Department of Teaching and Learning

Social Studies Education

Social Studies Education, M.A.

The M.A. Programs in Social Studies Education offer the following master's degree programs:

Teaching Social Studies, Grades 7-12

Our core M.A. program is a ONE YEAR program dedicated to revitalizing the teaching of history and social sciences in middle and secondary schools. Toward this end, the program begins with course work designed to ensure that NYU-trained social studies teachers have a strong mastery of history - an understanding that history is more than a compilation of names and dates but is also a field that fosters critical thought, debate, and dialogue between the present and the past. By learning to teach with primary sources and competing, divergent historical interpretations, students become social studies teachers whose classes are exciting, inquiry-based history workshops that bring the past to life.

The program encourages students to explore the curricular innovations needed to teach social studies in multicultural, multiethnic, urban schools. The program also promotes an interdisciplinary approach to social studies, which means that our students strive to transcend textbook-centered schooling, learning instead how social studies teaching can be enhanced by integrating historical narrative with novels, film, music, photography, and visual arts, as well as the tools of social scientists.

Although the Program in Social Studies Education, like New York State's social studies curriculum, is history- centered (three of the four high school years of state-mandated social studies are devoted to world and United States history), we welcome not only history majors but also students who majored in any of the social sciences. We encourage our students to become well versed in the social sciences: the best history/social social studies teachers are those who are intellectually equipped to incorporate the insights of the social sciences - geography, economics, political science, psychology, sociology, and anthropology - into their history teaching, and to teach the social science elective courses that are offered in many secondary schools.

To succeed in classroom instruction, social studies teachers must understand not only their content area but also their students and the realities of life and work in schools. Since most of our graduates will be teaching teenagers in middle and secondary schools, we work to acquaint them with the ways the young learn (and sometimes resist learning). Our social studies methods courses are taught by experienced secondary and middle school teachers who explore pedagogical theory as well as practical strategies for dealing with the social and behavioral issues relevant to the middle and high school classroom. To foster meaningful linkages between our teacher education program and the schools, many of our courses involve observation, study, and participation of NYU students in New York City's middle and high school social studies classes.

Members of the faculty have played a leading role in the curriculum debates that have shaped this field during the past decade, on issues such as national standards and multiculturalism. Program faculty are involved in social studies curriculum reform efforts in New York public schools and are engaged in ongoing research efforts about past and present problems in social studies teaching.

Teaching with Technology

As part of their program, students in Social Studies Education learn how to use cutting edge technologies to enhance classroom instruction. Instructors in the Program regularly attend and lead workshops at settings such as the National Council for the Social Studies Annual Conference and the Organization of American Historians Convention, among other forums, and they also publish on issues related to classroom usages of technology. NYU students reap the benefits of this expertise, in that they learn in their teacher education classes how to integrate technology into their own instruction and how to use innovative technologies to enhance student learning capacities.

Career Opportunities

The Program in Social Studies Education prepares teachers, teacher trainers, and curriculum specialists in social studies for positions in middle and secondary high schools. Many alumni of the program work as social studies teachers and department chairs in middle and high schools in New York City and across the United States. Some of our graduates work in educational agencies and community colleges.

Students who earn the M.A. in social studies complete the appropriate course work and field experience necessary for New York State certification in social studies. Once you have completed your M.A. work at NYU, you will be qualified to teach social studies in many other states that have certification requirements similar to New York's. Course work includes courses in history and the social sciences, professional education in social studies, student teaching, and related activities. Certification in secondary social studies entitles the candidate to teach social studies, history, and the humanities at both the middle and high school levels (grades 7 through 12).

Dual Certification M.A. Program in Educational Theatre, All Grades, and Social Studies, 7-12 

Social studies and theatre have a powerful alliance when learners are provided with the chance to explore a period of history, historical concepts, and historical debates through the use of drama-based frameworks.  In response to a growth in interest in a program combining social studies certification with theatre certification, we offer this innovative dual certification program, whose curriculum is built on the school's already registered programs in Teaching Social Studies, 7-12 and Educational Theatre, All Grades.  This program is administratively located in the Program in Educational Theatre.

Dual Certification M.A. Program in Art Education, All Grades, and Social Studies, 7-12 

Contemporary visual artists, working in a range of media and with a diversity of intellectual commitments, are representing the past and suggesting new ways to make sense of and teach history. In this innovative dual certification program, graduate students are involved in integrated learning opportunities that re-imagine both art and social studies education.  The curriculum is built on the school's already registered programs in Teaching Social Studies, 7-12 and Teaching Art, All Grades.  This program is administratively located in the Program in Art Education.