What Can I Expect from an Online Master’s in Social Studies Program?

An online master’s degree in social studies lets you earn your degree in your own time. It’s ideal for professionals who wish to further their careers while still working either full- or part-time. An online degree program follows the same curriculum that an on-campus program follows but offers convenience to individuals who don’t live near a university or college that offers the degree. Whether you choose to complete the coursework quickly or spread the classes out over several years, there is an online program available to suit your needs, so be sure to take your time and consider all of the options and offerings to find the one that’s right for you.

Concentrations Offered for an Online Master’s in Social Studies

Anthropology Provides students with the knowledge and skills to make a difference in the community and the world. It focuses on studying humans and their various aspect. International development worker, teacher, local government office, community development worker
Political Science Prepares graduates to work in the government or politics with careers in both the public and the private sector. Students learn about the different systems of government and how to analyze political activities. Political scientist, political science teacher, broadcast news analyst, survey researcher, public relations and fundraising manager
Geography Teaches students about land formations, economy, country borders and population. Emergency management, urban planning, environmental planner, cartography, photogrammetry, economic geography, land surveyor
History Focuses on a particular historical period or region or on geographical boundaries. History teacher, museum curator, historian, archivist
Economics Provides a solid understanding of the fundamental tools of economic analysis. Economist, consultant, professor, budget analyst, market researcher, statistician

Curriculum for an Online Master’s in Social Studies

Instructional Leadership Focuses on the management of curriculum and instruction by a school principal. Classes teach students how to set goals, allocate resources and promote student growth and learning.
Secondary Education Methods Helps single-subject educators create a collaborative and effective classroom environment.
Diversity in Education Covers how to promote diversity and equality within the classroom setting. Categories referenced are race, class, religion, gender and sexual orientation.
Ethics An introduction to the study of philosophy as pertaining to right and wrong. The course helps you understand views and may help you form decisions and question why you think the way you do.
History Education Explore the past and uncover how those events shape the world we live in today.

How Long Does It Take to Get an Online Master’s Degree in Social Studies?

The online master’s in social studies takes approximately 15 to 18 months to complete, with a total of 30 to 36 credits. Students should also expect to take a capstone course and six to nine elective credits related to their concentration. A full-time course load typically involves taking two classes per semester. Those on a fast track may take an additional class in order to complete the degree in a year or in three to five semesters. Part-time students who only take one class at a time may take as long as five years to complete their degree.

Another factor that may affect the time is whether the student chooses a cohort program, where a group of students enter at once and complete the degree at the same time. This can take longer to finish the degree as opposed to those on a self-paced track.

Certifications and Licenses an Online Master’s in Social Studies Prepares For

Teaching License An online master’s in social studies may prepare you for the initial teacher certification. Some states require teachers to earn a master’s after several years of teaching with a provisional license. Every state has specific requirements for certification, which can be found through the National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education and Certification.

Accreditation for Online Master’s in Social Studies

Most jobs for those with an online master’s degree in social studies prefer applicants to graduate from an accredited college or university. An accredited program ensures it meets the strictest standards for quality. Online degrees must meet the standards set forth by the Distance Education Accreditation Commission. The U.S. Department of Education also ensures uniform standards across all programs.

Employment Outlook for Master’s in Social Studies Graduates

Job Placement: Master’s v. Bachelor’s

Individuals seeking a master’s in social studies tend to gravitate to teaching jobs. While it’s possible to become a teacher with a bachelor’s degree, career advancement is a better possibility for those with a master’s degree. For those who want to advance to a school administrator, curriculum coordinator or school counselor, a master’s degree is required.

Expected Salary

An online master’s in social studies not only provides a wealth of opportunities for employment, it ensures higher salaries.

Salaries for those with an online master’s in social studies, particularly teachers, vary depending on where in the country you plan to teach. The following chart shows the areas with the highest employment level for secondary teachers.

Career Opportunities

An online master’s in gerontology opens doors for a wide variety of occupations. While most stay in health care and work directly with elderly individuals, there are available positions in the government and in private healthcare facilities.

High School Teacher High School Teachers educate students on the context of historical events and actions and how they shaped civilizations. $59,170 per year 8%
Special Education Teacher Special Education Teachers in social studies work with students who have a wide range of learning, mental, physical and emotional disabilities. These teachers know how to adapt lessons to reach students with learning disabilities. $58,980 per year 8%
Elementary School Teacher Elementary School Teachers work with younger children in basic subjects like social studies. Teachers in elementary schools help prepare students for future classes. $56,900 per year 7%
Instructional Coordinator Instructional Coordinators help teachers and administrators by overseeing curricula and teacher standards within schools and school systems. They may also help develop instructional materials and serve as a go-between for teachers and principals. $63,750 per year 11%
Middle School Teacher Middle School Teachers teach children from sixth to eighth grades in social sciences. They help students build on the fundamental concepts and prepare them for higher education. $57,720 per year 8%

Professional Organizations

United Federation of Teachers: The Union Federation of Teachers (UFT) is a federation of nurses, teachers and other professions that work in the boroughs of New York. The group advocates for the children in New York City public schools and fights for policies and resources to make the schools better.

Center for Civic Education: The Center of Civic Education is a nonprofit organization based in California. The center works to enlighten and educate citizens on democratic principles and encourages them to engage in the practice of democracy in the United States.

National Council for Social Studies: The National Council for Social Studies works to create a world where students are educated in social studies. The group provides leadership services and supports educators who teach social sciences.

Financing Your Online Master’s in Social Studies

An online master’s in gerontology degree is typically more affordable than an on-campus degree program, but most students still need assistance when paying for their education in spite of the lowered cost. The first step in receiving aid is by filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This gives you a list of all available scholarships, loans, grants and other types of aid provided by the federal government. There are also scholarships available through public and private resources. Consider some of the following resources when seeking help to pay for your degree.



Scholarships Details
Minorities in Government Finance Scholarship Award: $10,000

Deadline: January 18

Eligibility: Applicant should be a full- or part-time graduate student studying government, accounting, finance, political science, social sciences, business administration or economics and have a letter of recommendation from someone who can comment on your commitment to public service.

Dolores Zohrab Liebmann Fund Award: $18,000

Deadline: July 31

Eligibility: Fellowship candidates must have an outstanding undergraduate record, demonstrate financial need and be attending a designated college or university.

The Beinecke Scholarship Awards Award: $30,000

Deadline: Second Wednesday in February

Eligibility: Students must demonstrate superior standards of intellectual ability, be a part of a research-focused master’s program and be a U.S. citizen.

James M. and Erma T. Freemont Scholarship Award: Varies

Deadline: January 18

Eligibility: This scholarship is open to high school seniors, undergrads and graduate students majoring in social science. Applicants must maintain a GPA of at least 3.0 and be a U.S. citizen.

TEACH Grant Award: $4,000

Deadline: Varies

Eligibility: Provides grants to students who are completing or plan to complete coursework needed to begin a career in teaching in a low-income area. Graduate students must score in the 75th percentile on one or more college admissions tests and maintain a cumulative GPA of at least 3.25 throughout college.