Secondary Education Certification

Secondary Education Certification Master of Arts Teaching (M.A.T.) - Social Studies

About Social Studies 7-12 Teaching Certification

Foster informed citizenship with teaching certification and a master's degree.

Whether you have a background in social studies or are embarking on a new career, Cal U's graduate degree program in social studies education enables you to complete your Level I teaching certification for grades 7-12 and obtain your master's degree in five semesters.

Secondary education graduate courses are held online and during a two-day on-campus residency, so you can earn your degree even if you work full time.

Gain confidence as a classroom leader.

  • Take core courses in the latest pedagogical methods and learn best practices for teaching social studies.
  • Extensive fieldwork and student teaching develop your skills and help you stand out in the secondary education job


Strong Reputation: Cal U was founded as a teachers college, and we've been producing top-quality Pennsylvania educators for more than 160 years. All core professors in this program have doctorate degrees and most have years of real-world secondary education teaching experience.

Top Accreditation: This graduate degree program is approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Education. Cal U's education programs have also been accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) since 1954, and we are continuing with the successor organization, the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP). See CAEP reporting measures of program impact and outcomes.


average annual salary for secondary education teachers in Pennsylvania. Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics
weeks of full-time student teaching in a real classroom.
icon undergrad for degree

Degree Benefits

Core pedagogy courses will give you mastery of the latest practices and theories in social studies education while expanding your subject-area expertise. You'll also gain extensive hands-on experience through classroom observations and student teaching.

  • Study social studies curriculum development techniques and how to use the Standards Aligned System (SAS).
  • Learn top strategies in classroom management.
  • Master classroom technology for teaching social studies.
  • Deepen your knowledge of history, anthropology, U.S. politics, geography and other related topics.
  • Gain real-world teaching experience.
icon undergrad for degree

Graduate Outcomes

Graduates of this program are prepared to teach secondary education social studies, history and related subjects at public or private schools. They also find jobs as social studies program coordinators, evaluators and curriculum specialists. Program alumni employers include dozens of schools across the country.

Social Studies Certification Secondary Education - Master's Degree

Social Studies Certification Secondary Education Master's Degree Courses

Our rigorous courses are constantly evolving to equip you with the most up-to-date theories and practices in the field of social studies education. Professional graduate degree program classes are delivered online and during a short summer residency. All students are required to have current school clearances to participate in field experience and sign up for courses.



Course Credits
ENG 101  English Composition I 3
Required Content Courses (a grade of C or better is required for certification)
ANT 100  Introduction to Anthropology 3
ECO 100  Elements of Economics 3
GEO 100  Introduction to Geography 3
HIS 101  US History to 1877 3
HIS 102  US History since 1878  3
HIS 104  History of Western Civ to 1500  OR  HIS 111  Development of Major World Civilizations 3
HIS 106  History of Western Civ since 1500  OR  HIS 112  Major World Civilizations in Transition  3
HIS 3xx  Non-Western Elective 3
POS 105  American Politics 3
PSY 206  Adolescent Psychology 3
SOC 100  Principles of Sociology 3
Social Studies Elective 3
Cal U Required Courses
EDU 650  Supporting the English Language Learner 3
ESP 610  Sp. Ed. Foundations & Collaboration 3
ESP 613  Evidence-Based Practices for Sec Inclusion 3
ESP 701  Introduction to Behavior Analysis 3
MSE 641  Orientation to 7-12 Ed. 3
MSE 642  Standards-Based Instruction in 7-12 Ed 3
MSE 643  Content Area Literacy in 7-12 Ed. 3
MSE 644  Instructional Strategies in 7-12 Ed. 3
MSE 645  Technology in 7-12 Education* 3
MSE 646  Assessments and Interventions* 3
MSE 647  Classroom Management in 7-12 Ed. 3
MSE 655  Methods of Art Teaching K-12* 3
MSE 661  Student Teaching & School Law** 9
Total Graduate Credits 45

* Two-day on-campus July residency will be integrated into the summer MSE courses.

** Must earn a recommendation for student teaching.


Admission Requirements

Admission Requirements (Regular)  

  • Bachelor's degree with a GPA of 2.80 or higher (Students with a GPA below 2.80 may apply for conditional admission)
  • Official transcripts from an accredited undergraduate institution
  • International Graduate Applicants

Conditional Admission Requirements

  • Conditional Admission may be granted with the following modifications of the Regular Admissions Requirements:
    • Bachelor's degree with a GPA under 2.80 will be reviewed for a decision

Provisional Admission:
Applicants who have provided unofficial documentation of test scores, prerequisite courses, transcripts or lack of letter(s) of recommendation may be admitted provisionally.

This policy also applies to undergraduate students who apply for graduate admission pending bachelor degree completion. Upon receipt of all official documents, a student will be changed from Provisional Admission to either Regular Admission or Conditional Admission. Provisional Admission students may take classes for one term but will not be eligible for Federal Financial Aid.

Program Requirements

    • Depending on the area of certification chosen, the department will provide guidance if any foundation undergraduate courses need to be completed before applying for student teaching
  • Clearances:  Students are responsible for updating clearances annually through the Office of Field Experience.  In addition, clearances must be on file before applying for student teaching  - Acts 24, 34, 114, and 151

How to Apply:

School of Graduate Studies and Research
California University of Pennsylvania
Box 91
250 University Ave. 
California, PA 15419 

For additional information:
Phone: 724-938-4187

Out of State Students:
All students who will be seeking certification outside of Pennsylvania are responsible for securing and following the certification requirements in the state in which they intend to apply for certification.

Related Programs


A social studies teacher from Cal U stands in front of a map.

Professors with First-Hand Knowledge

Study best practices in social studies teaching with our experienced faculty. For example, Dr. Michael Perrotti has 15 years of teaching experience in public schools, including time serving as chair of the social studies department.

A social studies teacher in front of the classroom.

Course Spotlight: Teaching of Social Studies

Coordinate your knowledge of the social studies disciplines (history, geography, civics and government, economics, anthropology, psychology and sociology) with a range of teaching strategies for grades 7-12. Emphasis is given to the design, delivery and assessment methods that meet Pennsylvania academic standards for social studies education.

A Cal U student rides his bike on campus.

On-campus Summer Residency

Get face-to face instruction, interact with your peers and teach sample lessons during an intensive two-day summer residency for Cal U secondary education graduate students.


Social Studies Certification Faculty

Dr. Keith Hepner

View profile
Dr. Marcia Hoover
Professor; field coordinator, Department of Secondary Education and Administrative Leadership

View profile
Dr. Connie Monroe
Professor and chair, Department of Secondary Education and Administrative Leadership

View profile
Dr. Susan Morris-Rutledge
Associate Professor and ESL Program Coordinator

View profile
Dr. Michael Perrotti
Coordinator of Graduate Secondary Ed Programs and Associate Professor

View profile
Dr. Joseph Zisk
Professor; director, Teaching and Learning Center

View profile

Please Note: All students who will be seeking licensure/certification outside of Pennsylvania should consult the State Authorization web page for more information.