Secondary Education - History and Social Studies, Bachelor of Science in Education

Department of History

College of Arts and Letters

“Our history is not our destiny,” suggests Alan Cohen.  
This degree prepares future educators to teach their students both the tragedies of history and the lessons it offers for the future. The plan includes content-rich coursework as well as significant preparation in teaching, using best practices and applied theory.

This program is nationally recognized by the National Council for the Social Studies. 

This program is accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE).

  • To receive a bachelor's degree at Northern Arizona University, you must complete at least 120 units of credit that minimally includes a major, the liberal studies requirements, and university requirements as listed below.

    • All of Northern Arizona University's liberal studies, diversity, junior-level writing, and capstone requirements.
    • All requirements for your specific academic plan(s).
    • At least 30 units of upper-division courses, which may include transfer work.
    • At least 30 units of coursework taken through Northern Arizona University, of which at least 18 must be upper-division courses (300-level or above). This requirement is not met by credit-by-exam, retro-credits, transfer coursework, etc.
    • A cumulative grade point average of at least 2.0 on all work attempted at Northern Arizona University.
    The full policy can be viewed here.


In addition to University Requirements:

  • 68 units of major requirements including 13 units of Fieldwork Experience - HIS 407 and HIS 491C
  • 15 units of Foundations in Teaching requirements

  • Up to 9 units of major prefix courses may be used to satisfy Liberal Studies requirements; these same courses may also be used to satisfy major requirements

  • Elective courses, if needed, to reach an overall total of at least 120 units

Candidates in this program are required to demonstrate content knowledge, pedagogical knowledge and skills, professional knowledge, and professional dispositions to be eligible to enter student teaching or internship placements. Content, pedagogical, and professional knowledge or skills, professional dispositions are demonstrated through candidate performance on key assessments embedded in the following course(s):

Please note that students may be able to use some courses to meet more than one requirement. Contact your advisor for details.

Minimum Units for Completion 120
Major GPA 2.5
Highest Mathematics Required MAT 114
Additional Admission Requirements Required
Fieldwork Experience/Internship Required
Student Teaching/Supervised Teaching Required
Study Abroad Recommended
University Honors Program Optional
Progression Plan Link View Progression Plan
Student Learning Outcomes

NAU students in this program are teacher candidates in History and Social Studies Education; and they work on teaching and learning by practicing skills in working with secondary learners, content, assessment, and professional dispositions.
Outcomes align with Standards from the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation, the National Council for the Social Studies, and the Interstate New Teacher Assessment and Support Consortium

  • Learners, Learner Differences, and Learning Environment: The teacher candidate will be able to
    • create an inquiry-based, productive, collaborative, high expectations classroom setting;
    • engage and motivate secondary-grade learners;
    • develop and refine learning plans appropriate to grade level and a diversity of learners (e.g. differing needs, abilities, race, class, gender, religions, and cultural backgrounds);
    • adapt lessons for different learners’ cognitive, linguistic, social, emotional, and physical development;
    • articulate the relevance of teaching multiple perspectives to a diverse group of learners, recognizing the interconnectedness of all people.
  • Concepts/ Knowledge Application: The teacher candidate can
    • inquire, think critically, and gain content knowledge and application to teach history, geography, government, and economics at the secondary level;
    • practice disciplinary habits of mind, research skills, evidence-based argumentation and interpretation;
    • select and assess the value of primary and secondary sources for use in teaching secondary learners; 
    • incorporate multiple perspectives, drawing on and recognizing relationships among local, regional, and global issues;
    • teach required standards for subject and grade-level taught.
  • Assessment and Instructional Skills/ Abilities: The teacher candidate can…
    • identify and employ enduring understandings and essential questions to teach for deeper meaning;
    • plan instruction that promotes meaningful content knowledge and skill acquisition; 
    • craft pre-, formative, and summative assessments that align with learning outcomes;
    • interpret and analyze the results of assessment in order to teach more successfully;
    • employ a variety of effective instructional strategies appropriate to learners, content, and learning goals;
    • use technological tools appropriate to content and instruction;
    • engage students in building their technological literacies.
  • Professional Responsibility/Dispositions/ Attitudes: The teacher candidate will demonstrate…
    • respect and adaptation for a variety of learners;
    • an ability to self-assess his/her teaching and learning;
    • confidence in and commitment to growth in teaching;
    • patience and reflection in the process of gaining teaching skills;
    • how to use content responsibly and appropriately, presenting and citing research;
    • openness to explore professional growth and collaboration both in terms of content and pedagogy.


Additional Admission Requirements
  • Admission requirements over and above admission to NAU are required.
  • To be eligible for admission to the program, candidates must meet the following requirements:

    30 units of coursework which includes:

    • EDF 200 with a grade of "C" or better
    • MAT 110 or MAT 114 with a grade of "C" or better
    • The English foundations requirement (ENG 105 or equivalent) with a minimum GPA of 3.0.  (If your English GPA is below 3.0, you may take an approved writing course to achieve the 3.0 GPA.)
  • A minimum GPA of 3.0 in all content major coursework (must have taken at least 3 units) and a cumulative 2.5 GPA in all courses.

  • Additional requirements:

    • You must be declared in this major.
    • Completion of a teacher-education orientation for Secondary Education
    • Submission of a copy of your State-approved Identity-Verified Print (IVP) fingerprint clearance card, obtainable through the Arizona Department of Public Safety (602-223-2279)
Major Requirements
  • Take the following 68 units with a minimum GPA of 3.0, and no grade lower than a "C":

    Social Studies Content Courses

    Additional units of history courses from the following list. Include at least one 400-level course. These units must be divided among U.S. and non-U.S. courses as follows (15 units):

  • Select at least two non-duplicating Social Science courses. The following are especially recommended (6 units):

  • Foundations in Teaching Requirements 
    Take the following (12 units) with no grade lower than a "C":
Teacher Preparation
  • In all of our teacher education programs, you are required to complete a student teaching or internship experience. In addition, a minimum number of units of practicum is required, which involves supervised field experience with a practicing teacher.  

    Before being accepted to student teaching, the following criteria must be met:

    • Admission to the teacher education program
    • NAU GPA must be at least 2.5, with a GPA of 3.0 in all History and Social Studies coursework, with no grade lower than a "C" in the major.
    • Passing score on the required Professional Dispositions Modules
    • Complete all plan requirements.
    • All major coursework, with the exception of EDF 200 must be completed within the six years prior to student teaching.
    • All candidates must demonstrate social and emotional maturity consistent with professional standards of classroom instruction as well as adequate physical health for teaching.
  • Arizona Teacher Certification

    In order to obtain an Arizona teaching certificate you must pass both the appropriate National Evaluation Series subject matter test and the National Evaluation Series Secondary Assessment Professional Knowledge.

General Electives
  • Additional coursework is required, if, after you have met the previously described requirements, you have not yet completed a total of 120 units of credit. 

    You may take these remaining courses from any academic areas, using these courses to pursue your specific interests and goals. We encourage you to consult with your advisor to select the courses that will be most advantageous to you. (Please note that you may also use prerequisites or transfer credits as electives if they weren't used to meet major, minor, or liberal studies requirements.)

  • Please note that you must take POS 220 or (POS 110 and POS 241) which satisfies the state and federal constitution requirement for Arizona certification, or you may meet the requirement by demonstrating proficiency on a special exam.

Additional Information
  • If you meet the following criteria, you become eligible to receive History Departmental Honors when you graduate.

    To obtain Departmental Honors, you must:

    • have an overall grade point average of 3.5 or better;
    • have an overall grade point average for all History courses taken of 3.7 or better;
    • complete a minimum of 39 units of History courses, excluding HIS 206, HIS 407, HIS 429, HIS 430, HIS 491C;
    • complete a senior thesis or an Honors project under the supervision of a history faculty member; and
    • present the results of the thesis or Honors project at the University Honors Program Symposium, or at a History Department symposium or at a regional/national scholarly conference.
    The History Department strongly encourages you to study abroad or intern abroad. For more information on global learning opportunities, benefits, or requirements, please consult with the History Department website and your advisor.

  • Be aware that Arizona state teacher certification requirements leading to Institutional Recommendations may change at any time, and may impact program of study requirements.

  • Be aware that some courses may have prerequisites that you must also take. For prerequisite information click on the course or see your advisor.