Educators: Interested in the New AP Computer Science Course?

This year, the College Board is introducing a new AP class to round out their computer science offerings. AP Computer Science Principles is a full-year class for high school students aimed at developing literacy in the field of computer science.

What makes AP Computer Science Principles different from AP Computer Science A?

Whereas AP Computer Science A focuses heavily on learning programming languages, AP Computer Science Principles offers a more creative approach that allows for integration of computer science into multiple fields (a chart describing the differences between the two courses can be found here). The goal of this integration is to broaden the appeal of computer science beyond programming and to encourage students who may not be interested in traditional computer science courses to consider alternative applications to computer science. By offering both courses, students with a multitude of interests will be able to access courses related to this STEM area and explore interests in computer science.

Should one course be taken before the other?

AP Computer Science Principles and AP Computer Science A are designed to function independently of each other, and can be taken separately or together in any order. The only prerequisite suggested by the College Board is that students have taken Algebra I prior to either computer science class.

How can I bring AP Computer Science Principles to my school?

The process for starting an AP Computer Science Principles class at your school is similar to starting any AP class, and includes submission of your syllabus for the course audit process. A more detailed step-by-step guide can be found here.

Are there training options for teachers interested in teaching AP Computer Science Principles?

Yes! The College Board is offering many AP Summer Institute sessions on AP Computer Science Principles, as well as a day-long AP Computer Science Principles workshop at the Annual AP Conference. For teachers interested in AP Computer Science A, we will again be offering this session at the AP Teacher Training Institute at the Belin-Blank Center in July!

What computer science courses will be offered through the Iowa Online AP Academy next year?

The Iowa Online AP Academy is excited to offer three computer science courses, including AP Computer Science A and AP Computer Science Principles through our new course vendor, Edhesive. We are also providing a Computer Science class targeted towards middle school students aimed at preparing them for the more rigorous AP computer science classes. You can learn more here.

Learn more about AP Computer Science Principles. For more about IOAPA, visit

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