Earning a Master's in Social Studies Education Online

What You’ll Learn & What You Can Do After Graduation

Should I Pursue a Master's in Social Studies Education Online?

Social studies offers perspectives on historical methods and processes of society as a whole that can assist emerging generations with developing new, innovative solutions for current concerns. Most higher education institutions and all K-12 schools require social studies coursework. Therefore professionals who already hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited university and who possess a passion for sharing this information may qualify for a master's degree in social studies education online.

While many programs target current educators who hold teaching licenses and possess experience, some programs also lead to initial licensure; students obtaining initial licensure often need a bachelor's degree in a relevant field. A bachelor's prepares graduates to work in K-12 or postsecondary educational facilities as teachers. This program also prepares students for leadership roles as a social studies department head in secondary schools. Many programs offer all coursework online in flexible formats that allow students to continue working while earning their degrees.

Employment Outlook for Master's in Social Studies Education Graduates

Master's in Social Studies Education Careers

Students who earn an online master's in social studies qualify for teaching roles in multiple settings, including primary, middle, secondary, and postsecondary schools. Educators could also consider nontraditional teaching roles such as an online professors or teaching social studies abroad. Responsibilities include planning and instructing lessons developed based on school standards, grading student work, and administering exams to gauge students' progress.

High School Teacher

Annual Median Salary: $59,170

At this level, social studies educators follow state standards. Each grade level explores a different topic in history, including world history or American history. Unlike postsecondary roles, high school teachers often collaborate with students' parents. An online master's in teaching social studies allows professionals to qualify for department head or dean roles.

Instructional Coordinator

Annual Median Salary: $63,750

In this role, professionals develop and manage school curriculum, which also includes leading workshops and educator training sessions. Instructional coordinators also analyze state and summative assessment scores to identify how to reinforce teaching standards.

Curriculum Developer

Annual Median Salary: $60,044

Curriculum developers create the foundation teachers follow in their classrooms to ensure all student receive the same information. While this role may require developers to conduct training sessions, other responsibilities include extensive research and troubleshooting.

Source: PayScale

What Can I Expect From an Online Master's in Social Studies Education Program?

Students should note that while all online master's in social studies programs offer similar foundational courses, other programs' curricula may vary. Similarly, programs may offer different concentrations within the field of social work. Furthermore, schools with more developed education departments may offer diverse elective options that distinguish their programs.

Curriculum for an Online Master's Degree in Social Studies Education

Teaching World History in Middle and High School

In this course, students explore theories of curriculum development, lesson planning strategies, and state teaching standards for social studies courses at the middle and high school level. Students also explore relevant ways to incorporate technology and software into lessons, test development, differentiation, and inclusion.

Historical Foundations of Education: A Multicultural Perspective

Historical foundations of education examines dynamic communities and how these families influence school culture. Students may also explore equity, bias, and demographics within local school districts; political underpinnings of the American school system; and how policies, regulations, and legislation influence instructional practices.

World History and Historiography

This upper level history course introduces students to pertinent methodologies and philosophies developed within the last century. Topics include cultural, environmental, lifestyle, gender, spatial, and world history. By the end of this course, students should understand core historiographical and methodological references.

Character Education

Learners observe current concerns related to school culture and examine strategies that assist in character development and conflict resolution. Coursework includes strategic techniques for engaging parents and other community members. Emerging educators also learn how to promote ethical and moral behavior that can lead to positive classroom and school culture.

Global Citizenship: Teaching for an Interconnected World

By integrating civics, geography, and anthropology, emerging educators learn how to lead globally enriched social studies courses. Students also explore cutting-edge cultural theories, with an emphasis on critical analysis and reflection.

Certifications and Licenses a Master's in Social Studies Education Prepares For

  • Secondary State Licensure: A master's degree in social studies education online can lead to a secondary licensure if the program includes practicum and student teaching experiences. Graduates also need to complete the Praxis exam independently of their program. Obtaining this licensure allows emerging educators to become classroom teachers in both middle and high school settings.
  • National Board Certification: Regarded the most rigorous teacher certification, educators may voluntarily choose to earn the NBC after obtaining state licensure. This certification identifies highly qualified teachers nationwide and may provide a competitive advantage that leads to leadership opportunities and an increase in pay.

Professional Organizations and Resources

Professional organizations remain an ideal way for educators to grow within their content area. Most organizations offer both student and professional memberships. Student memberships often provide access to the latest research, content-specific journals, online workshops, networking events, annual conferences, and continuing education coursework at discounted prices. Furthermore, many organizations include mentorship opportunities to emerging educators or novice teacher who need guidance.

  • National Council for the Social Studies: The NCSS supports educators in over 35 countries who teach any history-related course. Membership provides access to online journals, a vast network of professionals, annual conferences, and live webinars.

  • National Council for History Education: The NCHE creates opportunities for educators to learn innovative ways for creating student engagement in the study of history. Members gain access to a career center, curriculum guides, digital publications, and annual conferences.

  • National Education Association: As the largest professional employee organization, the NEA strives to improve public education. The NEA offers continuing education coursework, mentorship opportunities, and online workshops.

  • Association of American Educators: Advocating for modern approaches and promoting collaboration, the AAE focuses on the advancement of the teaching profession. Members gain access to liability insurance, legal protection, scholarships and classroom grants.

  • American Federation of Teachers: The AFT promotes quality public education to all students. Members include primary and secondary educators who share lesson plans, provide legal advice, and provide continuing education scholarship opportunities.

  • Educations Week: Education Week draws attention to critical problems in U.S. schools. This nonprofit publisher provides information and products for K-12 educational settings and manages its own job board.

  • Federal Insider Podcast: The National School Boards Association manages the Federal Insider podcast, which discusses upcoming policies, initiatives, or concerns that influence educational institutions. Recent topics include the Economic Security and Opportunity Initiative, tax-exempt financing, and the federal education budget bill.

  • Google Earth: Google Earth provides multiple applications that allow students to engage in geographical exploration through current satellite data and online tours. For instance, the Voyager option can show specific aspects of history in a location over periods of time.

  • Model Diplomacy: This free site offers adaptable simulations and course guides teachers can use to provide hands-on learning regarding foreign policy. The site also includes assessments that foster critical thinking and collaboration.

  • Teaching Tolerance: Teaching Tolerance promotes social justice and inclusive school culture by offering free resources for educators working in K-12 schools, professional workshops, self-guided courses, and webinars.

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