Social studies is the "integrated study of the social sciences and humanities to promote civic competence," as defined by the United States Americans National Council for the Social Studies. Social studies is most commonly recognized as the name of a course or set of courses taught in primary and secondary schools or elementary, middle, and secondary schools, but may also refer to the study of aspects of human society at certain post-secondary and tertiary schools around the globe. Many such courses are interdisciplinary and draw upon various fields, including sociology but also political science, history, economics, religious studies, geography, psychology, anthropology, and civics.
At the elementary school level, social studies generally focuses first on the local community and family. By middle and high school, the social studies curriculum becomes more discipline-based and content-specific. Social studies varies greatly as a subject between countries and curricula and is not synonymous with sociology or social science; some courses borrow heavily from the social and political sciences, whereas others are created independently for schools. By contrast with sociology, social studies courses often consist of a general and opinion-led discussion of topics without reference to academic theorists or research.
In Ontario, Social Studies is a precursor for the fields of History and Geography respectively. These two strands are incorporated at grade seven and follow through to grade twelve. The Ontario curriculum also has a quarter credit requirement "Civics" which discusses Canadian political design, focusing on Canada's Bi-Cameral system.
- "About the National Council for the Social Studies". Retrieved 2009-08-31.