Ed.M. in Social Studies Education

    Program Overview

    The Ed.M. in Social Studies Education program at the GSE is designed for certified teachers who seek a more comprehensive, empirically motivated understanding of social studies education. While teacher certification is not required for admission into the program, applicants commonly already have a certificate and are actively teaching, and continue their teaching careers while completing the required coursework. In addition to foundational courses in social studies education and curriculum analysis, and in alignment with the GSE’s mission, the program challenges students to think critically about individual student experiences and identities, and their effect on classroom learning and student development. Students will explore topics including the anthropology of education, gender and education, civic learning, the history and philosophy of education, and race, ethnicity, and equity in education, among others. This program is well suited to students with career interests in teaching, curriculum, and educational research at the elementary, secondary, and college levels.

    This is a non-certification program and does not include coursework resulting in a NJ school personnel license. 

    Program Goals as of 2022-2023
    (Last updated: 7/19/2022)


    • Students will develop familiarity with the field of K-12 social studies: its history, purposes, major ideas and debates, key approaches, and best practices.  
    • Students will develop analyses of how history and social studies are taught, the perspectives built into different approaches to organizing and teaching history and social studies, and the relationship between social studies, history, and democratic citizenship. 
    • Students will develop understanding of how social studies curriculum and pedagogy can support equity and justice.   
    • Social Studies Education students will learn how to meaningfully connect history and social studies to their own students’ lives and to contemporary events so that young people can better understand themselves as members of a diverse democracy.   
    • Students will learn to use inquiry approaches, primary source materials, and interactive pedagogies such as discussion and group work.  
    • Social Studies Education students will learn how to guide their own students in investigating and interpreting the past and discussing critical issues.  
    • Social Studies Education students will learn how to support their own students to hone their analytical and discourse skills.   

    Communication/Community Building 

    • Students will participate in local, professional, and scholarly communities through communication and collaboration (e.g., research, presentations, and service).   
    • Students will develop strategies for communicating and collaborating with students, families, community members, and other educators to support inclusive learning environments that empower each learner to meet high standards. 

    Social Justice (Urban Education Teacher Preparation) 

    • Students will examine social justice issues and collaboratively promote educational equity in educational settings, where diverse backgrounds and perspectives (educational, cultural, personal, social, economic) are an integral part of the learning experience, by exploring and addressing them in intentional and meaningful ways.  

    Research/Professional Practice 

    • Students will examine research and professional resources to inform their practice and address problems of practice, as well as interpret and evaluate studies and resources in professional areas of interest, which may lead to the disruption of traditional structures, norms, and expectations.   


    • Students will evaluate, identify, and use developmentally and disciplinarily appropriate models and approaches to effectively design and implement assessment of learning and teaching.  

    Professional Development/Self-Reflection 

    • Students will capitalize on opportunities for continuous professional learning and development, including reflective self-inquiry, in order to contribute to and improve their practice and the teaching profession.  

    For more information about this program:

    Program Details

    Application Deadline

    Feb 1 / Nov 1

    Entry Term(s)

    Fall / Spring

    Program Level


    Program Type






  • What You’ll Learn

    Students enrolled in this program will explore topics within the specified area of study including social studies curriculum development and analysis, the materials, methods, and assessments for teaching social studies at different grade levels, and the various socioeconomic influences and experiences that can impact student learning and development as they related to social studies education. Students are also required to take a minimum of two elective courses outside of the GSE, encouraging deeper exploration into subjects including Africana Studies, anthropology, American Studies, Latino and Hispanic Caribbean studies, economics, geography, history, political science, and sociology.

    For more information about the courses in this program, please visit the course catalog and online schedule of classes.

  • Program Requirements

    This program typically takes 2 years to complete and includes:

    • 30 Graduate Course Credits
      • 18 Credits – Required Core Courses
      •   6 Credits – GSE Elective Courses
      •   6 Credits – Outside Elective Courses*
    • Comprehensive Exam
      • All students are required to pass a comprehensive examination during the final semester of their study. This exam is crafted by program faculty to reflect the coursework of each individual student

    Accepted students have 5 years to complete the program.

    *At least 2 courses outside the GSE in fields related to social studies content. These content areas typically include, but are not limited to: Africana Studies, anthropology, American Studies, Latino and Hispanic Caribbean studies, economics, geography, history, political science, and sociology

  • Careers and Outcomes

    Given the various professional applications of the cultural competencies developed through completion of the coursework, graduates of the Ed.M. in Social Studies Education program may pursue a number of roles in various settings and contexts. Students who already hold teacher certification often leverage their Ed.M. degree for career advancement at their current place of work, pursuing school-based roles such as administrators, curriculum development specialists, program coordinators, or leadership positions. Students who are not certified to teach in public schools may seek opportunities in other informal teaching settings such as museums, libraries, and learning centers. Upon conferral of their degree, graduates will also be well-positioned to continue their research at private, nonprofit, or government organizations, or through application and admission to doctoral-level degree programs.

  • Admissions Requirements
    • Personal Statement 
    • 3 Letters of Recommendation
    • Official Undergraduate Transcripts
    • Graduate Transcripts (if applicable)
  • How to Apply
    1. Collect the materials required for admission
    2. Submit your application online at http://gradstudy.rutgers.edu/
    3. Submit supporting materials online or by mail to the Graduate Admissions Office:

    Office of Graduate and Professional Admissions
    Rutgers. The State University of New Jersey
    56 Bevier Rd, ASB Annex I
    Piscataway, NJ 08854, U.S.A.

    Download the complete guide on how to apply for the Ed.M. in Social Studies Education program at the Rutgers University Graduate School of Education.

  • Tuition & Financial Assistance


    For tuition and fees information please visit the tuition landing page.

    Financial Aid:

    While students are encouraged to apply for federal student aid using the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), there are a number of other merit- and need-based support options, including loans and college work-study programs within and external to Rutgers. For more information, please visit the Office of Financial Aid website.

    Scholarships, Fellowships & Assistantships:

    Generous GSE alumni, friends, and community members have established and continue to donate to more than one dozen fellowships and scholarships to help deserving students reach their goals. These awards are granted on the basis of academic achievement and or financial need. While these awards are competitive, interested students are encouraged to apply for consideration and submit the required materials. Students must also submit a FAFSA application to be eligible.  

    To review all current awards and learn more about the donors that established them, please click here.

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