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Social Studies Education

The Social Studies education program at Spring Arbor University prepares students to teach at the secondary level through the discussion and application of the key concepts and skills of teaching. Our curriculum applies psychological and sociological principles to the theories and techniques of education.

Students pursuing certification in secondary education can choose from the following majors and minors. Please note that these letter codes are the official certification codes used by the Michigan Department of Education (MDE).

  • Majors Available: Biology (DA), Chemistry (DC), English (BA), History (CC), Integrated Science (DI), Mathematics (EX), Music Education (JQ), Social Studies (group, RX), Spanish (FF), Special Education (SM)
  • Minors Available: Biology (DA), Chemistry (DC), English (BA), History (CC), Psychology (CE), Spanish (FF), Teaching English as a Second Language (NS)

Students desiring Michigan certification are responsible for meeting all certification requirements of the Michigan Department of Education and the State Board of Education, whether or not they are explicitly stated in the SAU catalog.

The SOE policies apply to all Spring Arbor University sites. However, procedures for carrying out certain policies may vary from site to site. Certain certifiable majors and minors are available at the main campus only. A student wishing to participate in these majors and minors must register for and attend classes at SAU’s main campus in Spring Arbor, Michigan.

For more information on the elementary and secondary education programs at Spring Arbor University, visit SAU’s School of Education webpage.

School of Education Promise

As the State of Michigan makes changes regarding teacher evaluation, Spring Arbor University’s SOE stands behind its promise to provide exemplary teacher preparation that will give graduates of both our undergraduate and graduate programs the solid footing that they’ll need to meet the ever-changing expectations for teachers.  

The SOE is so confident in this, we have created the Spring Arbor University School of Education Promise.

As the State of Michigan makes changes regarding teacher evaluation, Spring Arbor University’s School of Education is ready to stand behind its promise that its approach to teacher preparation is exemplary and provides graduates of both our undergraduate and graduate programs with the solid footing needed to meet the changing expectations of the future.  The School of Education is so confident of this that they have created the Spring Arbor University School of Education Promise.

Should one of our School of Education graduates receive an unsatisfactory performance evaluation within the first three years of employment, as verified by the graduate and their building administrator in writing, then the Promise will apply. Under the Promise, the SAU School of Education graduate may enroll in up to three SOE classes tuition free**(1-9 cr hrs), provided that the class has sufficient enrollment to run without the inclusion of Promise graduates.  Promise graduates would be required to work with a mentor as part of fulfilling their responsibility for taking these course(s).  Any graduate* from one of our School of Education initial certification programs will be covered under this Promise if they have taught full-time for at least one full academic year.

The Promise provides this opportunity for the period of one year following the initial unsatisfactory performance evaluation under which the claim is made.

No other opportunities beyond this are covered by the Promise.


A Spring Arbor University School of Education graduate, for the purposes of the Promise, is defined as:

  • Graduated from SAU School of Education with Michigan Department of Education initial certification

**Costs not covered by Promise

Course fees, Tech fees, and textbooks/resource materials costs are the completer’s responsibility.

Courses and Course Descriptions

To view course requirements and descriptions, see the undergraduate catalog.

Admission to the School of Education

The standards for admission to the SOE include those for admission to Spring Arbor University as well as other criteria specified by the SOE. Admission to the SOE is determined by a two-thirds vote, made by the education faculty present at the meeting at which the candidate is considered.

Students are held accountable to the policies and procedures outlined in the handbook in use at the time of application. Current handbooks are available at the SOE Office. Students will refer to the course requirements outlined in the academic catalog in use at their time of entry to SAU as they plan for graduation.Michigan Department of Education Administrative Rules, state laws and changes in the requirements of accreditation bodies (such as CAEP) supersede any requirements printed in the catalog or student handbook.

Career Opportunities

Elementary certification allows graduates to teach all subjects for kindergarten through grade five, as well as his or her major or minor disciplines for grades six, seven and eight. Secondary certification allows graduates to teach in his or her major or minor disciplines for grades six through twelve. The available K-12 endorsement for students of elementary education is Special Education: Learning Disabilities. Available K-12 endorsements for students of secondary education are Music Education and Special Education: Learning Disabilities.