Programs Preparing Social Studies Teachers

Live to Inspire.
Love to Teach.

Do you love history and the social sciences and want to make a difference in people's lives? Then consider becoming a social studies teacher.
Few careers give people the opportunity to impact individuals and their communities like teaching.  Can you think of a specific teacher who made a difference in your life?  Would you like to become that kind of teacher?  Social studies teachers are especially important today to help youth make sense of their world and become active and responsible citizens. 

Our teacher preparation programs offer the shortest path to NYS initial and professional teaching certifications and a guaranteed 50% tuition scholarship.
Guaranteed 50% Tuition Scholarship!Learn More About Our Scholarships

Program Quickview

All of the master's degree programs described below prepare candidates for NYS initial and professional teaching certification in Adolescence Education (Grades 7-12) as a Specialist in Social Studies and are offered at the graduate level only.

If you are interested in other social studies education programs, check our Related Programs.
Prerequisites (as required by NYS):
  • A minimum of 30 credits of coursework in social studies subjects, including at least 21 credits in history and geography of the United States and the world, and coursework that provides a background in economics and government.
  • Undergraduate degree in a liberal art (BA) or science (BS).
Key Program Features:
  • Meets All Coursework and Internship Requirements for BOTH Initial and Professional NYS Teaching Certification: In addition, you will need to pass the required state exams and complete the teaching requirements for professional certification.
  • Shortest Program: Preservice teachers can complete the program in 15 months of full-time study (if starting in summer); certified teachers seeking additional certification in social studies may require less time.
  • Focus on Social Studies Education: Includes three courses as well as internships (taken concurrently with methods courses) that are specific to social studies teaching and learning.  
  • Focus on Teaching ALL Students: Includes courses on diversity, students with disabilities, and English language learners (ELLs); these required courses may be transferred in for certified teachers.
  • Preparing for Technology-Rich Schools: Includes hybrid-online coursework in technology-rich teaching; options exist to take some courses online to experience this learning modality.
  • Option to Add Specializations: With only a few additional credits required, you can pursue additional NYS certifications or advanced certificates that can make strengthen your effectiveness with diverse learners and make you more marketable; see below for Opportunities for Additional Specializations.

Warner Programs that Prepare Social Studies Teachers

For Preservice Teachers with No Prior Teaching Certification
  • MS Program (TH3): 39 credits, including field experiences and two student teaching experiences.
  • MAT Program (TH4): 51 credits; same requirements as above plus 12 additional credits of graduate courses in history.
social studies and English cohort, faculty and students
Opportunities for Additional Specializations (with minimum additional credits required)
  • NYS Certification in Teaching Students with Disabilities in Adolescence: Prepares you to better serve students with differentiated learning needs while qualifying you to teach in inclusive classes.
  • NYS Extension to Teach Social Studies in Grades 5-6: Qualifies you to teach your subject with younger children.
  • Advanced Certificate in Urban Teaching and Leadership: Prepares you to teach and lead in racially, ethnically, and socioeconomically diverse urban settings.
  • Advanced Certificate in Digitally-Rich Teaching: Prepares you to make the best use of digital technology in your teaching.
  • NYS Certification in TESOL: Prepares you to better serve English language learners in your classes and qualifies you to teach ESOL courses.

Licensure in other states. Review licensure and certification requirements for Warner programs.

For Initially Certified Social Studies Teachers Seeking NYS Professional Certification
If you already have your NYS Initial Teaching Certification in Adolescence Education as a Specialist in Social Studies, and are seeking NYS Professional Teaching Certification in the same area, there are several Warner programs to help you achieve this goal. Most of these programs require only 30 credits of coursework and no internships. Check the requirements related to the option(s) that best apply to you from the program choices below:
Mayor Warren visiting a middle school classroom
For Certified Teachers in Areas Other than Social Studies Seeking Certification in Social Studies
If you already have your NYS teaching certification in another area of specialization, and are seeking an additional certification in secondary social studies, you will still need to meet the same prerequisites, but will have fewer requirements and internships to complete your program. The following Warner programs should meet your needs:
  • Advanced Certificate (NH2) : Fastest path; as few as 11 credits, including specialization courses plus 50 contact hours of field experiences.
  • MS Program (SH2): 32 credits, including 50 contact hours of field experiences; also leads to NYS professional teaching certification in your original area of certification.
teacher instructs students sitting around conference table

Our Approach

Creating Effective Social Studies Teachers Who Can Inspire and Lead Change.

Warner’s approach to social studies education reflects what we know about how young people think and learn and will prepare you to be an innovative teacher who can critically engage students with challenging social and historical dilemmas and lead change in education. To do this, it is essential that effective social studies teachers understand the importance of inquiry and public deliberation and action to students’ civic lives. At Warner, we prepare dedicated and knowledgeable teachers to strengthen these aims and connect them to effective teaching practices, in an effort to help students see social studies as open to investigation, relevant to them and their communities, and important to building a just society in an increasingly globalized world.
teacher working with student at desk
Learn More About Warner's Approach to Social Studies Education
Social studies education encompasses several disciplines, from history and geography to political science and economics. Our graduate programs prepare social studies teachers who will develop and use their disciplinary knowledge to support students in asking powerful questions and actively participating in dialogues about historical, political, economic, geographic, and social issues, in and beyond the classroom.
A central goal of our social studies education programs is to educate teachers who are purposeful in their work, know how to adapt their teaching to evidence of students’ learning, and can navigate the sociopolitical contexts of the educational institutions in which they work. They understand how diverse students productively interact with one another around the subject matter, and they facilitate those interactions powerfully. They also seek out and develop professional networks that help them work within school cultures, improve student learning opportunities, and advance dialogue in the field.
Throughout our programs, graduate students benefit from a truly collegial approach that supports and encourages them to continuously, cooperatively, and critically reflect on their own educational perspectives and teaching practices. The program is distinguished by its small learning community, its individualized attention from faculty, its reciprocity between coursework and fieldwork, and its emphasis on graduate students’ collective development of knowledge and practice. Throughout coursework and field experiences, our students bridge investigations of students’ thinking and their planning and teaching strategies with theory and research that support them. They also construct learning environments that emphasize the importance of literacy, writing, and discussion to social studies learning and teaching and integrate technology to support those objectives.
The program is committed to advancing equity and social justice as a framework for teaching. Warner graduates focus on providing traditionally underserved students with access to high-quality social studies educational opportunities. They understand how to develop appropriate curriculum and instructional strategies for meeting the diverse needs of all adolescents. And, they become teachers who are dedicated to helping students from every background develop to their fullest potential and succeed beyond high school.

The Warner Advantage

Preparing Graduates to Innovate, Advocate, and Elevate.

Our programs will help you stand out from other social studies teachers and prepare you to excel and advance in your career.
  • Become a social studies teacher who can create learning opportunities that are inviting and accessible for all students, engaging with cutting-edge research and educational innovations.
  • Be challenged to be an agent of change, who can effectively introduce new ideas and practices that will enhance students’ learning and address current inequities.
  • Leverage the reputation of a leading research university to strengthen recognition of your degree.
  • Network with the best and the brightest future colleagues.
  • Make yourself stand out when applying for teaching positions by pursuing additional specializations for a few additional credits.
  • Learn from an accessible, supportive faculty of researchers and accomplished practitioners who will prepare you to become adaptive experts in today’s K-12 schools.
  • Shorten your path to a doctoral degree by earning transferable credits.
While rigorous, Warner’s teacher preparation programs are both flexible and affordable.
  • Benefit from a guaranteed 50% scholarship.
  • Take advantage of online learning options that help reduce trips to campus.
  • Be ready to teach by the school year following enrollment, as the program can be completed in as little as 15 months, even by teachers new to the profession.

All About Experience

Your experience at Warner will be informed by the many research projects and community initiatives we are engaged in. In addition, you'll benefit from the experience of faculty that include nationally recognized researchers, award-winning authors and accomplished practitioners.

East High School Partnership

East High School Partnership

Our students have the opportunity to observe and learn from the reforming of an urban high school. As the Educational Partnership Organization (EPO) for East High School, we are overseeing a radical transformation affecting all aspects of the school – including the development of innovative social studies curricula and teaching practices, in collaboration with Program Director Kevin Meuwissen.

What's the Problem with Civility? sign

What's the Problem with Civility?

In a recent episode of the University of Rochester’s Quadcast podcast, Kevin Meuwissen, associate professor and program director for Social Studies, joined other University faculty to discuss how we bridge America’s social and political divide.

Expert in Political Thinking in Adolescents

Expert in Political Thinking in Adolescents

Program Director Kevin Meuwissen was recently awarded a Spencer Foundation grant to explore political thinking and learning in adolescents. This work will help to inform more effective civic education and prepare youth to be more active and informed participants in current national debates.

Career Opportunities

Advancing Education and Your Career to the Next Level.

Graduates of a Warner teacher preparation program in social studies will have the credentials needed to teach social studies in grades 7-12 in New York State (NYS) public schools and other states that recognize NYS teaching certification.

Unlike graduates of an undergraduate teacher preparation program, our graduates will have already met all the coursework requirements for NYS professional teaching certification. This means they will only be required to complete three years of teaching and some state exams in order to obtain this additional level of certification – a NYS requirement within five years of beginning a teaching job.

At the same time, some of our graduates have chosen to pursue careers other than teaching in K-12 public schools. These include teaching in private schools and other educational settings, including informal and after-school environments, community-based organizations, and private industry.
Warner graduate leaning against brick wall


An Accessible, Supportive Faculty of Researchers and Accomplished Practitioners.

Kevin Meuwissen Kevin Meuwissen, Ph.D.
Social Studies Teacher Preparation Program Director and Advisor
LeChase Hall 466
(585) 273-5940


Making Warner Affordable.

The Warner School of Education at the University of Rochester is pleased to offer a number of scholarships to eligible students who enroll in teacher preparation programs. These scholarships are made possible by federal grants as well as the generous support of donors, who are committed to the success of future teachers.

Byron Williams Teaching Scholarships – Guaranteed 50% Tuition Savings
All new students starting their master’s programs in teacher education leading to New York State teaching certification are guaranteed a minimum 50 percent tuition scholarship, provided they commit to teach in a United States school for a minimum of two years after graduation.

Vasquez in class at table with studnets

Try Us Out

Get a Taste of What Warner Has to Offer.

We invite you to visit one of our innovative instructional programs, including:
  • Horizons Summer Program: A 6-week full-day summer program for K-8 students from the city of Rochester that takes place on the University of Rochester campus, and provides its students with meaningful learning opportunities in an informal context.
  • East High: This Rochester City School District secondary school is undergoing major transformation under the oversight of the University of Rochester as an educational partnership organization.
Take A Course! You can also experience Warner as a non-matriculated student for a highly discounted price.

Contact admissions to arrange for a visit or learn more about opportunities for non-matriculated students.
East High administrators pose for a picture on the first day of school


Meliora means 'Ever Better.' To our graduates, it means making a world of difference.

  • Jeremy Friedman, Research Associate, Harlem Children

    “When it came time to interview for jobs, it was very easy for me to talk about anything in the field, and that set me apart,” he says. “You name it, and I had at least one experience in it—largely due to Warner.”

    Jeremy Friedman, Research Associate, Harlem Children's Zone, New York, NY

  • Dawn Santiago-Marullo, Superintendent, Victor, NY

    "The most important thing I received there was the opportunity to be immersed in the study of education and leadership with very talented people, that think-tank mentality of being surrounded by the best of the best. The intellectual stimulation from both the staff and fellow classmates really did allow me to think about things differently."

    Dawn Santiago-Marullo, Superintendent, Victor, NY

  • Beatriz M. Folch-Torres, MD, Rochester, NY

    “It was more than I expected. Not only what I learned in the program, which I’ve been able to put into practice every day since, but also the connections I was able to make and the relationships I was able to form."

    Beatriz M. Folch-Torres, MD, Rochester, NY

  • Laura Van Laeken, Teacher, Midlakes, NY

    "The growth I’ve realized in myself is something I will be forever grateful for. I’ve learned to question, analyze, think and create in ways I never considered. I’ve changed as an educator and as a person."

    Laura Van Laeken, Teacher, Midlakes, NY

  • Jody Goodman, Program Director, UMass Amherst

    “As educators, it’s our job to make sure we’re giving students the knowledge to be successful when they move on in their life….Warner was the best grad school experience I’ve ever had because it prepared me extremely well to jump into my career, and I will forever be grateful for that.”

    Jody Goodman, Program Director, UMass Amherst

  • Shannon Walton, Sports Performance Counselor, Rochester, NY

    “I had a very unique situation. I wasn’t going down the typical path of a Warner student, and the school was just so flexible and supportive.”

    Shannon Walton, Sports Performance Counselor, Rochester, NY

Contact Admissions

The admissions team looks forward to assisting you as you explore graduate education at the Warner School. Please feel free to use the form below to contact us with any questions. You can also email us at or call (585) 275-3950.

Application Deadlines

The next application deadline is June 01, 2023. View all  Admissions Deadlines.

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