Social Studies Education at the Graduate Level

social studies; social studies education; social education; history education; masters degree; master's degree; phd; Ph.D.; doctoral; doctoral degree; M.Ed.; graduate degree; graduate degrees; civics education; social justice education; teacher education; professional development; geography education; place-based education; place based education; online education degree; elementary social studies; secondary social studies; middle level social studies; middle grade social studies;

Scott Metzger, associate professor of social studies education, teaches his first class in the new Social Studies Lab in the College of Education.Master’s (M.Ed.) and Doctoral (Ph.D.) Degrees in Curriculum and Instruction (C&I) with an emphasis in Social Studies Education build expertise in this K-12 school subject area and in the professional development of teachers for it. Social Studies Education at the graduate level allows flexibility in choosing intellectually rigorous academic experiences that can support specialization in social studies topics as well as interdisciplinary connections to related fields (such as media, literacy, language, and studies of culture, identity, or place). These graduate degrees do not by themselves lead to social studies teacher certification—the M.Ed. serves practicing educators seeking to upgrade their certification and professional expertise, while the Ph.D. serves experienced educators interested in a research career in higher education, industry, or government. You do not need a Master's Degree to apply for the Doctoral Degree Program.

Master’s Degree students work with a faculty adviser to choose classes that contribute to their understanding of K-12 social studies curriculum, teaching, learning, and educational research. Student work includes academic writing that leads to a Master’s project before graduation. Doctoral Degree students work with an adviser to create a program of study that is individualized around the student’s specialized interests and professional goals, culminating in a doctoral research dissertation. Our graduate students are encouraged to explore a range of theoretical orientations and methodological approaches by making use of our connections to other C&I courses (such as Language, Culture, and Society-affiliated courses) and to other academic programs throughout the College of Education and University.

Graduate-Level Social Studies Education May Include

  • citizenship and civic education
  • community engagement and student voice
  • history education
  • media literacy and technology
  • multicultural or global education
  • public history and heritage studies
  • public issues and ethical reasoning
  • social sciences (e.g., economics, political science, sociology)
  • sustainability and ecological issues

Classes On-Campus or Online

We offer a number of graduate courses that include these social studies topics. Some are on-campus seminars; others are available online through Penn State's World Campus. It may be possible for our residential graduate students to participate in our online courses and for students in our online program to take residential classes.

Our Social Studies Faculty: Leaders in the Field

We encourage you to look at our faculty members and their teaching and research interests:

If you are interested in working with any of our faculty members, please contact them personally.

For more information on our online program, please see the Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction at Penn State's World Campus.

For more information on how to apply to our Master's and Doctoral programs, please see Curriculum and Instruction's How to Apply and our Frequently Asked Questions.

If you need more help, please contact Social Studies faculty representative Dr. .