What AP To Take For Engineering

Thinking about pursuing a career in engineering? Well, you don't have to wait until college before you start preparing!


Today's blog post will provide you with the AP (Advanced Placement) classes that you should be taking while in high school in order to set yourself up for a successful acceptance at a competitive college with a well-known engineering program.



In general, you should be aiming to enroll in the math and science APs that are offered at your high school. Depending on the type of engineering that you want to pursue, it will vary on what particular math or sciences you should sign up for.


However, once you are in college, the majority of the engineering students will be in challenging course loads that are filled with both math and science. In the interest of preparing yourself for these rigorous courses, here are the APs that you should be highly considering during high school.


Related: How I Study For An AP Class


AP Calculus

There are 2 types of AP Calculus courses that you can enroll in, AB or BC. Both are designed to be college-level calculus classes. In order to take either, the standard pre-requisite for both AB and BC is Pre-Calculus.


You have three potential options when it comes to AP Calculus:

  1. Take AB and BC Calculus as a sequence

  2. Take AB Calculus

  3. Skip AB and go directly to BC Calculus


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AP Calculus AB

You should think about taking AP Calculus AB if you believe that you have time in your schedule. This is a great recommendation for upperclassmen - juniors and seniors.


Calculus AB is designed to correspond to a college first-year calculus course concentrated on topics in differential and integral calculus.


Topics include:

  • Limits and Continuity

  • Differentiation: Definition and Fundamental Properties

  • Differentiation: Composite, Implicit, and Inverse Functions

  • Contextual Applications of Differentiation

  • Analytical Applications of Differentiation

  • Integration and Accumulation of Change

  • Differential Equations

  • Applications of Integration


Source: AP Central

Related: AP Calculus AB Comprehensive Boost Class


AP Calculus BC

The AP Calculus BC should course should be considered after you have successfully mastered AP Calc AB. Although some high schools may offer AP Calc BC without requiring that you complete AP Calc AB prior, it is not recommended.


The AP Calc BC course is tricky and as such, high school seniors who have mastered AB Calc material are more better-suited for the curriculum. It is designed to be equivalent to both first and second-year college calculus courses.


You will learn and apply AB Calc skills towards parametrically defined curves, polar curves, and vector-valued functions, developing additional integration techniques and applications, and introduces the topics of sequences and series.


Topics include:

  • Limits and Continuity

  • Differentiation: Definition and Fundamental Properties

  • Differentiation: Composite, Implicit, and Inverse Functions

  • Contextual Applications of Differentiation

  • Analytical Applications of Differentiation

  • Integration and Accumulation of Change

  • Differential Equations

  • Applications of Integration

  • Parametric Equations, Polar Coordinates, and Vector-Valued Functions

  • Infinite Sequences and Series


Source: AP Central

Related: AP Calculus BC Comprehensive Boost Class


AP Physics

AP Physics 1: Algebra-based

This AP is an algebra-based, introductory, college-level physics course. It is designed so that any student can take the class without any prior physics knowledge or experience.


It is recommended that you should have at least mastered Geometry and are simultaneously taking Algebra II or an equivalent course.


Topics include:

  • Kinematics

  • Dynamics

  • Circular motion and gravitation

  • Energy

  • Momentum

  • Simple harmonic motion

  • Torque and rotational motion

  • Electric charge and electric force

  • DC circuits

  • Mechanical waves and sound


Source: AP Central

Related: AP Physics 1 Comprehensive Boost Class


AP Physics 2: Algebra-based

Similar to AP Physics 1, AP Physics 2 takes it up a notch. You will be diving into some more advanced concepts and topics than Physics 1.


Physics 2 is intended to be a second-year physics course, meaning it should ideally be taken after Physics 1 or any other first-year physics course. You should have taken or been concurrently taking Pre-Calculus or an equivalent class.


Topics include:

  • Fluids

  • Thermodynamics

  • Electrical force, field, and potential

  • Electric circuits

  • Magnetism and electromagnetic induction

  • Geometric and physical optics

  • Quantum, atomic, and nuclear physics


Source: AP Central


AP Physics C: Electricity and Magnetism

AP Physics C: Electricity and Magnetism is a calculus-based, college introductory-level physics course especially suitable for students intending on specializing in physical science or engineering.


It is highly recommended that you take this AP as a second-year physics class. You will need to have a solid understanding of important physical principles prior to taking the more analytical approach in this AP Physics C: Electricity and Magnetism course. You should have taken or are simultaneously taking Calculus.


Topics include:

  • Electrostatics

  • Conductors, capacitors, and dielectrics

  • Electric circuits

  • Magnetic field

  • Electromagnetism


Source: AP Central


AP Physics C: Mechanics

Similar to Physics C: Electricity and Magnetism, AP Physics C: Mechanics is also strongly advised to be taken as a second-year physics course. The pre-requisite is also Calculus and it is recommended that you have a complete grasp of a first-year physics course before taking the analytic approach necessary for Physics C: Mechanics.


Topics include:

  • Kinematics

  • Newton's laws of motion

  • Work, energy, and power

  • Systems of particles and linear momentum

  • Circular motion and rotation

  • Oscillations

  • Gravitation


Source: AP Central

Related: AP Physics C: Mechanics Comprehensive Boost Class


AP Computer Science

If you plan to pursue a computer science degree for engineering, these are some highly recommended classes that focus primarily on this career path.


Students are free to take either course in any order.


AP Computer Science A

This class will introduce student learners that are interested in computer science through programming.


It is designed to be a first-year college course in computer science. It is highly recommended that you have successfully completed a first-year high school algebra class prior to attempting this AP program. Students should solidify their mathematical reasoning foundations if they wish to succeed in this course.


Topics include:

  • Design of solutions to problems

  • Use of data structures to organize large sets of data

  • Development and implementation of algorithms to process data and discover new info

  • Analysis of potential solutions

  • Ethical and social implications of computing systems


You will concentrate a large portion of your learning on object-oriented programming and design using the Java programming language.


Source: AP Central


AP Computer Science Principles

The AP Computer Science Principles course will concentrate primarily on the computing skills related to programming in Java. It supplements Computer Science A by teaching the fundamental concepts of computer science in hopes of broadening participation in computer science studies.


The class is aimed to be equivalent to a first-year college computing course. You are suggested to have completed the same pre-requisites mentioned for AP Computer Science A.


Topics include:

  • Working with data

  • Collaborating to solve problems

  • Developing computer programs as you explore concepts like creativity, abstraction, data and information, algorithms, programming, the internet, and the global impact of computing


Source: AP Central


AP Sciences

AP Chemistry

The majority of engineering students will be required to take a basic chemistry course during college, even if they decide to pursue a degree outside of chemical engineering.


By taking AP Chemistry during high school, you will develop a solid understanding of the concepts and challenge you academically.


AP Chemistry will provide you with a college-level foundation to support the future advanced coursework you will be taking in college. It is equivalent to the general chemistry course typically taken during the first year of college.


You should have successfully completed a general high school chemistry course and Algebra II prior to enrolling in this AP class.


Topics include:

  • Atomic structure

  • Intermolecular forces and bonding

  • Chemical reactions

  • Kinetics

  • Thermodynamics

  • Equilibrium


Source: AP Central


AP Biology

If you are interested in environmental engineering, this could be a potential course for you to think about. As most universities will require one or two science courses as general education, you could be completing a general-education requirement along with your environmental engineering conditions.


AP Biology is an introductory college-level biology class where students will learning to develop their understanding of biology.


The AP Biology course is equivalent to a second-year college-level biology course. As such, students should have pre-requisites completed for high school biology and chemistry.


Topics include:

  • Evolution

  • Cellular processes

  • Energy and communication

  • Genetics

  • Information transfer

  • Ecology

  • Interactions


Source: AP Central

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