St. Mary’s Academy – New AP Capstone Degree Program

St. Mary’s Academy is one of 2,000 schools worldwide to offer a research-focused and collaborative AP Capstone degree program at the university level.

The AP Capstone™ program will provide SMA students with the skills to become collaborators, critical thinkers, and consumers of information.

– Principal of St. Mary’s Academy, Mrs. Mary Rose Batungbacal

ST. MARY’S ACADEMY-New AP Capstone Diploma™ Program

The AP Capstone Diploma™ program focuses on college-level research, collaboration, and presentation skills essential for academic and career success.

St. Mary’s Academy is one of more than 2,000 schools worldwide to implement the AP Capstone Diploma™ program, an innovative program that encourages students to develop skills for college and career success, including critical thinking, research, collaboration and communication. The program consists of two one-year courses taken in the order: AP® Seminar and AP research.

In the AP seminar, taken in grade 10, students choose real-world topics and evaluate them from multiple angles. Students identify credibility and bias in sources and develop arguments in support of a recommendation. In the following AP Research course, students design and execute a college-level research project on a topic of personal interest. Students gain first-hand experience in writing a research question, performing an appropriate method, analyzing data, presenting their findings, and defending their conclusions.

Students who score 3 or more on the AP Seminar and AP Research and 4 additional AP exams of their choice earn the AP Capstone™ credential. This degree signifies outstanding academic achievement and the acquisition of college-level academic and research skills. Both AP Capstone™ courses are project-based, and students must provide written arguments, collaborate as a team, and deliver professional multimedia presentations as part of their AP exams.

SMA students will also have a high level of academic and hands-on experience developing AP Capstone™ projects in the school’s new Innovation Lab. The SMA Innovation Lab is a collaborative space for all students to engage in design-based thinking through hands-on experiences in a combined classroom-lab setting. SMA believes that the AP Capstone™ and the resources available in the Innovation Lab will engage students in multiple ways of learning, solving complex problems, thinking critically, creatively collaborating, and team building. where everyone has something to contribute and become innovators.

Rushi Sheth, Executive Director of the AP Capstone Diploma™ Program, says “AP Capstone™ courses allow students to explore real-world problems in depth through research and collaboration,” Mr. Sheth also says that the AP Capstone Diploma™ “offers tremendous opportunities for students to effectively write and present their work, both individually and as part of a team – the very skills that professors and employers demand.

St. Mary’s Academy will begin offering the AP Seminar in the fall of 2022. “The AP Capstone™ program will prepare our diverse student body to be skilled collaborators, critical thinkers, and consumers of information. Capstone courses will give students the opportunity to explore the complex topics that affect their lives, and we are excited to see their research. The principal of St. Mary’s Academy, Mrs. Mary Rose Batungbacal.

In partnership with the higher education community, College Board developed AP Capstone™ so students can practice and master skills that will serve them well in college and in their careers.

“We are excited to have more schools offering the AP Capstone Diploma™ program,” said Kedra Ishop, vice president of enrollment management at the University of Southern California. “We believe the research, collaboration, and presentation skills taught in both courses will be invaluable to students throughout their academic and professional careers.”

About St. Mary’s Academy-Inglewood, California
St. Mary’s Academy is an all-girls private Catholic high school located in Inglewood, California. For more than 130 years, SMA has provided strong academics in a nurturing environment where every young woman is seen, heard, and understood. SMA’s academic programs include strong National Honor Society (NHS) and California Scholarship Federation (CSF) membership, as well as PSAT recognition. SMA students have also received academic achievements from the following highly competitive programs: Thrive Scholars, USC Bovards, Riordan Scholars, Posse Foundation, and Questbridge. SMA graduates are college-bound and admitted to 4-year universities in California and beyond. For more information about St. Mary’s Academy, visit

About College Board
College Board is a mission-driven, nonprofit organization that connects students to college success and opportunity. Founded in 1900, College Board was created to expand access to higher education. Today, the membership association is made up of more than 6,000 of the world’s leading educational institutions and is dedicated to promoting excellence and equity in education. Each year, College Board helps more than seven million students prepare for a successful transition to college through college readiness and college success programs and services, including the SAT®advanced placement® Program and BigFuture™. The organization also serves the educational community through research and advocacy on behalf of students, educators, and schools. For more information, visit

AP Equity and Access Policy
The College Board strongly encourages educators to make equitable access a guiding principle for their PA® programs by giving all willing and academically prepared students the opportunity to participate in AP. We encourage the removal of barriers that restrict access to PA for students from traditionally underrepresented ethnic, racial, and socioeconomic groups. Schools should do everything possible to ensure that their AP classes reflect the diversity of their student population. The College Board also believes that all students should have access to academically challenging courses before enrolling in AP courses, which can prepare them for AP success. It is only through a commitment to equitable preparation and access that true equity and excellence can be achieved.

Media Contact:
Danese Bardot, Director of Advancement or call (310) 674-8470, Ext. 209

College Board 212-713-8052

Danish Bardot
St. Mary’s Academy
+1 310-528-6091
write to us here

Back To Top