Teaching Social Studies
History majors interested in public education at the secondary school level will need to consider many factors, including job trends at the local, state, and national levels as well as the varying certification requirements in different locales. A number of states now require secondary school teachers to have an academic degree in the liberal arts and sciences, with history often the preferred discipline for social studies teachers. In addition, social studies teachers interested in pursuing an M.A. in history should realize that many graduate programs strongly prefer if not require that applicants already possess a B.A. in History.
Concurrent and Sequential Majors at Penn State
Penn State students may consider a dual major which combines a B.A. in History with a B.S. in Social Studies Education. Through careful planning with academic advisors, such students can graduate with both degrees in five years. For the relevant Penn State policies on concurrent and sequential majors, please consult:
Teacher Certification Programs in Pennsylvania
There are ninety-three colleges and universities in the state that offer teacher education programs. Some of these schools offer one-year certification programs for students who already hold a B.A. or B.S. degree. Careful use of elective credits while an undergraduate can help meet certification requirements: consult the program requirements of your schools of interest.
Teacher Certification Information Outside of Pennsylvania
A number of states now require public school teachers to hold a degree in a major in the liberal arts and sciences. There is also information on regional employment trends. Consult the following sites for more information.
- Occupational Information Network
This site gives projected hiring trends secondary education in all fifty states.
- National Council for the Social Studies
This site provides information about the field of social studies education.
- States Outside Pennsylvania
To find information about specific states, go to Google and search "State" Department of Education, then search for "teacher certification requirements."
For more information:
Dr. Marc L. Harris
Associate Professor of History
Arts and Humanities
Office: C129D Smith Building
Dr. Marc Harris is an Associate Professor of History and chair of Penn State Altoona’s History Department. Previously serving as head of the campus’s Arts and Humanities Division, Harris is a scholar of Constitutional History and the sagas of the early American Republic. Teaching at Altoona offers him a unique opportunity to contextualize national issues of those times at a regional level. “Our area [central Pennsylvania] was anti-federalist, anti-constitution,” he noted. “A reason for the opposition to the Constitution was the proposal that you have to pay taxes to a central government, not just your state.” These manners of historical perspective serve as intriguing platforms for discussion and research. His various courses also concern Business History, Pennsylvania History, Revolutionary America, and American History survey classes.
Dr. Steven C. Andrews
Instructor in History
Arts and Humanities
Office: C122 Smith Building
Dr. Steven Andrews has been a full time instructor of history since 2008. Prior to this appointment, he held the position of adjunct lecturer for thirteen years. He received his Doctorate from The Pennsylvania State University in 1995. Since 1995 he has taught a wide variety of courses to include courses on Western Civilization, Ancient Greece and Rome, Medieval History, the Crusades, the History of the Family, Women’s History, the Holocaust, Nazi Germany, Communism, World War II, Tudor/Stuart England, the History of Absolutism, Eastern Europe, World War I, the History of Witchcraft and Magic, American Military History, and Pennsylvania History. Dr. Andrews was nominated for the University's prestigious Schreyer Award for teaching excellence in 2011. He is currently co-coordinator of the History Program.