Overview of Bachelor of Secondary Education: Major in Social Studies Degree Program
A Bachelor of Secondary Education with a major in social studies is a four-year undergraduate degree program that will equip students to teach social studies at the secondary level, from grades 5 through 12. Although specific schools have their own unique coursework and requirements, generally students enrolled in this program can expect introductory and research-based courses in a wide range of subjects including geography, economics, history, political science, and even psychology. Most programs will also provide field experiences where students engage in student teaching experiences. Detailed information including course information, program requirements, and possible career options will be discussed below.
Admission Requirements for a Social Studies Secondary Education Program
Gaining admission into a secondary education program is highly competitive and therefore comprehensive preparation is the key. Primarily, you would need a high school diploma or GED. Most schools require a 3.0 grade point average. Standardized test scores (either SAT or ACT) have to be submitted directly to the school. Most schools also require an application essay describing your motivation to apply for the secondary education program. You also need to hand in two letters of recommendation along with your high school transcript.
Social Studies Secondary Education Program Coursework
The coursework would change depending on your choice of college. As mentioned above, the courses in a social science major are vast and varied and can range from history to anthropology. However, there are certain core courses that are common across programs, particularly ones that focus on learning through a hands-on approach and those that help you to gain practical classroom experience.
Schooling in the United States
This course mainly focuses on the history of the public school in the United States while also discussing the current state of education in the country. Students also learn about specific issues and problems associated with the schooling systems of their respective states. Other topics in this course usually revolve around understanding the role of the schooling system in the current sociopolitical scenario, along with tackling challenges that the education system faces and learning how to implement reforms to overcome those challenges.
This course prepares the student to deal with myriad situations that may pop up in any classroom. The students will learn about creating a positive environment within the classroom and how to manage it well by using several innovative teaching strategies, such as peer mediation, anti-bullying campaigns, and cultural awareness programs. These courses also enable students to learn how to resolve conflict situations that may occur in classes.
Effective Student Teaching
Effective student teaching courses equip students with practical and theoretical strategies to improve their teaching, thereby helping the students they will teach in the future to improve their performance. Students will learn about different assessments and activities that can be conducted in the class or how to fuse technology into their lesson plans. Planning is key when it comes to delivering organized lessons in a class.
Methods and Materials in Social Studies Major
These courses provide students with instructional material and methods of study for social studies. Gleaning information from different sources of information and other related literature is taught. Students are expected to prepare study units or resource portfolios and/or files as part of their assessment.
Field or Practical Experience
In the final year of study, students are usually expected to apply what they have learnt as part of their social studies major and teach/instruct in various schools. This course can also involve assisting tutors in their work marking papers or proctoring exams along with observing classes. This course gives students practical experience in teaching and prepares them for their jobs.
Choosing a Bachelor's Degree in Social Studies Secondary Education Program
There are several key factors to keep in mind before choosing a school to enroll in. First and foremost, you must be sure of what possible subjects you are interested in learning and then you must look at the subjects that the school includes in their social studies major. If you are interested in history, pick a school that largely focuses on history courses in its program rather than picking a school that is more focused on the economics or psychology side.
Next, think about what practical experiences the schools are offering. Most schools will automatically require you to teach in a school to demonstrate your competence and knowledge, but a few of them will also have seminar-based courses that foster greater professionalism and prepare you for the job market. If you wish to plunge into professions other than or related to teaching with this degree, you would want to look at further relevant graduate programs. In that case it is best to choose a school that also provides graduate degrees in the area of your interest. Choosing a school that provides a dual major in social studies secondary education will also give an added advantage over those who wish to branch out into other career fields. Finally, look out for those schools that provide you career placement and counselling services during your study.
Careers Options with a Social Studies Secondary Education Major
Typically, students who graduate with this degree go on to becoming teachers in secondary schools. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2018, the annual mean wage of secondary school teachers was $64,340. Below are careers that these graduates can consider.