Elimination of barriers that restrict access to AP for students from ethnic, racial, and socioeconomic groups that have been traditionally underrepresented
  • Reflection of the diversity of our student population in AP courses
  • Access to academically challenging course work in the years before students enroll in AP classes (honors courses), which can prepare students for AP success
  • Commitment to equitable preparation and access so that true equity and excellence can be achieved for all students

How is AP different from other courses? AP courses will:

  • Challenge students to work and participate at a higher level
  • Offer opportunities to explore topics in greater depth through critical thinking, analysis, synthesis, evidence, multiple perspectives, and clear written and verbal communications
  • Set bigger goals for yourself and do things you never thought possible
  • Require more time in and out of the classroom to complete assignments and projects
  • Conclude with a REQUIRED College Board AP exam
    • Most two- and four-year colleges and universities worldwide recognize AP in the admission process and accept successful exam scores for credit, advanced course placement, or both.
    • Each college and university establishes their own AP policy and will require school specific exam scores. 
    • Please note that some colleges and universities do not grant credit for AP courses regardless of the AP exam score achieved.
  • Use the AP grading scale that shall include the addition of 5 percentage points to the grades used to calculate the semester average (Tennessee State Board of Education Policy 3.301)

 What are the financial benefits? With AP you could:

  • Save money on tuition. The average cost of one college class at a 4-year public school is $1250.00.
    • However, an AP course and AP exam at SHHS are FREE
  • Graduate from college sooner than your peers. Students who take five years or more to graduate can spend $21,500 for each additional year in college to cover tuition, fees, living expenses, and transportation.
    • However, students who take AP courses and exams in high school are much more likely to graduate from college in four years instead of five

Visit the College Board’s online resources for more information: