A History major is excellent preparation for middle and high school teaching. Maybe it was a high school Social Studies teacher who turned you on to the study of history in the beginning. Now you can prepare to pass on the favor.

The History & Political Science Departments work with the College of Education to coordinate the major and two minors you will need.  To complete the program and be licensed to teach in the state of Virginia, you need a major in history or political science, a minor in ISS, a minor in Secondary Education, and a fifth-year Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT).

General Information

You will study as much History or Political Science as any major, a selection of other social sciences, and special courses in how to teach the social sciences as more than just a collection of facts.  You'll also observe middle and high school classrooms and be a student teacher.  A fifth-year Master of Arts in Teaching completes your work for Virginia teaching certification.

The History ISS Checksheet for History majors spells it out.

The  Political Science ISS Checksheet for political science majors spell it out.

History Major

Political Science Major

ISS Minor

Seed Minor (look at the packet of information linked under the MAT degree)

And here's how to gain admission to JMU's teacher education program. Read through the entire document and take it to your education advisor or Dr. Purcell who is located in Memorial Hall room 3200.

Specific Advising Information

As registration approaches each semester, we will add a sheet with specific advising information for the next semester, including options for classes, procedures for getting into political science classes, and all sorts of other useful information. Information for fall 2019 classes.  Information for spring 2019 classes.  Information for fall 2018 classes.   Information for spring 2018 classesInformation for fall 2017 classes.  Information for fall 2016 classes.   And Information for spring 2017 classes

Drs. Dillard and Sandman are advisors to this program in the History Department. A secondary school teaching path is also offered through the Political Science Department, where Dr. Hulsey is advisor to the program for the political science department.

The Program Explained (in simple terms)

You will take history, social sciences, secondary education, and your general education classes throughout your undergraduate career. By the end of your time here at James Madison, you will have earned a BA in history, a master’s in secondary education and your Virginia state teaching licensure.

Freshman & sophomore years:

  • Declare a History major and a minor in Interdisciplinary Social Sciences and a second minor in secondary education (SEED)
  • Apply to the College of Education
  • Take the Praxis I exam
  • Complete 20 hours of Youth Mentoring experience (MSSE 101 fulfills this requirement)

Junior and senior years:

  • Take first block of co-requisite courses: EDUC 310, MSSE 370, MSSE 371
  • Take the VCLA- Virginia Communications and Literary Assessment exam
  • Take second block of co-requisite courses: HIST 457 (History capstone), MSSE 470, MSSE 471, READ 440
  • Take Praxis II – Subject Assessment exam

Fifth-year master’s:

  • Summer coursework
  • Fall coursework & in-classroom practicum
  • Spring – student teaching
What I Wish I Knew Prior to the Program

1. “Nap now or forever hold your peace.” –Kelly Sykes, Class of 2014

2. Like the Facebook page for JMU Future Social Studies Educators and get involved.

3. Realize that you will be in debt until you’re forty. Make peace with this early.

4. Get used to acronyms. FYI, acronyms will become part of your daily vocabulary.

5. Keep a list of fun and weird ideas for your classroom. This may make you a nerd, but your life will be so much easier later.

6. “Invest in dining dollars for coffee.” – Taylor Irish, Class of 2013

7. Your classmates are your new BFFs; you’ll never get through it alone.

8. One bad grade won’t ruin your life. Get over yourself.

9. Planners only cost $10 at Target but at least you save your sanity.

10. Club Carrier is not an actual dance club… but Carrier Library does stay open until 2 A.M.

Contact Information


Dr. David Dillard, ISS Coordinator/Advisor
Department of History
Jackson Hall, Room 219, MSC 2001


Dr. Alison Sandman, ISS Advisor
Department of History
Jackson Hall, Room 212, MSC 2001

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