ONLINE BACHELOR’S PROGRAMS IN HISTORY

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Completing a history bachelor’s degree online allows graduates to apply their skills in a variety of settings. In addition to learning about moments of historical importance and how to view them through various lenses and methodologies, students gain transferable skills in research, writing, critical thinking, analysis, and reasoning.

As more businesses and nonprofits look to share histories as a way of brand-building, professionals with the knowledge needed to mine these stories will remain in demand. Individuals considering an online history degree at the bachelor’s level benefit from flexible meeting times, coursework taught by qualified faculty, and the opportunity to learn at a prestigious school. Keep reading to learn about job outlooks, projected salaries, coursework, financial aid, and the importance of accreditation.

Top 10 Online Bachelor’s programs in History

Rank School Location
1 University of Central Florida Orlando, FL
2 Sam Houston State University Huntsville, TX
3 Westfield State University Westfield, MA
4 University of Illinois at Springfield Springfield, IL
5 Troy University Troy, AL
6 Columbia College Columbia, MO
7 University of Maine at Presque Isle Presque Isle, ME
8 University of Arizona Tucson, AZ
9 University of Memphis Memphis, TN
10 Bellevue University Bellevue, NE
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Best Online Bachelor’s Programs in History

METHODOLOGY

2-YEAR SCHOOLS

Because students can choose from many online bachelor’s degree in history programs, some learners may feel overwhelmed when selecting the best one. After ensuring every school received accreditation, our BestColleges.com experts ranked each by considering factors such as graduation rates, online course availability, and affordability. Data are sourced from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System.

  1. University of Central Florida
    Location

    Orlando, FL

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Among the top online schools in the region, the University of Central Florida has decades of experience with adult learners. Its online school has grown significantly in recent years, increasing the number of courses offered while also extending many of the benefits of an on-campus education to online students. Online tutors and academic advising are just a few of the benefits that students earning a Bachelor of Arts in History are offered. The BA in History is a 4-year program that's offered entirely online. To earn the bachelor's in history, students will need to complete a total of 120 credits, 36 of which are going to be specific to their major. The courses in the major core vary depending on which elective courses students pick, but they should be prepared to complete a lot of writing. In order to earn a degree in history from UCF, students will need to submit a portfolio of their history writings that were completed throughout their courses. UCF has a low flat tuition rate for in-state students, and out-of-state students will have to pay more per credit. Students should also be aware that additional fees are often charged to each course. Transfer students can bring in as many credits as they want, but students should expect to have to complete all of the coursework specific to their program at UCF. Students who want to bring in transfer credits should also plan to have a minimum of 30 transferrable credits prior to applying.

  2. Sam Houston State University
    Location

    Huntsville, TX

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Fully accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, Sam Houston State University has one of the fastest growing online programs in the state, offering more than 40 degrees. All of the university's online degrees can be completed entirely online, and each degree carries the same respect as any on-campus degree. While the online degrees are designed for busy adult learners, many of SHSU's students are full-time learners. Online students interested in history will need to complete a Bachelor of Arts in History as the Bachelor of Science option is only available on campus. The history program is one of the fastest growing programs at SHSU, and its faculty is recognized for being among the best in the nation. The faculty is also shared, so online students will be taught by the same faculty as on-campus students. To earn their degree, students will need to complete 120 credits. Courses follow the traditional 15-week semester format with the possibility of courses during the summer. Students studying full time can study throughout the summer, completing their degree in less than the traditional 4 years it takes to earn the history degree. Transfer students are able to reduce the time it takes to complete their degree further if they have eligible credits. To transfer, students need a minimum of 12 credits and can bring up to 66 credits into the history program. The cost for each course varies, depending both on the course and where in the nation a student lives.

  3. Westfield State University
    Location

    Westfield, MA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    While it's still small compared to other schools, Westfield State University's online school has been gaining attention in recent years. There are only 6 degree options available online, but the programs and courses offered match the quality and intensity of their on-campus counterpart. Most of the online degree programs at Westfield are for degree completion, so students will need previous credit. However, the Bachelor of Arts in History is unique because students are able to complete their degree from start to finish entirely online. Transfer students are still accepted though, and up to 76 credits can be brought in. Students will need to complete 21 of their history credits through Westfield regardless of their previous education. Courses in the history program have 2 formats: either the traditional 14-week semester format or an accelerated 7-week format taken twice a semester. Two, 6-week summer sessions are available, as is a 2-week session in the winter. In total, there are a maximum of 7 start dates throughout the year, so students can begin whenever they're ready. The cost of the bachelor's degree is based on a flat-rate tuition that varies depending on where the student lives. Also, students transferring from a Massachusetts Community College will get a further reduced tuition rate online, making it an affordable option. While there are no specializations for the history program, the education is comprehensive, and many graduates of Westfield go on to earn a graduate degree in a related field.

  4. University of Illinois at Springfield
    Location

    Springfield, IL

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Created over 20 years ago, the University of Illinois–Springfield's online program was originally intended to serve as a supplement to their on-campus programs. In recent years, however, Illinois has decided to expand its online presence, and now some of the programs can be completed entirely online. The Bachelor of Arts in History is offered entirely online and gives students the option to specialize their degree in one of 3 areas: American history, European and world history or public history. The concentration that students pick doesn't impact how long it takes to earn the degree, and most students should be able to complete their degree in 4 years. Students with previous credits can transfer some to the university, but they will need to complete the bulk of the 54 required history credits through Illinois. In total, 120 credits are required to earn the bachelor's degree. Because the online program was originally a supplement to on-campus learning, this program can also be completed in a hybrid format on any of Illinois's 3 campuses. Online students receive many of the same services as on-campus students, and Illinois is continually improving the services for their online students. The total cost of the online programs varies depending on where the student lives and which program they're enrolled in. Students should expect to pay a flat rate per class though, and it should remain constant throughout their education. Because the history program is competitive, Illinois will regularly cap the enrollment in the program and individual courses.

  5. Troy University
    Location

    Troy, AL

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    For students interested in history, Troy University offers different choices on how to specialize their degree. The Bachelor of Arts in History has 3 main concentration areas to pick from. However, students interested in earning their degree online will only be able to pick from 2 of the concentrations: 1 in American/Latin American history and the other in European/Asian/African history. Both require 120 credits to earn the degree, and both can be completed entirely online (although hybrid courses are available to students who are interested). By offering concentrations, Troy makes it easier for history students to find work immediately after earning their degree. While many students do choose to continue their education with a graduate degree or law degree, others take their concentration and apply it immediately, earning positions in fields like education and archeology or working in libraries or museums. The online BA in History shares the same faculty as the on-campus version, and online students get access to many of the same benefits as on-campus students. Troy offers a flat tuition rate per credit for all online undergraduate programs. For students with previous college experience, there is also a flexible transfer program. To be eligible to transfer credits, students will need to have a minimum of 24 transferrable credits. Once enrolled, online students will study in accelerated courses that typically last 9 weeks. These courses have multiple start dates throughout the year, so students can begin their studies when they're ready.

  6. Columbia College
    Location

    Columbia, MO

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Columbia College began as a small school that slowly grew to over 35 campuses across the country. Its biggest campus, however, is its online campus, where nearly 16,000 students take courses each year. Columbia's online campus receives the same attention as their other campuses, and each course is held to the same academic standards as their on-campus equivalent. Online students have access to an academic adviser, and if they're near one of the 35 campuses, they can use some on-campus resources as well. One of the popular online degree options at Columbia is the Bachelor of Arts in History. This 120-credit-hour program is available entirely online, and a flat per credit tuition is offered for all online students. There are no specializations available for this degree, but the required courses make it easy for students to add a minor. For example, 2 foreign language courses are required to earn the degree, and the remainder of any required courses for a minor can be completed with electives. Students who are interested in a hybrid form of study can combine courses online with on-campus courses from one of 9 of Columbia College's campuses. Online learning is, however, the primary format for this degree, and many of the courses are designed for busy adults. While some students will begin a career immediately after earning their history degree, one of the main outcomes of Columbia's program is to prepare students for graduate or law school.

  7. University of Maine at Presque Isle
    Location

    Presque Isle, ME

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    With just over 1,000 students, the University of Main at Presque Isle has a surprisingly large online program for its size. While only 3 degrees are offered, they're entirely online and accredited by the Commission on Institutions of Higher Education. Also, online students who live in Maine receive a low, per credit tuition. Students who live out of state will be required to pay a higher tuition. One of the degrees offered online is the Bachelor of Arts in History and Political Science. After selecting a history concentration, students can pick from one of UMPI's minors and can prepare themselves for becoming history teachers at the secondary education level. Of course, not all history majors will become teachers, so UMPI has structured the program to provide a general education of history. The curriculum for the program leaves a lot of room for electives, and while the degree is technically in history and political science, students are only required to take a few courses in the field. A total of 120 credits are required to earn the degree, and UMPI has created a sample curriculum map to show students that it's possible to complete this degree in 4 years - a goal of UMPI for all online degrees. Online courses for UMPI are offered through Blackboard, and online students get access to library resources and are taught by the same faculty as on-campus students. Transfer students can bring in credits, but the majority of the courses must be completed through UMPI.

  8. University of Arizona
    Location

    Tucson, AZ

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    One of the most recognized schools in the region, the University of Arizona is a leader in education, attracting students from across the country. For students who are unable to move or commute to campus, UA also has a large online school, offering over 100 programs entirely online. Among these programs is the Bachelor of Arts in History. The BA in History is a 4-year program that provides students with a general understanding of history, and students can specialize their education through elective courses. The program ends with a capstone essay on a topic of the student's choice. To earn a degree in history online, UA students need to complete 120 credits. The program is designed to be completed from start to finish in 4 years, and UA offers a sample 4-year plan to give students an idea of what their education might look like. Courses are offered in semester formats and are available entirely online. While most courses can be completed at any time during the week, some may have scheduled discussion times or videoconferences. Upon earning their history degree, many Arizona alumni choose to continue their education. However, UA's career services and alumni network help many students find a position in a field related to their degree. Online students pay a flat in-state or out-of-state tuition per credit, which is lower than the on-campus equivalent, and some individual courses may have additional fees.

  9. University of Memphis
    Location

    Memphis, TN

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Preparing students for a future career is important, so the University of Memphis has structured its online school to give students a better chance of finding a position in their field after earning their degree. Finding the right job can be particularly difficult for students who are earning a Bachelor of Arts in History. To make finding a position easier, Memphis offers a career guidance and assistance program. The program helps connect students with jobs and internships both while students are studying and after they've earned their degree. Internships are also made available to online students directly through the history program, and these can be used for class credit. Aside from completing an internship, history students will need to earn 120 credits to obtain their degree. All required courses to earn the degree are offered entirely online, and students should be able to complete their undergraduate degree in 4 years. Transfer students are able to bring in some previous college credit (the amount depends on when and where they studied), and Memphis also allows students to earn credit based on experiential learning. Experiential learning is assessed in a variety of ways, but it isn't uncommon for online Memphis students to gain college credit for previous work experience. Students will pay the same flat tuition rate per credit regardless of where they live, and courses are offered in semester formats with the option of a summer session. Full-time students who choose to also study during the summer may be able to complete their degree in less than 4 years.

  10. Bellevue University
    Location

    Bellevue, NE

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Bellevue University's online Bachelor of Science in history degree arms its students with the ability to effectively communicate, analyze text and think critically. Focused on Western Civilization, this degree enables students to evaluate and interpret history from various social and political viewpoints as well as assess historical trends across time periods and geographic locations. This degree may be applied towards professional careers in museums, libraries and educational institutions, as well as serve as the foundation for advanced degrees in education, political science and law. Graduation requires 127 credit hours which includes general education, major and elective credits. Bellevue University diplomas aren't differentiated between in-class and online degrees. Designed to accommodate working professionals, Bellevue's online programs provide flexibility for students to complete their studies on their own time. The university prides itself on interactive learning - students are able to interact with their peers and professors via discussion forums, online collaboration and peer review. Small classroom sizes ensure students get more personalized attention. Various resources are available to online students including an online library, a writing center and the tutoring and study skills center. In addition, online students have access to extended hours for technical support from Bellevue's Service desk, which provides hardware or software support. Administrative and advising support is available through Bellevue's Bruin Support center, and enrollment advisors are available to assist prospective students with any questions regarding admissions as well as financial aid and scholarships.

How Much Can You Make in a History Career?

Because skills gained from an online history degree transfer to several industries and roles, the jobs highlighted below offer only a taste of how graduates can use their educations. When reviewing data, remember that completing an online bachelor’s degree in history doesn’t automatically qualify one for the role. Some roles require additional certifications or training, while teacher positions typically require licensure. As noted in the table, most roles are projected to grow in the coming years. Students should consider this factor when thinking about job security. The salaries below help graduates of bachelor’s degrees in history ascertain income projections. Those with advanced degrees often stand to earn more.


  • Historians


    MEDIAN ANNUAL SALARY: $59,120
    JOB GROWTH 2016-2026: +6%

    Job Description
    Whether working in a museum, a school, or as an independent consultant, historians educate themselves on moments, trends, or historical eras, typically through a specific lens. They help others understand these topics through writing or speaking engagements.

  • Archivists, Curators, Museum Workers


    MEDIAN ANNUAL SALARY: $47,360
    JOB GROWTH 2016-2026: +13%

    Job Description
    Working alongside other curatorial professionals, these specialists catalog archival materials; research a new artifact’s provenance; oversee a new exhibit’s installation; or work as a curatorial consultant and assist museums in their goals to educate the public.

  • High School Teachers


    MEDIAN ANNUAL SALARY: $59,170
    JOB GROWTH 2016-2026: +8%

    Job Description
    With a focus on teaching students in grades 9-12, these educators work in public and private schools to teach learners about significant historical moments. They focus on world or American history, and teach standard or AP courses. They also work one-on-one with students on projects, write recommendation letters, and consult with parents.

  • Postsecondary Teachers


    MEDIAN ANNUAL SALARY: $76,000
    JOB GROWTH 2016-2026: +15%

    Job Description
    Working within public and private higher education institutions, history professors teach introductory survey courses and advanced topics for history majors. They lecture on specific topics, grade papers, help students find reading materials, write recommendation letters, and supervise thesis projects.

  • Writers and Authors


    MEDIAN ANNUAL SALARY: $61,820
    JOB GROWTH 2016-2026: +8%

    Job Description
    Whether working for a magazine, publisher, film company, or podcast, history writers compose books, articles, or blog posts for publication or provide consultation on how certain historical moments should be explained. They may work for a single outlet, work as a freelancer, or run their own writing businesses.

  • Source: BLS

After reviewing this salary data, students should consider the factors contributing to earning variances. Salaries vary depending on geographic location, experience level, education, additional credentials, and specific industry. Top-paying industries for history graduates include the federal executive branch; architectural; engineering and related services; management, scientific, and technical consulting; and higher education. States with the highest concentration of jobs include New York, Utah, California, Washington, D.C., and Virginia.

ALABAMAMEDIAN ANNUAL SALARY: $67,580
ALASKAMEDIAN ANNUAL SALARY: N/A
ARIZONAMEDIAN ANNUAL SALARY: N/A
ARKANSASMEDIAN ANNUAL SALARY: N/A
CALIFORNIAMEDIAN ANNUAL SALARY: $85,690
COLORADOMEDIAN ANNUAL SALARY: $75,870
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA (DC)MEDIAN ANNUAL SALARY: N/A
CONNECTICUTMEDIAN ANNUAL SALARY: N/A
DELAWAREMEDIAN ANNUAL SALARY: N/A
FLORIDAMEDIAN ANNUAL SALARY: $61,790
GEORGIAMEDIAN ANNUAL SALARY: $66,010
HAWAIIMEDIAN ANNUAL SALARY: N/A
IDAHOMEDIAN ANNUAL SALARY: N/A
ILLINOISMEDIAN ANNUAL SALARY: $79,840
INDIANAMEDIAN ANNUAL SALARY: N/A
IOWAMEDIAN ANNUAL SALARY: N/A
KANSASMEDIAN ANNUAL SALARY: N/A
KENTUCKYMEDIAN ANNUAL SALARY: N/A
LOUSIANAMEDIAN ANNUAL SALARY: N/A
MAINEMEDIAN ANNUAL SALARY: N/A
MARYLANDMEDIAN ANNUAL SALARY: $79,310
MASSACHUSUETTSMEDIAN ANNUAL SALARY: $66,560
MICHIGANMEDIAN ANNUAL SALARY: $60,380
MINNESOTAMEDIAN ANNUAL SALARY: N/A
MISSISSIPPIMEDIAN ANNUAL SALARY: $42,120
MISSOURIMEDIAN ANNUAL SALARY: $48,570
MONTANAMEDIAN ANNUAL SALARY: N/A
NEBRASKAMEDIAN ANNUAL SALARY: N/A
NEVADAMEDIAN ANNUAL SALARY: N/A
NEW HAMPSIREMEDIAN ANNUAL SALARY: N/A
NEW JERSEYMEDIAN ANNUAL SALARY: $75,820
NEW MEXICOMEDIAN ANNUAL SALARY: $76,100
NEW YORKMEDIAN ANNUAL SALARY: $32,840
NORTH CAROLINAMEDIAN ANNUAL SALARY: $60,610
NORTH DAKOTAMEDIAN ANNUAL SALARY: N/A
OHIOMEDIAN ANNUAL SALARY: $57,550
OKLAHOMAMEDIAN ANNUAL SALARY: $59,290
OREGONMEDIAN ANNUAL SALARY: N/A
PENNSYLVANIAMEDIAN ANNUAL SALARY: $61,860
RHODE ISLANDMEDIAN ANNUAL SALARY: N/A
SOUTH CAROLINAMEDIAN ANNUAL SALARY: N/A
SOUTH DAKOTAMEDIAN ANNUAL SALARY: N/A
TENNESSEEMEDIAN ANNUAL SALARY: N/A
TEXASMEDIAN ANNUAL SALARY: $69,960
UTAHMEDIAN ANNUAL SALARY: $65,250
VERMONTMEDIAN ANNUAL SALARY: N/A
VIRGINIAMEDIAN ANNUAL SALARY: $74,160
WASHINGTONMEDIAN ANNUAL SALARY: N/A
WEST VIRGINIAMEDIAN ANNUAL SALARY: N/A
WISCONSINMEDIAN ANNUAL SALARY: N/A
WYOMINGMEDIAN ANNUAL SALARY: N/A

What Courses Can be Taken for an Online History Degree?

Bachelor’s in history online programs offer a wide spectrum of coursework, ranging from ancient civilizations to modern politics. When reviewing prospective programs, learners should take time to understand whether the department offers a curriculum that meets their professional or academic goals. The following section highlights a few common classes, but students should review individual degree plans to get a full sense of options.

Historiography
Commonly taken in the second year, this course focuses on instilling proper methods of study and analysis when reading historical writings. Students learn about the history of writing history, and the value of such texts.
Creating the Modern World
This survey course examines major events in the 20th century and how they shaped the world. Topics include war, politics, and socioeconomics.
Pre-Colonized Africa
Students in this course explore human civilization and how the continent functioned prior to European arrival. The class emphasizes ethnic groups and how the slave trade shifted the country.
Depression and World War II
This course walks students through factors leading up to the Great Depression, discusses mechanizations in place to aid in recovery, and delves into how America participated in World War II.
The History of Things
This upper-level class, typically offered as a specialization, dives into material culture. Learners study both historical objects and mass-produced items to learn about exposing the history of these as artifacts.

How to Choose the Best Online History Program

    Even after reviewing the nation’s best bachelor’s degree in history programs and getting a better sense of coursework, many students still need answers to questions. Some may concern themselves with cost, while others want to know how faculty plays into the type of education they attain. Review the list of FAQs below to find answers to common queries.

  • Should I employ any type of strategy when choosing classes?

    It depends on your overarching goals. Some students elect to use their bachelor’s in history to gain a wide understanding of the field; others already know they want to focus their interests in a particular area. For instance, learners interested exclusively in intellectual history wouldn’t take a course in China’s economic history. Consider your goals and tailor your schedule accordingly.

  • Should I have any concerns about completing this degree online?

    Unlike other degrees requiring a more hands-on experience, history degrees translate seamlessly to distance learning as most work centers on reading, research, and writing. Most schools also provide the same diploma to graduates of online programs as they do to those who studied on campus. Employers and schools see no difference.

  • What are common graduation requirements?

    Unlike other programs requiring students to complete an internship or practicum, most history bachelor’s degree online programs ask students to write a thesis or complete a culminating project. Students aspiring to an advanced degree in history often follow the first path, while those pursuing professional roles opt for the project.

  • What should I look for when reviewing faculty bios?

    Students should look for two qualities when reviewing faculty bios. First, the professor must possess the education needed to effectively lead a class. Second, their interests must align with topics you want to learn about. If you don’t find a single professor who teaches about your desired history field, you should probably explore a different program.

  • How will this degree help me reach my goals?

    Bachelor’s in history programs teach students skills that serve them well the rest of their lives. Many learners elect to pursue history roles requiring a bachelor’s degree or pursue jobs outside the field, while others know they want to continue in school. Individuals hoping to teach history must have at least a master’s degree.


Scholarships and Financial Aid for History Programs

The cost of completing an undergraduate degree continues to rise in private and public schools each year, but students can find significant funding to help decrease their overall financial burden. In addition to applying for federal assistance through the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), learners should conduct extensive research on available scholarships and grants since these funds do not require repayment. Browse a small sample of available scholarships below.

Dr. Aura-Lee A. and James Hobbs Pittenger Scholarship


This scholarship, which exists for those who possess a passion for American history, is given to graduating high school learners who plan to take at least 24 credits in areas of American history or government. Applicants who maintain a 3.5 GPA or higher can seek scholarship renewal. The annual award amount totals $2,000.

Enid Hall Griswold Memorial Scholarship


Provided as a one-time, nonrenewable scholarship, this award offers college students in their junior or senior year $5,000 to use towards tuition at an accredited institution. Applicants must study history, government, political science, or economics to qualify. Students must return the completed application packet by February 15.

Graydon A. Tunstall Undergraduate Scholarship


Phi Alpha Theta, the National History Honor Society, provides this award to undergraduate learners in their senior year of studies. They must pursue coursework related to modern European history to qualify for the $1,000 award. The application deadline remains March 1.

History Scholar Award


Provided through the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, this scholarship exists for college students in their junior or senior year who demonstrate a continuing passion for American history. They must also show an interest in volunteerism, public services, and leadership. In addition to receiving $5,000, winners spend a week in New York City and participate in a history conference. The scholarship application opens each year in September.

National High School Essay Contest


Provided through the United States Institute of Peace, this scholarship is given to high school seniors who write a winning essay about the importance of peace and diplomacy in dealing with conflict and how history bears out its importance. Winners receive a $2,500 scholarship, a paid trip to Washington, D.C., and full tuition for a semester at sea.

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