Certification Program in Secondary Education: Social Studies

The certification program in Secondary Education Social Studies is designed for an individual who holds a baccalaureate degree and wants to become certified to teach Social Studies (history, geography, government, psychology, sociology, anthropology and/or economics) in Pennsylvania secondary schools (grades 7-12). The program is approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Education. Students who successfully complete the requirements will be recommended for the Secondary Social Studies: Instructional I teaching certificate. Course work is required in both behavioral sciences and education. This program has been recognized by National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS).

Degree Conferred: Certification only

Admission Requirements

An applicant must present a baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution with a cumulative grade-point average of 3.0 or higher in the last 60 credits (approximately).

An applicant whose native language is not English is required to submit acceptable scores on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). A score of at least 550 (paper based), 213 (computer based), or a total score of 80 with a 20 on the speaking section (internet-based) is required. The test must have been taken within the last 5 years. The scores must be submitted before the application will be considered.

Application Process

Apply Online

Applicants are required to submit the following:

  • a completed online application;
  • two copies of official transcripts from all colleges/universities attended;
  • an application fee.

Program Notes

A minimum grade of C is required in all courses for certification; however, a 3.0 grade-point average is required to be eligible for student teaching.

Other Questions

If you have additional questions, please contact Graduate Admissions, 717-948-6250, or the School of Behavioral Sciences and Education, 717-948-6213.

Program Requirements

The Social Studies certifi cation program requires students to take courses in various areas of the social and behavioral sciences, history, and education. All courses required for certifi cation, including an intensive fi eld experience, must be completed with a grade of C or better prior to student teaching. The program requirements listed below will assist students in planning a program of studies. Students should examine their undergraduate transcripts to determine which courses may have already been completed that would satisfy the listed requirements.

Education Course Requirements (32 Credits Required)

  • C I 280 (GH)  INTRODUCTION TO TEACHING ENGLISH TO ENGLISH LANGUAGE LEARNERS  (3). 
  • EDUC 313 FIELD OBSERVATION/PARTICIPATION (2)
  • EDUC 314 LEARNING THEORY AND INSTRUCTIONAL PROCEDURES (3). (EDUC 313 and 314 must be taken concurrently.)
  • EDUC 315W SOCIAL AND CULTURAL FACTORS IN EDUCATION (3). (Certification students must enroll in the section reserved for prospective secondary teachers.)
  • EDUC 415 TEACHING SECONDARY SOCIAL STUDIES (3). (Offered during fall term only)
  • EDUC 458 BEHAVIOR MANAGEMENT STRATEGIES FOR INCLUSIVE CLASSROOMS (3). Prereqisite: admission to Teacher Education program.
  • EDUC 459 STRATEGIES FOR EFFECTIVE TEACHING IN INCLUSIVE CLASSROOMS (3). Prereqisite: admission to Teacher Certification program or Approval of program.
  • EDUC 490 STUDENT TEACHING (12). (EDUC 490 and EDUC 435 must be taken concurrently.)

Social Studies Course Requirements

Prescribed Courses (18 Credits)

  • ECON 002 INTRODUCTORY MICROECONOMIC ANALYSIS (3) or ECON 004 INTRODUCTORY MACROECONOMICS ANALYSIS (3)
  • HIST 001 THE WESTERN HERITAGE I (3)
  • HIST 020 AMERICAN CIVILIZATION TO 1877 (3)
  • HIST 021 AMERICAN CIVILIZATION SINCE 1877 (3)
  • PSY 002 Psychology (3)
  • SOC 001 INTRODUCTORY SOCIOLOGY (3)

Breadth Courses-30 Credits Required

History (3 credits)

  • HIS 320 CONTEMPORARY WORLD HISTORY AND ISSUES (3)

Geography (6 credits)

  • GEOG 040 WORLD REGIONAL GEOGRAPHY (3)
  • GEOG 128 GEOGRAPHY OF INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS (3)

Government (3 credits)

  • PL SC 001 INTRODUCTION TO AMERICAN NATIONAL GOVERNMENT (3)

Supporting Courses - 15 Credits Required

  • 3 credits of Sociology
  • 3 credits of American Studies (from approved department list) or African and African American Studies or History or Minority Studies
  • 3 credits of Anthropology (from approved department list)
  • 3 credits of Psychology (from approved department list)
  • 3 credits of Political Sciences

For a list of courses, visit the web.

Teacher Education Forms and Handbooks

A repository of forms and handbooks related to clearances, state certification testing, and other essential program documents


This page is not a part of the official Penn State University Bulletin.