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Social Studies

The Social Studies option is designed to support your growth and content understanding as an educator. This program helps you prepare to teach children in all subjects in grades four through six and Social Studies in grades six through eight. The Middle Level Social Studies option is informed by guidelines recommended by the National Council for the Social Studies. The Social Studies option also uses the Penn State Teacher Education Performance Framework to guide the instruction and learning of its courses.

Student teacher reading text book

Major Requirements

As a student interested in the Social Studies options, you will typically take general education courses during your first two years. During this time, you will work to complete the Entrance to Major (ETM) requirements. By doing so, you will be eligible as a candidate for the MLVED program that you will apply to during your fourth semester.

Upon entrance to the program, you will take the courses that will help solidify your understanding of the teaching and learning of middle level students. This includes courses in Arts and Literacy as well as the first of two Social Studies methods courses. 

Field Experiences and Student Teaching

Throughout the program, you will have the opportunity to gain valuable classroom experience as a student teacher. In your first or second year, you will participate in a supervised field experience of approximately 60 hours in a middle level classroom. This experience is intended to introduce you to classroom observation and teaching as a career. 

In your final year in the program, you will enroll in the "Integrated Inquiry Block," which includes a field experience that is a part-time apprenticeship in a fifth-grade classroom. Also in this Block, you will take methods courses in math, science and social studies, as well as a general course in classroom management and teaching middle level students. 

Lastly, you will participate in a full-time student-teaching experience in a middle level grade classroom under the guidance of a certified, experienced mentor teacher and a University supervisor. 

The part of the program I enjoyed the most was the opportunity I had on a nearly daily basis to interact with other educators. Starting with the very first classes I took in the major, to the methods classes, and finishing with the time spent student teaching, I have had so many great and enlightening conversations with my peers and professors. They have opened my eyes to thinking about education, teaching, and learning. The middle school program and the people who work to build it do a lot to foster this kind of environment. 
Katherine Kraky, class of 2014

Graduation and Certification

Upon successful completion of all requirements for graduation, you will receive a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree in Middle Level Education with an emphasis in Social Studies. For teacher certification, you must also meet all clearance and testing requirements specified by the Pennsylvania Department of Education. If you who plan to teach outside of Pennsylvania, you can have your credentials transferred to other states. 

Many US states and territories require professional licensure/certification to be employed. If you plan to pursue employment in a licensed profession after completing this program, please visit the Professional Licensure/Certification Disclosures by State interactive map.


Graduates have often been successful in securing teaching positions in public and private schools in Pennsylvania, much of the eastern seaboard, and nationwide. Though hiring for Social Studies teaching positions can be competitive, you can benefit from the excellent reputation of Penn State's teacher education programs for producing top-quality teachers that school employers seek. 

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