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Recommended and most used curriculum for High School Computer Science


1 technology / computing education credit is required for graduation in Maryland.

3 courses in computer science make up a CTE pathway that can be in computer science or many related fields.


The most common courses offered are:

  1. Introduction to Computer Science
  2. AP CS-Principles: an interdisciplinary introduction to the internet, ethics and impacts of computing, with broad coverage of coding and computer science.
  3. AP CS-A: Java programming equivalent to a first semester higher education course in a computer science major.
  4. Dual-enrollment courses with local higher education.


The most used curriculum includes: full year high school courses (free)

  1. CS Discoveries is intended for grades 8-9 as a broad introduction to problem solving, web design, the design process, app and game design, data, and computer hardware
  2. AP CS-P is one of the most popular courses in Maryland. No prerequisites required for students or for teachers new to computer science.* College Board Endorsed * There is also a version of this using the Quorum programming language that is completely accessible.
  3. AP CS-A is a deep dive into the Java programming language that includes open-ended projects, Culturally responsive pedagogy, Real-world problem investigation and Explainer videos with diverse presenters
    * College Board Endorsed *

Carnegie Mellon Python full year and combined classes (free)

  1. CS 1. A deep dive into coding using Python. The course exposes students to graphics based problem solving because it is visually engaging, allows for multiple correct solutions, and provides visual cues when a solution goes awry.
  2. CSP + CMU CS Academy AP CSP is an alternative option for’s 20-21 AP CSP course using CMU CS Academy’s Python offerings. Teachers using this option will teach using’s AP CSP materials for all of the units with the exception of the programming units (units 3,4,5 and 7), which are replaces with the CMU CS Academy platform in Python.
  3. CS2 This curriculum is our first offering with a prerequisite and does expect that students have taken our CS1 in its entirety. It builds on the CS1 foundation, covering some additional programming and CS topics, and then applying and extending computational problem-solving skills in a variety of application areas. Units will apply computation to such areas as art, science, music, math, data analysis and visualization, simulations, game design, web applications, security, machine learning and artificial intelligence, and more.

Project STEM full year high school courses (costs)

  1. CS Python Fundamentals An introductory-level course for students brand new to programming with problem-solving strategies, software design, and the foundations of computer science using two key tools: the Project STEM programming environment and EarSketch, a software package that turns your code into music.
  2. AP CSP An introductory college-level computing curriculum that introduces students to the breadth of the field of computer science. 
  3. AP CSA Introduces the Java programming language including abstraction, algorithms, data structures, and object-oriented programming. 

PLTW full year high school courses (costs)

  1. Computer Science Essentials Students will experience the major topics, big ideas, and computational thinking practices used by computing professionals to solve problems and create value for others. This course will empower students to develop computational thinking skills while building confidence that prepares them to advance to Computer Science Principles and Computer Science A.
  2. Computer Science Principles Using Python® and career exploration, this students do app development and build simulations. * College Board Endorsed *
  3. Computer Science A Students code by analyzing, writing, and testing code exploring concepts like modularity, variables, and control structures. * College Board Endorsed *
  4. Cybersecurity Whether seeking a career in the growing field of cybersecurity or learning to defend their own personal data or a company’s data, students in Cybersecurity establish an ethical code of conduct while learning to defend data in today’s complex cyberworld.


Additional High school curriculum is available for


- Teach Cyber offers free curriculum covering the big ideas of cybersecurity for high school. This course includes hands on labs and access for Maryland public schools to the national cyber lab.

Artificial intelligence


Dianne O'Grady-Cunniff, dogrady at usmd dot edu
Director, Maryland Center for Computing Education

Dr. Megean Garvin, mgarvin at usmd dot edu
Director of Research, Maryland Center for Computing Education

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Maryland Center for Computing Education
3300 Metzerott Rd. Adelphi, MD 20783
MCCE received initial support from the National Science Foundation, (MSP)2 Grant No. 0831970.