2019 Best Online Colleges for History Degrees
An online degree in history can provide students with a nuanced understanding of history throughout the world and an improved capacity for processing and analyzing information. There are 90 accredited online colleges and universities offering history degrees at a variety of degree levels including bachelor's and master's. Prospective online history students should make sure to attend an accredited school, like one of our 2019 best online colleges offering bachelor's in history degrees or our best online master's programs in history. These schools were ranked based on their tuition rates and alumni salaries reported by PayScale. Graduates may go on to have careers in sectors that require strong writing, communication, and research skills.
2019 Best Online Colleges Offering Bachelor's in History Degrees
The best 19 online colleges for a bachelor's degree in history can be found on the list below. These schools are noteworthy for their low tuition, with 14 schools having tuition under $15,000. They also offer impressive median salaries; Washington State University tops the list with alumni reporting a mid-career salary of $112,600. Fort Hays State University is also a notable mention, with a low cost of $6,560 and a median alumni salary of $97,700.
|Rank||School||Annual Tuition||Median Salary|
|#1 Washington State University||$11,329||$112,600|
|#2 West Virginia University||$30,570||$102,300|
|#3 Fort Hays State University||$6,560||$97,700|
|#4 University of Maryland University College||$14,970||$83,700|
|#5 Arizona State University||$10,104||$72,500|
|#6 Excelsior College||$15,300||$71,300|
|#7 University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee||$11,760||$62,500|
|#8 Oregon State University||$13,365||$61,600|
|#9 University of Central Florida||$9,000||$61,000|
|#10 Assumption College||$40,208||$64,200|
|#11 University of Massachusetts-Lowell||$11,400||$59,100|
|#12 Thomas Edison State University||$9,967||$57,000|
|#13 Northern Kentucky University||$13,547||$54,500|
|#14 Columbia College||$11,250||$53,600|
|#15 Sam Houston State University||$12,370||$50,000|
|#16 University of Memphis||$12,600||$50,000|
|#17 University of Idaho||$8,914||$44,300|
|#18 University of Missouri at Saint Louis||$29,769||$46,800|
|#19 University of Michigan-Flint||$21,786||$41,200|
Comprehensive List of Accredited Online Schools - History Degrees ( 90)
- Annual Tuition: $11,329
- Median Salary: $112,600
In keeping with its mission to help students no matter where they live, Washington State University offers multiple programs to online students who are unable to attend on-campus classes. These courses, which include two bachelor's degrees in history, are offered through the WSU Global Campus. All WSU students must fulfill the University Common Core requirements in order to graduate. The online Bachelor of Arts in Humanities - History program also requires 36 hours of history credits in courses covering areas such as American history, the history of women in the American West, and Classical and Christian Europe. The online Bachelor of Arts in Social Sciences is WSU's most flexible online degree program, offering multiple concentrations including history. Students have the option of studying two or three different concentrations for this program.
- Annual Tuition: $30,570
- Median Salary: $102,300
Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, West Virginia University is strong in both research and the liberal arts. Its 100% online Bachelor of Arts degree is a unique program that requires 120 credit hours for completion and allows students to turn work, life, military, and previous academic experience into academic credits. It has eight areas of emphasis, including American history and general history. Students can be admitted fall, spring or summer term. Requirements include a minimum of 27 credit hours of general education courses and a minimum of 39 credit hours of upper division courses.
- Annual Tuition: $6,560
- Median Salary: $97,700
Fledgling historians seeking extra value for their money will find Fort Hays State University's Bachelor of General Studies - Historical Studies a bargain at only $6,560 a year. This 100% online degree completion program is offered through FHSU's virtual college. The general studies program is designed for students who have clear career goals. It does not provide them with a course- or career-specific diploma, but it does assist students with entering a graduate program. General education requirements for the program include 45 credit hours of English composition, computer literacy, humanities, and science courses. The history concentration requires 21 credit hours of history courses.
- Annual Tuition: $14,970
- Median Salary: $83,700
Founded over 70 years ago to further the education of working adults, University of Maryland University College now offers a wide variety of degrees and certificates in a variety of formats. Online students may pursue its bachelor's degree in history, which requires a thesis and 120 total credits for completion, 90 of which may be transferred. Students may opt to focus on U.S. history or world history. This program is designed for students with robust writing and critical thinking skills.
- Annual Tuition: $10,104
- Median Salary: $72,500
Arizona State University has a proven track record; graduates of the online bachelor's programs in history reported a median annual income of $72,500. ASU's online program is cutting-edge, offering distance students a number of services including access to academic success specialists, the Wildcat career network, discounted software, math and writing tutoring, and an online orientation. Its online bachelor's degree programs in history and art history each consist of 39 7.5 week classes, for a total of 120 credit hours.
- Annual Tuition: $15,300
- Median Salary: $71,300
Excelsior College is a regionally accredited school that specializes in distance education. The average age of enrolled students is 36 years old. Excelsior College offers a 100% online bachelor's of science degree in history. This 120-credit program requires 30 of the credits to come from upper-level courses. Students choose from classes in United States history, European history, and world history. They also choose electives and must complete a capstone course. This degree prepares students for employment in education, research, and communication, as well as for a graduate degree.
- Annual Tuition: $11,760
- Median Salary: $62,500
Catering to 27,000 students from 92 countries, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee offers over 193 degree and certificate programs, of which 30 are completely online. UWM Online's bachelor's of arts in history program requires 120 credits for graduation, 36 of which must be in history. General education requirements can be completed through the fully online First 60 Credits sequence offered through the College of Letters & Science. Online students take the exact same courses that on-campus students take, but in an online format. Online classes are not self-paced.
- Annual Tuition: $13,365
- Median Salary: $61,600
Offering both a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Science in History in asynchronous, online formats, Oregon State University has a cutting-edge Ecampus. Students can take an online course demo, as well as an online learning readiness quiz, to get a feel for distance learning before they make the leap into an online program. Once students are enrolled, support services such as exam proctoring, success coaching, tutoring, and library services will assist them with their coursework and academic goals. The online bachelor's degrees in history both require 180 total credits and are both research-based. No focus areas are offered.
- Annual Tuition: $9,000
- Median Salary: $61,000
University of Central Florida is a very large school, with almost 70,000 students, a quarter of whom are first-generation graduates. The university offers an extensive online catalog with numerous undergraduate degrees, including a bachelor's degree in history for only $9,000 per year. This 120-credit-hour program allows students to opt for an accelerated program partway through their studies, enabling them to obtain both a bachelor's and a master's. UCF's dedicated online student support includes career services, a writing center, financial aid assistance, advising and an academic resource center.
- Annual Tuition: $40,208
- Median Salary: $64,200
At Assumption College, all classes, even online classes, are taught by faculty, not assistants. The online Bachelor of Arts program offers six concentrations, including one in history. This program requires a total of 120 credit hours, including core courses, humanities courses, and electives. The capstone course is designed by the student and directed by faculty. Assumption college allows online students to transfer up to 75 credits. It also allows students to apply up to 30 credits for prior education and/or previous standardized examinations.
- Annual Tuition: $11,400
- Median Salary: $59,100
At $11,400 per year, University of Massachusetts-Lowell offers an online Bachelor of Liberal Arts - History degree. The program is customizable and offers specializations in history, art history, economics, English, gender studies, legal studies, philosophy, and political science. Students choose two specializations and take six courses in each of them, for a total of 36 units. Courses offered for the history concentration include World War II, African-American history, and Stalin's Russia. The rest of the program's 120 units are filled with courses from the program's foreign language, core curriculum, and interdisciplinary focus requirements.
- Annual Tuition: $9,967
- Median Salary: $57,000
Thomas Edison State University offers distance students a bachelor's of history for under $10,000 a year in tuition. A military-friendly public institution, TESU has a comprehensive online degree program that caters to working adults and adults with families. Its bachelor's of history degree requires 120 credits for completion. These credits are divided up into a number of categories including general education, civic and global learning, electives, and a capstone project. Eligible transfer credits are accepted into this major, and there is a convenient online application process.
- Annual Tuition: $13,547
- Median Salary: $54,500
Northern Kentucky University offers over 30 online degree programs that are designed to fit the budgets, schedules, and goals of today's working adults. Some of them, such as the bachelor's degree in history program, are offered in both traditional, 16-week classes, and accelerated seven-week courses. History majors are required to complete 36 hours in the major–18 core requirement credit hours and 18 upper division credit hours. Courses are taught via the Canvas online classroom. Students can inquire into arranging internships through NKU's Career Services department.
#14 Columbia College
- Annual Tuition: $11,250
- Median Salary: $53,600
#14 Columbia College
A private, non-profit college with over 160 years of education to its name, Columbia College has an enrollment of almost 25,000. In addition to an extensive catalog of traditional degree programs, it offers students 28 accredited online degrees and over 800 online courses each term. Its online programs include a 120-semester-hour bachelor's degree in history. Hosted by the History, Philosophy, and Political Science Department, this degree includes courses on ethics, world history, women and gender in world history, the history of modern Africa, and American Indian history. Internship opportunities are available.
- Annual Tuition: $12,370
- Median Salary: $50,000
Sam Houston State University is renowned for its effective and innovative approach to education, and receives a 100% recommendation rate from students and former students. A leader in online education, it offers $1,000 scholarships to new fully online students. It also offers small class sizes, 24/7 support, and mentorship by top-notch faculty. Its online classes are taught by award-winning faculty, and degrees earned online are identical to those earned in-person. SHSU offers an online Bachelor of Arts in History. This 120-credit-hour degree has both a foreign language and minor requirement. Students can choose from several different specializations.
- Annual Tuition: $12,600
- Median Salary: $50,000
University of Memphis is regionally accredited and offers distance students online degrees through its UofM Global campus. Working adults seeking a four-year degree in the humanities can opt for its 100% online bachelor's degree in history. This degree has several concentrations, and requires a minimum of 120 credit hours for graduation. Students receive career counseling, along with exposure to graduate school workshops and other professional development opportunities. Transfer credits are accepted and internships are available.
- Annual Tuition: $8,914
- Median Salary: $44,300
University of Idaho offers exceptional deals with its online Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science degrees, which each cost less than $9,000 per year. Full-time online students all pay in-state tuition. They also have options for internships, scholarships, and for studying abroad. Concentrations are available in general history, American history, and European history. A senior year capstone class is required for some concentrations. University of Idaho provides online students with technical support, academic advisors, and library services.
- Annual Tuition: $29,769
- Median Salary: $46,800
University of Missouri at Saint Louis is a public, non-profit institution that is also regionally accredited. Offering both a Bachelor of Arts in History and a Bachelor of Science in History, it provides distance history students with small classes and individual attention. Course options cover American, African-American, United States, and world history. Students can choose from standard 16-week classes, or accelerated eight-week classes. They may also be eligible for scholarships and financial aid, and transfer credits are an option.
- Annual Tuition: $21,786
- Median Salary: $41,200
Founded in 1956, University of Michigan-Flint offers over 100 undergraduate degrees. The university has offered online classes since 2000, and it now offers online students advising, financial aid, library, and veterans services. Its fully online Bachelor of Applied Science degree allows students to choose from 11 concentrations, including history. Students in this program must complete a total of at least 124 units, including general education requirements. Eligible transfer credits are permitted, pending the approval of the program committee and chairman.
Online History Degree Overview & Career Information
An online associate degree in history is good preparation for students who plan on continuing their educations by earning bachelor's degrees in the field or a similar academic discipline. These online degrees combine classes in world history with other humanities and liberal arts classes. Foundational courses explore subjects such as philosophy, natural science, social science, and fine arts.
An online bachelor’s degree in history will introduce students to the process of researching and examining history, as well as studying the histories of different regions around the globe. Common courses discuss the history of Western civilization, the history of Europe, United States history, and Middle Eastern history. Other courses may look at the historical development of particular populations or topics, such as women’s history, the history of religion, or the history of film. Some programs allow or require students to specialize the degree in an area like the history of science, African American history, or art history.
Online master's degrees in history enable students to focus heavily on a particular historical region, era, person, or event. Several programs also allow students to assess and compare factors that have impacted the United States and other countries. The programs often draw from other disciplines, such as sociology, political science, economics, English literature, and environmental studies. Graduate certificates in history are also available for educators or other working professionals who want to closely examine the history of a particular region or a historical event, such as American history, military history, the Civil War, or classical history.
Online associate degrees in history teach students fundamental skills that can be applied to a wide range of jobs and activities. For that reason, these programs are great choices for undergraduate students who want to study history without committing to four years of full-time study or who plan to complete an associate degree before furthering their education at the bachelor's level.
Associate degree programs usually take two years to complete and about 60 semester credit hours. Most online schools will require that applicants have a high school diploma or GED. Applicants may need to submit transcripts from high school and any college courses they have previously taken.
Students in an online associate degree program can expect to take some general education courses including English literature, biology, and mathematics in addition to history-specific classes. Most degrees will include coursework in some combination of world history, American history, African-American history, history of women, Eastern religions, history of Western civilization, regional history, art history, historical geology, world politics, and the history of human rights.
Job opportunities for associate degree holders in history range from teaching assistantships and park historians to document archivists and research assistants. Many graduates continue their education by obtaining a bachelor's or master's degree in a specialized area of historical study.
The online bachelor’s degree in history introduces students to major events and themes in human development, from ancient times to today. In the process, students gain a historical context for current events, as well as research and critical thinking skills.
These programs require four years which is usually equivalent to at least 120 credit hours of work. A high school diploma or GED is required to apply. Most online schools will also require applicants to submit standardized test scores (SAT or ACT scores) and transcripts from high school and any colleges that an applicant may have previously attended.
The curriculum in the history online bachelor’s degree surveys history in varying regions around the world, from prehistoric events to today. Common core classes include overviews of history research methods, ancient history, medieval history, US history, and the history of ethnicity and race in the United States. Students are also required to take survey courses in the history of particular geopolitical regions, such as Asian, Latin American, or African history.
At some schools, along with taking the major courses in an array of historical areas, students can also specialize their online bachelor’s degree in a particular historical subtopic, such as women’s history, European history, or the history of science. Most programs require a capstone course or thesis project, in which students complete a significant research paper in their focus area.
Online history bachelor’s graduates may be prepared for a variety of careers that require critical thinking, writing, and reading skills. Graduates can apply for positions as administrators, human resource managers, legal assistants, and marketing analysts, to name a few. Others pursue teacher certification to teach history at the high school level. Still others go on to graduate study in law, library science, political science, or another humanities area.
Students looking to pursue studies in history at the graduate level may be interested in an online master's degree in history. Master's degree programs in history help broaden students' perspectives of different cultures and economies. Students focus on obtaining knowledge related to influential time periods, people, and events. They're expected to delve into independent research, as well as complete a capstone project. To learn more about online master's programs in history, see our master's overview which includes a list of the best programs.
Applicants to a certificate in history program must usually hold a bachelor's degree to be considered. Prospective students will need to submit official transcripts from all postsecondary programs they have attended. An 18-credit certificate can be completed in less than one year.
The courses required for a history certificate program depend on the particular concentration a student selects. An American history certificate may include courses in US constitutional history, the American Revolution in context, the Civil War, the United States in the 20th century, and history and popular culture. A student focused on ancient and classical history could expect to take courses focusing on Medieval Europe, late antiquity and Byzantium, the Greek civilization, the Roman Republic and Empire, and the Renaissance and Reformation. Requirements for a certificate in European history would include classes in the Great War, World War II in context, modern European history, 18th and 19th century Europe, and the history of the Enlightenment.
The Importance of an Accredited Online History Degree
Prospective online students should make sure that their schools of choice are regionally or nationally accredited in order to ensure that their learning experiences will meet national educational standards. Accredited schools and degree programs have had their curricula, faculty, student resources and outcomes, and research capabilities carefully evaluated by an independent organization. Attending an accredited school will enable you to access any federal financial aid you might qualify for and help you meet eligibility requirements for transferring credits from one accredited institution to another. This is especially important for students who plan to attend graduate school.
The Council for Higher Education Accreditation and the US Department of Education formally recognize several regional accrediting agencies and provide databases of accredited schools on their websites for prospective students. Please visit the Guide to Online Schools accreditation hub for more information about how accreditation works and why it's important.
Online history degrees help students develop critical thinking skills and a broad understanding of culture. Because of this, a history degree can open up many possible careers in fields such as education, consulting, law, business, financial services, government institutions, and non-profit administrations. A few examples of potential career options for people with history degrees include teaching history at the middle or high school level, history professor, journalist, librarian, museum curator, and travel writer.
- Archivists, Curators, and Museum Workers. Occupational Outlook Handbook. Bureau of Labor Statistics of the US Department of Labor. Accessed February 22, 2018. http://www.bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/curators-museum-technicians-and-conservators.htm.
- High School Teachers. Occupational Outlook Handbook. Bureau of Labor Statistics of the US Department of Labor. Accessed February 22, 2018. http://www.bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/high-school-teachers.htm.
- Historians. Occupational Outlook Handbook. Bureau of Labor Statistics of the US Department of Labor. Accessed February 22, 2018. http://www.bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/historians.htm.
- Librarians. Occupational Outlook Handbook. Bureau of Labor Statistics of the US Department of Labor. Accessed February 22, 2018. http://www.bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/librarians.htm.
- Postsecondary Teachers. Occupational Outlook Handbook. Bureau of Labor Statistics of the US Department of Labor. Accessed February 22, 2018. http://www.bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/postsecondary-teachers.htm.