5 Best Grad Schools with Online Master’s in Social Studies

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Updated: March 13, 2024, Reading time: 15 minutes

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Social Studies is an important branch of study because it teaches students about cultures, events, and places in the world. An online master’s in Social Studies is an excellent academic path to take if you plan on rising to leadership positions in secondary school teaching or transitioning to a specialized subject for teaching.

It is one of the most competitive endorsement areas for teachers to have a master’s degree in Social Studies!

There are many job opportunities for Social Studies master’s graduates. The study of Social Studies can provide you with valuable and transferable skills that can enhance your employment prospects. If you’d like to try a variety of positions or want to be flexible in your career choices, this education may be useful.

The study of Social Studies investigates the characteristics, settings, and institutions of society. After graduation, you can acquire jobs like a sociologist or high school teacher. 


In an online master’s degree in Social Studies, students explore a wide range of social issues, movements, and developments, as well as a variety of contexts and group structures. The majority of master’s programs in Social Studies are focused on teacher preparation and teaching.

Typically, MA programs provide interdisciplinary training. Most Social Studies students specialize in one area of study to focus their studies. Some concentrations available for Social Studies are economics, anthropology, sociology, or political science. 


Many schools offer Master’s in Social Studies degrees, so it’s important to research and make the right selection! Each of the Social Studies master’s programs on our list stands out with these academic features:

Read our Methodology section.

Grad School Center is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

5 Best Master’s of Social Studies

SUNY Brockport

SUNY Brockport

Brockport, NY

Online Master of Social Studies

Brockport, New York’s State University of New York Brockport, or SUNY Brockport, is a public institution. The Brockport Collegiate Institute was established in 1835 as the predecessor to SUNY Brockport. SUNY Brockport is an accredited, nationally recognized, and prestigious public university. It offers an online Master of Social Studies. 

Standout Features:

Improve your critical thinking abilities and your teaching perspective as you study for an online master’s in Social Studies. They offer three options that lead to basic or professional certification in Social Studies. Students are required to possess a bachelor’s degree or 30 history credits before they can apply. Applicants must have a degree in education and an NYS teaching certificate in Social Studies for grades 7-12. This curriculum can lead to a professional credential.

Did You Know?

The SUNY Brockport campus offers a diverse learning environment that promotes excellence through expansion, involvement, and change. The University of New York at Brockport works every day with its students to develop their potential for creativity, growth, and learning.

SUNY Brockport promotes institutional performance and responsibility through a wide range of departments, programs, and connections. Their mission is to provide a variety of public information sources so people can make informed decisions based on the evidence and the University’s Strategic Plan.

University of Missouri-Columbia

University of Missouri-Columbia - Online

Columbia, MO

Online Master of Social Studies

The University of Missouri in Columbia consists of four campuses in the University of Missouri System, making it the largest university in the state! The first public university west of the Mississippi, the University of Missouri was established in 1839.

Standout Features:

The University of Missouri offers an online master’s degree in Social Studies education, which is focused on developing your knowledge and teaching skills. It might be right for you if you want to have a meaningful conversation about how theory and research might influence how you teach Social Studies. The program is delivered entirely online, so campus visits are not required. 

Did You Know?

If you have any questions regarding online education or the application process, Missouri Online is happy to help. They can introduce you to the lecturers and tutors who provide top-notch on-campus and online education. The secret to their identity is that they are the same. It is now possible for you to progress professionally, open doors, and boost your confidence with these credentials.

New York University Steinhardt

New York University Steinhardt

New York, NY 

Online Master of Social Studies

NYU Steinhardt, which was established in 1890 as the country’s first school of pedagogy, now works to improve the education, health, and well-being of people and communities all around the world. They accomplish this through encouraging knowledge, innovation, and creativity at the nexus of culture, education, and human development.

The Steinhardt School, which is situated in Greenwich Village on the original campus of NYU, offers an online Master of Social Studies.

Standout Features:

This Master’s in Social Studies will let you learn the skills necessary to work with pupils from various walks of life and with different learning requirements. Your cohort of peers mirrors this dedication to diversity. They represent a range of academic, private, and professional experiences and backgrounds with their teacher residents.

Did You Know?

Their mission is to provide a comprehensive understanding of human development throughout the lifespan and provide a comprehensive view of the human experience. They collaborate, innovate, and foster a spirit of multidisciplinary collaboration across 11 departments, 13 research centers, and institutes for students and faculty.

University at Buffalo

University at Buffalo - Department of Learning and Instruction

Buffalo, NY

Online Master of Social Studies

University at Buffalo, sometimes called SUNY Buffalo, is a public research university in the United States, and they have physical schools in Amherst and Buffalo. In 1846, the college was established as a private medical school, and it joined the State University of New York system in 1962. One of its famous offerings is its master’s in education, and Social Studies Education is a popular choice for many graduate students.

Standout Features:

Their master’s program in Social Studies education will provide you with a critical analysis of historical and current issues in the subject as a foundation for developing a student-centered and inquiry-based curriculum. It is also possible to enhance your teaching skills while developing your knowledge in technology, writing, literacy, and content knowledge.

The program is designed for teachers who teach secondary schools or plan to teach there and want to prepare for initial and professional certification in New York.

Did You Know?

The University’s Graduate Student Association represents graduate students and aims to represent and provide services. The Association staff is paid with money from the Mandatory Student Fee, which is also used to pay for a variety of programs or services offered by the Graduate Student Association.

Penn State World Campus

Pennsylvania State University - College of Education

State College, PA 

Online Master of Social Studies

The University of Pennsylvania is a public land-grant research institution, and it has many campuses all over Pennsylvania. Penn State started in 1855 as the Farmers’ High School of Pennsylvania, becoming the state’s only land-grant institution in 1863. One of the master’s degrees they have is an online Master of Social Studies. 

Standout Features:

The Master of Education degree helps working teachers increase their qualifications and professional knowledge. Students pursuing a master’s degree select courses with guidance from a faculty adviser that will enhance their knowledge of K–12 Social Studies curriculums, teaching and learning, and educational research.

Students must write academic papers before graduation in order to achieve their Master’s degrees. The subjects covered in these graduate courses are related to Social Studies. There are some seminars offered online and others that are held on campus. They offer most of their courses online, which is feasible for students in both their online and residential graduate programs.

Did You Know?

The College of Education runs its programs and activities according to its vision, mission, goals, values, and beliefs. The policies are periodically reviewed and, if necessary, changed. Penn State’s College of Education’s goal is to advance knowledge about the development and use of human capabilities.

By integrating teaching and learning, pursuing research and scholarship, and engaging in service and outreach, the college strives to become a global leader.

4 Possible Jobs for Master’s in Social Studies Graduates

1. Probation Officer

It is the main responsibility of probation officers to ensure that offenders are meeting the requirements set by a judge while on probation. They have to monitor probationers’ actions and report on their progress, so they schedule meetings with them and visit them at their homes, workplaces, and educational institutions.

During probation, probation officers provide training and treatment for probationers. After graduating with a master’s degree in Social Studies, you can apply all the theories and skills and be better in your role as a probation officer. 

2. Librarian

Librarians use their professional knowledge of information science to operate and organize a variety of libraries, including community libraries, school libraries, and government libraries. They supervise library staff, arrange their collection of books, and assist customers who use the library for enjoyment, work, or research.

Library librarians conduct research on publishing trends, order new materials, develop and direct educational activities for both children and adults, and catalog the library’s stock.

3. Journalist

Reporters are responsible for researching and writing about events for the public’s benefit. Their skills include researching, attending events, interviewing witnesses, and producing pieces. Journalists are responsible for providing accurate, factual, and well-researched information to the public.

4. Police Officer

The main job of police officers is to respond swiftly to emergencies and prosecute offenders. They respond to 911 calls, engage in crimes, secure crime scenes, investigate crimes, and protect the public.

Police officers interview witnesses, reports are written, crime scenes are examined, evidence is gathered, and testimonies are given in court. A master’s degree in social studies can help you with this role or get you promoted to a higher position in the police station. 

Benefits of Studying Social Studies

1. Improve Critical Thinking

Students can develop critical thinking skills while studying various aspects of Social Studies, including comprehending the connections between concepts, constructing logical arguments, taking prudent risks, and reflecting objectively on others’ beliefs and values.

These abilities enable them to analyze historical decisions and weigh their advantages and disadvantages. Perhaps they will reflect on how they might have handled particular circumstances differently and how society might have changed if decision-makers had acted differently.

It is also possible for learners to draw on their understanding of previous decisions when making wise decisions concerning more pressing concerns.

2. Increase Civic Awareness

Students learn in Social Studies classes that they are members of a society that needs structure to function effectively. It begins in elementary school when children establish classroom rules and adhere to them.

The learning process continues as they get older and learn about the various departments of government, how elections work, and how people live together in a legal society. It is common for school curricula to compare the United States government with other governments so that students will be able to use their critical thinking abilities to assess differences between them.

3. Broaden Spatial Awareness

The physical world may be more accurately understood by students who study Social Studies. In Social Studies classes, there will always be discussions about events and which places these happened. With better spatial awareness, they can calculate the distance between their locations and other nations around the world.

In addition, it may inspire students to perform research about other parts of the world using magazines, movies, photographs, and interactive maps.

4. Enhance Cultural Sensitivity

Various cultures can be better understood through Social Studies lessons. Using sociological and anthropological theories, learners can discover the cultural differences between different places around the world while studying the physical geography of those places.

Movies, interactive maps, talks, and photos allow students to experience other cultures, increasing their likelihood of interacting meaningfully with people of diverse backgrounds.

Online Master's in Social Studies - fact

Frequently Asked Questions

What can graduates do with their Master’s degree in Social Studies?

A master’s degree in Social Studies can lead to a variety of academic and professional prospects for students. They may work as professors, executives, or team leaders in organizations. In a number of disciplines, including political science, sociology, and economics, graduates have the option of earning doctorate degrees.

Additionally, they could start as political scientists, economists, or sociologists. They have the option of pursuing training in fields including curriculum and instruction or educational administration. There are also options to concentrate on other related studies.

What kind of income can graduates expect if they get a Master’s in Social Studies?

The BLS reports that master’s degree holders in Social Studies can expect to make a competitive salary. The US Labor Statistics Bureau estimates that people with master’s degrees in the United States earn an average of $1,574 per week or $81,848 per year. However, many other factors can influence the salary range. A master’s in Social Studies can lead to different job roles, after all. Hence, the income range can vary accordingly. 

Is a Social Studies Master’s degree worthwhile?

Yes, it’s worthwhile. A master’s degree in Social Studies is quite advantageous for both professionals and students. In these programs, students have a range of specialty options. Students who decide to continue their studies after graduation have a variety of alternatives in addition to this freedom.

Additionally, a flexible training plan can open up a wide range of career options, such as jobs in business, teaching, and research and development. Earning a degree online, which provides customizable and accessible teaching, has other advantages. Students can maintain a healthy work-life balance thanks to the flexibility of online learning.

Are graduates in Social Studies in high demand?

Yes. There is a high demand for Social Studies master’s degree holders across a wide range of professions. For instance, the Bureau of Labor Statistics forecast that biological, physical, and social sciences occupations will grow significantly in the next decade. For high school teachers, there will be 67,000 job openings every year. Hence, enrolling in a master’s in social science is a solid plan for entering the education sector. 

Key Takeaways

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