20 Best Online Master’s in History Programs
Successful Student has ranked the 20 Best Online Master’s in History Programs in the United States. This ranking is designed for online students to make informed college and degree decisions for getting an online Master’s in History.
Studying how the past influences the present and will carry into the future is a worthwhile intellectual pursuit in its own regard. History majors may choose their concentration based on demographics, such as Global, Continental, National or State History, through time, such as Ancient, Medieval, or Modern History, or by discipline, such as the History of Medicine, Military, or Art.
History is relevant in many career fields. Teachers, museum curators, authors, and researchers need to know past history. A Master’s in History degree can be a great supplement to an already existing career or can lead to its own fields such as secondary or community college educator, archivist, or academic librarian. These occupations have a wide range of salaries, duties, and growth within the field.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics the following were the median yearly salaries for 2020:
- Historians – $63,100.00
- Anthropologists and Archaeologists – $66,130.00
- Archivists, Curators, and Museum workers – $52,140.00
Each of the programs listed below will offer different areas of specialization for you to tailor your education to your career goals.
1.University of Massachusetts-Boston
College of Liberal Arts
At the University of Massachusetts, the online Master of Arts in History is offered through the College of Liberal Arts.
There are a total of 30 credit requirements including:
- Research Methods (three credits)
- Introduction to Historiography (three credits)
- Thesis Preparation (three credits)
- Thesis (six credits)
- History electives (five credits)
Courses are comprehensive and challenging with an average of 250-300 pages of reading per week. Students should also expect to write a minimum of 25 pages per semester. A limited class size, however, allows students to have more personal interaction with professors who are willing to work with students if challenges arise.
2.Johns Hopkins University
Institute of the History of Medicine
As the oldest School of Medicine in the country, Johns Hopkins Institute of the History of Medicine knows how to make history, not just teach it. As such, the school’s strength is its comprehensive Master of Arts in the History of Medicine.
Students should expect a challenging curriculum with the following degree requirements:
- Introduction to the History of Medicine
- Four Survey courses
- Methods in the History of Medicine
- Two terms of Research seminar
- Research Practicum
- Directed Reading
- Directed Research
- One Elective
- Submission and approval of an original thesis
Norwich University itself has made history, being recognized as the nation’s first private military college and the birthplace of the ROTC program. Building on this solid foundation, Norwich offers an online Master of Arts in History degree. No GRE/GMAT scores are required to apply.
This 36 credit degree program requires only six courses, with each course being weighted at six credits, and offers two concentrations, American History or World History.
Courses are consecutive and run for 11 weeks each. Before graduation, students are required to complete a one week residency on campus. Students typically complete this program in 18 months. Tuition is currently set at $704 per credit.
4.Indiana State University
Terre Haute, Indiana
GRE scores are not required to apply to the online Master of Arts in History offered at Indiana State University. Students may complete the 33 required credits entirely online.
The average time of completion for those enrolled part-time is three to five years, though the school allows up to seven years for students to earn this degree. Those interested in attending full-time may need a blended online/on-campus format, but will be able to complete all coursework within two years.
A concentration in the History of Labor and Reform Movements in the United States is available. Course examples may include:
- Race and Nationality in the United States
- Women in History
- Seminar on Popular Movements in the United States
5.Arizona State University-Tempe
College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
In addition to the comprehensive undergraduate program in history, the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Arizona State offers the corresponding online Master of Arts in History.
Students can easily complete both degrees at Arizona State with the Master’s program requiring an additional 30 credits. The 10 further classes each run for 7.5 weeks in length, with both thesis and non-thesis options available.
Tuition and fees for the academic year are estimated to be $10,134 with the majority of students finishing in one to two years. Professors within the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences include one Pulitzer Prize winner, one MacArthur Fellow, and three Nobel Laureates.
College of Arts and Sciences
The online Master of Arts in History at Liberty University is offered through the College of Arts and Sciences. This comprehensive degree requires students to complete 36 credit hours of coursework.
The curriculum provides a detailed overview of general topics in history including American history, modern European military history, and world history.
Some sample courses may include:
- Historical Methods and Interpretations
- Protestant Reformation
- History of American Political Parties since 1896
- History of Slavery and Servitude in the Western World
Tuition rates are currently set at $615 per hour rate for part-time students and $565 per hour rate for full-time students.Get Information
7.University of Memphis
College of Arts and Sciences
The University of Memphis offers a fully online Master of Arts in History through the College of Arts and Sciences. The noted areas of strength for the online degree include Asia, Medieval Europe, U.S. History, and Women, Gender, and Family studies.
Other possible courses include:
- World Since 1945
- Modern Middle East
- Greek Experience
- High Middle Ages
- History American Family
- Civil Rights Movement
Additionally, the Department of History offers and encourages supervised internships with a variety of affiliated organizations interested in historians such as government agencies and local private businesses. There are 33 required hours of coursework for students in the non-thesis track. The thesis track is encouraged for students who wish to pursue further education.
8.Western Kentucky University
Department of History
Bowling Green, Kentucky
The Department of History at Western Kentucky University offers an online, non-thesis online Master of Arts in History. GRE scores are required for admission to this program.
There are 36 credits necessary for graduation with one required core course in Historiography. Other possible areas of concentration include:
- Pre-Modern Europe/World
- Modern Europe
- Non-Western World
- Pre- Civil War United States (through the Civil War)
- Post- Civil War United States
Courses are available on a rotating basis with the majority of students completing the degree in three years. Tuition is currently set at $707 per credit hour for online students.
9.Southern New Hampshire University
Manchester, New Hampshire
Students interested in the Master of Arts in History at Southern New Hampshire University do not need a prior undergraduate degree in history to apply. GRE and GMAT scores are also not required for admission. Students may apply and be accepted at any point throughout the academic year. There are three concentrations offered:
- American History
- Military History
- Public History
- Early American Encounters
- The Gilded Age and Progressive Era
- The Russian Revolutions
- Digitization of History
- Museum Collection Management
10.Missouri State University-Springfield
Department of History
Missouri State University’s Department of History offers the online Master of Arts in History. The program requires 30 total credits for graduation and is designed as a traditional two-year graduate degree plan. Students may choose from the following track options:
- American Studies
- Global Area Studies
- U.S. and World Studies
11.Sam Houston State University
Department of History
At Sam Houston State University, the Department of History typically requires some prior study (either a minor or a major) in the field of History to be applicable for the online Master of Arts in History program. Recent GRE scores will also be required to apply.
Students will have the option to enroll in the 30 credit thesis program or the 36 credit non-thesis track. The majority of students will enroll in one class per semester and have up to seven years to complete all graduation requirements. Once all course work has been completed, all Master’s degree students must pass both a written and an oral exam.
12.Pittsburg State University
Pittsburgh State University offers an online Master of Arts in History. There are two tracks available within this degree:
Thesis option – requires a total of 30 credit hours. Strongly recommended for students interested in pursuing doctoral work.
Seminar option – requires a total of 32 credit hours.
There are an additional three tracks within this option:
- Students may complete a curricular or museum project including bibliography and presentation
- Students may submit two seminar papers for evaluation
- Students may choose to take a comprehensive examination
Both thesis and seminar options require a minimum of 15 semester hours of courses taken at level 800 or above.
13.University of North Alabama
Department of History and Political Science
The online Masters of Arts in History degree at the University of North Alabama is offered through the Department of History and Political Science. This program offers thesis and non-thesis options.
Both tracks have a 15-hour core including classes such as Historiography and Research Methods, and require 12 hours of elective courses. Student in the thesis track can defend their paper online, with no need to go to campus. Students in the non-thesis track will take a comprehensive examination. Those who are enrolled full-time are able to finish all requirements for this program in two to three years.
14.University of Nebraska at Omaha
The University of Nebraska’s online Master of Arts in History program caters to a variety of students, from active military members to secondary educators and those interested in pursuing doctoral studies. This fully online program requires 36 credits for graduation.
Classes may include:
- America Interpreted
- Historical Methods
- Readings in World History
- Introduction to Thesis
- Military History
- American West
- Modern Europe
- Public/digital history
La Jolla, California
At National University, the online Master of Arts in History offers two tracks. The research track is encouraged for students who wish to pursue research and further education. For this option, students will produce the traditional Master’s thesis.
The teaching track is for those students interested in becoming secondary or community college educators. Students in this track will compile a Master’s Portfolio for presentation. Both tracks require a minimum of 10 courses, or 45 quarter units. Sample courses may include:
- Modern Africa
- Latin America
- Comparative History
- Modern Middle East
- History and Applied Media
16.University of Louisiana at Monroe
To be accepted to the Master of Arts in History program at the University of Louisiana students must have a minimum of 18 undergraduate semester hours in the Social Sciences/Humanities, with half of those being specifically from History courses.
Once accepted, students in the online program must take the non-thesis track (thesis track is only available to on-campus students). A total of 30 semester hour credits are required for the Master’s. All students must take the three credit Research Methods course with the rest being electives.
Courses will run for eight weeks in length. Tuition is currently set at $500.00 per credit hour for online graduate students.
17.Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania
College of Liberal Arts
Slippery Rock, Pennsylvania
The College of Liberal Arts at Slippery Rock University offers an online Master of Arts in History. The 30 required credits include one mandatory three credit Historical Methods course and 27 credits in subject areas. Course examples may include:
- Ancient Greece
- Tudor-Stuart England
- Modern Britain
- Modern Germany
- Russia in the Twentieth Century
- Women in History
- History of Medicine
- Mexico and the Caribbean
- The Ancient Near East
- Material Culture and Historical Interpretation
- The Middle East in Modern Times
18.American Military University
Charles Town, West Virginia
American Military University offers the traditional online Master of Arts in History with concentrations in American, Ancient and Classical, European, Global, and Public History.
However, the university’s strength is it’s Master of Arts in Military History program.
Here students have a variety of concentrations from which to choose:
- American Military History
- American Revolution
- Civil War
- Military and Diplomatic History
- World War II
- War Since 1945
- command and leadership
- technological advances in weaponry
19.Adams State University
Adams State University offers an online Master of Arts in Humanities with an emphasis in U.S. History.
Student’s can complete all courses online, but will have to defend the Master’s Thesis on campus. There are a total of 30 required credits with most students taking two classes per semester, including summer sessions.
Possible courses include:
- American West
- Alexander Hamilton’s America
- Women and Politics in 20th Century America
- African American Civil Rights
- Amazing Grace: How Writers Helped End American Slavery
20.Wayland Baptist University
School of Behavioral and Social Sciences
At Wayland Baptist University, the School of Behavioral and Social Sciences offers the Master of Arts in History.
The 37 credit hours of graduate courses cover a broad array of topics in history from ethnic and gender issues to environmental concerns and record management. Some possible course electives include:
- U.S. Colonial and Revolutionary History
- History of Science and Technology
- Environmental History
- Ethnic and Gender History
- History of the Twentieth Century
We ranked these programs based on academic influence in History, academic prestige, and variety of coursework. Academic influence is determined by looking at publications and citations in published literature by faculty and alumni, and the broader influence of these institutions in sites with high authority domains.
Letters of Recommendation
As with other master’s degrees admission requirements, master’s in History degree seeking students may need to submit letters of recommendation from their undergraduate professors.
Transcripts of Undergraduate Bachelor’s degree
Students who wish to enroll in an online master’s degree in History will have to submit official transcripts to show admissions that they have indeed satisfactorily completed a bachelor’s degree. Often the bachelor’s degree need not be in History. Master’s level programs in History often do not require a bachelor’s in History as a prerequisite.
Entrance Exam, Such as the GRE Test (Graduate Record Examination)
Increasingly, online programs aren’t requiring a GRE test for admission. Check with the school in which you’re interested in applying. However, if your undergraduate degree grade point average is low, you may consider taking the GRE and scoring high to offset this low GPA as an admission factor in your favor.
Master’s in History | Frequently Asked Questions
What can you do with a master’s in History?
Graduates with a master’s degree in History may become history teachers in high school. Or teach at the university level (there are different levels to professorships, with tenure track holding doctorate degrees in History). Adjunct professors often hold master’s degrees. Another career track could be in research for think tanks. Or an options may be to work in the field of archeology.
How do you get a master’s in History?
A master’s in History involves the same academic route and rigors as other master’s degrees. Usually the degree consists of around 30 credit hours, and takes two years to complete. Often online master’s degrees are flexible, and students may work at their own pace. The way to get a master’s in History is to complete all of the requisite coursework with passing grades.
How long is a master’s in History?
A master’s in History consists of around 30 credit hours, and can be completed in two years. This is commensurate with other master’s degree programs. An online master’s in History may be flexible and allow for students to work at their own pace.
How much does a master’s in History cost?
As with most master’s programs the tuition varies depending on the school attended. In general, the range is between $6000 to $30,000 for the whole program. There are many variables in this equation. Will you pay in-state, or out-of-state tuition rates? Would you like a fully online program? Often colleges and universities adjust the tuition depending on the student’s financial situation.
Is a History major useless?
The short answer is “No”. Regarding gainful employment: majoring in History may prepare graduates for meaningful and gainful employment in the modern workforce. Career fields can include Teachers (grade school through college, depending on the level of highest degree completed), curator, archivist, researcher, and author. The other sense in which this question may be answered is its intrinsic value. Being aware of the past often gives History students an advantage in the world by having knowledge that most people lack. Given that we are inheritors of the past, which informs our present, giving it proper context and understanding is a very valuable commodity.