Online History Degrees

Online history degree programs analyze global regions, cultures, and events through research, writing, and critical analysis. Usually, this includes finding and interpreting historical sources to complete narratives and persuasive papers, as well as assessing historical phenomena and their impact on society.

Fun Fact

The longest official war in history, which lasted from 1651 to 1986, was between the Netherlands and the Isles of Scilly. There were no casualties.


We asked people who have earned their degree in History: Do you believe earning a History degree provided you with the skills to become a Lawyer?

"I think that a history major is just as effective as any other major choice when preparing to attend law school. In retrospect, the skills that I learned through my history studies, which included a heavy focus on research, writing, and contemporary analysis of historical events, did a great job preparing me for law school."
Scott Kimberly, & Attorney at law Online History Degree
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— Scott Kimberly, Attorney at law

Online History Degree: What You’ll Learn

Studying for an online history degree is about trying to understand past events, the motivations of different peoples, and how to relate those events to modern society so that we may avoid similar mistakes. Therefore, while some students may have had dull experiences in high school history courses where they had to memorize a list of dates and events, pursuing a history degree in college is a more interactive experience.

Instead of focusing on memorization, while earning an online history degree, many programs address developing research and analytical skills. This usually includes understanding conflicting viewpoints and examining primary and secondary sources.

Plus, because there are so many cultural histories to analyze, most online history degree programs offer a number of electives that you may choose from. Usually, curriculum is divided into overview courses, such as World History, and those that analyze a specific culture or time period, such as Civil War and Reconstruction.

Online History Degree - And Careers to Pursue with a History Degree

Key Topics for Online History Degrees

While earning an online history degree, some of the key topics that you may study include:

  • Examining major historical developments from a global perspective
  • Implementing historical method by posing questions, conducting research, analyzing evidence, and defending conclusions
  • Interpreting events, institutions, and human communities in their historical context
  • Distinguishing between different histories and ways of analyzing the past
  • Assessing the significance of social and cultural developments within broader historical contexts

Many of these topics remain the same regardless if you choose a concentration or not. That’s because these topics are focused more on the processes involved in historical research rather than specific time periods or events.

Usually, the higher the degree level you are pursuing, your analysis of these topics will be more in-depth. For instance, an associates degree will usually be more focused on the general concepts, whereas a PhD program may analyze specific details of the same events.

Common Online Courses in History

Some of the courses you may take while earning an online history degree include:

  • Western Civilization
  • World History
  • World Civilizations: Prehistory to 1500
  • United States History
  • Historiography
  • Historical Methods
  • Comparative History and Research
  • Public History Strategic Management
  • American Society and Political Culture
  • Archives and Information Management

Usually, these courses vary from program to program and between degree levels. Also, your course of study will change course depending on whether you choose a concentration for your history degree. Therefore, in order to find the perfect school for you, take all of these aspects into account before applying to different schools.

What Is a History Major?

History is the study of past events. But it is more than that. It is vicariously living these events by analyzing various sources and getting your head around a different time period to attempt to understand the motivations of different societies and people.

While pursuing an online history degree, you may be asked to memorize some details and dates. However, usually this memorization comes naturally through an in-depth examination of different historical events.  

Studying history is more a combination of art and science through the analysis of content, which is why programs may teach how to collect, evaluate, and create persuasive arguments. This may help you develop skills such as researching, editing, and writing, all of which are used by a variety of professions in a number of different industries.

Different History Degrees Online

Typically, there are four different levels of online degrees in history that you can pursue, plus certificate programs. Each of these types of programs focus on similar topics related to analyzing historical events.

However, each level usually becomes progressively more difficult and requires students to perform more research and analysis. Plus, each level may have different course offerings, available concentrations, and have different admissions and graduation requirements.

The different levels of an online history degree are listed below, with specific requirements and examples of some of the concentrations, or types of history majors, that may be available.

LEVEL 1 - Online Associates Degree in History

While pursuing an online associates degree in history, programs examine the pivotal events and people that influenced modern society. This usually includes analyzing the historical periods from a global perspective.

An associates degree is designed for students who have earned their high school or GED equivalent diploma. Typically, an associates degree can be used as a stepping stone to further your education by providing a basic historical education. Many full-time students can earn their associates degree in two years.

LEVEL 2 - Online Bachelors Degree in History

An online bachelors degree in history examines how the actions of the past affect the modern world. As a research-focused degree, bachelors programs analyze contemporary global issues by searching for patterns and relationships from our history.

Many bachelors degree programs offer students the opportunity to select a concentration to focus their degree on a specific aspect of history. Some of the concentrations include:

  • American History
  • European History
  • Middle Eastern History
  • Military History

Often, the admissions requirements for a bachelors degree are similar to an associates degree. However, normally bachelors programs require additional materials, such as:

  • High school or GED equivalent diploma
  • Official transcripts
  • Statement of purpose
  • Recommendations

LEVEL 3 - Online History Masters Degree

An online history masters degree is designed to enhance the research, writing, and analytical skills of students. This is in order to teach a broad and advanced background in history content.

Many masters degrees in history provide you the option to choose a concentration. This may provide a more focused degree in a particular subject matter, or you may have the options to pursue a general history degree. Some of the available concentrations include:

  • American History
  • Military History
  • Public History
  • Archives
  • Ancient and Classical History
  • European History

Typically, the admission requirements for a masters degree are stricter than undergraduate programs. In fact, some schools require that you earned a minimum undergraduate GPA or achieved a minimum GRE or ACT score. Other admissions requirements may include:

  • Bachelors degree
  • Transcripts
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Number of undergraduate history courses (exact amount varies)

LEVEL 4 - PhD in History Online

While earning a PhD in history online, programs examine the current research and theories of history through interdisciplinary studies, technology, collaborative work, and independent research. As the highest level degree in the field, pursuing a PhD typically requires more research, writing, and critical analysis than other degree levels.

Many PhD programs are focused on a specific area of history in order to analyze key aspects, cultures, or events in greater depth. Therefore, many programs offer a major, minor, or concentration. Some of these include:

  • World History
  • United States History
  • African American History
  • Modern European History
  • British and Imperial History
  • Environmental History
  • Medieval History
  • Modern History

Some of the admissions requirements for an online PhD in history include those listed below.

  • Masters degree
  • GRE scores
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Personal statement

Usually, PhD programs require a minimum GPA while earning your masters degree, such as a 3.0 or higher. However, check with a number of programs to find one that matches your goals and academic standing.

Online History Certificates

As shorter, non-degree programs, online history certificates may offer more options to students. That’s because these programs usually only require four to six courses and can be completed in one year. In addition, certificates are typically designed for part-time students, which offers even more flexibility.

Certificates usually focus on one specific area of history. This may provide you a chance to deepen your knowledge in a key topic and the analysis of historical developments and events. Some of the types of history certificates include:

  • World History and Culture
  • American History
  • Civil War Studies
  • American Revolution Studies

Usually, there are two types of certificates in history: post-baccalaureate and graduate. For the first, typically you need a bachelors degree. For a graduate certificate, admissions usually include a masters degree. However, certificate programs have varying admissions requirements, so be sure to check with a number of programs.

How to Get a Degree in History

Each of the different degree levels and certificates have unique graduation requirements. For instance, many undergraduate programs, or associates and bachelors degrees, only require that you complete all required courses and earn around 60 or 120 credits, respectively, depending on the design of an individual program.

On the other hand, graduate degrees usually have additional requirements beyond simply completing required courses. For instance, masters degrees usually require students to complete a capstone or thesis project. Doctorate programs typically require students to propose, write, present, and defend a dissertation to a board of faculty.

These are usually in-depth writing assignments that prove you have a comprehensive understanding of the subject matter, as well as the research process. However, keep in mind that these requirements may vary from school to school. Therefore, check with a number of different universities before applying in order to find the perfect school for you.

Difference Between Historiography and History

History is the series of past events and the study of those events. On the other hand, historiography is the writing of history or the product of historical writing, such as a body of historical literature.

Usually, historiography is especially focused on the examination of the methods historians have used, which may include the critical examination of sources and authentic materials.

Why Major in History?

History is still a popular major on college campuses across the country and is usually one of the largest departments because every generation has new questions to ask of the past.

As one of the core disciplines in liberal arts, an online history degree offers a classical form of learning, which includes how to:

  • Write with clarity and precision
  • Organize and assess evidence and research
  • Analyze problems
  • Interpret complex events

More importantly, while earning a history degree, you may learn how to learn. That’s because courses require you to find sources and solve problems, as well as how to organize those sources and information into persuasive arguments. Therefore, you may develop the processes of learning that you may rely on for the rest of your life.

Careers for History Majors

Many students and parents feel that the only career you may pursue with a history degree is teaching at one level or another. However, that is simply not the case. In fact, after earning an online history degree, you can pursue a number of different careers.

Some of these careers, and their 2016 median annual salary, include:

  • Historians, Federal Government: $92,400i
  • Historians, Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services: $54,590
  • Archivists, Curators, and Museum Workers: $47,230ii
  • Survey Researchers: $54,470iii

Typically, in order to become a historian, you need to have earned a masters degree, though some positions require candidates to have a doctorate degree.iv Most archivists and curators have a masters degree, however, most museum workers are only required to have a bachelors degree.v 

In order to become a survey researcher, most employers require a masters or PhD, though some entry-level positions only require a bachelors

Of course, you could always pursue a career as a teacher as well, such as those listed below with their 2016 median annual salary:

  • History Teachers, Postsecondary: $71,820vii
  • High School Teachers: $58,030viii

The majority of postsecondary teachers are required to have a PhD.ix On the other hand, high school teachers usually only need a bachelors degree and a teaching license.x

Find the Perfect Online History Degree for You

Have you always been interested in history? Do you enjoy researching past societies and events to see how we can avoid similar mistakes today? Then take the next step to earn your online history degree.

Click on any of the sponsored listings on this page for more information about specific programs. This includes common curriculum, admissions requirements, and how to apply. You can even reach out to your favorite schools directly to request more information.

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