The AP Environmental Science course is designed to be the equivalent of a
one-semester, introductory college course in environmental science. Unlike most
other introductory-level college science courses, environmental science is offered
from a wide variety of departments, including geology, biology, environmental studies,
environmental science, chemistry, and geography. Depending on the department
offering the course, different emphases are placed on various topics. Some courses are
rigorous science courses that stress scientific principles and analysis and that often
include a laboratory component; other courses emphasize the study of environmental
issues from a sociological or political perspective rather than a scientific one. The
AP Environmental Science course has been developed to be most like the former; as
such, it is intended to enable students to undertake, as first-year college students, a
more advanced study of topics in environmental science or, alternatively, to fulfill a
basic requirement for a laboratory science and thus free time for taking other courses.
The AP Course Description and AP Exam have been prepared by environmental
scientists and educators who serve as members of the AP Environmental Science
Development Committee. In both breadth and level of detail, the content of the course
reflects what is found in many introductory college courses in environmental science.
The exam is representative of such a course and therefore is considered appropriate for
the measurement of skills and knowledge in the field of environmental science.