Advanced Placement European History

Mr. Steven Maher

635-9075 ext. 306

Course Description:


AP European History is a rigorous academic course that furnishes a basic narrative of events and movements in European History from 1450 to the present.  It prepares students for the demands of a college education by providing experience in college level reading, writing and responsibility for learning.  AP European History is challenging and stimulating yet requires much more time than other high school courses. Solid reading and writing skills, along with a willingness to devote considerable time to homework and study, are necessary to succeed. Students can expect to spend between five and seven hours a week outside of class on coursework.


Students will investigate the broad themes of intellectual, cultural and political history and will appreciate how those ideas are reflected in trends of philosophy, popular literature and the arts.   As events in history can only be understood in terms of their social context, this course will examine demographics and the influences of social classes and gender roles on history.  The course will also focus on economic history and the role of industrialization by reviewing the development of commercial practices and changing economic structures to recognize Europe ’s influence on the world.


In addition to traditional lectures on important themes of history, students are expected to participate in class through discussions of primary documents and events, debates of key issues, role playing of historic figures and mock trials.  Furthermore, students are expected to continually develop their writing skills through regular short essays and essay exams. The volume of material involved in a survey course covering over five hundred years of history of an entire continent is immense and therefore organization and the maintenance of a notebook of all class materials is essential. Students can expect to do a lot of reading not only in the text, but from outside sources and research both in the library and on the Internet.


AP European History is organized on the assumption that students will take the College Board AP examination, which allows qualified candidates to receive college credit for the course.  Consequently, there will be a focus on strengthening skills in taking objective exams, in addition to writing clear and compelling expository essays.


Materials Required:                          

Textbook:   Western Civilization, 5th Edition,  Jackson J. Spielvogel  
Supplementary Text:   
Additional Materials: 

Discovering the Western Past: A Look at the Evidence since 1500, 3rd Edition, Wiesner, Merry E., et. al.

Technology :   This course utilizes the latest learning communication and information tools to provide students with essential skills for the 21st century.  Students can expect the majority of their homework to involve activities in online environments including blogs, wikis and forum discussions.  Accommodations will be made for any students with limited access.  

Course Organization:

 AP European History consists of ten units, each of which will be introduced with a Unit Outline that sets forth a schedule of assignments, lesson plans and class activities.  All of the course organization material, including the schedule, is available at the class website.  Many of the class materials will be distributed through the website and FirstClass. Students are encouraged to visit the site often for course announcements, homework assignments, unit outlines, and links to useful resources on the Internet.


A wide variety of activities will be employed in this course.  Students can expect to participate in cooperative projects, oral presentations, simulations and role playing.  Students are also required to participate in small and large group class discussions (thoughtful and active participation in class discussions and presentations comprise part of the grade). 



 Grades are calculated on a point system.  Tests are worth 100 points, quizzes 25 points, and writing assignments from 10 to 50 points. Class participation is calculated as individual grades for particular discussions and as a grade of 10 points for each unit.


Please note that this course presents a higher standard of performance than most high school courses; students should be advised that the grading policy will reflect these higher expectations.  When judging an acceptable level of performance students and parents should consider that AP European History requires a level of achievement consistent with course objectives outlined by the College Board.


Course Policies

 The policies of this class are consistent with the policies of Chatham High as set forth in the student handbook.  Parents and students are strongly advised to review these policies at the beginning of the school year, particularly with regard to academic honesty and plagiarism.



Students are responsible for all material and work missed due to an absence and should consult the class website and FirstClass.  Mr. Maher will make every effort to ensure that this information is available for students who legitimately miss class.  Students will have two school days for each day absent to make up all class work, homework, tests, quizzes, etc.  Any work not completed within this time may be subject to “no credit” for each assignment.  Policies regarding make-up work and withdrawal of credit due to excessive absences are the same as those set forth in the student handbook. 


Late Work:

Assignments will be penalized one letter grade each day they are late and will not be accepted more than four days after they are due.   Assignments will be penalized one letter grade each day they are late and will not be accepted more than four days after they are due.


Academic Integrity:

All students are expected to do their own work; plagiarism and cheating are absolutely unacceptable.  The definition of what amounts to cheating and the disciplinary code of action outlined in the student handbook will be followed verbatim.  Plagiarized assignments will receive a grade of zero, they may not be re-done or made-up in any way.



Social studies courses involve the presentation and exchange of views and opinions on controversial topics.  All students and Mr. Maher will make every effort to insure that students feel physically and intellectually comfortable and safe in class. 



Positive student experience in any course requires the efforts and cooperation of teachers, students and parents.  Mr. Maher will make every effort to insure that students and parents are apprised of student performance.  Parents are strongly encouraged to direct any questions concerning the course or their child’s performance to Mr. Maher at (635-9075 ext. 306) or  Students should not hesitate to ask Mr. Maher any questions they may have regarding the course or their performance.