- About the Program
- Apply Now
- Faculty and Staff
- ICSS Conference & Professional Development Opportunities
- Job Resources
The content knowledge, critical thinking, writing, and analytical skills of this major prepare you for a host of professional options beyond the high school classroom, whether in graduate school or a host of varied careers.
Make the world a better place, starting in your own classroom. Become a high school social studies teacher.
Good social studies teachers help build a better world by broadening students’ knowledge of human history and behavior, and they equip students to better understand the choices we make and have made—individually, as a community, as a democracy, and as a global community.
Your ability to change the world for the better starts in our classrooms at Eastern Illinois University, where you can take courses that encompass the diversity of human experience and in all of the social studies disciplines. Within our program you can earn an endorsement in another social studies subject – or even add an interdisciplinary minor. Our students enter high school classrooms as early as freshman year, and throughout the program we embed rich clinical and professional development experiences that mean students are well prepared for student teaching and with a network of creative and passionate social studies teachers. Be part of a cohort that is the perfect size – small enough for you to get personal attention, but big enough that you will leave with an array of supportive colleagues and professors.
The Annual History and Social Studies Teachers Conference will be on hiatus for 2019-2020. Please plan to join us on Friday, November 6, 2020 for our next conference, and be on the lookout for a call for presenters in late spring 2020! Questions? Contact Bonnie Laughlin-Schultz, Conference Chair, at email@example.com.
The statewide (and nationwide) teacher shortage means now is the ideal time to go into teaching social studies. The College of Education reports an overall 96% plus placement rate six months out from graduation, and the Illinois State Board of Education believes that – above any retirement numbers – an additional 20,000-24,000 educators will be needed through 2020. Both Chicago Public Schools and schools in rural Illinois are feeling the pinch. EIU is working with a Rural Schools Partnership to target downstate areas with a teacher shortage, and students are invited to such events as the Rural Schools Networking night as early as freshman year. Additionally, our degree program prepares majors to excel in a wide variety of other careers! Career preparation is built into our undergraduate program where students can complete internships and where we host a yearly History Careers Day showcasing how our alumni are utilizing their history degrees.
Our program gives students a firm foundation with rich coursework in teaching methodology and in coursework in all of the social studies subjects. Students concentrate in history, equipping themselves to teach the state-mandated U.S. history course as well as world and other history courses. Students take coursework in all the other social science fields (economics, geography, political science, psychology, and sociology-anthropology) and leave prepared to teach the state-mandated Civics course and other electives. Students can select and customize the program to earn an endorsement in a second social studies area, or they can use the two electives built into the program to work towards an interdisciplinary minor.
Students are out in classrooms and becoming professionals from the beginning of their time here. Clinical experiences begin in one of the first education courses students take, SED 2000, and continue in a scaffolded way all the way to student teaching. Students are mentored in engaging in professional development through participation in our annual conference for middle level and high school social studies teachers (held the first Friday in November), through our work with the McCormick Foundation and Facing History and Ourselves, and through experiences embedded into the program. For example, in spring 2019 SOS 3400 students hosted a Civic Engagement forum for 80 students from 8 high schools around the state.
History-Teacher Licensure majors receive individual attention from faculty throughout the program. They are advised one-on-one by someone within their major field. In the final year of the program, students enroll in SOS 3400, a social science teaching methods course. EIU has committed to keeping this course small so that students can teach lessons and have much one-on-one interaction with each other and with the professor. Finally, students are assigned a university supervisor during student teaching who works with them throughout the student teaching experience. In part because of the individual attention that is at the core of the social science teaching programs at EIU, students excel and are able to shape the program to fit their interests and needs.
“In the History Department, our classes are small enough that faculty know every student by name. But beyond that, we also really get to know students’ interests and ambitions. Our job is not just to teach history. We are here to launch students onto the next stage of their lives. Having the time and support to do that is one of the best things about teaching at Eastern Illinois University."
“Teaching history at EIU allows me to introduce students to the range of historical thinking and to help the students sees that beyond the facts and dates, history is about understanding the very nature of society and how it has transformed over time. Learning to think about society and how it has changed over time prepares students for the wide range of careers and opportunities they will enjoy throughout their lives."
"I believe in the power of the study of history to teach not just the what about the past, but the why, how, and the so-what. In our program for future high school social studies teachers, we work to equip our students with the ability to do all of these things -- to light their students on fire for history, to make profound connections between past and present, and to become better equipped for civic participation in the 21st century. I believe our graduates can change the world, one student at a time, in their classrooms and beyond."
"Coming back after my bachelors to Eastern and to the history department to get my teacher certification was one of the easiest decisions I’ve made. The experiences I was able to have through the program were phenomenal. From day 1 the department felt like a family. Just like any family you’re given opportunities and that varies but through the university I was given the chance to student teach in both a rural setting and in South Africa. This has not only left me feeling prepared going into my first classroom but has helped to create a better understanding of global education. I now have a collaborative network of teachers not only domestically but abroad that I can contact for ideas and help. Without Eastern Illinois University and the fantastic professors and experiences I’ve had there, both times, I would be clueless."Clara Mattheessen (BA 2016, Postbac 2019)
"Being a full-time social studies teacher and athletic director at a high school is a tough job, especially as it's early in my career. As a History with Teacher Licensure major, the History Dept. and the College of Education provided me with an amazing foundation to succeed as an educator and as an administrator. I can’t stress how very pleased I am with the education I received at EIU, and I’m so very proud to be an alum of the history program. It makes me so happy when my current students choose to attend EIU and major in History as I know they are going to a fantastic place. The History Dept. and its faculty always goes above and beyond to make sure that their majors and alumni have great academic and professional success. The annual Careers Day, the job fairs, the lectures and workshops, the classes, the History & Social Science Teachers Conference… there’s always something! The faculty in History truly care for the students that come through the department, both while they are here and after they have gone on to do great things! I love EIU!"Derrick Zerrusen (BA 2016)
3721 - Coleman Hall