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The AP Capstone Program is Coming to RIS!

by Mr. Phil Cutlan

In August 2019, RIS will be piloting the AP Capstone Program, a two-year diploma program from the College Board, aimed chiefly (but not only) at students studying AP courses here at RIS. It will give balance to the already very academically rigorous AP courses we currently offer in mathematics, social sciences, sciences, languages, and the arts by allowing students to develop their communication and research skills, which are keys to success in college.

AP Capstone Diploma

Rather than teaching subject-specific content, these courses will develop students’ skills in research, analysis, evidence-based arguments, collaboration, writing, and presenting. Students who complete the two-year program can earn one of two different AP Capstone awards, which are valued by colleges across the United States and around the world:

Students can earn either the AP Capstone Diploma™ or the AP Seminar and Research Certificate™

Students who earn a score of 3 or higher in the AP Seminar and AP Research course and on four additional AP exams of their choosing, will receive the AP Capstone Diploma™.

Students who earn a score of 3 or higher in the AP Seminar and AP Research course but not on four additional AP exams will receive the AP Seminar and Research Certificate™.

The benefits of the AP Capstone program are to

  • stand out to colleges in the application process, both in the US and also around the world.
  • develop key academic skills that students will use in college and beyond.
  • become self-confident, independent thinkers and problem solvers.
  • earn college credit—many colleges offer credit for qualifying scores.

In addition to being a very valuable experience for AP students, the first year of AP Capstone (AP Seminar) should prove to be excellent preparation for grade 10 students who are considering the IB Diploma Program in grades 11 and 12, as one of the major requirements of the IB Diploma Program is to write an Extended Essay.

AP Capstone Program

As Dr. Habegger, School Director at Colegio Nueva Granada (CNG) in Bogotá, Colombia, writes: “Students who complete the AP Capstone program are far better prepared and fully ready to engage in all types of research at the university level,” says Dr. Habegger. “Many first-year university students lack a strong background in taking rigorous research courses before entering their undergraduate programs. [Our AP graduates] mentioned their AP Capstone experience as one of the most important courses they took in high school.”

Here is a link to an excellent BBC article, extolling the benefits of the AP program and, in particular, AP Capstone.

For further information about the AP Capstone program and other AP courses, visit or contact AP Coordinator Mr. Phil Cutlan (Room H309),