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Online Masters Degrees in History

An online history masters degree examines past events in context of the social outcomes that result. Classes adress how historians can better understand these events effectively by examining historical documents. In order to accomplish these goals, most programs combine the theoretical, comparative, and thematic approaches to the research and writing of history.6y

Did You Know?

Approximately 750,000 men died during the Civil War, which was more than 2.5% of America’s population at the time.

Typically, courses are designed to explore the key events, people, and cultures that have shaped today’s world. Beyond committing important dates and events to memory, students look at the motivations and the actions of various civilizations and leaders. Classes walk you through an in-depth analysis to better interpret the historical event in question.

Plus, many programs offer you the option to pursue your online history masters degree with a concentration. This may provide you with a more focused degree so that you can have a complete and comprehensive understanding on a specific aspect of history, whether a certain global society or historical era.

Online History Masters Degree

Admissions Requirements

The admissions requirements for an online history masters degree include:

  • Bachelors degree from an accredited university
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Official transcripts
  • Statement of Purpose
  • Writing Sample or Essay

Some schools may have stricter requirements than others. For instance, some schools may require that applicants deomstrate a 3.25 GPA or higher while earning a bachelors degree. Other schools may have a lower GPA requirement or none at all.

In addition, some schools ask that you have developed writing and analytical skills through specific courses while earning your undergraduate degree. Being able to analyze a situation and communicate clearly to describe it may be useful given the amount of research, writing, and critical analysis that goes into your masters degree graduate courses.

How Long Does It Take to Earn an Online Masters Degree in History?

Most full-time students can earn a masters degree in history in two years, which usually consists of taking three courses a semester. However, this depends on the specific design of each school and when courses are available.

Many schools also offer the option for students to pursue an online history masters degree part-time. This may be more beneficial to students who have a number of personal or professional responsibilities because it provides more options while pursuing your masters degree.

Graduation Requirements

Upon completing all required courses, students may need to complete a capstone or thesis project, depending on the masters program you are enrolled in. Typically, a capstone or a thesis is a writing assignment that combines and applies the research and topics analyzed in all previous courses. Most projects are focused on a specific topic in the field and use primary and secondary sources to develop a persuasive project.

In addition, some schools may also ask you to come to campus for a week to complete final classroom activities and to meet fellow students and professors. Often, these "residencies" conclude with commencement ceremonies, but keep in mind that all schools are different and some may not have this requirement.

In fact, many online schools may not have an on-campus commencement ceremony or require you to come on-campus at all. Therefore, check with a number of programs to find the perfect school for you and one that matches your goals and expectations.

This should include checking all of the admissions and graduation requirements for each school before applying. If you can pass up the whole cap and gown scenario, you may have a few more programs to choose from.

What Are the Different Types of the Study of History Called?

History is the study of the past. However, there are so many aspects to the analysis of past events that a number of different sub components of history have developed. Each of these covers different parts of history in-depth in order to put past events into greater context.

Some of these sub components of history include those listed below.

  • Anthropology is the study of human beings, including our various cultures, religions, myths, and folklores across all periods of time.
  • Archeology attempts to dig up artifacts and analyze them to gain a better understanding of the events of that time.
  • Philology is the branch of knowledge that deals with the structure, historical development, and relationships of a language or languages.

On the other hand, history is the broad analysis of the past. Therefore, while studying history, some of or all of these sub components may come up.

For instance, while earning your online history masters degree, it is only a matter of time before you touch on some subjects of anthropology. This may include topics such as the different religions involved in various wars and how those differing beliefs led to war.

Therefore, each of these sub components, and others that aren’t listed, help us to better understand the past from a complete, interdisciplinary perspective. Some schools may offer electives for you to take that cover specific topics in each of these fields. However, most programs incorporate these topics into the curriculum of history courses.

What You’ll Learn: Online History Masters Degree

While pursuing an online masters degree in history, programs are focused on developing the skills and knowledge necessary so that graduates may be considered experts in history. Typically this includes the research and writing that shapes our perspective of the past.

Therefore, many courses are specifically designed to examine particular subject matter that teaches a comprehensive understanding of the material. In addition, many online programs allow you the option to choose a concentration, which may focus your masters degree on a specific topic in history.

For instance, if you choose to pursue a European history masters degree, courses may range from topics such as:

  • Greek History
  • to the Roman Empire
  • all the way to post-World War II

Many programs also teach research methods, as well as a critical analysis of historical documents. This may help students perform more complete critiques of both primary and secondary sources of historical information.

Learning Outcomes in History

Some of the key topics you may study while earning an online history masters degree are how to:

  • Analyze the relationship between fact, method, theory, and interpretation of historical accounts
  • Evaluate and interpret historical sources, both primary and secondary
  • Analyze the various ethical and professional issues
  • Research methods, analytics, and written communication
  • Demonstrate a broad knowledge of historical events
  • Apply persuasive arguments based on suitable evidence

These learning objectives are designed to develop the skills and knowledge for students to become experts in the field of history. Typically, these outcomes do not change based on whether or not you choose a concentration for your online masters degree in history because these are general concepts focused on the process of historical analysis rather than specific subject matter.

Online Masters Degree in History: Available Concentrations

Many programs offer you the option to choose a concentration in order to focus your degree on a specific topic in history, whether a time period, geographic location, or other aspects of the field.

Some of the concentrations that may be available for your online history masters degree include:

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

Keep in mind that these are just some of the concentrations that may be available and that some schools may offer additional concentrations.

In addition, other schools may not offer any concentrations. Therefore, be sure to check with a number of different schools before applying in order to find one that matches your goals.

Common Courses in History

While earning an online history masters degree courses are focused on developing research, writing, and analytical skills. Typically, this is through assignments and coursework centered on the analysis of historical documents.

Some of these courses include:

  • Comparative History and Research
  • Historiography
  • Historical Lenses and Scholarship
  • Topics on the History of the American Revolution
  • Transforming Archives and History in the Digital Era
  • American Society and Political Culture
  • Archive and Manuscript Management
  • History, Theories, and Contemporary Issues in Historic Preservation
  • Readings in World History
  • The Roman Republic and Empire

Keep in mind that this is just a sample of some of the courses you may take. Some schools may have different names for courses or require that you cover different topics. In addition, if you choose a concentration for your masters degree, you’ll likely have a different course of study than what’s listed above.

As a result, before applying, check the specific curriculum of a number of different programs and concentrations in order to find the perfect school for you.

What Is Historiography?

Historiography is the study of historical writing. Typically, courses that focus on historiography analyze the changing nature of historical interpretations and arguments throughout history.

Usually this includes some of the following topics:

  • Critical examination of sources
  • Selection of particular details
  • Synthesis of those details into a narrative

Approaching historical events by analyzing the writing is a way to better understand who wrote the history, what agenda did they have in mind, and towards what end. This type of analysis helps understand past events, but also our interpretations of these events.

How Is Historiography Different From History?

Because historiography is the critical analysis of historical writing. It is considered to be one of the most important sub components of history, which is defined as the study of past events. Historiography is the belief that historians are never objective in their documenting of events and therefore need to be analyzed as well in order to provide a complete picture of events.

Therefore, as you study history more in depth, and while pursuing an online history masters degree, you may focus not only on the historical events, but also on why historians have written about events in a certain way.

Historiography is a prime example of the in-depth analysis and research that many online history programs usually ask students to complete on a regular basis while earning a masters degree.

Why Is It So Important to Study History?

While the products of historical study are less tangible than in some other fields, such as medicine, engineering, or criminal justice, it is still important to study history because it teaches us about people and societies.

As a result, the study of history helps develop research and analytical skills that are applicable to a number of different fields, industries, and professions. In addition, historical analysis may help teach how to:

  • Ability to assess evidence
  • Distinguish between conflicting interpretations
  • Find and evaluate primary and secondary sources of information
  • Write persuasive pieces using supporting evidence
  • Identify, assess, and explain trends

Most importantly, studying history not only helps us avoid similar mistakes of those who have come before us, but also to gain a better understanding of how the world works.

History Degree Jobs

Upon earning your online history masters degree, one of the most common careers to pursue is that of a historian. Most of these positions require that candidates have earned a masters degree, though there are some, especially with the federal government, that require a doctoral degree.i

Some of the top industries for historians, and their 2016 median annual salary, are:

  • Federal government, excluding postal service: $92,400
  • Professional, scientific, and technical services: $54,590
  • State and local government, excluding education and hospitals: $38,810ii

There are a number of students who choose to continue their education and pursue an online PhD in history because there may be other career opportunities available, such as a postsecondary teacher.

Find the Perfect Online Masters Degree in History for You

Are you looking for a masters degree to develop your research and analytical skills? Are you interested in learning about historical events and cultures in order to develop a better understanding of modern society?

Then take the next step to earn your online history masters degree. Click on any of the sponsored listings on this page to learn more about individual programs.

Plus, you can even request more information directly from the school and learn how to apply to college today.


[i] bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/historians.htm#tab-4 [ii] bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/historians.htm#tab-5

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