Online History Degree

To meet demand, many schools offer online history degrees. Historians work to understand the past as a way to shed light on current issues and trends. If you enjoy digging into research and pivotal events, you might want to think about earning a history degree online. 

An online history degree studies events, objects, peoples and ideas of the past. Then applies the meaning from this research to make sense of modern society and issues. One may find online history degrees at all levels. Bachelors, masters and PhDs. At each level, you dig into historical eras and regions to research and write about the past and its impact. 

At the bachelors level, this degree is intro level. You tend to explore US history and Western civilization in a very broad way. As a grad, you may know how to find and analyze primary and secondary historical sources.  

Masters in history programs dive deeper. You tend to explore a certain period or aspect of history to learn the cause and effect it had. With this advanced insight, some students pursue a career and others, a PhD.  

PhD in history programs are research based. You tend to study the tools of research such as new media, oral history and foreign language. Apart from quality research skills, grads may add to the field in their own way. 

Bachelor’s Degree in History

An online bachelor of arts in this field (BA) is an entry level degree. It tends to entail 120 credits and an average of four years. Many schools use a BA in history to provide a broad base. So, you tend to study primary sources of US history along with Western civ. You may also work with an advisor to design your history degree around a theme. Some options include religious, African American, political, social or economic topics.

Through your course work, you may strengthen your research and writing skills. Most programs aim to foster a critical mind set. So, while you study key events, you may also learn to analyze how people interpret them. To gain admission into a BA in history program, you need a high school diploma or GED. Schools may also set standards for GPA and some want to see your ACT or SAT scores too. Another factor is tuition, as per the NCES. They report the average cost of a history degree at a public school is $6,698. It’s higher ($31,437) at private schools. 

Master’s Degree in History

An online master of arts in history (MA) is a grad degree. It tends to entail about 36 credits and two years. Most programs take a deep look at how key events, periods and cultures impacted the world as we know it. Along the way, you may build skills as a writer, researcher, communicator and analytic thinker.  

Many MA students also select a focal point which drives their plan of study. European history, women’s history, or teaching college history are a few. As a basic rule, you have the choice to pursue a thesis at the end of your program. Students who want to go on to a PhD may opt in as the independent research may be ideal practice.  

To qualify for admission into an MA history program, you need an accredited bachelors degree or higher. Schools may also look at transcripts, GPA and the types of history classes you took. Things like a writing sample and references are common too. Some schools also want to see that your research interests line up with the faculty and goals of the program. 

PhD in History

An online PhD in history is a research degree and the highest level of award. It tends to entail upwards of 30 credits and three years post MA. Most programs ground you in historical theory and research methods. So, while learning in depth, you may master the tools of research. Like a foreign language or knowledge of oral history. 

That said, you often work with a mentor to design a program of study that lines up with your goals. You are likely to tap into these goals when you research for your final dissertation. Many students go for a PhD in History to prep for a career as an educator, researcher, analyst, and writer. So some programs may include brief visits to campus for hands on experiences. 

To gain entry to an online PhD program, you may need a MA degree and thesis. Many schools also ask for a personal essay, letters of reference and writing sample. Some also ask for GRE scores.  

How much might it cost to earn a master’s in history or PhD online? The average cost of a grad degree from a public school is $11,303. So, some online history MA and PhD programs may be less or more than this amount. 

What can I do with an Online History Degree? 

A history degree may be an entry point to diverse career options. Historians know how to write, perform analytical research and think critically about issues. And these skills may translate well to jobs in gov’t, science, education and business. As history often sets the context for decisions, there may be jobs for all levels of education. In many social science fields, one needs a bachelors degree for entry level roles. Aside from a bachelors degree, most historians have a masters or PhD. It is also common to have a knowledge base in a certain historical era or group.  

1. Academic Librarian 

An academic librarian helps students, faculty and staff in post secondary schools. If you’ve ever researched a term paper, an academic librarian may have shown you how to access info. These pros tend to need a masters degree in library science. But many schools have more than one library and look for focused skills. As a result, many also have a PhD. 

2. Archeologist

An archeologist examines, recovers and preserves evidence of the past. The evidence may be human remains, pottery, tools, ruins of buildings or artwork. In taking a close look at what was left behind, these pros may make useful links with current info. So, they can add to what we know about history, customs and life styles of people in earlier eras. To move beyond an assistant role, many of these pros earn a masters or PhD. With an advanced degree, one may have the skills to manage an archeological dig and give advice on cultural policies.  

3. Broadcast Journalist 

As a broadcast journalist you research topics and stories, ideate and write articles. In your creative process, you may conduct interviews with sources too. Some people with this back ground lead news shows on TV or radio. Apart from an outgoing nature, most employers prefer those with a bachelors degree.   

4. Editorial Assistant 

An editorial assistant may be responsible for one subject. For instance, political events, sports, entertainment, local or global news. In doing their job, they may need to plan, review and revise content. Besides creativity and sound judgement, many employers hire assistants with a bachelors degree. 

5. High School History Teacher 

As a high school history teacher, your role is to educate students about historical periods. You are likely to plan lessons, test students, grade papers and chart progress. In all states, public school teachers need at least a bachelors degree and license. Many states also mandate that teachers hold a masters degree in a content area. 

6. Archivist

An archivist checks that historical documents are both authentic and preserved. As record keepers, a key duty is to safe guard important documents. To do this, they may create film and digital copies. Then also, create and manage systems that classify records. Apart from being detail oriented, many archivists have a masters degree. Some also focus on a certain historical era or type of documentation (movies, manuscripts, etc.) 

7. Historian 

historian is a professional researcher. Someone who studies the past to analyze, interpret and write about it. In doing this research, you may look at manuscripts, diaries, news articles, books and artifacts. The conclusions you make may help to inform, educate and guide policy. Many of these pros today work for gov’ts, people, nonprofits and other agencies. As their skill sets involve very deep knowledge, they tend to have a masters or PhD. 

8. Museum Curator 

As a museum curator, you lead the task to find, store and exhibit collections. To do this, you may have to negotiate, authorize purchases, sales and loans of artwork. Other than admin tasks, you may manage a museum’s research projects. Many of these pros also serve as the face of the museum at fundraising and PR events. As there are large and small museums, there may be jobs for different levels of education. If the museum is small, a bachelors degree may suffice. But in larger museums, one tends to need a masters.  

Is an Online History Degree worth it? 

Expertise in historical research may be useful for a wide range of jobs that yield above average earnings. Jobs in social science are growing faster than average and many new jobs are forecast. Per the U.S. BLS, if you have a masters or PhD, it may be more in your favor. Jobs in this field are competitive but still expect 6% growth to 2028.  

People who can appraise, process, catalog and preserve records face favorable prospects too. Archivists should see a 9% growth in the number of open jobs by 2028 as well. Salaries in all these fields vary. But historians report yearly average salaries of $63,680 in 2018. And many earned more than $114,110. 

History Degree Jobs & Salary

Occupation Average Salary Jobs
Academic Librarian $59,050 134,800
Archeologist $63,670 6,500
Broadcast Journalist $43,490 49,700
Childcare Workers $61,370 118,300

Top States for Jobs as an Archaeologist

State Jobs Annual Mean Wage
CA 1,610 $69,890
OR 420 $63,970
AZ 410 $64,150
NV 320 $64,820
TX 320 $70,410

What classes will I take with an Online History Degree?

As a history major you are likely to study key eras, regions, events and cultures. These areas help you to interpret the past to make sense of the present. Most course plans draw from the humanities. So, you may study religion, economics and anthropology. You can also expect to study texts, practices and contexts.  

Along the way, you may learn to use and create digital media, analyze and present findings in compelling ways. That said, each level of degree may to do this in its own way. Below are some of the classes you may find at the bachelors, masters and PhD levels.

Bachelor’s Degree Courses

Classes in a BA in history program lay the base. You tend gain a broad base of knowledge in American history and the growth of Western civ. Some of the material you cover might teach you about civil rights, slavery and American art forms. Although many programs are flexible, and you can tailor them to your interests. Besides a key look at historical periods, you may build key history skills. Using primary and secondary sources to research a topic is one of them. Some types of classes might be: 

American History

Learn about general American history from the Civil War to the present day. Topics of study include the presidents and their initiatives, as well as landmark developments and communism.

History of Modern China

Examine the history and culture of 20th century China. This class focuses on the decline of imperialism as well as China’s relationships with its neighbors and other countries.

Graduate Degree Courses

Classes in a MS in history program dig deeper into a period or theme. You tend to also explore how key events, periods, and cultures impacted the world today. Your choice of focus may drive most of your courses. China, the Middle East, wartime Europe, are a few of many options. Along with classes, you may develop as a writer, communicator and researcher. So many programs highlight both creative story telling and analytical skills.

Classes in a PhD in history program focus research tools and methods. A foreign language, new media and oral history are some of these tools. In most PhD programs, you find very broad and deep course plans. You may study areas like gender history, politics and foreign relations. This will depend on what you focus on for your original research. At the same time, you may hone investigative skills while also learning to fuse info. In doing so, one may become adept at detecting patterns and ideas. Some types of classes might be:

Ancient Rome

Learn about the political, military and economic climate of ancient Rome. Students discuss Roman law and its influence throughout the ages.

Women in American History

Explore the impact of historical events on the lives of American women and, in turn, the many roles women played in shaping American history.

How long does it take to get an Online History Degree?

The time it takes to earn a history degree online depends on the level and your course load. As a rule of thumb, it takes an average of four years to earn an online BA in history. Some programs may allow you to transfer up to 90 credits which cuts program length. Once you graduate, it may take two years to earn a MA in history online. If you have a MA, it may take at least three more to earn a PhD in history online. A PhD involves research and possible teaching practicum which could stretch time to complete.  

University Level of Degree # of Credits Required Starts Per Year Minimum Months to Complete
Southern New Hampshire University Bachelors 120 6 24
Regent University Bachelors 120 6 24
University of Maryland Global Campus Bachelors 120 6 24
American Public University System Masters 36 Monthly 12
Sam Houston State University Masters 30 – 36 3 12
Norwich University Masters 36 3 18
American University – Washington, DC PhD 30 – 42 1 3
University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee PhD 54 4 3
Liberty University PhD 72 6 4

15 Schools with Online History Degrees

We’ve compiled a list of 15 schools with online history degrees at all levels. Our methods use data from the NCES. 

  1. Southern New Hampshire University
  2. Regent University
  3. University of Maryland Global Campus
  4. Ashford University
  5. Indiana University
  6. American Public University
  7. Sam Houston State University
  8. Norwich University
  9. University of Pittsburgh
  10. University of Memphis
  11. American University – Washington, DC
  12. University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee
  13. Liberty University
  14. Loyola University Chicago
  15. Arizona State University

FIND AN ONLINE HISTORY DEGREE

Here’s a closer look at the 15 schools where you might earn a history degree online. 

1

Southern New Hampshire

Bachelor of Arts in History

Online


SNHU’s online B.A. entails 120 credits and gives you some freedom to customize your studies. The core program features a broad base in US history and Western civ. Then, with the help of your advisor, you may design your own history degree that weaves in course work from throughout the school. Choose a general track based in US, European or world studies. Or you can tailor your program a certain theme. Religious, African America, political, social, intellectual or economic topics, to name a few. Some topics are:

  • Medieval world   
  • Early modern world   
  • Modern world 

Tuition and Fees:
Undergrad $31,136
Grad $18,810
Special rates available for military students.

Avg Grants & Scholarship Aid:
$3,913

Average Net Price:
$39,743

Military Programs:
Yellow Ribbon Program, credit for military training, dedicated point of contact, recognized student veteran organization & member of SOC.

Accredited:
New England Commission on Higher Education (NECHE)

2

Regent University

Bachelor of Arts in History

Online


Regent’s online B.A. entails 120+ credits and presents from a Christian world view. The program studies different cultures, peoples and places. And, touches on US history, Western civ and world history. Along with your classes, you might improve your critical thinking, writing and research skills. Some topics are: 

  • Intro to history
  • US history to 1877
  • History of the Cold War

Tuition and Fees:
Undergrad $18,620
Grad $16,952
Special rates available for military students.

Avg Grants & Scholarship Aid:
$7,801

Average Net Price:
$15,062

Military Programs:
Yellow Ribbon Program, credit for military training, dedicated point of contact, recognized student veteran organization & member of SOC.

Accredited:
Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)

3

University of Maryland Global Campus

Bachelor of Arts in History

Online


UMGC’s online B.A. entails 120 credits and explores a range of historical eras and geographical areas. Like China, the Middle East, wartime Europe, and the US. You’ll also dig into research and writing. As a result, you might learn how to lay the ground work for and work towards a more complex research project. The program also allows you to group classes around a theme or mix and match ones that line up with career goals and interests. Some topics are: 

  • World history
  • History of the US
  • Historical writing

Tuition and Fees:
Undergrad $12,336
Grad $12,132
Special rates available for military students.

Avg Grants & Scholarship Aid:
$3,659

Average Net Price:
$14,635

Military Programs:
Yellow Ribbon Program, credit for military training, dedicated point of contact, recognized student veteran organization & member of SOC.

Accredited:
Middle States Commission on Higher Education  

4

Ashford University

Bachelor of Arts in History

Online


Ashford’s online B.A. entails 120 credits and each course lasts 5 weeks. The program studies the past and how it and evolving forces shape the modern world. Part of the broad program balances American and World history. Your courses also include social studies and explore many regions and cultures. To cap the program, you work on a research project. You can also add a focus to further narrow your studies. Some topics are: 

  • Gender in history
  • World civilizations
  • 20th century Europe    

Tuition and Fees:
Undergrad $12,400
Grad $12,810
Special rates available for military students.

Avg Grants & Scholarship Aid:
$6,217

Average Net Price:
$20,415

Military Programs:
Yellow Ribbon Program, credit for military training, dedicated point of contact, recognized student veteran organization & member of SOC.

Accredited:
Higher Learning Commission (HLC), WASC Senior College and University Commission

5

Indiana University 

Bachelor of Arts in History

Online


Indiana U’s online B.A. entails 120 credits and aims to foster solid research and key skills. Another feature of the program is that it looks at geographic regions of the world in both modern and pre modern time periods. As such, you may learn to identify major thinkers, events and historical patterns. The program also includes work that may help you learn to search and find both primary and secondary historical sources. Then, also be able to use them to craft a solid narrative or argument. Some topics are: 

  • Issues in US history
  • History of Western Civilization
  • Issues in Latin America 

Tuition and Fees:
Undergrad $36,512
Grad $33,304
Special rates available for military students.

Avg Grants & Scholarship Aid:
$11,541

Average Net Price:
$13,036

Military Programs:
Yellow Ribbon Program, credit for military training, dedicated point of contact, recognized student veteran organization & member of SOC.

Accredited:
HLC

6

American Public University

Master of Arts in History

Online


APU’s online M.A. entails 36 credits and there are monthly start dates. The program takes an advanced look at how key events, periods and culture impacted the world today. As you study these things, you may also hone skills as a writer, researcher, and analytic thinker. Along with core topics, the focus area you choose will drive most of your course work. There are five to choose from. American history, ancient and classical history, European history, global history and public history. If you choose public history, there is a practicum. Some topics are: 

  • Greek Civilization
  • The Civil War
  • Russia and the Soviet Union

Tuition and Fees:
Undergrad $7,324
Grad $7,005
Special rates available for military students.

Avg Grants & Scholarship Aid:
$1,639

Average Net Price:
$10,995

Military Programs:
Yellow Ribbon Program, credit for military training, dedicated point of contact, recognized student veteran organization& member of SOC.

Accredited:
HLC, Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC)

7

Sam Houston State University 

Master of Arts in History

Online


SHSU’s online M.A. entails 30 to 36 credits. This depends on whether you choose to complete a thesis or not. The program aims to meet the needs of aspiring civil servants, secondary and college teachers as well as those who plan to go onto a PhD in history program. As a student, you select one of three tracks that invites you to ask thematic questions, research, analyze and think. These are rights and identity, war and violence, encounters and exchanges. Some topics are: 

  • Methods in history
  • Intellectual history
  • Pre modern world history

Tuition and Fees:
Undergrad $18,664
Grad $15,612
Special rates available for military students.

Avg Grants & Scholarship Aid:
$7,323

Average Net Price:
$13,055

Military Programs:
Yellow Ribbon Program, credit for military training, dedicated point of contact, recognized student veteran organization & member of SOC.

Accredited:
SACSCOC

8

Norwich University

Master of Arts in History

Online


Norwich’s online M.A. entails 36 credits and leads you through a complete analysis of major developments, events and figures. Apart from the core, you can choose one of four focal points. Public history, world history, American history or legal and constitutional history. If you choose American or world history, there is an optional thesis. The thesis is an original research project and may suit your goals if this includes a next step PhD. That said, a final academic part of the program does include a residency. Some topics are: 

  • Archival studies 
  • Hunter gatherer era 
  • Global military history

Tuition and Fees:
Undergrad $41,496
Grad $19,554
Special rates available for military students.

Avg Grants & Scholarship Aid:
$32,756

Average Net Price:
$26,343

Military Programs:
Yellow Ribbon Program, credit for military training, dedicated point of contact, recognized student veteran organization & member of SOC.

Accredited:
NECHE

9

University of Pittsburgh

Master of Arts in History

Online


U Pittsburgh’s online M.A. entails 36 and only accepts students who aim for a PhD, regardless of whether they enter the program with a BA or an MA. After a successful completion of the MA students may advance to the PhD program, based on departmental approval. The core program looks at the academic study of history and also at the craft of research and writing. Apart from this, you may build expertise in a regional field. Like Europe, US, Asia, Latin America. At the same time, you explore a trans national or thematic history. Some topics are: 

  • Trans national labor
  • Writing seminar 
  • International social movements

Tuition and Fees:
Undergrad $25,626
Grad N/A
Special rates available for military students.

Avg Grants & Scholarship Aid:
$9,948

Average Net Price:
$18,355

Military Programs:
Yellow Ribbon Program, credit for military training, dedicated point of contact, recognized student veteran organization & member of SOC.

Accredited:
Middle States Commission on Higher Education

10

University of Memphis

Master of Arts in History

Online


U Memphis’ online M.A. entails 33 credits if you regard the MA as a terminal degree without writing a thesis. Or, you might look at the MA as a prep for a PhD and choose the thesis option. Apart from advanced history classes, there are research seminars. These focus on using primary materials to write and produce original papers. Some topics are: 

  • Independent readings
  • Historiography
  • Directed readings

Tuition and Fees:
Undergrad $13,752
Grad $14,202
Special rates available for military students.

Avg Grants & Scholarship Aid:
$7,575

Average Net Price:
$13,481

Military Programs:
Yellow Ribbon Program, credit for military training, dedicated point of contact & recognized student veteran organization.

Accredited:
SACSCOC

11

American University – Washington DC

PhD in History

Online


AU’s online PhD entails at least 30 to 42 credits and is ideal for those whose interests like in American and modern European history, including Russian history. The departments at AU also have strengths in many sub fields. These are public history, African American history, women’s/gender history, politics and foreign relations, and Jewish history. While in the program, you receive mentorship and work to complete a final research dissertation. Some topics are: 

  • Historian’s craft
  • Modern European history 
  • US History to 1865 

Tuition and Fees:
Undergrad $49,889
Grad $31,113
Special rates available for military students.

Avg Grants & Scholarship Aid:
$27,386

Average Net Price:
$40,469

Military Programs:
Yellow Ribbon Program, dedicated point of contact, recognized student veteran organization& member of SOC.

Accredited:
Middle States Commission on Higher Education

12

University of Wisconsin Milwaukee

PhD in History

Online


U Wisconsin’s online PhD entails at least 54 credits at least 30 of them taken at the post masters level. In mandatory classes you study the theory of history along with research methods. You may also opt into a class that discusses issues in teaching history. The program also asks students to be proficient in one or more foreign languages and write a dissertation. Some topics are  

  • History of Greek civilization
  • Historiography 
  • Research methods in local history

Tuition and Fees:
Undergrad $21,168
Grad $25,282
Special rates available for military students.

Avg Grants & Scholarship Aid:
$6,256

Average Net Price:
$14,822

Military Programs:
Yellow Ribbon Program, credit for military training, dedicated point of contact, recognized student veteran organization & member of SOC.

Accredited:
HLC

13

Liberty University

PhD in History

Online


Liberty’s online PhD entails 72 credits and features 8 week classes taught from a Christ centered lens. One of the goals of the program is for you to conduct original research based on your knowledge of historical lit. And, to be able to apply a Christian world view to the study of history. Some topics are: 

  • Historiography
  • Historical professions
  • American entrepreneurship

Tuition and Fees:
Undergrad $22,747
Grad $8,400
Special rates available for military students.

Avg Grants & Scholarship Aid:
$7,550

Average Net Price:
$28,181

Military Programs:
Yellow Ribbon Program, credit for military training, dedicated point of contact, recognized student veteran organization& member of SOC.

Accredited:
SACSCOC

14

Loyola University Chicago

PhD in History

Online


Loyola U’s PhD in history may have some online parts. It entails at least 30 credits beyond the MA. The goal of the program is to foster an ability to use history to solve problems that relate to class, race, gender etc. You will also consult with an advisor to develop a broad major within either US history or non US history. As a student, you can also expect to perform research in archives, libraries and other sources. Then, apply these skills to produce an original paper on a chosen historical theme. Some topics are: 

  • Public history media
  • Medieval history
  • Modern Europe

Tuition and Fees:
Undergrad $45,543
Grad $19,498
Special rates available for military students.

Avg Grants & Scholarship Aid:
$21,218

Average Net Price:
$36,388

Military Programs:
Yellow Ribbon Program, credit for military training, dedicated point of contact, recognized student veteran organization & member of SOC.

Accredited:
HLC

15

Arizona State University

PhD in History

Hybrid


ASU’s PhD in history may blend online study and on campus visits. It entails at least 84 credits and includes course work, research, an exam, dissertation and internship for some students. The program focus is to nurture advanced skills in research, critical analysis, writing and teaching. As a student, you select three committee members to guide your studies. One field must be geographic, one thematic and a third either geographic or thematic. Some topics are: 

  • Global history 
  • Public history methods
  • Advanced research

Tuition and Fees:
Undergrad $19,398
Grad $6,592
Special rates available for military students.

Avg Grants & Scholarship Aid:
$5,907

Average Net Price:
$14,568

Military Programs:
Yellow Ribbon Program, credit for military training, dedicated point of contact, recognized student veteran organization& member of SOC.

Accredited:
HLC

*Unemployment Earnings.  Sources for school stats and data include the NCES and IPEDS.