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M.Ed. and Initial Teaching License in Social Studies Education


Earn a license to teach social studies for students in grades 5-12. Our license is easily transferable to other states and our candidates are sought after by local school districts. This is a post-baccalaureate (graduate-level), full-time, 13-month program.

Master of Education

This program includes two components: initial licensure to be a social studies teacher in Minnesota and a master of education (M.Ed.) degree. The Department of Curriculum and Instruction offers our teacher preparation programs at the graduate level because it affords you the opportunity to master your content knowledge through your undergraduate degree and focus on being a teacher in a shortened graduate program before being placed in a real classroom.

Combining an M.Ed. with your teaching license offers the following advantages:

  • Teachers with a master's degree are regarded as experts in their field, making you a more competitive job candidate with an M.Ed.
  • Teachers who have a master's degree will see a roughly $7,000 annual salary increase [].
  • Though the salary increase with a master's degree will vary by district and state, Minnesota teachers are on the higher end of the payscale. The mean Minnesota teacher salary in 2019 was $64,790 for middle school teachers and $64,690 for high school teachers [BLS].
  • Once a teacher is employed, there is much more mobility that comes with a master's degree. Teachers with advanced degrees can be promoted to school administration positions and can become mentors to other teachers based upon their graduate training.


The initial teaching licensure coursework is offered in a full-time, 13-month, post-baccalaureate format integrating educational theory with classroom practice. Courses start in the summer and finish the following summer. After completing the licensure coursework, you just need to earn three more credits (one course) to get your M.Ed.

Unique Cohort and Co-Teaching Model

You will be placed in a classroom with an experienced teacher as part of your educational experience. With ample opportunity to co-teach with a master teacher, you'll merge the theory of your coursework with the complex and compelling realities of the classroom to enter your career with confidence and experience in the field. Learn more about the co-teaching experience.

Our graduate program is designed to foster a community of support. You will join a cohort of candidates who want to become social studies teachers and be paired with experienced teachers to complete your fieldwork, entering the classroom prepared to teach.

"You build such strong connections with people who are on the same career path. My colleagues in the cohort push my thinking and growth as much as my professors."

— Paul Glembocki, M.Ed. 2017

Teacher Scholars of Color program

Do you identify, or are you identified, as a non-majority racial group? Consider participating in the Teacher Scholars of Color program. Students admitted to the M.Ed. and initial teaching license have the opportunity to join a community of prospective teachers of color and get paired with a faculty mentor. International students are also welcome to this program. Find out more about the TSoC program.

Career Outlook

100 percent of the 2018-2019 social studies cohort found employment in the field within a year of graduation.

The annual mean salary for Minnesota teachers in 2019 was $64,790 for middle school teachers and $64,960 for high school teachers [Bureau of Labor Statistics].


To look at the core curriculum and electives for the program, visit the University course catalog Teaching M.Ed. page and scroll down to see the Social Studies program.

In order to be recommend for your Minnesota 5-12 Social Studies teaching license, you must successfully complete these licensure requirements required by the state of Minnesota.

Admissions Information

Priority deadline to apply: December 15

Social Studies teacher candidates are expected to have with significant completed coursework in one or more of the following areas to choose as a concentration: American history, anthropology, applied economics/economics, geography, history, political science, psychology, and sociology. Look online at the prerequisite list by concentration area.

To ensure you have the required prerequisites to enter the program, please get your transcript pre-checked by the academic advisor Drew Hatton before applying. A bachelor's degree and 2.80 GPA are required.

DirecTrack to Teaching: For current freshmen and sophomores at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities campus, DirecTrack to Teaching offers a preferred admission to the M.Ed. and Initial licensure program. If you are a freshman or sophomore interested in teaching, visit the DirecTrack page.

Consider adding the Racial Justice in Urban Schooling minor or Teach English as a Second Language (TESL) minor to explore teaching while you are in your undergraduate major.

For detailed admission information and tuition information on the M.Ed. and Initial Teaching License program visit our admissions page.

Taylor Lipo Zovic

"As soon as I decided I wanted to go back to school for education, this program was my top choice. I was drawn to the accelerated pace, the full-time approach, the cohort model, and the outcomes for graduates."

Taylor Lipo Zovic, M.Ed. 2019, Social Studies teacher at Hopkins North Junior High, Fall 2019