Secondary Education in Social Studies Education, B.S. (7-12)

The Social Studies Education (SSED) teaching option in the Secondary Education major helps students prepare to be middle- and high-school teachers who are qualified to teach all of the following subjects, grades 7-12:

  • History
  • Geography
  • Civics & Government (Political Science)
  • Economics
  • Psychology
  • Anthropology
  • Sociology
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The Social Studies Education (SSED) program is a four-year undergraduate degree that requires 129-132 credits and leads to a bachelor of science (B.S.) in Secondary Education.


SSED students typically take general education courses and meet Entrance to Major (ETM) requirements during their first two years and apply to the program during their 4th semester. The program also features approved courses that help meet all requirements of the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE). Academic content courses required for ETM include Economics 104, Geography 30N, History 20, History 21, Political Science 1, and Psychology 100.


All students in the Secondary Social Studies teaching option take 18 credits of coursework in History, which qualifies for an academic minor. Students also choose a concentration and complete 15 credit of coursework in that area, which can qualify for a second academic minor in the subject.

Throughout the Secondary Education program, you will have the opportunity to gain valuable classroom experience as a student-teacher. These experiences are referred to as field experiences. All field experiences are handled through the Curriculum and Instruction Field Experience (CIFE) Office. Prior to entering the Secondary Education major, you will participate in an introductory field experience course (CI 295) intended to introduce you to classroom observation, educational issues, and teaching as a career to classroom observation. After entering the major, you will take part in a mid-level field experience course (C I 495C). This is the next step in field experiences where students spend more time in classrooms with mentor teachers. Students have the opportunity to plan and teach lessons, spending multiple days within the classroom.

In your last year, you will participate in student teaching, which is the culminating field experience in the teacher education curriculum. Each student-teacher is engaged in full-time teaching responsibilities for at least a fifteen-week period under the guidance of a certified, experienced mentor teacher and a full-time university supervisor. Student-teaching opportunities in Secondary Social Studies Education are provided at a variety of schools in the Philadelphia area, the Pittsburgh area, and the Centre region. Through Student-Teaching Abroad, opportunities at international sites are available across the globe.

Upon successful completion of all requirements for graduation, you will receive a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree in Middle Level Education. For teacher certification, you must also meet all clearance and testing requirements specified by the Pennsylvania Department of Education. If you who plan to teach outside of Pennsylvania, you can have your credentials transferred to other states. 

Concentration Choices

  • PLSC 3
  • PLSC 14
  • PLSC 7N, 10, or 17N
  • 6 cr. of 400-level PLSC

Qualifies for a minor in Political Science (with PLSC 1 taken for Prescribed Courses)

  • ECON 102
  • ECON 302
  • ECON 304
  • 6 cr. of 400-level ECON

Qualifies for a minor in Economics (with ECON 104 taken for Prescribed Courses)

  • 9 cr. of GEOG below 400 level 
  • 6 cr. of 400-level GEOG

Qualifies for a minor in Geography (with GEOG 30N taken for Prescribed Courses)

  • 9 cr. of any ANTH, PSYCH or SOC below 400 level 
  • 6 cr. of any 400-level ANTH, PSYCH, or SOC

Can qualify for a minor in Anthropology (with ANTH 45N taken for Additional Courses)Psychology (with PSYCH 100 taken for Major Prescribed Courses), or Sociology (with SOC 1 taken for Additional Courses)

  • CAMS 1, 4, or 5
  • 3 cr. of 100-level CAMS
  • 3 cr. of CAMS below 400 level
  • 6 cr. of 400-level CAMS

Can qualify for a minor in Classics & Ancient Mediterranean Studies (see your Academic Advisor)

  • JST/HIST 121
  • 6 cr. from: JST/HIST 143, 195, JST 128
  • 6 cr. from: JST/HIST 426, 439, JST/PLSC 450H, JST 478, JST 474/HIST 457

Qualifies for Holocaust and Genocide Studies Certificate

Many US states and territories require professional licensure/certification to be employed. If you plan to pursue employment in a licensed profession after completing this program, please visit the Professional Licensure/Certification Disclosures by State interactive map.