What Topics Are Covered in AP World History?

World history is a fascinating subject that encompasses the entire history of human civilization. Advanced Placement (AP) World History is a course that provides students with a comprehensive understanding of global history from prehistory to the present day. The course covers an extensive range of topics, and here are some of the main areas that students can expect to explore during their studies.

Ancient Civilizations

The course begins by examining the earliest civilizations known to humankind. Students will study the development and characteristics of civilizations such as Mesopotamia, Egypt, Greece, and Rome. They will learn about significant events such as the rise and fall of empires, social structures, and cultural achievements.

Medieval Times

The medieval period was marked by significant changes in politics, society, and culture. Students will learn about the European feudal system, the role of religion in society, and the emergence of new economic systems. They will also study the powerful empires that emerged in Asia during this period.

The Age of Exploration

During this period, European nations began exploring new lands around the world. Students will learn about explorers such as Christopher Columbus and Vasco da Gama and their voyages to North America and Africa. The impact of European exploration on indigenous peoples also forms an important part of this section.

The Enlightenment

The Enlightenment was a period marked by revolutionary ideas about democracy, individual rights, and scientific discovery. Students will learn about influential philosophers such as John Locke and Voltaire who shaped modern thinking.

The Industrial Revolution

The Industrial Revolution brought significant changes in technology, economics, and society during the 18th century. Students will learn about major inventions such as steam power and spinning machines that transformed manufacturing processes worldwide.

World War I & II

Students will study in-depth about the two world wars, including their causes, events, and consequences. They will learn about the rise of totalitarianism and the impact of these wars on global politics and economies.

The Cold War

The Cold War was a period of political tension between the United States and the Soviet Union. Students will learn about the causes and consequences of this conflict, including important events such as the Cuban Missile Crisis and the collapse of the Soviet Union.


The course also covers recent developments in globalization, including economic interdependence, cultural exchange, and environmental challenges. Students will explore how globalization has impacted different regions of the world and its role in shaping contemporary society.


These are just a few examples of some of the topics covered in AP World History. This course provides students with an opportunity to gain a deep understanding of human history from a global perspective. By studying these topics, students can develop critical thinking skills that will help them understand current events while appreciating how far humanity has come over time.