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Social Studies for Teaching BS

College of Liberal Arts / Social Science
Undergraduate major / Bachelor of Science

About The Program

Program accreditation

This program is accredited by the Minnesota Professional Education and Licensing Standards Board (PELSB) to meet the content standards associated with teaching licensure in this subject area.

Why Social Studies for Teaching?

The Social Studies for Teaching Major (BS) is ideal for students who wish to become a social studies teacher (grades 5-12). The major is designed to provide students with both a strong foundation in social science disciplines and the intellectual skills necessary for excellence as a social studies teacher, grades 5 through 12.

The Social Studies for Teaching major is committed to the following principles; that effective social studies teachers:

  • share with other liberally educated people the ability to think critically and communicate 
  • care deeply about their subject and are able to convey that passion and interest to their students.
  • are interdisciplinary; they can synthesize and apply core concepts from a variety of social science fields to enhance their own and their students understanding of a topic or subject area.
  • have developed a sociological imagination: they are able to link personal experience with larger socioeconomic forces and help their students do the same.
  • are culturally reflective and aware; they are willing to engage in an ongoing process of reflection and analysis of the social and cultural roots of their own values, behaviors and beliefs, and those of the students and community they will be working with.
  • are empowered; they are able to think realistically and hopefully about ways citizens can act positively to change their communities.
  • have acquired the passion and tools for lifelong learning.

What will I do in the major?

Social Studies for Teaching (BS) majors must take a structured course sequence—both lower and upper division—to ensure they have met state board standards in the following areas of study:

  • History
  • Political Science
  • Sociology
  • Anthropology
  • Geography
  • Economics
  • Ethnic Studies

What can I do with the degree?

Completing the Social Studies for Teaching (BS) prepares students to be a social studies teacher (5-12). In order to become a licensed teacher, however, students must complete a licensure program approved by the Minnesota Professional Educator Licensing and Standards Board (PELSB), formerly known as the Minnesota Board of Teaching. For more information and for a complete list of all licensure programs in Minnesota, visit PELSB's website.


Student outcomes

The learning outcomes for this major provide the knowledge, skills, and abilities to enter the 21st-century teacher to:

  • know and understand the essential concepts of social studies
  • comprehend the historical foundations, theoretical paradigms, and research methods of social studies - to develop higher order thinking skills by analyzing and interpreting social studies literature;
  • write analytically in a style that is informed, well-reasoned, and literate;
  • recognize and understand differences of gender and sexual orientation, race and ethnicity, religion, and social class;
  • understand and utilize a global perspective; and
  • become advocates and leaders in their communities as future teachers

Related minors

How to enroll

Current students: Declare this program

Once you’re admitted as an undergraduate student and have met any further admission requirements your chosen program may have, you may declare a major or declare an optional minor.

Future students: Apply now

Apply to Metropolitan State: Start the journey toward your Social Studies for Teaching BS now. Learn about the steps to enroll or, if you have questions about what Metropolitan State can offer you, request information, visit campus or chat with an admissions counselor.

Get started on your Social Studies for Teaching BS

Courses and Requirements


Student licensure

Completing the Social Studies for Teaching major designed to meet state content standards for teachers is only part of the preparation for teaching this subject area effectively to middle school or high school youth. To earn a Tier 3 Social Studies license (grades 5-12) to teach in Minnesota, among other requirements you must also meet state pedagogy standards by completing additional coursework in urban secondary education and student teaching at either the undergraduate or graduate level through the University's Urban Teacher Program in the School of Urban Education.

Please note that the School of Urban Education has the responsibility for recommending students for licensure once they have met all state licensure requirements. For information about Urban Teacher Program admission requirements as well as urban secondary education coursework and student teaching required for licensure, please visit the Secondary Education Licensure page or contact the School of Urban Education at .

Summary (43-46 credits)

+ Foundation Courses (21 - 22 credits)

A minimum of 8 credits from foundation coursework is required for admission to the Urban Teacher Program.

Social Science Foundation Courses (9-10 credits)

All three courses are required.

This course introduces students to the concepts and tools used by geographers to think critically about the relationship between humans and their environment. Geographers use this focus to answer contemporary questions of political, economic, social and environmental concern. This course is designed to help students understand the role human and physical geographies play in shaping individuals' experiences and understanding of the world.

Full course description for Introduction to Geography

This course is an introduction to the sociological perspective. Students examine the social processes that shape societies and the course of their histories. The social nature of biographies is explored through the study of the family and socialization, education and work, bureaucracy and the economy, gender, social class, and race and ethnicity.

Full course description for Introduction to Sociology

SSCI 100 may be taken as a substitute for SOC 101.

History Foundation Courses (9 credits)

Choose three of the four courses listed below:

This survey course traces U.S. development from the end of the Civil War until the present day. Students study post war Reconstruction in the South, the return of legal and social discrimination against African Americans, the advent and results of the Industrial Revolution, the making of modern capitalism, the increasing political and economic roles of women, the two World Wars, and America as a world power and multiethnic society.

Full course description for The American Past: From 1865

Does the world have a history? This course is based on an affirmative answer to the question. A history of the world must be more than a mere compendium of facts about disparate societies and traditions. In this course students study the interactions among far-flung civilizations in ancient and medieval times. However, for most of the period considered in this course, those interactions were quite limited. Therefore, a coherent account of human history as a whole before the modern era emerges in large measure from comparisons among independently developing societies, and from a search for common patterns of development. Both similarities and important differences receive due attention. Topics include: the change from hunter-gatherer societies to sedentary agriculture; the rise of cities, social stratification, and the beginnings of written culture and organized religion; the complex civilizations and empires of West Asia, East Asia, Africa, Mesoamerica, and Europe; gender…

Full course description for World History I: Patterns of Civilization to 1500

This course examines the interactions among the world's peoples as they were brought increasingly into contact with one another after 1500. The rise of capitalism, colonialism and imperialism were closely linked to the creation of the modern world system, a system that took shape out of the cooperation and conflict among and between people as they were drawn into a world economy. Their experiences, the experiences of the people of the past as they both created and confronted the modern world, are thus central to an understanding of our own place in it.

Full course description for World History II: The Modern World, 1500 to the Present

Economics Foundation Course (3 credits)


Students hoping to transfer in lower division credits in Economics should meet with an advisor as soon as they declare their major to see if a course substitution is possible. In some cases, lower division electives may be transferred in and accepted as a substitute course for ECON 200.

This course introduces the principles of microeconomics and macroeconomics that are useful for our understanding of the market economy, the banking and the financial system, government regulations, economic policies and the global economy. This course is designed for students who do not intend to pursue a business or economics degree and it does not satisfy the requirement at the College of Management or the major requirement for Bachelor of Science in Economics at Metropolitan State University.

Full course description for Introduction to Economics for Non-Business and Non-Economics Majors

+ Core Courses (14 - 16 credits)

What is gender? How can we understand differences in gender and sexuality? Through the perspective of cultural anthropology, students examine how gender is perceived and realized in a range of human societies. Discussions on the biological/cultural determinants of gender are considered. Ethnographic materials explore how gender varies cross culturally and historically and is related to social power. Students engage with contemporary debates surrounding such themes as marriage, family, human rights, and sexuality.

Full course description for Gender and Culture

This course compares women as global citizens in a least two cultures or regions of the world. Topics to be covered include women's involvement in family, reproduction, work, education, social and public activism, and war as well as cultural, racial/ethnic, class, generational and ideological differences among women. We will examine these issues in such global contexts as capitalism, industrialization, imperialism/colonialism, socialism and international law.

Full course description for Comparative Women's History


This course uses comparative methods to explore sociological and anthropological understandings of the significance of race, ethnicity, and racism in the United States. We will review concepts and theories of race and ethnicity. We will examine racialization processes affecting the lived experiences of diverse racial and ethnic groups and racial and ethnic inequalities, ranging from institutional discrimination to implicit bias. The course will also explore the pervasive influence of racism as found in domains such as education and the media. How we as individuals and groups can create positive change through anti-racist responsibilities and efforts will also be central to the course. Significant focus is given to issues of race and racism.

Full course description for Race and Ethnicity: Sociological and Anthropological Perspectives

This course takes a systematic and historic look at immigration as an American national mythos and examines how immigration intersects with race and racial difference, and has affected the development of Black, Asian, Latino and Indigenous cultures and communities within the United States. Topics include immigration histories and experiences, critical conceptions of race, ethnicity, and migration, assimilation and acculturation processes, and social, cultural, and policy responses to migration. Significant focus is given to issues of race and racism

Full course description for Immigrant Communities and the Trajectories of Othering

This course will examine public policy and practice, and its impact on historically and politically disenfranchised communities of color in America by studying the development of public policy in relation to race, racial identities, and racial communities, and the impact of policy processes and procedures on the private and public realms of social and economic activity in the United States. Significant focus is given to issues of race and racism.

Full course description for Race and Public Policy

This course examines historical experiences of at least three racial groups. Groups explored include African Americans, American Indians, Asian Americans, Chicanos/Latinos and European immigrants. The course considers the different experiences of these groups as impacted by gender, class and other factors. It aims to deepen and broaden students' understanding of racial and ethnic groups in the United States by studying the similarities and differences of their experiences. Significant focus is given to issues of race and racism.

Full course description for Understanding Racial and Ethnic Groups in the United States


This course provides a context and a baseline for knowledge about Minnesota American Indian urban, rural and reservation communities. The course includes an overview of both the past and present experiences, struggles, and issues and the intersections of the past and the present in Minnesota American Indian communities. Students will have an opportunity to complete a community-based project as part of the requirements for this course. Significant focus is given to issues of race and racism.

Full course description for American Indians in Minnesota

This course examines significant and current issues in Native America. Drawing across disciplines and tribal communities, the course interweaves the following topics: tribal self-determination; federal, tribal, and state relationships; economic development; language preservation; education; health disparities and health promotion; ethnic identity; urban experiences, and Native American media and art. This class presents Indigenous peoples as modern peoples, not as images from the past. Significant focus is given to issues of race and racism.

Full course description for Topics in Contemporary Native North America


This course investigates the theory and practice of citizenship in local communities, the United States and the world. Students draw on core concepts from political science to explore contrasting ideas about citizenship and the political, economic and cultural dimensions of critical issues facing the global community. Classroom inquiry is supplemented by field experiences and investigation.

Full course description for Citizenship in a Global Context

This course examines critical global issues and the organizations and institutions that are attempting to address them. Drawing on concepts from political science and international relations, students explore such issues as human rights, the global environment, violence within and between nations, and the gap between "have" and "have not" nations. The course investigates the response of the United States to these issues as well as the effectiveness of formal international organizations like the United Nations and emerging transnational citizen organization. Classroom inquiry is supplemented by field experience and investigation.

Full course description for Approaches to World Politics

+ Final Required Courses (8 credits)

What is history? It is often said that history should be objective, that it should provide just the facts, that it should bring people a sense of the past "as it really was." Those who study and write history professionally tend to view these demands as extremely naive. It is a fact that historians have produced radically different interpretations of particular events or developments in the past. The dominant interpretations of important events have changed greatly over time. The study of these changes is called historiography. Through the readings in this course, students confront such interpretive discrepancies and changes with respect to several important historical developments, which occurred in different parts of the world and in different eras.

Full course description for Historical Interpretation

HIST 301 is an advanced course and should be taken either the semester before or the semester after SSCI 401.

This course provides students with the opportunity to understand, integrate, and apply the core themes and contending perspectives that underline the social studies disciplines. Through guided readings, research and discussion, seminar participants further develop the capacity to analyze selected issues through multiple lenses. Students apply these multiple perspectives to teaching middle and secondary social studies.

Full course description for Social Science Seminar: Contending Perspectives

SSCI 401 is the Capstone for the major. Students are required to complete at least 30 credits in the major before taking SSCI 401. As well, SSCI 401 is only offered during the summer and should be taken in the summer preceding student teaching.