Advanced Placement

Why Take AP Computer Science Principles?

Computer science is the engine that powers the technology, productivity, and innovation that drives the world. Consider taking AP Computer Science Principles (AP CSP) whether you dream of a career in technology or simply want to learn how computing and technology shape the world around you.

"AP Computer Science Principles allowed me to explore computer science, which I previously had no knowledge of, and provided me with a pathway to a career that I now love. It's a good course in general to learn a computational and abstract way of thinking, which would be handy for any field you choose to pursue, even if it's not computer science."

Joseph, AP alum

About the Course

AP CSP is an introductory-level course meant for all students. You don’t need an advanced understanding of coding to be successful and you don’t need a home computer—your school will give you access to computers so you can complete the course.

In this course, you’ll learn how computers and technology are impacting our daily lives from the apps we use, to how our personal data is collected, to how AI can have positive and negative consequences. Students work collaboratively to creatively address real-world issues using the tools and processes of computation. Watch this webinar to hear directly from students who took the course.

"What I like most about AP CSP is the collaboration. We're very hands-on, and I'm a hands-on type of learner"

Brandon, AP student

Examples of projects created by AP CSP students include:

Kaila designed an app that helps travelers pack based on their destination’s weather. 


Lily created an app to help young children practice writing uppercase and lowercase letters.

Sean developed a program that identifies cybersecurity threats and indicates how to use the internet to address them.

One AP student designed an LED light show.

How You Benefit

Of the more than nine million STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) jobs available in the next decade, half will require computer science experience. No matter what your passion is—whether it’s the arts, medicine, education, or something else—computer science can help you on your path to your desired major or career. Explore the wide range of careers and majors connected to this course.

The skills you’ll develop will help you succeed in your other high school classes, college, and career. You’ll also have the chance to earn college credit, advanced placement, or both and stand out in the college application process. Learn about all the benefits of taking AP courses and exams.


What’s Next

AP computer science courses can be taken in any order, but many students go on to take AP Computer Science A once they have completed AP CSP. In AP Computer Science A (AP CSA), students become more familiar with the concepts and tools of computer science by developing computer programs using Java.

While there are no required computer science prerequisites for either AP computer science course, it is recommended that students have taken a first-year high school algebra course. Learn more about the similarities and differences between AP CSP and AP CSA.

Talk to your school counselor to see if these courses are available at your school and how you can enroll. Also, learn about scholarships, paid internships, and other opportunities for high school and college students interested in computer science.