Best Online Master’s Degrees in History: 2017

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Graduate in History Programs, Careers & Salaries

Studying the past, preserving it and writing about its connection to the present are all responsibilities associated with historians, archivists and researchers. But many positions at museums and in academia require at least a master’s in history to get a foot in the door, making the degree a necessary step for anyone interested in pursuing a high-paying career in the field.

Best Online Master’s in History Degrees: 2017

With so many program options, how can people who are passionate about history find a school that supports their aspirations? Which factors determine whether a school is a good fit? One way to narrow down the options is to check out rankings that consider the most relevant qualifications.

Rank University Name Score Net Price Financial aid percent Online Programs Aavailable Student-Teacher Ratio Grad Rate University Information Credit for Experience Placement Services Counseling Services
1 Norwich University Score99.69
Net Price
Financial aid %99%
#Online programs2
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate53%
Credit for ExperienceNo Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
2 Emporia State University Score92.93
Net Price
Financial aid %76%
#Online programs1
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate42%
Credit for ExperienceNo Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
3 University of Memphis Score92.57
Net Price
Financial aid %40%
#Online programs1
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate40%
Credit for ExperienceYes Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
4 University of Delaware Score92.46
Net Price
Financial aid %54%
#Online programs1
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate80%
Credit for ExperienceNo Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
5 Louisiana Tech University Score92.44
Net Price
Financial aid %70%
#Online programs1
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate47%
Credit for ExperienceNo Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
6 Indiana State University Score92.08
Net Price
Financial aid %75%
#Online programs1
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate43%
Credit for ExperienceYes Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
7 University of Northern Iowa Score91.73
Net Price
Financial aid %59%
#Online programs1
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate66%
Credit for ExperienceNo Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
8 Pittsburg State University Score91.63
Net Price
Financial aid %56%
#Online programs1
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate50%
Credit for ExperienceYes Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
9 Western Kentucky University Score91.61
Net Price
Financial aid %37%
#Online programs1
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate50%
Credit for ExperienceNo Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
10 University of Louisiana at Monroe Score91.45
Net Price
Financial aid %56%
#Online programs1
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate37%
Credit for ExperienceNo Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
11 University of North Alabama Score91.36
Net Price
Financial aid %51%
#Online programs1
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate32%
Credit for ExperienceNo Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
12 University of North Carolina Wilmington Score90.81
Net Price
Financial aid %43%
#Online programs1
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate69%
Credit for ExperienceNo Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
13 National University Score90.79
Net Price
Financial aid %1%
#Online programs1
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate23%
Credit for ExperienceYes Placement ServicesNo Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
14 Wayland Baptist University Score90.49
Net Price
Financial aid %33%
#Online programs1
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate36%
Credit for ExperienceYes Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
15 University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Score89.47
Net Price
Financial aid %42%
#Online programs1
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate84%
Credit for ExperienceNo Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
16 Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania Score87.05
Net Price
Financial aid %29%
#Online programs1
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate62%
Credit for ExperienceNo Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
17 University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Score86.73
Net Price
Financial aid %7%
#Online programs1
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate43%
Credit for ExperienceNo Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less

Timeline of an Online Master’s in History

Getting in: The Application Process

The top online master’s in history programs receive applications from some of the brightest students in the field, so applicants must clearly demonstrate why they would be an asset to a program. Because there are multiple components to the application process, prospective students must also find out what each program expects them to submit and when. In most cases, history programs at the graduate level require:

  • GRE scores

    Because online history master’s programs have grown increasingly competitive over the past decade, GRE scores are more important than ever. Colleges typically ask for scores from within the past five years.

  • Transcripts (paper/electronic)

    In most cases, undergraduate transcripts need to demonstrate a minimum GPA of 3.0. Prospective students who haven’t taken the required foundational history courses may need to do so before being officially accepted into a master’s in history program.

  • Resume

    Some schools require applicants to submit a resume as a way of showing experience in the field, but it is not always necessary.

  • Statement of purpose

    A statement of purpose gives applicants an opportunity to briefly discuss their career and academic goals as well as show how their interests align with the expertise of the history department faculty.

  • Writing sample

    Writing samples are evaluated for basic writing competence, analytical ability and engagement with primary and secondary historical sources. Each school determines the type of writing sample required, which may include pages from an undergraduate research paper, book review or research proposal. History teaching programs may request a sample lesson plan.

  • Letters of recommendation

    Most schools ask for two to three letters from college instructors or employers that address the applicant’s aptitude for graduate study.

Year 1

During the first year of a master’s in history program, students complete core courses such as Historical Methods and Comparative History. They also have the opportunity to take elective courses in their area of interest. After choosing a concentration, students begin taking more targeted courses. By the end of the year, students meet with their advisors to ensure they are on track for graduation.

Year 2

Although students must complete coursework in their concentration during the second year, they also need to take a capstone seminar to help them develop a master’s project or paper. Additionally, depending on the program, students may need to complete an internship or student teaching component. In most programs, students are expected to spend the year preparing for a series of examinations that will cover all of the coursework they have completed.

Testing & Graduation Requirements

Finishing the required coursework is a big accomplishment, but it’s only one part of preparing for graduation. Next, students will need to demonstrate that they have acquired the skills and knowledge necessary for a career in history. Although graduation requirements vary by institution, most schools require students to complete at least one of the following before handing out degrees:

  • Capstone project

    This project, which should be closely related to the concentration, requires unique ideas and a great deal of research to be presented before the end of the second year. Online master’s in history students should expect to complete this requirement with the direction of a department advisor.

  • Internship

    This provides real-world experience in a position related to the concentration. An internship might be set up through the college, or students might have to find one on their own. While internships are not generally required for online master’s in history, students may be able to use their hours towards course credits.

  • Master’s thesis

    The thesis wraps up the master’s program with a report or presentation that includes original research and theories. History students should expect to go through rounds of editing and input from a department advisor to ensure the quality of research and writing reach high academic standards. Students can also prepare to verbally defend their thesis to department faculty.

  • Comprehensive exam

    This examination tests the knowledge and skills that should have been gained during the master’s program. Studying for this exam should begin well in advance to the test date, typically starting in year one of an online master’s in history program.

  • Master’s project and portfolio

    Students planning to teach history may need to compile a portfolio of papers or projects from their specialty area, as well as a letter demonstrating how they met the goals of the program.

  • Licensure

    To become a secondary school history teacher, students must complete requirements for a teaching licensure.

Search Online Master’s Degrees in History

Because online master’s degrees in history can benefit multiple career goals, they are offered by an overwhelming number of colleges. For that reason, this search tool is especially useful. Inputting criteria such as location, degree level, school type, tuition rates and student population allows prospective students to winnow their options to a list of viable possibilities.

Student Population:
School Type:
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Why a Master’s Matters: Career & Salary Potential

The online master’s in history program stresses a broad understanding of the past through a comprehensive analysis of major events and developments. Those who hold a master’s in history have a wide range of career paths to choose from. The following concentrations are among the most popular options available to students, with each concentration providing the knowledge and skills necessary for students to pursue successful careers in that specialty.

Concentrations
American History

This concentration focuses on U.S. history from colonial through modern times, exploring the cultural, social and economic shifts in society. Students study how major events such as the American Revolution, Civil War and Reconstruction, World War I, World War II, and the Cold War continue to impact 21st century events.

Career:
Museum Educator
Museum Educator

Uses a combination of formal and informal teaching to Instruct children, adult learners and teachers about museum collections. May organize workshops, lectures and other learning events.

American History Librarian
American History Librarian

Works closely with faculty, students and researchers in areas of American studies to ensure libraries have the resources and services necessary for research and learning. Responsible for maintaining resources in all formats.

Historical Researcher
Historical Researcher

Systematically examines events in history to provide an account of what happened. Records and evaluates the accomplishments of individuals, agencies and institutions to help people understand the history and culture of their environment.

Archivist
Archivist

Preserves original material such as paper documents, photographs, films, maps and computer records. Has extensive research and analysis skills.

European History

From medieval through early modern times, Europe is rich in history. Learning about the history of life and events in Europe prepares students for work in academia, research and the arts.

Career:
Postsecondary Teacher
Postsecondary Teacher

Teaches courses in human history and historiography while also contributing scholarly research about a particular period.

Museum Educator
Museum Educator

Uses a combination of formal and informal teaching to Instruct children, adult learners and teachers about museum collections. May organize workshops, lectures and other learning events.

Global History

By providing a historical perspective of our increasingly interconnected global society, this concentration prepares graduates for a variety of careers. The curriculum covers the political, scientific, social, and philosophical changes that shaped the history of Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Middle East.

Career:
Postsecondary Teacher
Postsecondary Teacher

Teaches courses in human history and historiography while also contributing scholarly research about a particular period.

Anthropologist
Anthropologist

Researches and studies the sociological aspects of humanity from the past to the present. Works in a variety of settings, including the government, academia and museums.

Sociologist
Sociologist

Studies the origins and development of societies and social phenomena. Gathers and interprets data through quantitative, qualitative and comparative research from a historical perspective to formulate public policy and solve social problems.

Archivist
Archivist

Preserves original material such as paper documents, photographs, films, maps and computer records. Has extensive research and analysis skills.

Public History

One of the newest and fastest growing fields within the discipline of history is public history. This specialization focuses on applying history to real-world issues, thereby bridging the gap between academics and general audiences. Students build a foundational understanding of methodology, management and the interpretation of historic sites, records and artifacts.

Career:
State Historic Preservation Officer
State Historic Preservation Officer

Helps citizens through the process of listing important historic resources or neighborhoods on the National Register of Historic Places. Each state, the District of Columbia, and U.S. territory has a state historic preservation officer, who is an appointed public official.

Sociologist
Sociologist

Studies the origins and development of societies and social phenomena. Gathers and interprets data through quantitative, qualitative and comparative research from a historical perspective to formulate public policy and solve social problems.

Museum Educator
Museum Educator

Uses a combination of formal and informal teaching to Instruct children, adult learners and teachers about museum collections. May organize workshops, lectures and other learning events.

Cultural Resource Management Archaeologist
Cultural Resource Management Archaeologist

Determines whether projects funded by the federal government have the potential to cause damage to archeological sites that may be eligible for the National Register of Historic Places.

Teaching American History

With this specialization, students have the opportunity to earn a teaching certificate and master’s degree in history simultaneously. The dual approach includes coursework in both history and education, preparing graduates to teach history in the classroom or for museums and historical agencies.

Career:
High School Teacher
High School Teacher

Instructs students about local, state, national or global history. Helps students understand and integrate facts and theories about people, places and events in history with knowledge from earlier lessons.

Postsecondary Teacher
Postsecondary Teacher

Teaches courses in human history and historiography while also contributing scholarly research about a particular period.

American History Librarian
American History Librarian

Works closely with faculty, students and researchers in areas of American studies to ensure libraries have the resources and services necessary for research and learning. Responsible for maintaining resources in all formats.

Museum Educator
Museum Educator

Uses a combination of formal and informal teaching to Instruct children, adult learners and teachers about museum collections. May organize workshops, lectures and other learning events.

Potential Salary Increases with a Master’s Degree

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), professionals in the field of history should enjoy an increasing number of opportunities over the next ten years. With a bachelor’s degree in history, it’s possible to find entry-level positions at museums, historical associations and other small organizations. However, students pursuing master’s in history degrees are better placed to advance to higher-level careers and earn more. How much more can professionals earn with a master’s degree? According to the BLS, archivist, curator and conservator positions require graduate degrees, often in history. Conversely, museum technicians can be hired with just a bachelor’s degree. The pay difference is evident: Archivists make $49,120 and curators make $51,280 annually, but technicians and conservators average $39,940 a year. Additionally, curator and archivist careers are expected to grow by 13 percent and 17 percent, respectively, between 2012 and 2022.

Growth potential 13%
Salary Potential $51,280

Additional Resources & Links

History students and professionals in the field can find a wide range of resources and networking opportunities at the following links:

  • American Alliance of Museums

    Designed for professionals employed in more than 30,000 of the country’s museums, this site includes a resource library, career development support and access to online programs.

  • National Council for History Education

    This site offers a career center, professional development opportunities and other resources for history educators.

  • National Council for the Social Studies

    Teachers of history at the elementary through college levels can find current and past publications, professional development resources, and a database of U.S. history.

  • National Council on Public History

    Members receive access to the journal “Public Historian,” a quarterly newsletter and a student section with video resources.

  • National Trust for Historic Preservation

    Members who support the trust’s goal of saving America’s historic sites can find links to historic places, receive a weekly newsletter, and get up-to-date news about the historic preservation community.

  • Organization of American Historians

    History professionals can access talking history archives or find information about this organization’s annual meeting and distinguished lectureship program.

  • Society of Historical Archaeology

    The society’s website includes news, readings, research sources and a syllabus clearinghouse for historical archaeology students and professionals.

  • World History Association

    In addition to producing resources for professionals such as the “Journal of World History,” this site provides graduate students with a publication database and thesis exchange. It also runs summer institute programs.

Best Online Master’s in History Degrees

Methodology here.

RANK COLLEGE SCORE TEACHER/STUDENT RATIO COST GRADUATION RATE
1 University of North Carolina Wilmington 100.00 17:1 71%
2 University of Delaware 98.75 15:1 79%
3 Norwich University 98.25 10:1 58%
4 University of Memphis 98.00 14:1 44%
5 Pittsburg State University 97.75 19:1 50%
5 California College of the Arts 97.75 9:1 54%
7 North Greenville University 97.00 14:1 50%
8 University of North Alabama 96.75 17:1 39%
8 Emporia State University 96.75 18:1 39%
10 Western Kentucky University 96.25 18:1 44%
10 Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania 96.25 22:1 67%
10 Louisiana Tech University 96.25 24:1 52%
13 Hawaii Pacific University 96.00 13:1 42%
14 Wayland Baptist University 95.75 10:1 32%
15 Indiana State University 95.25 20:1 40%
16 National University 94.00 20:1 40%