social studies

plural noun

Definition of social studies

: a part of a school or college curriculum concerned with the study of social relationships and the functioning of society and usually made up of courses in history, government, economics, civics, sociology, geography, and anthropology

Examples of social studies in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

The Texas Board of Education on Friday voted to remove former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton from the state’s social studies curriculum. Madeline Farber, Fox News, "Texas Board of Ed votes to pull Hillary Clinton and Helen Keller from social studies curriculum," 14 Sep. 2018 Working out the details from a pile of bones takes a combination of forensic science and social studies. Joe Pappalardo, Popular Mechanics, "The Man With a Knife for an Arm," 14 Aug. 2018 Watson, social studies coordinator for the secondary program in teacher education at Lewis & Clark, is an editor at Rethinking Schools — a national publisher of educational materials. Valerie Strauss, Washington Post, "TEACHING FOR BLACK LIVES," 10 July 2018 Noel Runyan, 31, a liberal-leaning high school social studies teacher, agreed. Richard Fausset, New York Times, "Scott Pruitt, Fallen E.P.A. Chief, May Rise Again in Oklahoma," 8 July 2018 That delay gives them more time to improve reading skills and to learn prerequisite social studies lessons, boosting their chances of civics success a year later. Leslie Postal,, "Commissioner to lawmakers: No evidence school districts violated law," 5 July 2018 Many of the current classrooms in the main building have been transformed into science laboratories, leaving little room for other subjects, like social studies. Zahria Rogers, The Courier-Journal, "St. Xavier High School submits plans for $6 million library renovation," 3 July 2018 The day typically runs from about 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Lamphere said, and includes reading, writing, math, science and social studies classes. Mikaela Porter, Courant Community, "West Hartford Ben Bronz Academy Moves Into New Space Next To Northwest Catholic," 29 June 2018 The Michigan Education Department has been working for years on revising the social studies standards, which cover history, geography and civics education. Valerie Strauss, Washington Post, "Conservatives win controversial changes in Michigan’s proposed new social studies standards," 25 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'social studies.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of social studies

1853, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about social studies

Share social studies

Statistics for social studies

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for social studies

The first known use of social studies was in 1853

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for social studies

social studies


English Language Learners Definition of social studies

: a course of study that deals with human relationships and the way society works

social studies

noun plural

Kids Definition of social studies

: the studies (as civics, history, and geography) that deal with human relationships and the way society works

Comments on social studies

What made you want to look up social studies? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


very full or close together

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

What did you just call me?! A Quiz

  • rows-of-various-emoji
  • If a member of the audience describes your speech as bombastic, does that person mean it is:
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!