When Did AP World History Become AP Modern?

In recent years, the College Board has made significant changes to the Advanced Placement (AP) World History curriculum. One of the most notable changes is the renaming of the course from “AP World History” to “AP World History: Modern.”

The decision to change the name of the course was made in 2019, after a period of evaluation and feedback from educators and students. The College Board stated that they wanted to better reflect the content covered in the course, which now starts at the year 1200 CE, rather than starting from prehistory as it did previously.

Why Was This Change Made?
The change was made in response to criticism from educators and students that the original AP World History curriculum covered too much material in too little time. By starting at 1200 CE, the new curriculum allows for a more focused study of important historical events and trends that have shaped our modern world.

Another reason for this change is that it allows for more emphasis on events and movements that have had a direct impact on contemporary society. For example, topics such as European colonialism and imperialism are now given more attention because they have directly contributed to current geopolitical issues.

The Impact on Students
The change has been met with mixed reactions from students who have taken both versions of AP World History. Some argue that starting at 1200 CE makes the course more manageable in terms of workload and depth of study. However, others feel that important historical events before this time period are being ignored or overlooked.

Regardless of these differing opinions, it is clear that students will need to adjust their study habits and expectations when taking AP World History: Modern. The new exam format places a greater emphasis on document analysis and contextualization skills rather than memorization.

  • Students will need to be able to analyze primary sources within their historical context.
  • They will also need to understand how historical events have shaped current global issues.
  • Finally, they will need to be able to make connections between different historical periods and regions.


Overall, the change from AP World History to AP World History: Modern reflects a shift in how we view and teach history. The new course allows for a more focused study of important historical events and trends that have shaped our modern world. However, it is important to recognize that this change has not been universally welcomed and will require students to adjust their study strategies accordingly.