Why This Matters

  • INCREASE EARNING POTENTIAL WITH A MASTER’S

    According to the National Council on Teacher Quality, 88% of the largest school districts in the U.S. offer additional pay to teachers who hold an advanced degree. These teachers receive either an annual stipend or yearly pay increases.

  • 112,700 ADDITIONAL TEACHING JOBS EXPECTED

    Enrollment in public schools is increasing, as is the number of teachers who are retiring, leading to a higher demand for K-12 teachers. Having an advanced degree and a specialization like social studies can increase your employability.

  • 3 STATES REQUIRE MASTER’S FOR ADVANCEMENT

    Teachers in Connecticut, Maryland, and New York must obtain a master’s degree in order to maintain their teaching credentials and advance in the field. Other states encourage teachers to pursue advanced study through salary increases.

Our Research

Our research focused on finding high-quality programs in social studies education. There are a few different degrees students can earn in this field, including a Master of Education (M.Ed), Master of Arts (MA), or a Master of Science (MS).

We concentrated our research on programs that are delivered completely or primarily online so that they are accessible to the greatest number of students, regardless of availability or location.

All of the programs on our list are offered by regionally accredited institutions. Many programs are also accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP), which specifically accredits teacher preparation programs.

Once we found the programs that met our criteria, we evaluated each of them on the basis of faculty, flexibility, reputation, cost, and outcomes. Using this information, we calculated an Intelligent Score for each program on a scale of 0 to 100. For a more extensive explanation, check out Our Ranking Methodology.

  • 54 hours to write this article
  • 141 universities and colleges we assessed
  • 321 education programs we compared

The Top 23 Online Master’s in Social Studies Degree Programs

Best Online Master's in Social Studies Degree Programs
01
Slippery Rock University

intelligent score 99.45

Award Intelligent Pick

Rankings


School Information

Graduation Rate:

Admission Rate:

Urbanicity:

School Size:

No

Award Intelligent Pick

Delivery Format Online

Programs Master of Education in Secondary Education History/Social Studies

Required Credits to Graduate 36 credits

Department College of Education

Estimated Cost per Credit $645 per credit

accreditation National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education, NCATE

more program informationEmail: [email protected]
Phone: 724-738-2051

Learn More

Delivery Format Online

Programs Master of Education in Secondary Education History/Social Studies

Required Credits to Graduate 36 credits

01
University of Florida

intelligent score 98.21

Award Best Alumni Network

Rankings


School Information

Graduation Rate:

Admission Rate:

Urbanicity:

School Size:

No

Award Best Alumni Network

Delivery Format Online

Programs MAE - Social Studies Education

Required Credits to Graduate 30 credits

Department College of Education

Estimated Cost per Credit $425 per credit

accreditation Communicating for Agriculture Education Programs, CAEP

more program informationEmail: [email protected]
Phone: 352-392-0726

Learn More

Delivery Format Online

Programs MAE - Social Studies Education

Required Credits to Graduate 30 credits

01
University of the Cumberlands

intelligent score 95.47

Award Best Master of Arts in Teaching Degree

Rankings


School Information

Graduation Rate:

Admission Rate:

Urbanicity:

School Size:

No

Award Best Master of Arts in Teaching Degree

Delivery Format Online

Programs Master of Arts in Teaching

Required Credits to Graduate 33 credits

Department School of Education

Estimated Cost per Credit $315 per credit

accreditation Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

more program informationEmail: [email protected]
Phone: 606-539-4390

Learn More

Delivery Format Online

Programs Master of Arts in Teaching

Required Credits to Graduate 33 credits

01
University of Missouri

intelligent score 95.2

Award Best Master of Education Degree

Rankings


School Information

Graduation Rate:

Admission Rate:

Urbanicity:

School Size:

No

Award Best Master of Education Degree

Delivery Format Online

Programs Master of Education Social Studies Education

Required Credits to Graduate 32 credits

Department College of Education

Estimated Cost per Credit $368 per credit

accreditation Teacher Education Accreditation Council, TEAC

more program informationEmail: [email protected]
Phone: 800-877-6312

Learn More

Delivery Format Online

Programs Master of Education Social Studies Education

Required Credits to Graduate 32 credits

01
SUNY Brockport

intelligent score 93.91

Award Best Certificate Program

Rankings


School Information

Graduation Rate:

Admission Rate:

Urbanicity:

School Size:

No

Award Best Certificate Program

Delivery Format Online

Programs Master of Science in Education: Social Studies Education Inclusive Generalist

Required Credits to Graduate 30-48 credits

Department Department of Education & Human Development

Estimated Cost per Credit In-state:$288.00 per credit; Out-of-state:$455.00 per credit

accreditation Middle States Commission on Higher Education

more program informationEmail: [email protected]
Phone: 585-395-2205

Learn More

Delivery Format Online

Programs Master of Science in Education: Social Studies Education Inclusive Generalist

Required Credits to Graduate 30-48 credits

01
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

intelligent score 91.04

Award Best Master of Science Degree

Rankings


School Information

Graduation Rate:

Admission Rate:

Urbanicity:

School Size:

No

Award Best Master of Science Degree

Delivery Format Online

Programs Master of Science in Curriculum and Instruction Teaching & Learning: Urban Social Studies Education

Required Credits to Graduate 30 credits

Department School of Education

Estimated Cost per Credit $396 per credit

accreditation Higher Learning Commission, HLC

more program informationEmail: [email protected]
Phone: 414-229-6569

Learn More

Delivery Format Online

Programs Master of Science in Curriculum and Instruction Teaching & Learning: Urban Social Studies Education

Required Credits to Graduate 30 credits

01
American Public University

intelligent score 90.41

Award Best For-Profit University

Rankings


School Information

Graduation Rate:

Admission Rate:

Urbanicity:

School Size:

No

Award Best For-Profit University

Delivery Format Online

Programs Master of Education in Teaching, Secondary Social Studies

Required Credits to Graduate 36 credits

Department School of Education

Estimated Cost per Credit $370 per credit

accreditation Higher Learning Commission

more program informationEmail: [email protected]
Phone: 855-929-5264

Learn More

Delivery Format Online

Programs Master of Education in Teaching, Secondary Social Studies

Required Credits to Graduate 36 credits

01
Purdue University

intelligent score 87.92

Award Best Thesis-Optional Program

Rankings


School Information

Graduation Rate:

Admission Rate:

Urbanicity:

School Size:

No

Award Best Thesis-Optional Program

Delivery Format Online

Programs Master's of Science in Social Studies Education

Required Credits to Graduate 33 credits

Department College of Education

Estimated Cost per Credit In-state:$347.85 per credit; Out-of-state:$948.30 per credit

accreditation Higher Learning Commission

more program informationEmail: [email protected]
Phone: 765-494-2341

Learn More

Delivery Format Online

Programs Master's of Science in Social Studies Education

Required Credits to Graduate 33 credits

01
Ashland University

intelligent score 87.81

Award Best Master of Arts Degree

Rankings


School Information

Graduation Rate:

Admission Rate:

Urbanicity:

School Size:

No

Award Best Master of Arts Degree

Delivery Format Online, On-campus

Programs Master of Arts with a Specialization in Teaching American History and Government

Required Credits to Graduate 36 credits

Department Dwight Schar College of Education

Estimated Cost per Credit $424 per credit

accreditation Communicating for Agriculture Education Programs, CAEP

more program informationEmail: [email protected]
Phone: 419-289-5738

Learn More

Delivery Format Online, On-campus

Programs Master of Arts with a Specialization in Teaching American History and Government

Required Credits to Graduate 36 credits

01
Northwestern State University of Louisiana

intelligent score 87.04

Award Best Secondary Education Focus

Rankings


School Information

Graduation Rate:

Admission Rate:

Urbanicity:

School Size:

No

Award Best Secondary Education Focus

Delivery Format Online

Programs Master of Arts in Teaching in Secondary School Education

Required Credits to Graduate 33 credits

Department College of Education

Estimated Cost per Credit $475 per credit

accreditation National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education, NCATE

more program informationEmail: [email protected]
Phone: 318-357-5851

Learn More

Delivery Format Online

Programs Master of Arts in Teaching in Secondary School Education

Required Credits to Graduate 33 credits

01
Best in the Northeast
University at Buffalo
01
Best Middle Grades Education Focus
University of Georgia
01
Best Online University
Capella University
01
Best Catholic University
Gwynedd Mercy University
01
Best in the South
Florida State University
01
Best in the Northwest
Eastern Oregon University
01
Best Private University
Boston University
01
Most Customizable
Pennsylvania State University
01
Most Experienced Faculty
University of Pittsburgh
01
Most Unique Capstone Experiences
University of Missouri-St Louis
01
Best History-Focused Program
NYU Steinhardt
01
Most Flexible
Drexel University
01
Best Scholarship Opportunities
University of Rochester

 

What You Should Know About This Degree

There are two types of master’s programs in social studies – those that are designed for educators who already have a state-issued teaching license or certification, and those that prepare graduates for licensure or certification. Your educational and professional background will determine which type of program you are seeking. All states require public school teachers to have a teaching license or certification. If you do not have a teaching license or certification, your job opportunities will be limited to private, charter, or alternative schools.

Since each state’s educational board sets its own regulations for certification or licensure, you should review your state’s requirements before enrolling in a program. This will help you select a program that meets your state’s requirements for credentialing.

Another consideration is attending a program that is accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation. Some states require that students complete a CAEP-accredited program as a prerequisite for obtaining their licensure or certification.

Most programs include an experiential learning component, such as student teaching, in their curriculum. Individuals who are employed as teachers may be able to complete these requirements at their current job. If you are not presently working in a school, you should be prepared to spend at least one term in a school setting completing these requirements.

What’s Next?

Here are some questions you can ask when researching online master’s in social studies programs:

  • Am I eligible for this program? Depending on the program, you may need to have a bachelor’s degree in education, teaching licensure, and/or teaching experience. Be sure to review the program’s eligibility requirements prior to applying to ensure that you have the right qualifications for admission.
  • Are there any in-person requirements for this program? Because teachers typically have summers free, many programs are designed with online courses during the traditional academic year, and in-person classes during the summer. Review the program’s curriculum, or talk to a program representative about how classes are delivered, to confirm that you can accommodate any in-person requirements in your schedule and budget.

Other steps you can take at this time include collecting your application materials, confirming application submission deadlines and procedures, and researching your options for funding your graduate degree. If you are currently employed, find out if your employer offers any tuition assistance benefits. Other funding resources include private and institutional scholarships, student loans, and assistantships.