Graduate Certificate in AP Human Geography

More than 200,000 students took the AP Human Geography exam in 2022 and it is estimated that there are more than 3,500 AP® Human Geography teachers nationwide.

As more students take the AP® Human Geography exam, the demand for qualified teachers will increase.

Designed for Educators

Designed specifically for secondary educators, the Graduate Certificate in Human Geography for AP® focuses on teaching spatial concepts as well as basic themes, skills and perspectives of AP® Human Geography and how to apply them in the classroom. The College Board identifies 71 career areas and 20 college majors related to Human Geography.

This certificate helps the educator prepare students for their futures. In small, cohort-based classes, you’ll work with experienced educators and professionals—and receive your certificate in one year. The program is offered entirely online, providing the convenience teachers want—and need.

About the Program 


  • Provides secondary educators with lesson plans, exercises and technological application to use in their AP® Human Geography classrooms;
  • Creates a national online learning community to share and collaborate about AP Human Geography® teaching issues, as well as spatial concepts across disciplines; and
  • Affords the opportunity to publish lesson plans and/or exercises in a nationally recognized professional geography journal.

Program Format

The program is offered fully online in five eight-week sessions. Coursework runs at an accelerated pace; students complete 16 weeks’ worth of content and activities in just eight weeks. This five-course program can be completed in less than one year.

There is an option to continue coursework in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to earn a Master of Science in GIS with a Specialization in Human Geography for Advanced Placement.

Required Courses

.75 credit

Integrating StoryMaps® into your Geo curriculum.

Designed as the gateway course to the graduate certificate program, this course introduces the discipline of Human Geography to those new to teaching Advanced Placement Human Geography®. This course is also beneficial as a refresher course to those who have taught APHG® in the past. Pedagogical methodologies, as well as some geospatial technology, are introduced to educators who are teaching APHG® or will be teaching it in the future. The program content correlates directly with The College Board curriculum for AP Human Geography®. This course can be waived by the program director with evidence of previous teaching experience in high school human geography.

.75 credit

Applying spatial inquiry into your Geo curriculum.

This course introduces spatial concepts and thinking to those who are new to teaching AP Human Geography® and/or other disciplines. This course is also beneficial as a refresher course for geospatial concepts. Pedagogical methodologies, as well as technological tools in spatial concepts, are explored and implemented.

.75 credit

Developing GIS skills for your Geo curriculum.

Participants will use geographic and spatial concepts learned in APH 500 and APH 501 to further implement these principles into the classroom. Activities include hands-on geospatial technology applications (including GIS, remote sensing and story maps) that can be used in the AP Human Geography® classroom to enhance and/or supplement APHG® curriculum.

Prerequisite(s): APH 500, APH 501 or equivalent or permission of instructor.

.75 credit

Incorporating geospatial analysis into your Geo curriculum.

This course builds upon the spatial concepts and technologies learned in APH 501 and APH 502 to further expand upon the topics which are traditionally more challenging in the AP Human Geography® curriculum (urban, economic, and population geography). Additional geospatial technological applications, analysis and tools are introduced to enhance and/ or supplement APHG® curriculum for educators who are teaching APHG® or will be teaching it in the future.

Prerequisites: APH 500, APH 501, APH 502.

.75 credit

Exploring GIS applications to Geo curriculum.

Designed as the final/capstone course in the graduate certificate program, this course builds upon the spatial concepts and GIS skills learned in previous coursework to instruct participants about how to incorporate all the skills and concepts into their own lesson plans and classroom materials. Course participants will work collaboratively with a faculty advisor to write a publishable manuscript that details their lesson plan and how geospatial concepts will be incorporated into their classrooms. Expectation is for the manuscript to be completed and ready for submission to a peer-reviewed journal by the end of the eight weeks. For students working toward a Master’s degree in GIS with a specialization in Human Geography, this course will be replaced by AGS 591 after taking GIS courses. See the Master of Science in GIS section of this catalog.

Prerequisites: APH 500, APH 501 APH 502, APH 503.

Admission Requirements

  • Fall start only: Apply by Aug. 15.
  • Baccalaureate degree from accredited college or university
  • Certification in education
  • Currently employed as a secondary educator
  • Currently teaching AP Human Geography or desiring to teach AP Human Geography in the future

College Board, Advanced Placement and AP are registered trademarks of the College Board, which is not involved in the development or operation of Elmhurst University’s AP Human Geography Certificate Course.

Judith Bock

Instructor, Geography and GIS; Program Director, M.S. in Geography and Environmental Studies; Certificate in GIS
Department of Geography and GIS

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