Jul 22, 2024  
2024-25 Western Washington University Catalog 
2024-25 Western Washington University Catalog

History/Social Studies, BA

Location(s): WWU - Bellingham

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Department of History, College of Humanities and Social Sciences

95 Credits


The History/Social Studies major is designed to prepare students to teach history and social studies in secondary schools. In their history courses, History/Social Studies majors learn how to locate and access a wide range of sources, to analyze historical evidence, including textual and visual sources, to evaluate historical interpretations, and to develop and support their own interpretations. The quantity of writing and discussion required in history courses also helps students to develop effective communication skills. The required courses in economics, geography, and political science are intended to prepare students to teach these subjects in middle and high schools.

Why Consider a History/Social Studies Major?

If you want to teach history or social studies in a middle or high school, you should consider the History/Social Studies major. However, this major also prepares students for a wider range of careers. The knowledge students acquire and the skills they develop in their history courses and in courses in social sciences prepare them for law school, graduate programs in public policy and international affairs, and careers as journalists, government officials, and attorneys.

Secondary Education students who wish to be endorsed in Social Studies may choose this major. However, the History/Social Studies degree does not require that a student pursue a teaching certificate. History/Social Studies majors interested in Secondary certification must apply separately to the certification programs, such as those in Woodring College of Education. Students usually apply to Woodring in their senior year or after they graduate.

To receive certification, students must also complete an approved teacher certification program. To receive a recommendation for state of Washington certification, students must complete the teacher certification program, including SEC 426, which is offered by the Department of Secondary Education as a part of 1) the undergraduate Bachelor of Arts degree, or 2) a post-baccalaureate program, or 3) the Masters in Teaching degree. See the Secondary Education  section of this catalog for program admission, completion, and teacher certification requirements. Completion of this combined major leads to an endorsement in social studies.

 Contact Information

Major Information and History Department Chair
Bond Hall 360

Department Information
Bond Hall 364

 Sample Careers

Social Studies Teacher | Politician/Attorney | Teacher | Government Official | Law Enforcement Officer | Historical Consultant | Museum Professional | Government Historian | Librarian | Archivist | Cultural Resource Manager | Curator | Video/Media Producer | Historic Preservationist | Policy Advisor

 Major/Career Resources


How to Declare (Admission and Declaration Process):

There are no prerequisites for declaring a major in History/Social Studies. Students who have earned Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate credit in history should not take the equivalent courses at Western. It is recommended that students who are considering a major in History/Social Studies take at least three lower-division History courses (including transfer courses) during their first year.

It is recommended that students contact a faculty advisor in the department as soon as they wish to declare a major in History/Social Studies. Please see the department website at chss.wwu.edu/history for further details.

Grade Requirements

No course with a grade of less than C (2.0) may be counted in this major. Students must achieve a GPA of at least 2.5 in the courses counted in the major. Courses required for a state teaching endorsement must be completed with a grade of C (2.0) or better.


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