Bachelor of Arts in History for Secondary Education

Bachelor of Arts in History for Secondary EducationInitial Program – Leads to Initial Teacher Licensure

Offered By: College of Humanities and Social Sciences

Benefits of Pursuing a History Education Degree From GCU

Grand Canyon University recognizes that middle and high school history teachers do more than teach facts, events and dates — they impart ethical standards and wisdom developed over centuries of human history. The Bachelor of Arts in History for Secondary Education degree, offered by the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, can be an ideal choice for aspiring history teachers who are looking to make an impact by teaching at the middle and high school level.

GCU is an institutionally accredited university, and this secondary education history degree is approved by the Arizona State Board of Education. You will have the opportunity to take coursework that aligns with the requirements established by the National Council for Social Studies (NCSS). 

GCU offers this secondary education history major online and on campus. If you’re a busy professional, online learning can provide you with flexibility and convenience to make earning your degree more practical for you. Online degrees also come with online learning resources and support to help you as you pursue your degree. 

The BA in History for Secondary Education degree program at GCU leads to initial teacher licensure. To become a fully qualified and licensed teacher, candidates must obtain all necessary certifications as determined by the state in which they teach. Successful graduates may decide to enhance their knowledge and classroom skills by pursuing a master’s degree in history education.

According to The Nation’s Report Card, an initiative of the National Center for Education Statistics, just 15% of grade 8 students in 2018 performed at a “proficient” or higher level in U.S. history, a 3% decrease from 2014.1 The deficits in history education continue into post-secondary education and adulthood. According to a survey by the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship, only 27% of those surveyed under the age of 45 nationally could demonstrate a basic level of knowledge about American history.2

If you decide to pursue a history teacher degree to become a licensed teacher, you could possibly inspire young minds to enjoy the process of historical inquiry and contextual analysis. You may help students learn from the mistakes of the past so that they are empowered to work toward a better and brighter future. 

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Skills Taught in the BA in History for Secondary Education Program

Graduates of the history education degree have the opportunity to develop and gain important skills related to teaching for secondary education. These include:

  • Critical thinking
  • Assessment strategy
  • Classroom engagement
  • In-depth knowledge of various historical events
  • Differentiated instruction
  • Problem-solving 
  • Pedagogical practices
  • Research, writing and application of theories

Coursework To Expect in the BA in History for Secondary Education

Aspiring secondary history teachers will explore coursework arranged thematically, rather than chronologically. The thematic approach of this history education degree allows for an exploration of historical contexts that is both in-depth and broad in scope. Aspiring secondary educators in this program can:

  • Use cross-disciplinary perspectives
  • Develop critical thinking and analytical skills
  • Develop ethical decision-making abilities
  • Create instructional objectives and lesson plans
  • Explore formal and informal assessment strategies

GCU’s history secondary education degree, offered in online and on-campus classes, examines:

  • The learning and developmental needs for students with learning differences
  • The principles of instructional programs for English language learners
  • The application of a Christian worldview and Christian ethics

Teacher candidates are required to complete a supervised practicum. Candidates must demonstrate their proficiency in applying pedagogical theories in a classroom.

Career Paths for Bachelor of Arts in History for Secondary Education Graduates 

Middle and high school history and social science teachers can guide the development of young minds as they seek to overcome ethical dilemmas and strive for personal growth. Graduates who hold a history education degree and have obtained the necessary certifications may choose to pursue a career in public or private education. Additional career paths that are directly related to this degree program may include:

  • Historian
  • Tour guide or escort
  • Manager

Secondary Education History Degree FAQs

If you’re an aspiring teacher who hopes to positively impact secondary school students by providing them with historical education, read through some frequently asked questions to learn more about a career in this field and earning a history teacher degree.

TOTAL CREDITS & COURSE LENGTH:
Total Credits: 120
Campus: 15 weeks
[More Info]
Online: 8 weeks
[More Info]
TRANSFER CREDITS:
Up to 90 credits, only 84 can be lower division
TUITION RATE:
Campus: $8,250 per semester
[Tuition, Fees and Financial Aid]

Online: $455 per credit
[Tuition, Fees and Financial Aid]

Cost of Attendance

 

There is not one specific degree needed in order to become a history teacher. While a degree in education may be a recommended route, becoming a teacher means being able to master a certain subject while also following the teaching requirements of the state in which you wish to teach. It also depends on the grade level you wish to teach. This particular history education degree focuses on secondary education which is for middle to high school grade levels. 

A degree in secondary education can prepare you to teach at the middle school and high school grade levels. These types of degrees usually have a specific focus attached to it, much like this history secondary education degree. Since secondary education covers higher grade levels, these degrees have a structure to teach more advanced education for students in your classroom.

There are other requirements outside of holding a degree needed to become a teacher, like receiving a teaching license, but yes, you can become a teacher with a general history degree. Be sure to check your state’s requirements for specific details. A Bachelor of Arts in History degree teaches history from a variety of perspectives, so you can work in a multitude of careers.

Secondary teacher salary will range depending on several factors, such as location and the grade you are teaching. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, middle school teachers had a median annual salary of $61,320,3 and high school teachers had a median annual salary of $61,820 in May 2021.4

There is a need for secondary school teachers of all disciplines over the next decade. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook estimates job growth for middle school teachers to increase by about 4%,5 and high school teachers to increase by about 5% from 2021 to 2031,6 both as fast as the average for all occupations.

1 The Nation’s Report Card, NAEP Report Card: Achievement-Level Results in July 2021 

2 The Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation, Woodrow Wilson Foundation Finds Only One State Can Pass U.S. Citizenship Exam in July 2021 

3 The earnings referenced were reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (“BLS”), Middle School Teachers, as of May 2021, retrieved on June 22, 2023. Due to COVID-19, data from 2020 and 2021 may be atypical compared to prior years. The pandemic may also impact the predicted future workforce outcomes indicated by the BLS. BLS calculates the median using salaries of workers from across the country with varying levels of education and experience and does not reflect the earnings of GCU graduates as middle school teachers. It does not reflect earnings of workers in one city or region of the country. It also does not reflect a typical entry-level salary. Median income is the statistical midpoint for the range of salaries in a specific occupation. It represents what you would earn if you were paid more money than half the workers in an occupation, and less than half the workers in an occupation. It may give you a basis to estimate what you might earn at some point if you enter this career. You may also wish to compare median salaries if you are considering more than one career path. Grand Canyon University can make no guarantees on individual graduates’ salaries as the employer the graduate chooses to apply to, and accept employment from, determines salary not only based on education, but also individual characteristics and skills and fit to that organization (among other categories) against a pool of candidates. 

4 The earnings referenced were reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (“BLS”), High School Teachers, as of May 2021, retrieved on June 22, 2023. Due to COVID-19, data from 2020 and 2021 may be atypical compared to prior years. The pandemic may also impact the predicted future workforce outcomes indicated by the BLS. BLS calculates the median using salaries of workers from across the country with varying levels of education and experience and does not reflect the earnings of GCU graduates as high school teachers. It does not reflect earnings of workers in one city or region of the country. It also does not reflect a typical entry-level salary. Median income is the statistical midpoint for the range of salaries in a specific occupation. It represents what you would earn if you were paid more money than half the workers in an occupation, and less than half the workers in an occupation. It may give you a basis to estimate what you might earn at some point if you enter this career. You may also wish to compare median salaries if you are considering more than one career path. Grand Canyon University can make no guarantees on individual graduates’ salaries as the employer the graduate chooses to apply to, and accept employment from, determines salary not only based on education, but also individual characteristics and skills and fit to that organization (among other categories) against a pool of candidates. 

5 COVID-19 has adversely affected the global economy and data from 2020 and 2021 may be atypical compared to prior years. The pandemic may impact the predicted future workforce outcomes indicated by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics as well.  Accordingly, data shown is effective September 2022, which can be found here: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Middle School Teachers, retrieved on June 22, 2023. 

6 COVID-19 has adversely affected the global economy and data from 2020 and 2021 may be atypical compared to prior years. The pandemic may impact the predicted future workforce outcomes indicated by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics as well.  Accordingly, data shown is effective September 2022, which can be found here: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, High School Teachers, retrieved on June 22, 2023. 

Course List

General Education Requirements:
34-40 credits
Major:
80 credits
Open Elective Credits:
0-6 credits
Degree Requirements:
120 credits

General Education Requirements

General Education coursework prepares Grand Canyon University graduates to think critically, communicate clearly, live responsibly in a diverse world, and thoughtfully integrate their faith and ethical convictions into all dimensions of life. These competencies, essential to an effective and satisfying life, are outlined in the General Education Learner Outcomes. General Education courses embody the breadth of human understanding and creativity contained in the liberal arts and sciences tradition. Students take an array of foundational knowledge courses that promote expanded knowledge, insight, and the outcomes identified in the University’s General Education Competencies. The knowledge and skills students acquire through these courses serve as a foundation for successful careers and lifelong journeys of growing understanding and wisdom.

Requirements

Upon completion of the Grand Canyon University's University Foundation experience, students will be able to demonstrate competency in the areas of academic skills and self-leadership. They will be able to articulate the range of resources available to assist them, explore career options related to their area of study, and have knowledge of Grand Canyon's community. Students will be able to demonstrate foundational academic success skills, explore GCU resources (CLA, Library, Career Center, ADA office, etc), articulate strategies of self-leadership and management and recognize opportunities to engage in the GCU community.

Course Options

  • UNV-103, University Success: 4
  • UNV-303, University Success: 4

Requirements

Graduates of Grand Canyon University will be able to construct rhetorically effective communications appropriate to diverse audiences, purposes, and occasions (English composition, communication, critical reading, foreign language, sign language, etc.). Students are required to take 3 credits of English grammar or composition.

Course Options

  • ENG-105, English Composition I: 4
  • UNV-104, 21st Century Skills: Communication and Information Literacy: 4
  • ENG-106, English Composition II: 4
  • COM-263, Elements of Intercultural Communication: 4

Requirements

Graduates of Grand Canyon University will be able to express aspects of Christian heritage and worldview. Students are required to take CWV-101/CWV-301.

Course Options

  • CWV-101, Christian Worldview: 4
  • CWV-301, Christian Worldview: 4

Requirements

Graduates of Grand Canyon University will be able to use various analytic and problem-solving skills to examine, evaluate, and/or challenge ideas and arguments. Students are required to take 3 credits of college mathematics or higher.

Course Options

  • MAT-144, College Mathematics: 4

Requirements

Graduates of Grand Canyon University will be able to demonstrate awareness and appreciation of and empathy for differences in arts and culture, values, experiences, historical perspectives, and other aspects of life (psychology, sociology, government, Christian studies, Bible, geography, anthropology, economics, political science, child and family studies, law, ethics, cross-cultural studies, history, art, music, dance, theater, applied arts, literature, health, etc.). If the predefined course is a part of the major, students need to take an additional course.

Course Options

  • PSY-102, General Psychology: 4
  • INT-244, World Religions: 4
  • SOC-100, Everyday Sociology: 4

Required General Education Courses

Course Description

This course surveys global civilizations from Africa and the Americas to Eurasia as an overview of the principal cultural, political, and economic themes that shaped world civilization.

Course Description

This course examines the techniques, sources, and methods of collecting and presenting history at the local level. Emphasis is placed on how communities create memory and historical records, and their uses for students, educators, researchers, and communities.

Core Courses

Course Description

This course is designed to assist teacher candidates in understanding theories and principles of psychology that describe the growth and development of early adolescents and adolescents, including cognitive, linguistic, social, emotional, and physical areas. Candidates build foundational knowledge for constructing learning opportunities and environments that support individual students’ development, acquisition of knowledge and skills, and motivation. Practicum/field experience hours: 15. Fingerprint clearance required.

Course Description

This course provides an overview of the principal political, economic, and cultural themes and constitutional developments that shaped the United States from the Colonial period into the 20th Century.

Course Description

This writing intensive course focuses on research methods used in historical research and writing, and application of theories and methodologies to the analysis of historical materials. Emphasis is placed on research, writing, and critical thinking in historical contexts.

Course Description

In this writing intensive course, teacher candidates study how to teach a diverse population of students by examining the foundations and dimensions of social justice in education, social constructs, privilege, prejudice, and oppression with the goal of becoming culturally competent educators.

Course Description

Teacher candidates are introduced to the educational needs of students with mild to moderate disabilities and their families, including the definitions, characteristics, prevalence, causes and educational approaches to these disabilities and disorders. Teacher candidates will identify preventative and responsive practices related to cognitive, linguistic, social, and emotional patterns of learning and development for students with mild to moderate disabilities. Emphasis is placed on identifying appropriate times to differentiate, modify, or accommodate to support student learning. Teacher candidates also survey the special education process involving the application of various laws and regulations. Practicum/field experience hours: None. Fingerprint clearance not required.

Course Description

This course is a survey of the Arizona constitution and government. It meets the teacher certification requirement for Arizona government.

Course Description

In this course, teacher candidates differentiate instruction based on knowledge of students, learning theory, and curricular goals. Major emphasis is given to planning standards-based instructional objectives and lessons, sequencing, and assessing learning, utilizing formal and informal assessment strategies that address individual students' needs. Practicum/field experience hours: None. Fingerprint clearance not required. Prerequisite: SEC-202.

Course Description

Teacher candidates explore research-based instructional strategies for delivering differentiated instruction to promote reading and writing proficiency during content area instruction. Language and literacy development is examined to inform instruction, assessment, intervention, and remediation practices to support readers of varying ages and ability levels, including students with dyslexia and other reading disabilities. Using this foundational knowledge, candidates will select, adapt, and use research-based instructional strategies and interventions with attention focused on literacy in academic curricula to advance learning for adolescent students. Practicum/field experience hours: 20. Fingerprint clearance required. Fingerprint clearance required. Prerequisite: SEC-202.

Course Description

This writing intensive course examines the political, economic, and social aspects of selected wars and revolutions. It provides a comparative study of social conflicts with an emphasis on the patterns of individual and collective action, violence, and social changes. Prerequisite: HIS-255.

Course Description

This course introduces the study of history as a scholarly discipline, emphasizing significant historians, subdisciplines of the field, and the foundational methodological and theoretical tools of historians.

Course Description

In this course, teacher candidates examine the fundamentals of the legal, historical, and educational foundations of Structured English Immersion (SEI) and other instructional programs and approaches for teaching English learners. Theoretical principles of language acquisition and the role of culture in learning are examined. Methods of assessment are identified and analyzed. Teacher candidates identify strategies to promote English language development and improve student achievement as they plan, deliver, and evaluate standards-based instruction for English learners. Practicum/field experience hours: 15. Fingerprint clearance required.

Course Description

This course examines the historical and cultural developments of ancient worlds including Egypt, Greece, and Rome with an emphasis on social, political, and economic developments.

Course Description

This course provides a historical survey of Asia, including India, China, Southeast Asia, Korea, and Japan. Emphasis is placed on political, economic, and social developments.

Course Description

In this course, teacher candidates study methods and materials related to teaching secondary-grade 6-12 students. Emphasis is placed on analyzing data to evaluate and modify instruction. Candidates look at methodologies that encourage problem-solving, active participation, meeting diverse students’ needs, and professional collaboration. Focus is also placed on the practical applications of using all available data, including behavioral data, to drive instructional decisions. Practicum/field experience hours: None. Fingerprint clearance not required. Prerequisite: SEC-356.

Course Description

This course examines the principal social, political, economic, and global events that have shaped the American experience during the Cold War era. Prerequisite: HIS-386.

Course Description

This course examines the intellectual and religious developments of Europe between the 13th and 16th centuries including Renaissance Italy and Reformation Germany with an emphasis on social, political, and economic developments.

Course Description

This course examines the political, social, economic, and cultural history of the Southwest Borderlands region, focusing on topics related to the American West, Native Americans, frontier/colonial theory, environment, and Chicana/o history. Prerequisite: HIS-386.

Course Description

The goal of this course is to provide history teacher candidates with the knowledge and skills needed to teach history in secondary classrooms. Teacher candidates explore current research–based pedagogical practices for teaching history, connecting educational theory to specific innovative engagement practices for diverse learning populations. History teacher candidates also are given opportunities to design instruction that engages secondary students in historical inquiry, examines processes for selecting primary and secondary source historical content, and uses authentic assessments to measure student learning. Practicum/field experience hours: 15. Fingerprint clearance required.

Course Description

This course prepares teacher candidates to create and manage positive, productive secondary-grade 6-12 classroom environments with diverse students. Candidates develop a comprehensive understanding of the learning and behavior principles that underlie effective classroom management and student engagement in order to design and promote an effective classroom management program. Focus is placed on building a trusting relationship and creating a safe and equitable learning environment. Practicum/field experience hours: 20. Fingerprint clearance required. Prerequisite: SEC-356.

Course Description

Teacher candidates are engaged in the student teaching experience that includes practical classroom experiences, research, analysis, and teaching to support the creation of a Student Teaching Evaluation of Performance (STEP). Fingerprint clearance required. Prerequisites: Successful completion of all courses in POS and content area; a 2.8 GPA; successful completion of NES or your state’s mandated content area exams; and approval and placement by the College of Education Office of Clinical Practice. All paperwork for student teaching must be submitted by the due date the semester prior to student teaching.

Locations

GCU Campus Student


Join Grand Canyon University’s vibrant and growing campus community, with daytime classes designed for traditional students. Immerse yourself in a full undergraduate experience, complete with curriculum designed within the context of our Christian worldview.

GCU Online Student


Pursue a next-generation education with an online degree from Grand Canyon University. Earn your degree with convenience and flexibility with online courses that let you study anytime, anywhere.

* Please note that this list may contain programs and courses not presently offered, as availability may vary depending on class size, enrollment and other contributing factors. If you are interested in a program or course listed herein please first contact your University Counselor for the most current information regarding availability.

* Please refer to the Academic Catalog for more information. Programs or courses subject to change.