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MEd in Curriculum & Instruction: Social Studies

Social studies today can’t just be about memorizing war dates or essays on the Louisiana Purchase. Of course, that’s part of it — but to really prepare students to be empowered, active citizens of our interconnected world, great social studies instructors go beyond the textbook. In unique ways, they explain why social studies is important in modern times, and get students excited about class. Ready to build your usable toolkit of websites and lesson plans? Explore Concordia’s online MEd in Curriculum & Instruction: Social Studies (PreK–12) program.

The goal of our program is for you to develop a concrete understanding of the integration of the social studies curriculum with project-based learning. At the same time, we aim to invigorate the teaching of social studies professionals and energize students to work with history in a way that demonstrates the power of critical thinking in a globalizing world.

Accredited, nonprofit, and taught by practitioners, all of Concordia’s online MEd programs reflect the same meaningful experience we’ve been delivering on campus since 1905. The convenience of 100 percent online, clearly defined coursework — paired with realistic deadlines and the ability to immediately apply what you learn in your classroom — makes our programs ideal for busy lifestyles. And the potential career benefits — from higher pay to promotions — are second only to the reward of having an everlasting impact on the lives of your students.

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Yes! By submitting this form I ask to receive email, texts and calls about degree programs on behalf of Concordia University-Portland, and agree automated technology may be used to dial the number(s) I provided. I understand this consent is not required to enroll.

Step 1 of 3: What type of student are you?

Step 2 of 3: What would you like to study?

Step 3 of 3: Get info about this program

Yes! By submitting this form I ask to receive email, texts and calls about degree programs on behalf of Concordia University-Portland, and agree automated technology may be used to dial the number(s) I provided. I understand this consent is not required to enroll.
December 2nd
Program Length 1 Year
Credits 30 Credit Hours
Accreditation NWCCU
SCHOLARSHIPS* Up to $3,000
100% online
100% online (no in-person field work required)
One year
Earn your MEd in one year, one class at a time, with built-in breaks
Updated curriculum
Curriculum is up-to-date and relevant
Accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU)
Concordia is one of the most respected names in learning today
Positive career benefits
87% of our online MEd grads report positive career benefits as a result of their degree
20,000-strong alumni
20,000-strong alumni network
93% of our online MEd grads say they are satisfied with their overall academic program experience

MEd in Curriculum & Instruction: Social Studies Program Goals

In addition to meeting the objectives and requirements for the MEd in Curriculum & Instruction: Social Studies online degree program, successful candidates will also demonstrate:
Expertise in Evaluating Progress

Expertise in Evaluating Progress

Expertise in the utilization of new methods of authentic assessment and strategies as tools to evaluate student learning progress in relation to Oregon’s Common Core State Standards and specific district standards

Effective Instructional Skills

Effective Instructional Skills

Effective instructional skills in planning, implementing, and assessing instruction in settings that include diverse cultural populations and special needs students

Classroom Diversity Skills

Classroom Diversity Skills

An understanding of the ways that the specific curricular/instructional area has the potential to be responsive to classroom diversity

Moral Leadership

Moral Leadership

A clear understanding of the moral leadership required of them as advanced scholars in the chosen area of curriculum and instruction



The ability to modify instructional plans and promote alternative goals and strategies when necessary, particularly in relation to assessment results


The MEd in Curriculum & Instruction: Social Studies is a 30 credit-hour program

MEd in Curriculum & Instruction - Core Courses
12 credits

This course will provide teachers with the resources and skills necessary to integrate character themes and character development into their school curriculum. Course provides a forum in which to discuss and develop one's own moral perspectives on the basis of generally accepted criteria.

This course is designed to provide leaders with the latest psychological research about learning and guide them in exploring ways to directly apply these precepts to their current work setting. Topics include cognitive science, learning theory, and relevant teaching theories that utilize this information. The course fuses the latest biological and psychological understanding of how the brain learns so candidates can harness this knowledge and apply it directly to learning situations.

Course challenges candidates to confront the tremendous diversity in their current environment and develop strategies to build community in the midst of the social, ethnic, economic, and alternative lifestyle differences that permeate today's 21st century workplace. Course stresses the critical importance of creating community in the workplace and illustrates how that community can generate an efficient, supportive, and positive workplace.

Candidates identify, review, and analyze major trends and issues impacting the contemporary state and national educational scenes. Each class session provides students with an opportunity to evaluate the advantages and liabilities of current educational reforms and issues from the perspective of prevailing educational research as well as from their own personal beliefs and current work environment. Candidates will also consider how they can impact and influence change in their own workplace.


Please note: Completing a Master of Education degree program does not lead to state certification or licensure. The MEd is not designed or intended to lead in any way toward a teaching license, endorsement, or administrative credential.

MEd in Curriculum & Instruction - Social Studies
12 credits

This course is an opportunity for teachers to explore the work that is being done through incorporating Historical Thinking activities within the K-12 curriculum. Course participants will be challenged to examine their present content and assess where they could improve their practice through the inclusion of primary source materials, civic discourse protocols, or critical thinking schemes. Participants will engage in close reading of contemporary scholarship in history education.

This course addresses the wide range of resources that have become available by the web to augment teaching. Addresses how to access community programs like state historic sites and national museums in order to create engaging lessons. Candidates develop a rationale for integrating web-based resources into social studies curriculum while building a usable database of websites and lesson plans.

Candidates will explore the larger dynamics and questions regarding both the history of global inequality and the global society of today. This course, which will integrate anthropology, geography, and civics, will improve social studies instruction in K-12 by providing more engaging lessons while integrating the latest theory and knowledge regarding culture and globalization. Candidates will be able to enable their students to understand and appreciate diverse cultural groups while embracing the concept of global citizenship.

Candidates will learn how to enliven the Social Studies curriculum and meet the needs of a diverse group of participants. Integrating required benchmarks and standards, and using students’ interests and natural curiosity, learn to create an active learning community and raise academic expectations. Candidates will complete hands-on activities that mirror PK-12 practices. Develop understanding of both Social Studies curriculum integration and Project-Based Learning.

Please note: Completing a Master of Education degree program does not lead to state certification or licensure. The MEd is not designed or intended to lead in any way toward a teaching license, endorsement, or administrative credential.

Research Course 1
3 credits

This course provides students with the basic competencies necessary to understand and evaluate the research of others, and to plan their own research with a minimum of assistance. This course includes the basics of both qualitative and quantitative research.

The Master of Education culminates with the choice of either EDGR 698-Action Research or EDGR 696-Practitioner Inquiry. Either option provides candidates with an understanding of the role of research in the field of education as a tool to solve problems and as a way to improve student learning.


Research Course 2
3 credits   Select one of the following:

Practitioner Inquiry focuses on the reflective acts of the candidate as an educator seeking to improve teaching practice. Premised on the self-study research methodological traditions, Practitioner Inquiry provides the opportunity to reflect on teaching practice and generate improvements based on classroom observation. Practitioner Inquiry is focused on the educator and her/his own practices, developing skills of inquiry, observation, reflection, and action in teachers.

Prerequisites: EDGR 601 with a B- or higher

Candidates will learn more about the action research methodology, complete final edits of the literature review, and design a complete action research proposal including data collection methods and analysis approaches. During this course, the proposal will not be implemented with students/participants. This design provides candidates with the requisite skills and means to pursue the transformative practice called Action Research in their classroom, school, district or other work environment.

Prerequisites: EDGR 601 with a B- or higher

Please note: Completing a Master of Education degree program does not lead to state certification or licensure. The MEd is not designed or intended to lead in any way toward a teaching license, endorsement, or administrative credential.


In addition to fully online, Concordia offers several Master of Education programs in an on-campus or hybrid format. See the options here.

Is the MEd in Social Studies concentration right for me?

Consider choosing this path if:

  • You’re already a social studies teacher and want to develop your curriculum and instruction skills
  • You’re looking for ways to think outside the textbook and use other resources to engage students
  • You want to create a more active learning community through project-based social studies lessons

Still unsure? We know we offer a lot of programs! Let’s talk more about your professional and personal goals.

Child Learning
I think the program prepares you by providing an opportunity for you to understand who you are as a learner and who you are as a leader.
GASTON WOODLAND, JR., MEd in Curriculum & Instruction:
Social Studies '15


What makes this program so relevant today

Moral Understandings
Studying and evaluating historical events lead students to formulate their own moral understandings.

Cultural & Identity Awareness
Social studies helps students build cultural and identity awareness by exploring the historical, political, economic and social experiences of people across different cultures and locales.  

Students build an understanding of our nation’s governance systems, plus they explore methods for fighting injustice and being active citizens. Through social studies, young learners can develop informed opinions and ignite the spark that impacts change in their communities.

Political Awareness
In our tumultuous political climate, social studies plays an important role in informing students about our nation’s governmental systems, their rights and the evolution of world governments throughout history. This influences perpetual participation in civic actions like voting, protests, and advocacy throughout adulthood.

Critical Thinking
“Critical thinkers have a propensity to raise and explore questions about beliefs, claims, evidence, definitions, conclusions, and actions,” notes John J. Patrick in his piece Critical Thinking in the Social Studies. Students build critical thinking skills by interpreting, questioning, and assessing evidence found in primary and secondary source documents.  

Literacy Skills
There are tremendous literacy opportunities in a social studies classroom. “The one [practice] we all engage in as historians is reading,” said Hendrik Hartog in a Journal of American History roundtable. Reading and analyzing objects like source documents, images, charts, timelines, maps, and engaging with texts through document-based analysis is central to social studies.

Why Study History? by Peter N. Stearns, The American Historical Society, 1998; Can Teaching Civics Save Democracy? Ariana Figueroa, NPR

  • Teachers who specialize in social studies represent around 9% of the total teacher workforce, with the majority teaching in middle or high schools.
  • 55% of social studies teachers are male.
  • Social studies educators report working a bit more hours on teaching and other school-related activities (nearly 54 hours per week) than teachers in other subjects.
  • Nearly 34% of social studies teachers coach an athletic team, lead a physical education class, or perform both roles.
  • 40% of social studies teachers possessed an undergraduate major in history.

— 2011-12 Schools and Staffing Survey (SASS)

The primary purpose of social studies is to help young people make informed and reasoned decisions for the public good as citizens of a culturally diverse, democratic society in an interdependent world.
National Council for Social Studies (NCSS)

Through history, [students] can become more disciplined and rigorous thinkers. They can be challenged to be more independent-minded analysts, and, I would argue, more compassionate human beings—skills that historical study inculcates and that lead directly to life and career success.
America’s Students Need History—But Not for the Reasons You’re Hearing, Jason Steinhauer, Time Magazine

“The more you know about the past, the better you are prepared for the future.”
— Theodore Roosevelt

“We are not makers of history. We are made by history.” — Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

“A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots.”
— Marcus Garvey

“History cannot give us a program for the future, but it can give us a fuller understanding of ourselves, and of our common humanity, so that we can better face the future.” —Robert Penn Warren

“I know of no safer depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education.” —Thomas Jefferson

In our Social Studies concentration, you’ll learn how to use historical events and civics to stress the importance of relevant, contemporary issues with your students. You’ll know:

  • How to use social studies as a framework for understanding the relevance of historical occurrences.
  • How to integrate technology into your social studies curriculum.
  • Anthropology, geography, and civics for K-12 classrooms.
  • Project-based learning in the social studies classroom.


See where an MEd focused on social studies could take you

Planning to stay in your current teaching job? Many MEd graduates do! But in addition to potential benefits like increased salary and more self-confidence, an MEd could also expand your career opportunities within the education industry.

Potential careers include:

  • School and school district lead for project-based learning in social studies learning
  • Higher education instructor: PreK–12 social studies learning and teaching
  • Consultant/advisor in teaching social studies (PreK–12)
  • Professional development, social studies (PreK–12)
  • Social studies tutor
  • Program director, social studies (PreK–12)
  • Learning & teaching social studies (PreK–12) advisor to local, state, national policymakers
  • Curriculum director, social studies (PreK–12)
  • Division or department chair, social studies (PreK–12)
  • Lead grant writer, project-based learning in social studies

(Some states may require specific licensure for some of these positions. Check with your state’s Department of Education for more details.)

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