HST550: AP European History

This list is representative of the materials provided or used in this course. Keep in mind that the actual materials used may vary, depending on the school in which you are enrolled, and whether you are taking the course as Independent Study.

For a complete list of the materials to be used in this course by your enrolled student, please visit MyInfo. All lists are subject to change at any time.

Scope & Sequence : Scope & Sequence documents describe what is covered in a course (the scope) and also the order in which topics are covered (the sequence). These documents list instructional objectives and skills to be mastered. K12 Scope & Sequence documents for each course include:

Course Overview

This course is the equivalent of an introductory college-level course. It explores political, diplomatic, social, economic, cultural, and intellectual themes in European history from 1450 to the present. Students cultivate higher-order thinking and writing skills that are assessed through essays, various writing activities, quizzes, and tests. They apply their historical analysis during threaded discussions, mock trials, and an Enlightenment Salon. The course scope and rigor helps prepare students for the AP European History Exam along with further study in the humanities.

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Course Length

Two Semesters

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Success in previous history course and teacher/school counselor recommendation

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Course Outline


Unit 1: Course Introduction and Essay Writing

Students learn to write a thematic essay. They study events and people in the late medieval period along with contemporary European physical and political geography. The unit turns to Poland as a case study for the influence of geography on historical developments.

  • Writing a Historical Essay
  • Thematic Essays and European Geography
  • Mythical Origins and Historical Realities of European Geography
  • The Catholic Church in the Late Middle Ages
  • Feudalism and the Black Death
  • Peasant Revolts, the Hundred Years' War, and the Holy Roman Empire

Unit 2: The Renaissance and the Age of Exploration

Students explore some of the brilliant artists and intellectuals in history who lived during the Renaissance, an age in which secular attitudes influenced the rise of individualism and humanism. Although the Renaissance began in Florence, Italy, in the late 1200s, the movement eventually spread to other Italian city-states and northern Europe. New monarchs in Spain, France, and England consolidated their states and embodied political advice written in The Prince, Machiavelli's seminal work on political theory and leadership. Students study the Age of Exploration and the overseas expansion that brought Europeans in contact with the New World and extended their cultural, economic, and political exchange with Africa and Asia.

  • Origins of the Italian Renaissance
  • Renaissance Political Intrigues
  • Intellectual Hallmarks of the Renaissance
  • The Heights of Genius: Renaissance Artistic Innovations
  • The Evolution of Renaissance Art
  • Humanism, Gender, and Race Relations
  • God, Gold, and Glory in the Age of Exploration
  • Exploration and the Columbian Exchange
  • The Rise of European Empires

Unit 3: The Reformation

Students explore the Reformation and Counter-Reformation. They study important reformers such as Martin Luther, Ulrich Zwingli, John Knox, and John Calvin. Students examine the religious turmoil that surrounded the reign of King Henry VIII of England and the impact of his break with the Roman Catholic Church. The unit then turns to Charles V and his empire. Students analyze the motifs and artists associated with the Baroque movement.

  • The Reformation Begins
  • The Rise of Lutheranism
  • Fragmentation of the Faith
  • The Tudors and the Church of England
  • Countering the Reformation
  • Mock Trial: Martin Luther

Unit 4: The Age of Religious Wars

Students explore the turmoil between Protestants and Catholics that resulted in religiously and politically motivated violence during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. War between the Dutch and Spanish prevented religious unity in the Spanish Empire. A civil war in France ended when Henry IV chose national unity over personal religious preferences. As a true politique, Elizabeth I navigated conflict in England with a settlement that ensured political stability and religious concessions. The Thirty Years' War left the German states destitute. Students examine the modern skepticism that questioned absolutes while population trends, family conditions, and the diet of Europeans signified sharp contrasts in a tumultuous age.

  • Battleground France
  • The Low Countries Revolt
  • The Triumph of the Politiques
  • Winning the Right to Lose
  • Moving Past Adversity

Unit 5: Writing the Document-Based Essay

Students explore the techniques required to write a stellar document-based essay. They examine witchcraft in Europe from 1450 through the 1700s. Students learn to identify and write about point of view in historical sources.

  • The Document-Based Question and the Witch Craze
  • Document-Based Question Essays and Point of View
  • Document-Based Question: The Witch Craze

Unit 6: Absolutism and Constitutionalism

Students explore the essential characteristics of absolute and constitutional states and examine the ideas of political philosophers such as Thomas Hobbes and John Locke. The unit focuses on Louis XIV of France and his involvement in the War of the Spanish Succession. Students analyze Spain's decline in the seventeenth century along with the Golden Age of Dutch commerce and art in the same period.

  • Absolutism and France
  • The Sun King
  • French Classicism and Seventeenth-Century Spain
  • Austria, Prussia, and Serfdom Between 1400 and 1650
  • Russia and Western vs. Eastern Absolutism
  • Mock Trial: Louis XIV
  • Constitutionalism and Seventeenth-Century England
  • The English Civil War and the Glorious Revolution
  • The Dutch Golden Age

Unit 7: The Scientific Revolution and the Enlightenment

Students explore the Scientific Revolution of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries and how that revolution altered the way that educated elites viewed the world and universe. Students compare scientific paradigms of the Middle Ages with those held during this age of inquiry, when reason often replaced faith as a means of determining truth. They examine the new scientific method and the Enlightenment, a period of intense intellectual curiosity. The unit turns to writers such as Voltaire, Rousseau, and Montesquieu, who wrote about social justice, political pursuits, and human progress. Students study the reigns of enlightened despots such as Catherine the Great of Russia and Frederick the Great of Prussia.

  • The Beginning of the Scientific Revolution
  • The Rise of Modern Science
  • The Enlightenment Emerges
  • Novel: Voltaire's Candide
  • The Philosophes and the Physiocrats
  • Enlightenment Salon
  • The Enlightened Despots
  • Absolutism and the Enlightenment
  • Document-Based Question: Women in Science

Unit 8: Review from 1450 to 1750

Students review the political, economic, literary, artistic, social, religious, philosophical, scientific, and technological spheres of European history from the Renaissance to the mid-eighteenth century.

  • 1450 to 1750: Review

Unit 9: Europe in the Eighteenth Century

Students explore the rise of the Agricultural Revolution in England and in the Low Countries. They analyze the impact of enclosure and crop rotation on society and diet. Students also study the population explosion of the eighteenth century and compare the causes, key figures, and outcomes of various wars in the eighteenth century. The unit turns to social history with a look at marriage patterns, child rearing, education, and family structure during this age. Students examine art produced during the Rococo movement.

  • Agricultural Revolution Across Europe
  • Economy, Politics, and War During the Eighteenth Century
  • The Life of Ordinary People in the 1700s
  • Rococo Art

Unit 10: The French Revolution and Napoleonic Europe

Students explore the anatomy of revolution and focus on the phases, people, and events that shaped the French Revolution that officially began in 1789. Students begin this unit with the Old Regime and end with the Napoleonic era. The unit also emphasizes neoclassical art.

  • The Clouds Gather
  • The Driving Force
  • A Call to Action
  • The Storm Breaks
  • The Rise of the Radicals
  • The Terror
  • A Fragile Calm
  • A Spectacular Career
  • Legacies
  • Neoclassical Art
  • Document-Based Question: Revolutionary France

Unit 11: Semester Review

Students prepare for and take the semester test.


Unit 12: The Industrial Revolution

Students explore the origins of the Industrial Revolution in Great Britain. They study the invention of new machinery that transformed manufacturing in textile and other industries. They assess the impact of the Agricultural Revolution in the Age of Industry and analyze the results of the transformation from an agrarian to an industrial society. The unit turns to the study of new economic theories that resulted from the hardships and conundrums generated by industrialization.

  • The Industrial Revolution Begins
  • The Invention Explosion
  • Life in the Age of Industrialization
  • Novel: Dickens's Hard Times
  • Nineteenth-Century Economic and Political Theory

Unit 13: Isms, Upheavals, and Metternich

The age of Metternich and upheaval witnessed the clash between conservative and liberal forces. Students study new philosophies such as romanticism, socialism, conservatism, liberalism, and nationalism. They focus on events from the Congress of Vienna in 1815 to the revolutions of 1848. Students examine revolutions that failed and revolutions that succeeded in securing the foundation for liberal democratic governments. Students also study artists, themes, and works associated with the Romantic art movement.

  • The Age of Metternich
  • The Romantic Movement
  • Nationalism and Revolution
  • Revolutions in France
  • The Revolutions of 1848
  • Reform in England

Unit 14: Nationalism, Unification, and Urban Society

Students study the components of nationalism and how this belief played a role in the unification of the Italian states and Germany. They learn the costs and benefits of nationalism and put Otto von Bismarck on trial. They examine the social and urban consequences of industrialization and study modernization in Russia during the early twentieth century. The unit then explores ethnic conflict in the Austro-Hungarian Empire and political turmoil in France. Prime ministers and reform bills in England during the late nineteenth century are also analyzed.

  • Industrialization and Urbanization
  • Nineteenth-Century Science and Realism
  • Nationalism and Italian Unification
  • German Unification
  • Mock Trial: Otto von Bismarck
  • Nationalism in Eastern Europe
  • Reforms in France and Great Britain
  • Modern War and Modern Nations

Unit 15: Review from 1750 to 1900

Students review the political, economic, literary, artistic, social, religious, philosophical, scientific, and technological spheres of European history from the Renaissance to the mid-eighteenth century.

  • 1750 to 1900: Review

Unit 16: Imperialism, the Great War, and the Russian Revolution

Students compare the motivations and causes, technology, and results of Old and New Imperialism. They examine European colonization in Africa and Asia and Europe’s role in creating global inequality, those who supported and those who opposed New Imperialism, and migration patterns in the late nineteenth century. They study the short- and long-term factors that contributed to World War I, the conduct of the nations involved in the Great War, and the consequences of this total war. The unit includes the Russian Revolution of 1917 and the pivotal figures that shaped the events that transformed Russia’s government and economy.

  • Old and New Imperialism
  • Imperialism in Africa
  • Early Imperialism in Asia
  • Migration and Inequality
  • Asian Responses to Imperialism
  • Document-Based Question: African Colonies
  • Alliances and Crises
  • The Beginnings of World War I
  • World War I's End and Aftermath
  • Revolutions Begin in Russia
  • Lenin and the Russian Revolution
  • Russian and German Revolutions

Unit 17: The Postwar Era and World War II

Students examine the age of anxiety that resulted from World War I. Students also assess the effects of the Treaty of Versailles and study governments in western Europe during the 1920s and early '30s. This unit involves the Great Depression and the impact of existentialism and the Christian revival during the twentieth century. Nineteenth- and twentieth-century art movements are analyzed. The unit then explores authoritarian states in Italy, Germany, and the Soviet Union. World War II is examined, along with critical lessons from the Holocaust.

  • Germany After World War I
  • Western Democracies and the League of Nations
  • The British Empire Post-World War I
  • Recovery from the Great Depression
  • The Rise of Existentialism, Psychology, and Empiricism
  • Postwar Renewals in Christianity and Physics
  • Avant-Garde Art
  • Expressionist, Fauvist, Surrealist, and Dadaist Art
  • Authoritarian States and Stalinist Russia
  • The Rise of Hitler and Mussolini
  • The Path to World War II
  • The Conclusion of World War II

Unit 18: The Cold War and the Modern Era

Students examine Europe after the defeat of Germany in 1945. They investigate the road to the Cold War and major events that transpired during the conflict between the world's superpowers. The unit turns to the history of the European Union and the tragedy surrounding the civil wars in the former Yugoslavia. Students examine the revolutions of 1989, the fall of communism in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union, the division of the former Czechoslovakia, and the state of affairs in Europe after the new millennium.

  • Political and Economic Recovery
  • European Unity
  • International Tensions
  • The Early Years of the Cold War
  • The Brezhnev Era
  • The Collapse of Communism
  • Reforms and Revolutions
  • The Fall of the Iron Curtain
  • Postwar Science and Society
  • Tensions in Eastern Europe
  • European Integration

Unit 19: Comprehensive Review

Students review the political, economic, literary, artistic, social, religious, philosophical, scientific, and technological spheres of European history from the Renaissance to the present. Students prepare for and take the practice test for the College Board exam along with the second semester test.

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Lesson Scheduling

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K12 Scope & Sequence documents for each course include:

  • Course Overview (as seen above)
  • Course Outline
  • Lesson Time and Scheduling