Social Studies Teacher Certification

For additional information consult the major department and the Department of Professional and Secondary Education.


The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania grants a secondary social studies certificate enabling the holder to teach comprehensive social studies in public schools. West Chester University's program is accredited by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, the National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS), and the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE). Certification programs are offered in conjunction with the B.A. programs in geography, history, and political science as well as the Department of Professional and Secondary Education. (Certification-only programs are not available at this time for those already holding a baccalaureate degree since enrollment is capped.) For information, contact the major department and the Department of Professional and Secondary Education.

Program of Study

This program is designed to assure that prospective social studies teachers possess the knowledge, capabilities, and dispositions associated with the concepts, tools of inquiry, and structures of the disciplines that make up the social studies, and that they are able to create learning experiences that make these aspects of the subject matter meaningful for learners. The course of study emphasizes ten NCSS-thematic strands:

  • Culture and cultural diversity
  • Time, continuity, and change
  • People, places, and environment
  • Individuals, groups, and institutions
  • Power, authority, and government
  • Production, distribution, and consumption
  • Science, technology, and society
  • Global connections
  • Civic ideals and practices
  • Individual development and identity

Prospective teachers must complete subject-matter courses in history and social sciences that make up no less than 40 percent of a total four-year or extended preparation program with a major of 21 hours in either geography, history, or political science.


See the Educator Preparation Programs section of this catalog for information about common requirements.



SSC 331 Teaching Citizenship Education (3) Methods and materials of teaching social studies for prospective secondary school teachers. Emphasis is on combining educational theory with social studies content for effective teaching. Exercises and practical application. Enrollment is restricted to those who will be student teaching the next semester. Permission to waive this policy may be granted by the Department of History chairperson. PREREQ: EDS 306. Writing emphasis course.