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.
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Comprehensive List of Accredited Online Schools - History Degrees ( 90)
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.
Online history master's degrees usually take two to three years to complete and consist of approximately 36 semester credit hours. Applicants will need to have a bachelor's degree in a related field and will need to submit transcripts from their undergraduate studies as part of the application process. In addition to transcripts, some schools will also require applicants to submit standardized test scores, letters of recommendation, and/or personal statements.
Examples of core classes included in these degree programs include colonialism, cultural and religious history, diplomatic history, imperialism, historiography, Roman history, slavery, women's suffrage, and race, class, and gender history. Other common classroom topics may include research methods of historians, popular culture throughout history, early American history, analyzing historical data and samples, history of ancient Greece, and history of ancient indigenous people. Coursework will vary based on students' areas of interest and whether they choose to specialize in one aspect of historical studies.
Graduates of online history master's programs may go on to become museum administrators, teachers, archivists, librarians, and writers; many master's graduates become college instructors. Those who are interested in becoming consultants or scholars in the field should consider earning a doctoral degree as well.
2019 Best Online Colleges for a Master's in History
The following 16 schools offer the best online master's degrees in history, with an affordable average tuition of $11,516 per year. Johns Hopkins University secures the #1 spot, with an annual tuition of $21,250 and a reported median salary of $115,654. Fort Hays State University has a notably low tuition of only $4,316 per year and an exceptional median alumni salary of $99,100.
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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.