Overview

In the United States Education system, social studies is the study of multiple fields from the social sciences and humanities. Teachers cover subjects including history, political science, philosophy, and geography. Many teachers in the field consider pursuing a master’s degree to give themselves a competitive edge in the market and to ensure they receive the advanced training they need to help students succeed.

Advanced degrees in education offer courses that are centered on instruction and pedagogy. A master’s in social studies allows students to focus on the subject, giving them specialized expertise in teaching the multiple fields that make it up. From world history to contemporary social issues, this ensures that degree holders will be prepared to effectively give detailed instruction in multiple subjects within limited amounts of time. The result? A better educational experience for students.

Professionals often become teachers in the primary education system. Others also pursue a doctorate to perform research in education.

Most online degrees are respected and recognized by employers. What matters more is a student’s performance in the program.

Yes. Many well-respected programs and universities offer online programs, but you will want to find an accredited program.

The specifics depend on the program, but most departments list their requirements online. In any case, most programs will require a minimum GPA, acceptable GRE score, and letters of recommendation.

If teaching in primary schools is your aim, a master’s can help you to refine your instructional ability. In addition, most master’s degree holders have higher starting salaries and chances of employment.

In a time of advancing technology, political tension, and cultural changes, an education in social studies is more important than ever. Teachers have the responsibility of ensuring that students will be prepared to engage with critical issues as their intellectual abilities develop. While having higher salaries and chances of employment are also important, many educators will agree that teaching social studies is a rewarding career due to the lasting benefit it provides for society.

For more more resources and career information related to this degree, please read our career guide here.

Best Online Masters in Social Studies Programs

We took a deep-dive and analyzed every online Masters in Social Studies program in the nation. Below are the results of our analysis and list of the 22 best online Social Studies programs.

Read about our methodology here.
School Type
Public
Tuition
$920 per credit
Best Social Studies Curriculum

The University of Pittsburgh offers a master's degree program in social studies and has one of the best curricula for preparing graduates for career advancement. With such courses as social studies pedagogy, social and cultural perspectives on education and more, graduates develop the skills and knowledge to teach more effectively in secondary schools.


Program OverviewDepartment Name: School of Education
Program Name: Master of Education
Available Concentrations: Secondary Social Studies Education
Accrediting Body: Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools

DeliveryFormat: Online

Program requirementsPrerequisites: Undergraduate degree
Credit Requirements: 36 credits

Program LengthProgram start dates: Fall, Spring, Summer

Admission RequirementsApplication deadline: Rolling
GPA: 3.0

Address:

230 S Bouquet St

Pittsburgh, PA 15260

412-648-2230

School Type
Private
Tuition
$1,726 per credit, scholarships available to all students
Most Immersive

New York University immerses professionals in its master's in social studies program for teaching grades 7-12. Students can finish the program in just one year through a full-time immersive teacher residency, gaining the skills to advance their careers in the school system.


Program OverviewDepartment Name: Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development
Program Name: Steinhardt Teacher Residency: Master of Arts in Teaching Social Studies
Accrediting Body: Teacher Education Accreditation Council

DeliveryFormat: Online and in partner schools

Program requirementsCredit Requirements: 30 credits

Program LengthProgram Length: 1 year
Admission RequirementsGPA: 3.0

Address:

70 Washington Square S

New York, NY 10012

877-710-6381

School Type
Public
Tuition
$886 per credit
Best in Interdisciplinary Studies

Penn State University offers a master's degree program in social studies to improve the professional educators' understanding of social studies curriculum, teaching and research. This interdisciplinary program covers a broad spectrum of topics in education and provides educators with the knowledge to improve their teaching methods and also their students' ability to learn.


Program OverviewDepartment Name: College of Education
Program Name: Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction
Available Concentrations: Social Studies
Accrediting Body: CAEP

DeliveryFormat: Online

Program requirementsPrerequisites: Baccalaureate Degree
Credit Requirements: 30 credits

Program LengthProgram Length: 15 months

Admission RequirementsWork Experience: At least one year of experience

Address:

128 Outreach Building

University Park, PA 16802

814-865-2516

School Type
Private
Tuition
$1,492 per credit
Best Financial Support

Students who want to earn their master's degree in social studies while receiving tuition assistance should consider the University of Rochester. Students are guaranteed a 50 percent tuition scholarship when they commit to teaching in a U.S.-based school for at least two years after graduation.


Program OverviewDepartment Name: Warner School of Education
Program Name: Master's in Social Studies Education
Available Certifications: Adolescence Education (Grades 7-12)
Accrediting Body: CACREP

DeliveryFormat: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Program requirementsPrerequisites: Bachelor's degree from an accredited institution or equivalent
Credit Requirements: 30 credits

Program LengthProgram Options: Full-time
Program Length: 15 months
Program start dates: Fall 2019

Admission RequirementsApplication deadline: March 15, 2019

Address:

500 Joseph C Wilson Blvd

Rochester, NY 14627

585-275-3950

School Type
Private
Tuition
$825 per credit
Most Comprehensive

Boston University offers a comprehensive master's degree program in social studies for practicing teachers who want to improve their teaching methods while also pursuing career advancement. Students in this program take courses that focus specifically on social studies content and pedagogy, gaining skills that they can use in their own classrooms.


Program OverviewDepartment Name: Wheelock College of Education & Human Development
Program Name: Master of Education in Curriculum & Teaching
Accrediting Body: New England Commission of Higher Education

DeliveryFormat: Online

Program requirementsPrerequisites: Undergraduate degree
Credit Requirements: 36 credits

Program LengthProgram Length: 18-24 months

Admission RequirementsApplication deadline: Rolling
GPA: 3.0

Address:

Two Silber Way

Boston, MA 2215

617-353-4237

School Type
Public
Tuition
$425 per credit
Most Established

The University of Florida has established itself as a leader in higher education, providing renowned programs to improve teachers' pedagogical strategies for career advancement and teaching effectiveness. In the master's in social studies program, students learn from a highly qualified faculty and an intensive curriculum to develop new skills and greater expertise in social studies teaching and learning.


Program OverviewDepartment Name: College of Education
Program Name: MAE - Social Studies Education
Accrediting Body: CAEP

DeliveryFormat: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous, Synchronous

Program requirementsPrerequisites: Bachelor's degree
Credit Requirements: 30 credits

Program LengthProgram start dates: Summer 2019

Admission RequirementsApplication deadline: Summer: March 1, 2019
GPA: 3.0

Address:

G416 Norman Hall

Gainesville, FL 32611

352-392-0726

School Type
Public
Tuition
$629 per credit
Best Partnerships

Students in the University of Georgia's online master's degree program in social studies benefit from the school's partnership with The Clarke County Schools Professional Development School District. Upon graduation, students have the opportunity for membership with the UGA Chapter of the Association for Middle Level Education, gaining the credentials and the recognition for career advancement.


Program OverviewDepartment Name: College of Education
Program Name: Master of Education in Middle Grades Education
Available Concentrations: Social Studies
Accrediting Body: SACSCOC

DeliveryFormat: Online

Program requirementsPrerequisites: Bachelor's degree
Credit Requirements: 36 credits

Program LengthProgram Length: 2 years
Program start dates: Fall, Spring, Summer

Admission RequirementsApplication deadline: Fall: July 1; Spring: November 15; Summer: April 1

Address:

110 Carlton St

Athens, GA 30602

706-542-1739

School Type
Public
Tuition
$368 per credit
Best in Advanced Training

The University of Missouri prepares graduates for career success through advanced training in the master's in social studies program. Through a rigorous curriculum and continuous training from expert faculty members, graduates emerge with advanced skills in social studies education, teaching and research methods to improve their own students' educational experience.


Program OverviewDepartment Name: College of Education
Program Name: Master of Education
Available Concentrations: Social Studies Education
Accrediting Body: Teacher Education Accreditation Council

DeliveryFormat: Online

Program requirementsPrerequisites: Bachelor's degree
Credit Requirements: 32 credits

Program LengthProgram start dates: Fall 2019

Admission RequirementsApplication deadline: Fall: April 1, 2019
GPA: 3.0

Address:

118 Hill Hall

Columbia, MO 65211

800-877-6312

School Type
Public
Tuition
In-state: $444 per credit; Out-of-state: $1,076 per credit
Most Dynamic

Florida State University provides a dynamic learning environment for students in the master's degree program in social studies. Students engage in interactive coursework and projects, gaining the skills to improve their instructional effectiveness as teacher leaders upon graduation.


Program OverviewDepartment Name: College of Education
Program Name: Master's in Curriculum and Instruction
Available Concentrations: Social Science Education
Accrediting Body: Synchronous, Asynchronous

DeliveryFormat: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Program requirementsPrerequisites: Bachelor's Degree
Credit Requirements: 33 credits

Program LengthProgram Options: Part-time
Program Length: 2 years
Program start dates: Fall 2019

Admission RequirementsApplication deadline: Fall: July 1, 2019
GPA: 3.0
Work Experience: Three years of professional experience

Contact:

Jeannie McDowell

Admissions Contact

Address:

Stone Bldg, 1114 W Call St

Tallahassee, FL 32306

850-645-8316

School Type
Private
Tuition
$949 per credit
Most Interactive

Drexel University offers a highly interactive master's degree program in social studies, keeping class sizes small for the most personalized experience. Students benefit from extensive interaction with peers and more one-on-one time with faculty members throughout their time in the program.


Program OverviewDepartment Name: College of Education
Program Name: Master of Science in Teaching, Learning and Curriculum
Available Concentrations: Secondary Education
Accrediting Body: Middle States Commission on Higher Education

DeliveryFormat: Online

Program requirementsPrerequisites: Bachelor's degree
Credit Requirements: 45 credits
Field Education Requirements: 130 hours

Program LengthProgram Options: Part-time
Program start dates: April 1, 2019

Admission RequirementsApplication deadline: March 4, 2019
GPA: 3.0

Address:

3141 Chestnut St

Philadelphia, PA 19104

877-215-0009

School Type
Public
Tuition
$543 per credit
Best Value

The University at Buffalo offers an affordable, flexible master's degree program in social studies, making it an exceptional value for distance learners continuing their education. The tuition is 50 percent less than comparable universities, and the program includes other benefits such as mentoring and the latest digital technologies to improve the students' learning experience and overall education.


Program OverviewDepartment Name: Graduate School of Education
Program Name: Master of Education in Social Studies Education
Accrediting Body: TEAC

DeliveryFormat: Online, On-Campus

Program requirementsPrerequisites: Baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution
Credit Requirements: 33 credits

Program LengthProgram Length: 2 years
Program start dates: Fall, Spring, Summer

Admission RequirementsApplication deadline: Fall: February 1; Spring: November 1; Summer: May 1
GPA: 3.0
Work Experience: Relevant work experience

Address:

367 Baldy Hall

Buffalo, NY 14260

716-645-3482

School Type
Public
Tuition
In-state: $477 per credit; Out-of-state: $1,170 per credit
Best in Internships

The University of Missouri-St. Louis provides students with real-world experience through internships and practicums at schools in their area. Aspiring teacher professionals who want to teach as they learn will benefit from the master's degree program in social studies at UMSL.


Program OverviewDepartment Name: College of Education
Program Name: Master of Education Secondary Education
Available Certifications: Social Studies with Secondary Teacher Certification
Accrediting Body: Higher Learning Commission

DeliveryFormat: Online, Hybrid

Program requirementsPrerequisites: Baccalaureate degree
Credit Requirements: 45 credits
Field Education Requirements: 20 hours

Program LengthProgram start dates: Fall 2019

Admission RequirementsApplication deadline: April 1, 2019
GPA: 2.75

Address:

201 Education Admin Bldg

St. Louis, MO 63121

314-516-5458

School Type
Public
Tuition
$396 per credit
Best in Leadership Development

The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee is committed to producing teacher leaders with its in-depth master's degree program in social studies. Students are taught by an expert faculty and take courses that not only improve their teaching methods but also their leadership abilities in the classroom.


Program OverviewDepartment Name: School of Education
Program Name: Master of Science in Curriculum and Instruction
Available Certifications: Teaching & Learning: Urban Social Studies Education
Accrediting Body: Higher Learning Commission

DeliveryFormat: Online

Program requirementsPrerequisites: Bachelor's degree
Credit Requirements: 30 credits

Program LengthProgram Length: 2 years
Admission RequirementsGPA: 2.5

Address:

Enderis Hall, 2400 E Hartford Ave

Milwaukee, WI 53211

414-229-6569

School Type
Private
Tuition
$424 per credit
Most Modern Program

Ashland University continuously updates its curriculum to meet the ever-changing trends and theories in curriculum design and delivery methods. Students in the master's degree program in social studies will learn the latest information and work on up-to-date projects to become successful teacher leaders in their schools.


Program OverviewDepartment Name: Dwight Schar College of Education
Program Name: Master of Arts with a Specialization in Teaching American History and Government
Accrediting Body: CAEP

DeliveryFormat: Online, On-campus

Program requirementsPrerequisites: Bachelor's degree
Credit Requirements: 36 credits

Program LengthProgram Length: 2 years
Program start dates: Fall 2019

Admission RequirementsApplication deadline: Rolling
GPA: 2.75

Address:

401 College Avenue

Ashland, OH 44805

419-289-5738

School Type
Private
Tuition
$550 per credit
Best Learning Environment

Gwynedd Mercy University offers a highly supportive and flexible learning environment in which students can grow professionally and improve their skills for teaching social studies in secondary schools. Students in this program can earn their master's degree in social studies while also preparing for certification for instruction in the Pennsylvania school system.


Program OverviewDepartment Name: School of Education
Program Name: Master of Science in Education
Available Certifications: Secondary Education Certification (Biology, Mathematics, and Social Studies)
Accrediting Body: Middle States Commission on Higher Education

DeliveryFormat: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Program requirementsPrerequisites: Baccalaureate degree
Credit Requirements: 30-36 credits


Admission RequirementsApplication deadline: Rolling
GPA: 3.0

Address:

1325 Sumneytown Pike

Gwynedd Valley, PA 19437

877-499-6333

School Type
Public
Tuition
In-state: $516.00 per credit; Out-of-state: $774.00 per credit
Most Customizable

Slippery Rock University offers students a highly customizable master's degree program in social studies to meet their personal needs. Students can take full- or part-time classes and tailor them to align with their career goals, earning their degree in only one year if they opt for full-time study.


Program OverviewDepartment Name: College of Education
Program Name: Master of Education in Secondary Education
Available Concentrations: History/Social Studies
Accrediting Body: NCATE

DeliveryFormat: Online
Instruction Style: Synchronous, Asynchronous

Program requirementsPrerequisites: Undergraduate degree or higher
Credit Requirements: 36 credits

Program LengthProgram Options: Full-time, part-time
Program Length: 1 year
Program start dates: Fall, Spring, Winter, Summer

Admission RequirementsGPA: 3.0

Address:

1 Morrow Way

Slippery Rock, PA 16057

724-738-2051

School Type
Public
Tuition
$475 per credit
Most Flexible

Northwestern State University offers a flexible Master of Arts in social studies education program for professionals who want to advance their careers but don't have the time to commit to a full-time, on-campus schedule. Students can work at their own pace and complete the entire program online when it's most convenient for them.


Program OverviewDepartment Name: College of Education
Program Name: Master of Arts in Teaching in Secondary School Education
Available Certifications: Social Studies Education
Accrediting Body: NCATE

DeliveryFormat: Online

Program requirementsPrerequisites: Baccalaureate Degree
Credit Requirements: 33 credits

Program LengthProgram start dates: Summer, Fall, Spring

Admission RequirementsGPA: 2.5

Address:

175 Sam Sibley Dr

Natchitoches, LA 71497

318-357-5851

School Type
Public
Tuition
$370 per credit
Best in Practical Application

SUNY College at Brockport prepares educators for successful roles in the classroom through practical application and an in-depth curriculum. Students develop new skills and greater knowledge through experiential learning in this innovative master's in social studies program.


Program OverviewDepartment Name: School of Education, Health, & Human Services
Program Name: Master in Social Studies Education
Accrediting Body: CAEP

DeliveryFormat: Online, Hybrid

Program requirementsPrerequisites: Bachelor's Degree
Credit Requirements: 30 credits

Program LengthProgram Options: Full-time, Part-time
Program start dates: Fall, Spring, Summer

Admission RequirementsApplication deadline: Fall: March 15; Spring: October 15; Summer: March 15
GPA: 3.0

Address:

350 New Campus Dr

Brockport, NY 14420

585-395-2525

School Type
Public
Tuition
In-state: $420 per credit; Out-of-state: $449 per credit
Best in Integrative Studies

Eastern Oregon University's master's degree program in social studies is excellent for students who have real-world knowledge and past academic experience. Students in this program can use their experience and knowledge to craft a degree program that perfectly suits their needs and career goals.


Program OverviewDepartment Name: College of Education
Program Name: Master of Arts in Teaching
Available Certifications: Social Studies
Accrediting Body: Teacher Standards and Practices Commission (TSPC)

DeliveryFormat: Online, On-campus

Program requirementsPrerequisites: Bachelor's degree
Credit Requirements: 48-55 credits

Program LengthProgram Length: 4 terms
Program start dates: August 2019

Admission RequirementsApplication deadline: March 1, 2019

Address:

One University Blvd, Zabel Hall 255

La Grande, OR 97850

541-962-3772

School Type
Private Non-profit
Tuition
$697 per credit
Best in Career Development

Concordia University-Portland focuses on its students' career development by integrating a thorough curriculum with project-based learning, improving their skills to teach more effectively in their own classrooms. Graduates emerge with a better understanding of social studies teaching and research and are prepared to engage with their students in new and dynamic ways.


Program OverviewDepartment Name: College of Education
Program Name: MEd in Curriculum & Instruction
Available Concentrations: Social Studies
Accrediting Body: Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities

DeliveryFormat: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Program requirementsCredit Requirements: 30 credits

Program LengthProgram Length: 1 year
Program start dates: Fall 2019

Admission RequirementsApplication deadline: Rolling

Address:

2811 NE Holman St

Portland, OR 97211

888-986-8148

School Type
Public
Tuition
$350 per credit
Most Military Friendly

American Military University is a military-friendly school and caters to active service members, veterans and other military students who want to pursue a higher education in social studies. With its master's degree program in social studies, military students may receive military aid and tuition assistance to reduce the financial burden that is often associated with earning a master's degree.


Program OverviewDepartment Name: School of Education
Program Name: Master of Education in Teaching
Available Concentrations: Secondary Social Studies
Accrediting Body: WVDE (Licensure Program), HLC (Non-Licensure)

DeliveryFormat: Online

Program requirementsPrerequisites: Bachelor's degree
Credit Requirements: Licensure: 48 credits; Non-Licensure: 45 credits

Program LengthProgram Options: Full-time
Program Length: 2 years

Admission RequirementsGPA: 2.5

Address:

111 W Congress St

Charles Town, WV 25414

877-755-2787

School Type
Public
Tuition
$453 per credit
Best in Distance Education

Capella University excels in distance education and provides online students with a rigorous master's degree program in social studies to improve their instructional knowledge and skills for use in their classrooms. Students have access to all the necessary resources, tools and materials that are needed to succeed in Capella's interactive and virtual learning environment.


Program OverviewDepartment Name: School of Education
Program Name: Master of Science in Education
Available Emphasis: Social Studies
Accrediting Body: NCATE

DeliveryFormat: Online

Program requirementsPrerequisites: Bachelor's degree
Credit Requirements: 46 credits

Program LengthProgram start dates: March 4, 2019

Admission RequirementsGPA: 2.3

Address:

225 S 6th St, 9th Floor

Minneapolis, MN 55402

866-796-6651