The social studies major provides an interdisciplinary approach to the study of people and their institutions. The ultimate goal of social studies is citizenship education and the development of civic competence. Drawing on Hamline’s strong social science departments, this major is designed to engage the student in the content, concepts, skills and methodologies of each discipline, that is, the structure of the disciplines. The scope and sequence of the major across these four dimensions follows and generally exceeds guidelines established by the National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS), the major research and policy development association in this licensure area.
Two groups of students are likely to major in social studies: 1) those seeking secondary (grades 5-12) licensure as future social studies teachers, and 2) liberal arts students who want a cross-disciplinary major in the social sciences.
For licensure purposes, this major complies with licensure standards (Standards of Effective Practice for Beginning Teachers or SEPBT) and content standards developed by the Minnesota Professional Educator and Licensing Standards Board (PELSB) (patterned after the NCSS standards).
Over time, these licensure standards and rules can change based on new initiatives by the PELSB, the Minnesota Department of Education, and the Minnesota State Legislature. In addition, our national accreditation body, the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP), can affect the content and structure of the major. Therefore, it is important that interested students be in close touch with the School of Education and Leadership chair for advising purposes.
The majority of graduates with social studies majors enter teaching or closely allied fields. Many of these earn advanced degrees in social studies or related educational areas such as school administration or special education. In addition, the disciplinary concentration can provide a foundation for graduate study in that discipline. The degree can also serve as a basis for professional study in law and public administration. Those not entering the teaching field often find employment opportunities in social service or government agencies.