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Best Program for Online Bachelor’s Degrees in History

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Students in online history degree programs gain extensive knowledge of the far-reaching cultural, legal, political, and economic implications of various historical events. For those interested in how the past can shape one’s future, this guide provides comprehensive information on the different history degree programs that colleges offer, what to look for in an online program, and the jobs that graduates of such programs can obtain.

Best Online History Programs 2018-2019

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From associate programs to doctoral degrees, a history degree is an ideal fit for the online environment. A quality online history degree pairs the actual history of events with the current political, social and cultural consequences using today’s technology. Programs should allow for student interaction in a virtual environment, where students can learn from one another dynamically. Career counseling, affordable tuition, full accreditation and internships in the field round out some of the offerings of the best online history programs. We used our comprehensive methodology to find programs that meet these and other criteria. Take a look at which colleges fit the bill in our list of the Best Online History Programs for 2018 below.

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Rank School Name Location Tuition Financial Aid Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate # of Online Programs Credit for Experience Placement Services Counseling Services University Information
1 University of Central Florida Orlando, Florida$6,36872%50%70%2No Yes Yes School website
2 Sam Houston State University Huntsville, Texas$9,89064%73%51%2Yes Yes Yes School website
3 Westfield State University Westfield, Massachusetts$97091%8%63%1Yes Yes Yes School website
4 University of Illinois at Springfield Springfield, Illinois$9,40570%63%48%1Yes Yes Yes School website
5 Troy University Troy, Alabama$7,92968%92%34%2Yes Yes Yes School website
6 Columbia College Columbia, Missouri$25,35676%52%40%1Yes Yes Yes School website
7 University of Maine at Presque Isle Presque Isle, Maine$6,99076%77%45%1Yes Yes Yes School website
8 University of Arizona Tucson, Arizona$11,64449%79%61%1No Yes Yes School website
9 University of Memphis Memphis, Tennessee$9,70176%4%45%2Yes Yes Yes School website
10 Bellevue University Bellevue, Nebraska$7,05050%-27%1Yes No Yes School website
11 University of Maryland-University College Adelphi, Maryland$7,17654%1000%8%1Yes No Yes School website
12 Eastern Oregon University La Grande, Oregon$8,63274%97%30%1Yes Yes Yes School website
13 Northwestern State University of Louisiana Natchitoches, Louisiana$7,62083%84%38%1Yes Yes Yes School website
14 University of Missouri-St Louis Saint Louis, Missouri$10,27569%76%41%1No Yes Yes School website
15 University of North Alabama Florence, Alabama$10,87251%58%38%2No Yes Yes School website
16 Norfolk State University Norfolk, Virginia$5,31840%85%37%1Yes Yes Yes School website
17 Sterling College Sterling, Kansas$23,40099%37%43%1Yes Yes Yes School website
18 Clayton State University Morrow, Georgia$3,8869%41%38%1No Yes Yes School website
19 Granite State College Concord, New Hampshire$7,2006%-21%1Yes Yes Yes School website
20 The Baptist College of Florida Graceville, Florida$9,90056%59%49%1No No Yes School website
21 University of Louisiana at Monroe Monroe, Louisiana$5,78862%76%41%1No Yes Yes School website
22 Nicholls State University Thibodaux, Louisiana$4,92237%83%45%1No Yes Yes School website
23 Southwestern Adventist University Keene, Texas$19,65694%50%43%1Yes Yes Yes School website
24 Eastern New Mexico University-Main Campus Portales, New Mexico$3,42743%57%30%1No Yes Yes School website
25 Southwestern Assemblies of God University Waxahachie, Texas$18,90070%23%42%1Yes Yes Yes School website
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Rank School Name Location Tuition Financial Aid Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate # of Online Programs Credit for Experience Placement Services Counseling Services University Information
1 Copiah-Lincoln Community College Wesson, Mississippi$2,39035%33%1Yes Yes Yes School website
2 San Joaquin Delta College Stockton, California$1,104-31%1Yes Yes Yes School website
3 Sinclair Community College Dayton, Ohio$3,16944%16%1Yes Yes Yes School website
4 Sheridan College Sheridan, Wyoming$2,13654%30%1Yes No Yes School website
5 Coastline Community College Fountain Valley, California$1,104-26%1Yes Yes Yes School website
6 College of Western Idaho Nampa, Idaho$3,60011%17%1Yes No Yes School website
7 Murray State College Tishomingo, Oklahoma$3,58470%30%1Yes Yes Yes School website
8 Merced College Merced, California$1,104-22%1No Yes Yes School website
9 Allen County Community College Iola, Kansas$1,80070%42%1No No Yes School website
10 Northeast Mississippi Community College Booneville, Mississippi$2,50070%30%1No Yes Yes School website
11 Canada College Redwood City, California$1,2887%16%1No No Yes School website

Overview of the History Field

There are many career options for those who earn online history degrees; however, the most common professions–historian and archivist–are extremely competitive. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs for historians are expected to increase by only six percent between 2012 and 2022, while archivists will see an 11 percent increase in job opportunities during that timeframe.

However, the American Historical Association reports that there are many other career paths for those with online history degrees. These graduates often get jobs as educators in schools and museums, researchers, and librarians. But the first step to any job is earning the proper degree.

Types of Online History Degrees

There are several options for students who want to earn an online history degree. From associate to PHDs, when students earn a degree online, they get all of the benefits of attending a brick-and-mortar school, coupled with the flexibility that allows them to juggle other responsibilities. The following are descriptions of online programs by level.

Two-Year Online Degrees

In most cases, students who earn associate degrees can choose to take history classes, but do not have the option to earn a history-specific degree. However, some schools do offer specific degree programs for students who plan to transfer to a bachelor’s degree program.

Students who enroll in online associate degree, which take about two years to complete, get an overview of cultural movements and events and explore how they are affected by political and social factors of the time. The following are examples of courses that students can take in order to complete an online history degree on the associate’s level:

History of Western Civilization: This course explores the social, political, economic, and cultural aspects of Western civilization. Topics of this course include World War I and II, the rise of political movements like fascism, the evolution of military forces in different countries and the role that art plays in society.

World Civilizations: This course explores the philosophical, literary, political and societal contributions of ancient civilizations. Students study important historical events from Asia, Rome, Greece, medieval Europe and the Middle East.

Local History: Some schools will give students the opportunity to learn about their local communities. These courses teach information about the important historical figures of their region, as well as the politics, architecture, economic development and art of the local area.

History of Religion: This course explores religious movements throughout civilization, including important religious figures and the influence of the church on politics and society.

College of Southern Nevada
  • Enrollment: 53,482
  • Tuition: $2,700
  • College Type: Public
  • State: Nevada
  • Associate of Arts With History Emphasis
Troy University
  • Enrollment: 22,220
  • Tuition: $6,844
  • College Type: Public
  • State: Alabama
  • Associate of Science in General Education - History
Gulf Coast State College
  • Enrollment: 9,602
  • Tuition: $2,765
  • College Type: Public
  • State: Florida
  • Associate in Arts of History

Four-Year Online Degrees

In addition to gaining a broad overview of the field, students who earn online bachelor’s degree in history also cultivate a number of skills that will augment their historical knowledge and make them an asset in any workplace. For example, students learn how to write effectively, develop a convincing argument, present information logically, conduct research, and think critically.

A bachelor’s degree generally take four years to complete, and students can expect to learn about the cultures and events that have contributed to human civilization, the ethics involved in chronicling and interpreting historical events, and the social and political contexts that influence these events.

The following are some examples of courses that students can expect to find when they enroll in online history degrees at the bachelor’s level:

United States History: This course educates students on the long and tumultuous journey that the United States went through in becoming a nation. Topics covered in the class include the beginning of European settlements, the Civil War, the evolution of American politics, the process of drafting and ratifying the Constitution and how the Industrial Revolution affected American life.

Technology in Contemporary Society: This course gives students an overview of how different types of technological advancements have affected the course of history. Students learn about how technology changes people’s lives on both personal and professional levels; the effects of technology on law, education and politics; the cultural ramifications of technology; and the advantages of disadvantages of technology on society.

Roman Law and Society: Students in this class can expect to get an in-depth look at life during Roman times. Topics covered in this course include the evolution of Roman law and its influence on subsequent societies, the way the law affected day-to-day Roman life and how Roman law addressed issues like marriage, religion and slavery.

American Women’s History: This course covers the role that women have played throughout American history, from the early settlements to the present day. Students in this class can expect to learn about the contributions of women in the United States, the laws that governed how women were treated and the rights they held and the women’s movements throughout American history.

University of Maryland
  • Enrollment: 43,574
  • Tuition: $6,384
  • College Type: Public
  • State: Maryland
  • Bachelor of Arts in History
Arizona State University
  • Enrollment: 43,072
  • Tuition: $9,724
  • College Type: Public
  • State: Arizona
  • Bachelor of Arts in Art History
  • Bachelor of Arts in History
Columbia College
  • Enrollment: 29,890
  • Tuition: $6,739
  • College Type: Private
  • State: Missouri
  • Bachelor of Arts in History

Online Master’s Degrees in History

Those who want to deepen their understanding of history and its ever-reaching effects on society can pursue a master’s degree online. These programs typically take about two years of fulltime study to complete. Students gain in-depth knowledge on how the past can be applied to present-day events or evaluate the future, how to properly conduct historical research, and how to analyze the credibility – and biases – of those who have documented historical events. Learn about earning a master’s in history online.

Graduate Level Concentrations

History is a huge field, but many programs allow students to focus their studies on a particular area of interest to hone their knowledge for a specific career goal.

The following are some examples of specializations and concentrations students may be able to pursue when they enroll in a master’s degree program. Keep in mind that these can vary greatly from school to school.

American History: Students who want to get a deeper understanding of American life today often enroll in the American history concentration. The courses in this area cover the political, economic and social evolution of the country and give students the opportunity to critically apply the lessons of the past to the current climate. Some of the topics students in this specialty study include United States’ involvement in the World Wars, how America handled the Cold War, the early history of the country, the evolution of American law and the relationship between the United States and different cultural and racial groups.

Military History: Students who enroll in the military concentration learn about military theory and how wars affect the political, social, and economic aspects of a society. Courses in this specialty cover topics such as types of weaponry and their tactical military uses, the technological advances of weapons throughout history, military leadership and command and how military strategies are developed and executed. In addition, students in this concentration learn who won different wars and what missteps made by those who lose.

World History: In this concentration, students explore how the history of different societies can affect one another. From the dawn of civilization to the present day, this concentration looks at historical events worldwide as well as the development of history as an academic discipline. Topics may include European revolutions, World Wars I and II, the Ottoman Empire, the Reformation, military development in different countries, and exploration and trade.

Public History: Those interested in pursuing careers as archivists, historians, and librarians often choose to concentrate their studies on public history because it focuses on the preservation of the past and artifacts, as well as how it is presented to the community. Courses in this concentration cover topics such as how to catalogue historical documents, project management, budgeting, working with volunteer organizations, and museum collection management.

Online Doctorate in History

Individuals at this degree level generally want to pursue careers in academia, usually as a college professor. However, these graduates may also go on to careers as analysts, writers, or researchers. Those who earn an online PhD in history can expect to take courses that give them a deeper understanding of several areas, including American, European, African, and Latin American historical events.

Students who enroll in these programs can expect to finish their degrees in about four to six years, depending on the program and the individual student. In addition to coursework, program requirements may include a dissertation, a comprehensive examination, or participation in research projects.

The following is a sample of potential classes:

The Civil Rights Movement: This course explores the evolution of the Civil Rights Movement in the United States. Topics may include prominent past and present civil rights leaders, the role of women in the Civil Rights Movement, the advancements African Americans have made because of the movement, and what civil rights looks like today.

Nazi Germany: This class examines the social, economic, and political conditions that caused Nazism to rise in Germany. Students gain a deep understanding of the role Nazism played in World War II and the anti-Semitism that led to the Holocaust.

The Cold War: Students in this course study the origins of the Cold War, how it influences American culture and politics, and the aftermath of this period. Subjects include Vietnam, the Cuban missile crisis, and the Korean War.

Renaissance and Reformation: This course takes a closer look at the reformation and renaissance periods of European history, including the important historical figures in these movements. Some of the course topics covered include the Spanish Inquisition, how the use of money was outlawed for a time, and the conflict between Calvinists and Catholics.

Online School Spotlights

The following are some examples of schools that offer online history degree programs:

Southern New Hampshire University

SNHU offers online history degrees at the bachelor’s and master’s levels. This private nonprofit college gives undergraduate students a comprehensive liberal arts education while providing a historical understanding of societies throughout history. Accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, SNHU’s history department gives students the option to focus on a particular era or subject matter. For example, there are bachelor’s degrees available in American history, military history, Middle Eastern studies, and European history. In addition, students can earn a general studies bachelor’s degree and elect to concentrate on history.

At the master’s level, Southern New Hampshire University students can advance their knowledge of history while developing valuable research skills. Students in this online degree program can concentrate on American, military, or public history.

University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s distance learning component, UWM Online, offers a bachelor’s degree. In addition to having a choice of courses in American, European, and global history, students also have the opportunity to participate in historical research. Through the university’s Office of Undergraduate Research, students can work with professors on studies, gaining invaluable skills such as choosing a research topic, citing sources, developing a thesis and the arguments needed to support it, and producing a final research paper. Some examples of the department’s research projects include Medicine and Religion in Northern Africa, Early Christianity in Rome, African American History, Race and Law, and Gender and Politics.

Arizona State University

Arizona State University offers online bachelor’s and master’s degrees. Students in the undergraduate program learn about American and European history and the department particularly focuses on the Southwest and environmental history. On the master’s level, students get the opportunity to study comparative history, as well as learn historical research methods.

How to Choose an Online History Program

Not all online programs are created equally. When students are about to invest their time and money in a degree program, they need to do their best to ensure they choose one that will meet their needs and help them reach their goals. The following are some of the most important things prospective students should consider when evaluating online history degree programs.

Historical Focus

This field tends to be very broad, which can be highly appealing to some students. However, when choose a history degree program, students should consider what part of history really interests them. Every history department has a different focus, and those interested in pursuing a degree should select one that caters to the aspects of the field that they most want to study, as well as one that will help them achieve their career goals. For example, a student who is interested in getting an archivist job at an Asian art museum should look for a program that has a strong Asian history focus.

Research Opportunities

Strong research skills can be an asset in any career path, so it’s important that students who earn online history degrees get the opportunity to learn as much as they can about conducting historical research. Although many degree programs offer classes on research methods, some schools give students the opportunity to get hands-on experience conducting historical research, which allows them to examine past events and create a narrative about what happened in a specific period of time. This can help them get a broader view of history above and beyond what they learn in class as well as sharpen their research and critical thinking skills. Students who really want to explore how historical research is done should look for programs that allow them to work side-by-side with professors on research projects, where they help collect data, complete a literature review, and write up findings.


Just as it is important for students to consider the coursework in an online history degree program, they should also consider who is teaching the courses. Students should carefully examine the background of the professors at the programs they’re considering. Some things they can look for include the research topics professors have been involved in and whether they have been published in esteemed professional journals, their professional experience in the field, and the focus of their studies when they were in school.

Out-of-the-Box Careers for Graduates

Although many graduates go on to work as historians, librarians, archivists, and teachers, there are a myriad of career paths available for those who complete online history degrees. History majors come to the workforce armed with many invaluable skills that employers want—such as research skills, writing abilities, and critical thinking skills—so even if these careers are a bit unconventional, they are examples of jobs that graduates can pursue.

Financial Analysts: It may seem like an unlikely career for a history major, but the attention to detail that these graduates gain from their studies make them good candidates for financial analyst jobs. In addition, their understanding of how historical events have shaped the economy puts them in a unique position to help their clients make informed investment decisions. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, this career is on the rise, with an expected growth of 16 percent between 2012 and 2022.

Writers: Historians are natural storytellers, so it makes sense that history graduates gravitate toward writing careers. Many become journalists, which allows them to combine their written communication skills with their strong research abilities. In other cases, graduates use the knowledge they gained to become fiction writers—and their studies can be particularly useful if they are writing stories that heavily rely on historical accuracy.

Paralegals: A history graduate who has an interest in law is a natural fit for a paralegal career. In addition to the research skills needed to do the job, history majors also have the organizational skills necessary to help attorneys file and organize legal documents; the communication skills needed to talk to clients and attorneys during the course of a case; and the writing skills required to draft reports. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics states that this career is growing faster than most occupations, and job seekers will see a 17 percent increase in opportunities in the coming years.

Finding the right online history degree program can be challenging. The following user-friendly search tool allows aspiring historians to peruse a mountain of data about schools, while filtering it to make the information as relevant as possible.

Finding the right online history degree program can be challenging. The following user-friendly search tool allows aspiring historians to peruse a mountain of data about schools, while filtering it to make the information as relevant as possible.

History Degree Search Tool

Online degrees in history are a perennial favorite given the wide spectrum of jobs open to graduates. With so many time periods and theoretical frameworks, not to mention degree levels, fledgling historians can easily become overwhelmed. In addition to sifting through these factors, the search tool below will take into account students’ needs for internships, program flexibility, cost for value, and research resources to find the best online history degree for individual student goals.