The primary purpose of the social studies department is citizenship education. It seeks through its course offerings and pedagogical methods to build and enhance within Overlake students cultural, historical, geographical, and political literacy in order that they may become well-informed and active participants in a democratic society. The chosen curriculum addresses the needs and demands of the increasingly global community by emphasizing world history, America's evolving historical role in world history, and the inter-relatedness of nations. All courses strive to make meaningful connections between the past and present. The Department challenges students with a rigorous curriculum that stresses authentic application of content with assignments and projects designed to enhance thinking, skills, and knowledge. In addition to acquiring information, the Department also challenges students to apply learned knowledge to current and future world problems.
Three years of social studies are required for graduation: World History 9, World History 10, and U.S. History. Students may take U.S. History in either grade eleven or twelve.