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Earning an Online PhD in History

You may want to think about earning an Online History PhD if you’re a history buff who wants to pursue careers at the top of your field. History careers might involve

work in research, writing, or education.i  People who excel at these roles might be analytically minded, with skills in problem-solving and communication.ii  They may be able to think creatively, interpret complex information, and excel at documenting and recording things in an organized manner.iii  If that sounds like you, keep reading to see what it might take to earn an online PhD degree in history!

Online History PhD Overview

Before diving into the details of studying history, let’s take a look at the essentials of PhD degrees first. PhD stands for Doctor of Philosophy, and is a type of research doctorate degree, the highest level degree offered in education in the United States.  Despite the subject in its name, a Doctor of Philosophy can be earned in a wide range of disciplines, from art to business to, yes, history.iv

A Online History PhD entails high-level coursework, and, depending on the program and student, it might take four to five years of study to complete.  To pursue a doctorate, students typically need to have already earned a bachelor’s degree,v and some schools may require a master’s degree before enrollment.iv

Research doctorates may often center on a dissertation, a type of large-scale project that might be guided by faculty and could involve a lot of writing and research.iv Completing and successfully presenting the dissertation may even be a requirement for graduation.iv If this is something you’d like to know more about, be sure to reach out to the schools you’re considering before applying.

Coursework in Online PhD in History Programs

Coursework will be different at each university. But there are some general subjects you will see. Fields of study may include:

  • Political history
  • Social and cultural history
  • Diplomatic history
  • History of gender and sexuality
  • Comparative history
  • History of imperialism
  • History of medicine
  • African American history
  • Ethnic history
  • Asian, Latin American, European, or African history
  • Jewish history
  • Military history

Career Pursuits with a History PhD

One job you might be able to pursue after earning a PhD in history online might be as a college professor of history.  In this role, you may typically specialize in a field of history,vi such as European history, and conduct research in addition to teaching classes.vi This position may require skills of critical thinking, speaking and writing.vi The median annual salary in 2015 was $72,470, and the profession was projected to grow at a faster-than-average rate.vii

You may also be able to pursue a career as a curator. Though the entry-level education may typically be a master’s degree, of the curators polled by O*Net, 30% reported having needed a doctoral degree for their role, compared to 26% needing just master’s degrees.viii  Curators may generally administer museum collections, planning and designing exhibits, selecting items, and supervising staff.ix  The median yearly wages for this position were $51,520 in 2015.x

Getting Started with an Online History PhD

If you’re ready to begin your pursuit of an online history PhD degree, don’t hesitate! Feel free to start your search right here on eLearners.com for the perfect PhD in history program. Browse our sponsored listings and, if anything stands out to you, be sure to contact the school directly for additional information. Good luck!


[i]bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/historians.htm#tab-2 [ii]bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/historians.htm#tab-4 [iii]onetonline.org/link/summary/19-3093.00#WorkActivities [iv]ed.gov/about/offices/list/ous/international/usnei/us/doctorate.doc [v]bls.gov/careeroutlook/2008/fall/art01.pdf [vi]bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/postsecondary-teachers.htm#tab-4 [vii]bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/postsecondary-teachers.htm#tab-1 [ix]onetonline.org/link/summary/25-4012.00#Tasks [x]onetonline.org/link/summary/25-4012.00#WagesEmployment