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Social Studies (Composite Teaching): BS, BA

Social Studies (Composite Teaching)

The social studies (composite teaching) major is provides teaching endorsement in history, geography, psychology, sociology, economics, and political science. Students who graduate with this degree are "highly qualified" to teach all of these subject areas, based on federal standards for "No Child Left Behind."

Students take classes in many departments to gain a well-rounded education in all of these subject areas. By gaining expertise in this wide range of subjects, students increase their marketability and are more likely to be hired in middle and high schools since they can teach so many different subjects.

Students receive a BS by completing all required courses in the major. To receive a BA, students must also gain proficiency in one or more foreign languages.

Education Component:

In order to obtain a secondary teaching license for grades 6-12, students must complete the 30-credit Secondary Teacher Education Program (STEP), which includes one semester of student teaching in a public school.

Students in the social studies (composite teaching) program do not need to have a minor because the program provides students with knowledge in several subject areas, therefore, expanding their career options.

Students who graduate with this degree are qualified for licensure to teach a broad range of social studies subjects in middle schools or high schools.

Career Services provides counseling and information on hundreds of job and internship opportunities and even helps students apply and interview.

Admission Requirements

In addition to Utah State University’s admissions requirements, the social studies (composite teaching) program has additional requirements:

  • Freshmen: New freshmen admitted to USU in good standing qualify for admission to this major.
  • Transfer students: Transfer students from other institutions need a total 3.0 GPA for admission to this major. Students transferring from other USU majors need a total GPA of 3.0 for admission to this major.
  • STEP Requirements: In order to be accepted into STEP, students must go through an application process, which includes the following:
    • Complete 30 semester credits with a minimum GPA of 3.00
    • Complete certain core courses with specified minimum grades (see department for more information)
    • Provide an unofficial copy of your transcript
    • Pass an FBI/BCI criminal background check (this should be done one semester before submitting the application)

International students have additional admissions requirements.

Professional Organizations, Honor Societies, and Clubs

American Historical Association: The American Historical Association was founded in 1884 and was incorporated by Congress in 1889 to serve the broad field of history. It encompasses every historical period and geographical area and serves professional historians in all areas of employment.

American Sociological Association: This association provides a unique set of services to its members by promoting the vitality, visibility, and diversity of the discipline. Working at the national and international levels, the association aims to articulate policy and implement programs likely to have the broadest possible impact for sociology now and in the future. The association is dedicated to advancing sociology as a scientific discipline and profession serving the public good. It also offers many interesting resources for those interested in sociology, which might help students determine whether to not to major in sociology.

Student Organization for Society and Natural Resources: SOSNR was established in 2003 to promote opportunities for service in the community, provide forums for individuals to present research, and give students opportunities to participate in conferences to help further their academic careers.

Western History Association: The Western History Association is the professional organization focused on the history of the American West that publishes the journal, Western Historical Quarterly, which is housed at USU.

Alpha Kappa Delta: This honor society seeks to acknowledge and promote excellence in the study of sociology, the research of social problems, and other social and intellectual activities that will improve the human condition. Students will learn more about career options, listen to guest speakers, and make connections with professors and other important members of the sociological community.

Phi Alpha Theta: This professional society has a mission to promote the study of history through the encouragement of research, good teaching, publication, and the exchange of learning and ideas among historians.

Pi Sigma Alpha: This national political science honor society is the only honor society for college students of political science and government in the United States. There are hundreds of chapters of Pi Sigma Alpha located on college and university campuses in every state of the United States and in Guam. USU’s chapter, Alpha Iota, has been recognized several times as one of the nation’s best chapters of Pi Sigma Alpha.

Psi-Chi: This national honor society in psychology was founded in 1929 with the purpose of encouraging, stimulating, and maintaining excellence in scholarship, and advancing the science of psychology. Membership is open to graduates and undergraduates who are making the study of psychology one of their major interests.

Anthropology Club: This club promotes interest and raises awareness in the field of anthropology. This organization gives members the opportunity to listen to professional speakers, attend field trips, and participate in hands-on learning experiences and social activities. The club aims to generate members that have an increased appreciation for other cultures and people, as well as foster successful employees in anthropology.

Finance and Economics Club: The mission of the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business Finance and Economics Club is to be a career accelerator for students by exposing them to exceptional speakers, providing experiences for hands-on learning, and developing lasting relationships with alumni to increase networking opportunities.

Psychology Club: The purpose of this club is to promote increased involvement of students in the field of psychology. It aims to provide information about possible research and applied psychology setting opportunities on campus and in the community.

Labs, Centers, Research

With the second oldest undergraduate research program in the nation, USU offers students a wide range of opportunities to gain hands-on research experience. USU’s Honors Program prepares students for excellent graduate programs by helping them build relationships with professors, participate in research projects, take smaller, more intensive classes, and develop leadership skills.

Archaeological Laboratory: This laboratory provides a professional context for university students to acquire experience with archaeological documentation, testing, and evaluation of cultural resources. The archaeology research program teaches students how to interpret research and preserve artifacts of all kinds for the public and create an enduring record of cultural heritage from around the world.

Ecology Center: The Ecology Center is an administrative structure in the university that supports and coordinates ecological research and graduate education in the science of ecology and provides professional information and advice for decision makers considering actions that affect the environment. The Ecology Center at USU has had a string of directors known nationally and worldwide as premier scientists in the field of ecology, and students graduating with a degree in ecology are able to make important contacts with influential faculty that can help them go on to prestigious post-doctoral programs and faculty positions at universities around the world.

Energy Dynamics Laboratory: EDL bridges the gap between academia and industry, confronting the challenges of prototyping, deployment, and commercialization of enabling technologies for renewable and advanced energy systems. USU researchers originate projects to derive energy from non-fossil fuels, such as biofuels, wind, and solar power. With EDL’s collaboration, research develops through pilot projects to commercial application.

Institute for Natural Systems Engineering: The INSE is a recognized leader in the development, testing, and application of multi-disciplinary assessment methods for aquatic ecosystems and instream flow assessment methodologies.

Institute for Social Science Research on Natural Resources: This is an interdisciplinary laboratory that promotes training in natural resource and environmental sociology. As with the Population Research Laboratory, research at the ISSRNR is coordinated with undergraduate and graduate degrees and is among the strongest programs at USU and in the country.

Museum of Anthropology: USU houses the Museum of Anthropology, which provides a professional context for university students to acquire experience in museum operation and management. The museum collects artifacts of all kinds, from prehistoric stone tools to Roman coins to Middle Eastern Rugs, to preserve for the public an enduring record of cultural heritage from around the world.

Nora Eccles Harrison Museum of Art: This museum collects, maintains, preserves, and regularly exhibits art in diverse media created primarily in the American West with an emphasis on modern and contemporary movements. Through exhibitions and education programs, the museum provides the campus and community with opportunities for growth, discovery, and scholarly research.

Osteology Laboratory: This laboratory provides a learning environment for university students to study human bones. In the lab, students learn to identify human bones from animal bones, conduct quantitative, statistical research, and learn about the laws and ethics pertaining to human remains.

Population Research Laboratory: This lab is one of the oldest and best established demographic labs in the region. The PRL was organized to promote a balanced training program in demography at both undergraduate and graduate levels and to centralize and expand various research activities related to population. Faculty associated with the PRL conduct numerous research projects and support many students as they pursue undergraduate and graduate degrees with a specialization in demographics or population study.

Project on Liberty and American Constitutionalism: The project's mission is to explore the meaning of liberty in the American constitutional system, with specific emphasis on the founders' commitment to limited and responsible government that promotes individual liberty, free markets, and a strong national defense. The goal of the project is to produce publications that examine these issues and to enhance the educational opportunities for interested Utah State students.

Remote Sensing/Geographic Information Systems Laboratory: The RS/GIS advances knowledge in the application of geospatial technologies in ecosystem science and natural resource management. The lab conducts research to meet the requirements of contracting agencies, which include the USDI Bureau of Land Management, USDA Forest Service, the U.S. Department of Defense, the National Guard Bureau, the U.S. Geological Survey, NASA, and various state and international agencies and organizations.

S.J. and Jessie E. Quinney Natural Resources Research Library: The Quinney Library maintains collections of materials pertaining to natural resources and the environment in a number of formats that support the programs of study and research in the College of Natural Resources and several partnering centers. The library has more than 60,000 items, both print and electronic, as well as videos, images, and more.

Spatial Analysis and Visualization Laboratory: This lab provides cutting-edge spatial data acquisition and analysis tools for archaeologists. These include state-of-the-art GPS, GIS, remote sensing, scanning, photographic and microscopy hardware, and the software necessary for performing quantitative, statistical, and geospatial interpretation of collected data.

Special Collections and Archives: One of the most important centers for students’ historical research is housed within the Merrill-Cazier Library in the Special Collections and Archives division. The division is composed of seven distinct sections (art book collections, folklore, manuscripts, western and Mormon americana, photographs, preservation, and USU archives). Each section is assigned a specialist who is responsible for the care and use of the materials. In addition, the Merrill-Cazier Library provides extensive reference and database collections covering historical experience from the classical period through the present.

USU Archeological Services: USUAS is a private company that was launched by USU archaeologists. It specializes in the documentation, testing, and evaluation of cultural resources. The organization works with a number of agencies to provide consultation and deliverables in the cultural resource field. Undergrads and graduate students often work in paid positions at USUAS.

Utah Center for Water Resources Research: The UCWRR facilitates water research, outreach, design, and testing elements within a university environment that supports student education and citizen training.

Utah Climate Center: The UCC facilitates access to climate data and information and uses expertise in atmospheric science to interpret climate information in an accurate and innovative fashion for the public. The mission includes the design of new products to meet present and future needs of agriculture, natural resources, government, industry, tourism, and educational organizations in Utah and the Intermountain region.

Utah Water Research Laboratory: The UWRL works on nearly 250 water-related projects a year and has projects in all of Utah’s 29 counties and more than 40 countries. The lab is one of the go-to places that addresses the technical and societal aspects of water-related issues, including quality, quantity, and distribution of water.

Water Initiative: Utah State University supports a broad community of students and faculty engaged in water education, research, and outreach. The USU Water Initiative provides an overarching umbrella for the activities of this community aimed at fostering interdisciplinary collaboration and collegial sharing of ideas related to water across the departments and colleges of USU.



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Office: EDUC 377
Phone: (435) 797-0391

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Jennifer Caines
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Phone: (435) 797-2224

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Denise Taylor
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Bobbi Crabtree
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