AP U.S. Government and Politics provides a college-level, nonpartisan introduction to key political concepts, ideas, institutions, policies, interactions, roles, and behaviors that characterize the constitutional system and political culture of the United States. You will study U.S. foundational documents, Supreme Court decisions, and other texts and visuals to gain an understanding of the relationships and interactions among political institutions, processes, and behavior. You’ll also engage in disciplinary practices that require you to read and interpret data, make comparisons and applications, and develop evidence-based arguments. In addition, you’ll complete a political science research or applied civics project.


The AP U.S. Government and Politics course is organized around five units, which focus on major topics in U.S. government and politics:

  • Foundations of American Democracy
  • Interaction Among Branches of Government
  • Civil Liberties and Civil Rights
  • American Political Ideologies and Beliefs; and
  • Political Participation

Foundational documents and Supreme Court cases are an integral part of the course and necessary for students to understand the philosophical underpinnings, significant legal precedents, and political values of the U.S. political system and may serve as the focus of AP Exam questions. The course requires study of:

  • 9 foundational documents, including the U.S. Constitution
  • 15 landmark Supreme Court cases


The required project adds a civic component to the course. Through this project, you’ll explore how you can affect, and are affected by, government and politics throughout your life. The project might have you collect data on a teacher-approved political science topic, participate in a community service activity, or observe and report on the policymaking process of a governing body. You should plan a presentation that relates your experiences or findings to what you are learning in the course.


  • Practice 1: Apply political concepts and processes to scenarios in context
  • Practice 2: Apply Supreme Court decisions
  • Practice 3: Analyze and interpret quantitative data represented in tables, charts, graphs, maps, and infographics
  • Practice 4: Read, analyze, and interpret foundational documents and other text-based and visual sources
  • Practice 5: Develop an argument in essay format

Links to More AP Pages

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