© 2015, Ankara University. All rights reserved.Patriotism is one of the citizenship values that need to be taught in social studies. This study explored social studies teacher candidates’ perceptions of patriotism and patriotic education. The study was conducted in phenomenology design and it included 15 social studies teacher candidates. Data were collected using semi-structured interviews and analyzed thematically. The study found that all the teacher candidates primarily associated patriotism with love, respect and commitment. Also, some of the participants regarded patriotism as fulfilling one’s responsibilities while some others considered it as striving for human rights and democracy. In addition, the participants had a constructive and democratic perception of patriotism in general. The social studies teacher candidates’ perception of patriotism is influenced by their families’ and social environments’ perception of patriotism and patriotism messages given by the educational system and media. Finally, the teacher candidates’ perception of patriotism had a direct impact on their perspective on patriotic education.