Mary Galal
Voorhees High School

Course Description:  The purpose of the AP Human Geography one semester course is to introduce students to the systematic study of patterns and processes that have shaped human understanding, use, and alteration of Earth’s surface. Human geography incorporates the concepts and methods associated with several of the disciplines within the social sciences, including economics, geography, history, and sociology. The course topics include the following:

  • Geography: Its Nature and Perspectives
  • Population
  • Cultural Patterns and Processes
  • Political Organization of Space
  • Agriculture and Rural Land Use
  • Industrialization and Economic Development
  • Cities and Urban Land Use

The AP Human Geography course at x High School has been designed according to the course description set forth by The College Board, who administers the AP Human Geography Exam in May.  The AP Human Geography course at Voorhees High School addresses the NJ Core Curriculum Social Studies Content Standard 6.6 for Geography. Further, the AP Human Geography course at x High School has been designed to address the 18 National Geography Standards developed by The National Council for Geographic Education.


Course Texts and Materials:

  • Course Text: Rubenstein, The Cultural Landscape 11e, Rubenstein
  • Supplemental articles from The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Economist, National Geographic, and The Atlantic Monthly
  • Rand McNally Desk Atlas, 2006
  • Supplemental readings shall include but not be limited to selections from the writings of Marx, Wallenstein, Mumford, Braudel, Friedman, Krugman, McNeil, and Pacey
  • People, Places, and Change, Annenberg/ CPB Collection

Course Content: The course will be taught in seven units to correspond directly with the seven topics outlined in The College Board’s AP Human Geography course description. The percentages indicated on the outline reflect the approximate percentage that each topic constitutes on the multiple-choice section of the AP Exam.


Course Outline:


I. Geography: Its Nature and Perspectives (5-10%)

  1. Geography as a field of inquiry
  2. Evolution of key geographical concepts and models associated with notable geographers
  3. Key concepts underlying the geographic perspective: location, space, place, scale, pattern, regionalization, and globalization
  4. Key geographical skills
    1. How to use and think about maps
    2. How to understand and interpret the implications of associations of phenomena in places
    3. How to recognize and interpret at different scales the relationships among patterns and processes
    4. How to define regions
    5. How to characterize and analyze changing interconnections among places
  5. New geographic technologies, such as GIS and GPS
  6. Sources of geographical ideas and date, the field, census data

II. Population (13-17%)

  1. Geographical analysis of population
    1. Density, distribution, and scale
    2. Consequences of various densities and distributions
    3. Patterns of composition: age, sex, race, and ethnicity
    4. Population and natural hazards: past, present, and future
  2. Population Growth
    1. Historical trends and projections
    2. Theories on population growth, including the Demographic Model
    3. Patterns of fertility, mortality, and health
    4. Regional variations of demographic transitions
    5. Effects of population policies
  3. Population Movement
    1. Push and pull
    2. Major voluntary and involuntary actions
    3. Migration selectivity
    4. Short-term, local movement, and activity space

III. Cultural Patterns and Processes (13-17%)

  1. Concepts of culture
    1. Traits
    2. Diffusion
    3. Acculturation
    4. Cultural regions
  2. Cultural Differences
    1. Language
    2. Religion
    3. Ethnicity
    4. Gender
  3. Popular and folk culture
  4. Environmental impact of cultural attitudes and practices
  5. Cultural landscapes and cultural identity
    1. Values and preferences
    2. Symbolic landscapes and sense of place

Political Organization of Space (13-17%)

  1. Territorial dimensions of politics
    1. Concept of territoriality
    2. Nature and meanings of boundaries
    3. Influences of boundaries on identity, interaction, and exchange
  2. Evolution of the contemporary political pattern
    1. The nation-state concept
    2. Colonialism and imperialism
    3. Federal and unitary states
  3. Challenges to inherited political-territorial arrangements
    1. Changing nature of sovereignty
    2. Fragmentation, unification, and alliance
    3. Spatial relationships between political patterns and patterns of ethnicity, environment, and economy
    4. Electoral geography, including gerrymandering

V. Agricultural and Rural Land Use (13-17%)

  1. Development and diffusion of agriculture
    1. Neolithic agricultural revolution
    2. Second agricultural revolution
  2. Major agricultural production regions
    1. Agricultural systems associated with major bioclimatic zones
    2. Various within major zones and the effect of markets
    3. Linkages and flows among regions of food production and consumption
  3. Rural land use and settlement patterns
    1. Models of agricultural land use, including von Thunen’s model
    2. Settlement patterns associated with major agriculture types
  4. Modern Commercial Agriculture
    1. Third Agricultural revolution
    2. Green Revolution
    3. Biotechnology
    4. Spatial organization and diffusion of industrial agriculture
    5. Future food supplies and environmental impacts of agriculture

VI. Industrialization and Economic Development (13-17%)

  1. Key concepts in industrialization and development
  2. Growth and diffusion of industrialization
    1. The changes roles of energy and technology
    2. Industrial revolution
    3. Evolution of economic cores and peripheries
    4. Geographic critiques of models of economic localization, industrial location, economic development, and world systems
  3. Contemporary patterns and impacts of industrialization and development
    1. Spatial organization of the world economy
    2. Variations in levels of development
    3. Deindustrialization and economic restructuring
    4. Pollution, health, and quality of life
    5. Industrialization, environment change, and sustainability
    6. Local development initiatives: government policies

VII. Cities and Urban Land Use (13-17%)

  1. Definitions of urbanism
  2. Origins and evolutions of cities
    1. Historical patterns
    2. Rural-urban migration and urban growth
    3. Global cities and mega cities
    4. Models of urban systems
  3. Functional character of contemporary cities
    1. Changing employment mix
    2. Changing demographic and social structures
  4. Built environment and social space
    1. Competitive models of internal city structure
    2. Transportation and infrastructure
    3. Political organization of urban areas
    4. Urban planning and design
    5. Patterns of race, ethnicity, gender, and class
    6. Uneven development, ghettoization, and gentrification
    7. Impacts of suburbanization and edge cities