Virginia Licensure Requirements for Secondary School Teaching, History and Social Science

George Mason University

State Approved


Becoming a teacher in the Commonwealth of Virginia requires the fulfillment of a two-fold process: Students first must demonstrate a grasp of what they will be teaching, and then must demonstrate that they know how to teach.  Earning an “education degree” with no content knowledge or earning a history degree with no knowledge of the process of classroom teaching would render a licensure program incomplete.  Following is an overview of what Virginia expects of all those interested in earning a license to teach.

I. Licensure: Fulfilling Subject Requirements

1.  The first general requirement for licensure in History/Social Science 6-12 is that students demonstrate their knowledge of the content they will teach. Students must take the types of courses listed below, and such courses can be 100-level through 400-level or higher from a regionally accredited college or university. Please be sure to see academic advising for education, listed on the bottom of the back of this page, to learn the specific courses to take in each category.

  • 18 hours in History
  • 18 hours in Government/Political Science
  • 6 hours in Economics
  • 9 hours in Geography

2.  Means of Fulfilling Subject (Or “Endorsement”) Requirements:

Undergraduate students are highly advised to select history or government as their major.  Students can help fulfill the remainder of the above-mentioned endorsement requirements by taking the remaining courses at random or by selecting a minor that includes many of the endorsement courses.  Global Systems or Government are viable minors.

Undergraduate students not interested in majoring in history or government should know that fulfilling their endorsement requirements will be more time-consuming without a history or government major. Nevertheless, such students can take the above-mentioned State required endorsement courses wherever they have space for mandated electives within their major of choice.

Graduate students can take endorsement courses on the undergraduate or graduate level. These must be fulfilled prior to gaining admittance into a graduate teacher licensure program.

3.  Documentation of Endorsement Requirements:

At the end of each semester in which endorsement requirements are fulfilled (or as soon as possible), students must document the completion of such courses through an online process.  Students are asked to visit the Online Endorsement Worksheet (, click “Steps for an Endorsement Review,” and follow all directions.

II. Licensure: Fulfilling Education Requirements

The second general requirement for licensure in History/Social Science 6-12 is that students demonstrate that they have learned how to teach in their content area(s):

Students must complete a state-approved teacher licensure program.  Such a program, where students learn the practical classroom teaching portion of their licensure mandate, is on the master’s degree level.  Once students apply for this program during the semester prior to the semester they plan to begin the graduate program, they will be permitted to choose between taking the minimum licensure requirements (which can take as little as three semesters for full-time students) or earn the master’s degree in education (M.Ed).  Earning the full master’s degree adds only four courses (or one semester for full-time students) to the minimum licensure requirements, thereby allowing students to complete their graduate degree in only four semesters.

III. Academic Advising for Education

  • Undergraduate students are strongly urged to meet with their academic advisor for education once per semester (as they do their history advisor) to ensure they’re on the right track to meet their state-mandated teacher licensure requirements.  Eva Nolen, the Undergraduate Academic Advisor for Education, will help them concerning endorsement, testing, and admissions requirements as well as alert them to any changes the state makes that may affect students interested in earning licenses to teach.  She can be reached at 703-993-2078 or .
  • Graduate Students are asked to contact Carol Ardon-McCullough, the graduate coordinator, to receive advising for endorsements, testing, and other admissions requirements.  She can be reached at or 703-993-3696.