Best Master’s in Social Studies Teacher Education Programs

Social studies encompasses a mix of topics like history and political science. Discover the top master's in social studies teacher education programs.

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by Tessa Cooper

Published on July 27, 2022

Edited by Jared McMasters
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Social studies involves a mix of topics, including history, political science, and humanities. People who teach social studies teach learners how societies in the world function and how people relate with one another across cultures. These educators also help students make sense of current events.

Entry-level teaching roles only require a bachelor's degree that includes student teaching experience. However, some states require a master's in social studies to teach the subject, and the advanced degree may prepare learners to earn high-paying teaching roles.

For example, high school teachers in some states only need a bachelor's degree to practice. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), they earned a median annual income of $61,820 in May 2021. However, postsecondary teachers need at least a master's degree to practice. In May 2021, they earned a yearly median income of $79,640.

It normally takes full-time students two years to finish a master's in social studies teacher education program. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, graduate students spent an average of $19,792 on tuition and fees for the 2019-20 school year.

However, factors like school type and credit requirements impact the true cost. Students can pay for their graduate studies by using payment plans, loans, grants, and scholarships.

Keep reading to learn more about the top in-person and online master's in social studies teacher education programs.

Our Top Pick

Brown University - Providence, Rhode Island

Why It's #1: Brown University ranks number one for a few reasons. For starters, this school boasts a high graduation rate of 96%. Gaining acceptance is very competitive since the school only has an admission rate of 7%. However, this leads to small class sizes. Brown has a 6-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio. Additionally, over half of Brown students receive financial aid.

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Best Accredited Master's in Social Studies Teacher Education Programs

Rankings compiled by the BestColleges Ranking Team

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#1

Brown University

School Information
Location Providence, Rhode Island
Admission Rate 7%
Graduation Rate 96%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes New England Commission on Higher Education

On Campus | Scheduled Classes

Avg. Cost per Course
In State | $7,618
Out of State | $7,618

Credits to Graduate
8 courses

Program Information
Program Accreditation | N/A

Brown offers a master of arts in teaching that emphasizes social studies and history. This program includes a residency-based component and prepares learners to work in urban settings. This program does not require prior teaching experience, making it an ideal program for people switching from another profession. 

To apply, learners must turn in three recommendation letters, a resume, and a 1,000-1,500 word personal statement. This program does not require the GRE.

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#2

University of Florida

School Information
Location Gainesville, Florida
Admission Rate 37%
Graduation Rate 88%
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 46% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

On Campus | Scheduled Classes

Avg. Cost per Year
In State | $12,744
Out of State | $30,138

Credits to Graduate
36

Program Information
Program Accreditation | Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation

UF provides a master of arts in social studies education. This program includes 15 hours of social studies education courses and 15 credits of electives and instruction courses. Participants must also complete a master's thesis or a capstone project. 

This program requires a bachelor's degree in a topic related to social studies and experience in the field. Applicants must also possess at least a 3.0 GPA in their upper-division undergraduate courses.

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#3

New York University

School Information
Location New York, New York
Admission Rate 16%
Graduation Rate 85%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Percent Online Enrollment 10% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

100% Online, Hybrid, or On Campus | Scheduled Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $1,867
Out of State | $1,867

Credits to Graduate
30

Program Information
Program Accreditation | N/A

NYU's master of arts in teaching includes a social studies concentration. This fast-paced program only takes one year to finish. Throughout their studies, learners can expect to study U.S. and world history. Learners also discover varying teaching approaches and practical strategies. 

To apply, students must submit their resume, statement of purpose, official transcripts, and two recommendation letters. This program no longer requires the GRE. Applicants must also complete their content core requirements for their intended teaching certification area before applying. 

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#4

Boston University

School Information
Location Boston, Massachusetts
Admission Rate 19%
Graduation Rate 88%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes New England Commission on Higher Education
Percent Online Enrollment 10% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

On Campus | Scheduled Classes

Avg. Cost per Year
In State | $61,050
Out of State | $61,050

Credits to Graduate
42

Program Information
Program Accreditation | N/A

Learners can earn a master of arts in teaching in social studies from BU. This program blends general education topics with social studies topics. Participants learn how to create a curriculum and evaluate students. This program also highlights civic engagement education. 

The program application requires two recommendation letters, transcripts, a resume, and a statement of qualifications and objectives. Applicants must also agree to a diversity and inclusion statement. This program does not require GRE or MAT scores.

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#5

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

School Information
Location Champaign, Illinois
Admission Rate 59%
Graduation Rate 85%
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 39% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

On Campus | Scheduled Classes

Avg. Cost per Year
In State | $13,440
Out of State | $29,034

Credits to Graduate
32

Program Information
Program Accreditation | N/A

University of Illinois's master of education with an emphasis in social studies prepares students to pursue teaching licensure. During their studies, participants learn about western civilization and world history. The program also highlights Illinois history and requires one psychology course. Learners choose two courses in another social science subject like sociology or geography.

The program application requires both a personal and an academic statement of purpose. Students must turn in three recommendation letters and their unofficial transcripts. Upon program acceptance, learners must turn in their official transcripts.

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#6

Syracuse University

School Information
Location Syracuse, New York
Admission Rate 44%
Graduation Rate 83%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Percent Online Enrollment 15% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

On Campus | Scheduled Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $1,802
Out of State | $1,802

Credits to Graduate
35

Program Information
Program Accreditation | N/A

Students can earn a master of science in social studies education from Syracuse. This program does not require any teaching experience or certifications. Additionally, full-time learners can complete the requirements in just one year. The curriculum covers topics like how social studies relates to democracy and data-driven instruction. 

The graduate program's application requires official transcripts, letters of recommendation, and a personal statement.

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#7

CUNY Hunter College

School Information
Location New York, New York
Admission Rate 35%
Graduation Rate 57%
Accreditation Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Percent Online Enrollment 7% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

On Campus or Hybrid | Scheduled Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $470
Out of State | $855

Credits to Graduate
44-45

Program Information
Program Accreditation | National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education

Hunter students can earn a master of arts in social studies. The school's department of geography and environmental science houses this major. The curriculum emphasizes principles of geography and sustainable development. 

To apply, learners must turn in a statement of purpose, a $75 application fee, and recommendation letters. This program also requires G

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#8

Stony Brook University

School Information
Location Stony Brook, New York
Admission Rate 44%
Graduation Rate 76%
Accreditation Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Percent Online Enrollment 22% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

On Campus | Scheduled Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $471
Out of State | $963

Credits to Graduate
44

Program Information
Program Accreditation | National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education

Stony Brook offers a master of arts in teaching with a concentration in social studies. This program leads to certification to teach grades 7-12 in New York. Stony Brook designed this program for people with little to no teaching experience. The courses cover topics like the history of specific countries and gender in modern global history. The education portion of the curriculum highlights topics like human development and special education best practices. 

Applicants must possess an undergraduate degree in history or one of the social sciences. They must also hold an 18-credit history minor and at least a 3.0 undergraduate GPA.

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#9

Rutgers University

School Information
Location New Brunswick, New Jersey
Admission Rate 61%
Graduation Rate 84%
Accreditation Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Percent Online Enrollment 24% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

On Campus | Scheduled Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $758
Out of State | $1,288

Credits to Graduate
30

Program Information
Program Accreditation | Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation

Learners attending Rutgers can pursue a master of education in social studies education. Program participants learn about topics like how gender relates to anthropology and education. The curriculum also highlights civic learning and equity. Most program participants already possess a teaching certificate and work full time during their studies. 

The application requires a personal statement and three recommendation letters. Aspiring learners must also turn in their official undergraduate transcripts.

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#10

CUNY City College

School Information
Location New York, New York
Admission Rate 46%
Graduation Rate 56%
Accreditation Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Percent Online Enrollment 1% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

On Campus | Scheduled Classes

Avg. Cost
In State | $5,545 per Semester
Out of State | $855 per Credit

Credits to Graduate
40-41

Program Information
Program Accreditation | N/A

CCNY provides learners with a master of arts in secondary social studies education. Program participants take courses on European, American, Asian, Latin American, and African history. The program also requires several research courses. Learners can also take sociology and anthropology courses with an advisor's approval. 

This program requires three recommendation letters, two of which must be by professional references. Learners do not need teaching certification to qualify. CCNY recommends applicants with an undergraduate GPA of less than 3.0 to submit a written explanation. This note should explain why they believe their undergraduate GPA does not reflect their potential.

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How We Rank Schools

Each year, the BestColleges Ranking Team evaluates hundreds of programs to produce our annual Best Master's in Social Studies Teacher Education ranking. In 2022, the team sourced the most recent data available from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System and College Navigator, both of which are hosted by the National Center for Education Statistics. We identified 86 schools that qualify for our ranking list based on the following criteria.

To ensure the accuracy and quality of our final ranked list, the ranking team reviewed each qualifying school to ensure it met the criteria for our ranking, and then applied our proprietary ranking methodology to identify the best schools offering this program in the nation. Each school is ranked based on a formula measuring academic factors (60%) and affordability (40%).

The BestColleges Ranking Team is made up of contributors from our data science and product management teams. These contributors operate independently from the editorial team. All BestColleges school rankings are produced by the ranking team and are free of editorial influence. Read our Editorial Policy and Standards to learn more.

BestColleges' Ranking Factors

Frequently Asked Questions About Social Studies Teacher Education Programs

Is a master's in social studies teacher education worth it?

Yes. People with a personal interest in social studies and a passion for explaining things may find this degree worth the effort. Additionally, some school districts limit how much a teacher can earn with just a bachelor's degree. So, a master's degree may pay for itself in raises.

Teachers also benefit from summers off, and their work schedules often align with family time. Additionally, the BLS projects the need for educators to increase by 10% between 2020-2030.

Thanks to online learning opportunities and summer programs, current teachers can keep their full-time jobs while completing their degrees.

What can I do with a master's in social studies teacher education?

A master's in social studies teacher education program primarily prepares graduates for advanced teaching roles. Graduates commonly teach history, political science, geography, or social studies.

They may work for middle schools or high schools. Some colleges allow people to teach with just a master's degree. However, certain universities prefer to hire people with a doctorate. So, some graduates continue their education further.

Some people with this degree choose a different professional route. They may work as researchers, writers, archivists, or museum curators.

What continuing education is available for social studies teacher education graduates?

Educators who want to earn raises or work in higher education may pursue a doctorate in social studies. However, people who do not want to commit to another degree can pursue continuing education in other ways. For example, they can earn a certificate in a niche historical period from a college or university.

Professional organizations often offer continuing education opportunities, too. For example, the National Council for the Social Studies hosts informative webinars and conferences. Some school districts host professional development sessions as well.

How much money can I make with a master's in social studies teacher education?

Earning potential varies based on the school type, years of experience, and location. For example, high school teachers at local schools earned a median wage of $62,420 in May 2021, as per the BLS. At the same time, teachers at private schools earned a median wage of $56,510.

Some states pay teachers more than others. For example, Texan teachers earned a mean annual wage of $60,470 in May 2021, according to the BLS. Californian teachers earned a mean wage of $94,600 per year in May 2021.

In general, teachers with more years of experience earn more than entry-level ones. Many districts offer annual pay increases.

What are the highest-paying jobs with a master's in social studies teacher education?

While some colleges require full-time faculty to hold a doctorate, some institutions hire professors with only a master's degree. Postsecondary teachers earn some of the highest wages. According to Payscale July 2022 data, professors earned an average of about $87,870 per year.

Graduates with a master's in social studies teacher education don't always work in teaching roles. For example, historians are also among some of the highest earners. In May 2021, they earned a median income of $63,940, according to BLS data.

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BestColleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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