Find a degree that makes sense for your schedule and your budget. Earn one of the most affordable online master's in social studies.
In the hands of the right teacher, social studies is much more than a retelling of past events. It’s a way to help students understand the context of their moment in history. It’s a way to promote active, engaged, and informed citizenship. It’s a crucial part of any well-rounded education.
Whether you’re a teacher with years of experience under your belt or you’re taking your first steps into a new career in education, the degrees on this ranking can help you elevate your social studies teaching practice.
What kind of master’s degree in social studies should you get?
In this ranking, we focus specifically on online degrees. These distance learning programs are particularly well-suited for students who already work as classroom teachers. With an online program, you’ll be able to complete your coursework whenever it fits into your busy schedule.
Many people know they want to earn a graduate degree through an online program, but aren’t totally certain what they want to study. If you’d like a broader perspective on the best values in distance education, don’t miss our ranking of the Most Affordable Online Colleges for a Master’s Degree.
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Explore our featured online programs and find the right match for you today.
How much money do people make with a master’s degree in social studies?
As a teacher, a variety of factors will affect your paycheck. One of the biggest factors is the state where you work.
According to data from CNBC, here are the five states with the best-paid teachers and the average annual salaries in each one:
- Alaska: $82,020
- New York: $81,410
- Connecticut: $76,260
- New Jersey: $75,250
- California: $74,940
Meanwhile, the five states with the lowest-paid teachers - Oklahoma, Mississippi, South Dakota, North Carolina, and West Virginia - all have average annual salaries under $46,000.
What can you do with a master’s degree in social studies?
Most of the programs on our list are designed for social studies educators working in high schools or middle schools. Accordingly, most graduates of these programs will become, or remain, classroom teachers. You may choose to work in a public or private school, in a rural or urban setting.
With a master’s degree, you may be qualified for leadership positions within your school. For example, you may serve as a department chair or curriculum coordinator. In many cases, earning a master’s degree will lead to a pay raise.
What are the requirements for a master’s degree in social studies?
Some of the programs on our list lead to initial teaching certification. Any initial certification program will typically feature at least one full semester of student teaching.
Other degree programs lead to professional certification, or a specific type of licensure beyond the initial certification. These programs will also usually require a significant fieldwork component.
There are some degree programs that don’t lead to any type of teaching certification. These programs may not require student teaching or fieldwork. But they may feature another capstone requirement, such as a master’s thesis or a professional portfolio.
What are the most affordable online master’s degrees in social studies?
Our goal in creating this ranking is to help you find a program that offers excellent academic quality at an outstanding value. To do that, we’ve examined net tuition costs as well as institutional reputation. Our data is sourced from publications such as U.S. News & World Report and the National Center for Educational Statistics.
The degree programs on this list represent the best of the best in convenience, flexibility, and affordability. While no one can tell you which program is the right fit for you, we hope we’ve made your school search a little easier.
See our rankings methodology page.
#1 Most Affordable Online Master’s In Social Studies Degrees 2022
University of Missouri
- Columbia, MO
- 4 years
- Online + Campus
Earning a graduate degree is achievable at the University of Missouri because of an institutional emphasis on flexibility. The Columbia, Missouri, school’s catalog includes 21 online master's degrees such as the master of education in social studies education. This adaptable program opens up access to full-time workers and others with scheduling challenges preventing in-person graduate education.
Application requirements include a bachelor’s degree in the same field or other criteria as stipulated on the program website. The enhanced job opportunities and potentially higher pay make the program a worthy pursuit for many people. Preparation for a doctoral program is another benefit of this degree.
Learners studying from within Missouri pay an average of $9,264 per year, or $25,363 if elsewhere. Education funding options include institutional scholarships and grants, and opportunities elsewhere like through foundations and other nonprofits. In addition to financial aid students don’t need to pay back, they may also want to consider federal or private loans.
Percent Online Enrollment
Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Higher Learning Commission