Thesis Title

History Electives in High School: Making Social Studies Engaging

Graduation Date

Spring 2011

Document Type

Master's Thesis

Document Form


Degree Name

Master of Science

Program Name


Program Director

Madeliene Peters, EdD


The majority of public high school students in California are missing out on history. Many students may not see it that way, but that is because they have little understanding of what it means to appreciate history. The traditional high school history survey courses, US History and world history, provide an overview of “everything that ever happened,” while going into very little detail regarding the people, controversies and rationales behind the events that shaped our nation and the world. High school students do not realize that studying history is more than sweeping overviews and general knowledge. Providing students with an eclectic choice of in- depth history electives would alleviate this misconception. Elective courses on themes such as women’s history, US immigration, and local history open the idea of specific areas of interest and expertise in social studies. Simply the availability of these classes, even for the students who choose not to take them, can show students they can study, learn and focus on a myriad of specific topics, opening up a world of interests that they may have never otherwise considered.

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