Teaching of Social Studies MA Initial

Master of Arts in the Teaching of Social Studies with Initial Teacher Certification

Become an equity-driven social studies teacher through this one-year program.  Earn your M.A. and recommendation for NYS Initial Certification (grades 7-12) through this graduate program.

This program values teacher who will be leaders in inquiry about the schools and the world, who commit to redressing inequities in education, and who are curriculum developers to meet the diverse needs of learners in their classrooms.  During the one-year cohort-based program, students take coursework in the teaching of social studies, pedagogical content courses, and required courses in literacy, psychology, and inclusive education. Students have a student teaching placement in the fall and spring in a NYC school.  This experience is supported by a mentor teacher, a teaching supervisor, teaching methods courses, and a student teaching seminar that connect the university and the classroom. The cohort model encourages the foundations of collegial relationships that sustain our students as they move into their teaching practice.

A graduate student has an animated conversation with his peers at TC.

Admissions Information

Master of Arts

  • Points/Credits: 38
  • Entry Terms: Summer/Fall


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  • NY State Initial: Social Studies 7-12

Application Deadlines

  • Spring: N/A
  • Summer/Fall (Priority): January 15
  • Summer/Fall (Final): Rolling

* For details about rolling deadlines, visit our admission deadlines page.

Supplemental Application Requirements/Comments

  • GRE General Test or MAT
  • Interview

Requirements from the TC Catalog

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This program requires a minimum of 38 points and an integrative project. It is designed for those with little or no experience teaching secondary social studies. Successful completion of this program of study leads to the M.A. degree and recommendation for New York State Initial Certification (grades 7-12). Student teaching is undertaken in cooperating middle and high schools, in the New York Metropolitan area. A committee of social studies faculty and cooperating professionals from the schools to which students are assigned to supervise and evaluate the student teacher’s work. 

In order to complete all degree requirements successfully, this program typically demands two terms of the academic year and two summer sessions, which can be taken in the same summer.

 The 38 points should be distributed as follows:

Social Studies Core Courses (9 points):

Required courses:

  • A&HW 4036 The teaching of social studies
  • A&HW 5037 Advanced methods of social studies curriculum
  • A&HW 5030 Diversity and the social studies curriculum

Social Studies Content Courses (10-12 points):

In consultation with an advisor, students should select courses to round out their knowledge of the subject matters taught in secondary schools. Content courses taken at Teachers College include attention to both content and pedagogy. Courses can also be taken at Columbia University. 

Professional Development Courses (6-9 points):

To satisfy the college’s breadth requirement students must take three Teachers College courses (for this purpose a course is defined as one in which 2 or 3 points are earned) outside the major program. For the purposes of certification, students must take a course in psychology with an adolescent focus, a three-point literacy course, and a course in inclusive or special education. Selected with advisor approval.

 Student Teaching (10 points):

  • A&HW 4530 Seminar for student teachers in social studies*
  • A&HW 4729 Observation in the social studies
  • A&HW 4730 Supervised student teaching in social studies**

*Students enroll for 2 points in both the fall and spring.

** Students enroll for 3 points in both the fall and spring.

 Further Requirements:

Students must complete an integrative master’s project. They must also satisfy the New York State certification requirement for study of a language other than English. (For additional requirements, please refer to the Teacher Education area of the Academic Resources section of this bulletin.)

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