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School of Education

Broad Field Social Studies Major Requirements

Important: The School of Education is now offering a new and innovative teacher licensing program in secondary education. Licensing in middle and high school English, Mathematics, Science, and Social Studies is now obtained by completing a master’s degree program in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction. Graduates are awarded a master’s degree along with certification in their subject area(s) and certification in English as a Second Language (ESL).

This new structure means that students at UW–Madison become certified to teach these subjects only through graduate-level course work, not as undergraduates.

Information about the new program (e.g., licensing areas, requirements, application process, prerequisite course work and tests, deadlines, and program selection) is available on the Curriculum and Instruction website

Advising staff in the School of Education's Academic Services Office, 139 Education Building, 608-262-1651, can also answer questions and confer with students about the new program.

The major requirements listed below are provided only for secondary students admitted into the undergraduate program fall 2013 or before.

Completion of this major leads to licensing in two areas: Broad Field and the minor subject area. Graduates will not be eligible to teach each of the six separate subject areas. The minor subject area (e.g. History, Political Science) will be listed separately on the teaching license and can be taught as a separate subject in the classroom. Individuals are also prepared to teach interdisciplinary or "fusion" courses in the secondary schools. Fusion courses integrate elements of several Social Studies disciplines and require preparation of a composite nature. American problems, area studies, civics and social problems are a few of the content areas that fall under the Broad Field license. The Broad Field license also provides a foundation for certification in additional Social Studies subject areas at a later date.

Due to licensing requirements in other states and the possible impact of federal legislation defining a "well qualified teacher," students interested in the Broad Field Social Studies major are strongly encouraged to consider completing a major in another of the Social Studies areas. Completing a double major with Broad Field Social Studies allows students to master one content area while developing the breadth of understanding associated with the Broad Field major.

Students complete a minimum of 54 credits distributed over at least four of six licensing areas: Economics, Geography, History, Political Science, Psychology, Sociology. The credits required for program admission are chosen from the departments listed above. Students enrolling in cross-listed courses to meet concentration or minor requirements should attempt to enroll in the department that represents the subject in which students are seeking certification or licensing.

  • Select one area from among Economics, Geography, History, Political Science, Psychology, and Sociology, and complete the minor requirements in this subject (24–27 credits). Choose a subject area to see descriptions of the minor requirements.
  • Complete 30 credits from at least three (3) additional subject areas listed above. It is recommended that students distribute the 30 credits over only three areas and complete at least 8 credits in each subject. It is also recommended that students complete both the introductory and upper level (numbered 300–699) courses in each of three supporting subject areas.
  • Complete at least 15 credits of upper level (numbered 300–699) major course work in residence on the UW–Madison campus.

This page was updated 9/22/14.