Social Studies

After receiving feedback and insight from educators in Tennessee and reviewing national exemplars in social studies education and two sets of draft standards, the State Board of Education approved on second read the new social studies standards on July 26, 2013. These standards were implemented in the 2014-15 school year. Teachers with a history 7-12 endorsement or a geography 7-12 endorsement are qualified to teach both the U.S. history and geography course and world history and geography course.

K-8 Standards

The State Board of Education (SBE) has the authority to adopt academic standards for each subject area in grades K-12. Click on the course title/ grade level to view a description of the course and the standards adopted by the SBE.

High School Standards (Required & Elective)

The SBE sets the requirements for high school graduation. Per SBE Rule,students must achieve three high school level units of Social Studies in order to graduate with a high school diploma. Course content must include United States History and Geography, World History and Geography, Economics, and Government. View a list of the courses required for high school graduation.

Advanced Placement


Tennessee's social studies standards are the result of looking to the best social studies standards in the nation. The academic standards of Massachusetts, California, Washington D.C., Alabama, Virginia, the American Psychological Association and others served as a model for Tennessee's revisions. The final product is heavily indebted to the exemplary work of source states and organizations. Educators in Tennessee were involved in the writing and revisions of the standards throughout the process. Their feedback was instrumental in the development of the new standards.

  • Alabama State Department of Education
  • American Psychological Association
  • California Department of Education
  • Connecticut State Department of Education
  • District of Columbia Public Schools
  • Georgia Department of Education
  • Indiana Department of Education
  • Massachusetts Department of Education
  • New Jersey Department of Education
  • North Carolina Department of Public Instruction
  • Oklahoma State Department of Education
  • South Carolina Department of Education
  • Texas Education Agency
  • Virginia Department of Education
  • National Geographic Society
  • Tennessee History for Kids
  • National Council for the Social Studies
  • Australian Government: Geoscience Australia and Australian Indigenous cultural heritage website
  • Tennessee, A Short History by Robert Ewing Corlew, Stanley John Folmsbee, and Enoch L. Mitchell, University of Tennessee Press
  • Tennessee through Time by Carole Stanford Bucy, Gibbs Smith Publishers
  • Library of Congress
  • Cengage Learning World Civilizations Resource Center
  • Tennessee’s State English Language Arts and Literacy Standards
  • Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture, Tennessee Historical Society the University of Tennessee Press
  • Jewish Federation of Nashville and Middle Tennessee
  • Southern Poverty Law Center
  • Southern Regional Education Board
Instructional Resources

Curricular resources related to the Literacy Standards for social studies are  available here.

Archived materials from TNCore are  available here.

Online Resources

Tennessee History Online Learning Module

In partnership with the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) and Tennessee’s affiliate stations, the department has developed a series of short online learning tools for educators. The professional learning tools in the Tennessee History Online Learning Module are available from PBS Learning Media.This online tool focuses on Tennessee History instruction for Tennessee State Standards.