Best Online Bachelor’s in History Programs

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by TBS Staff Writers, Sherry Christiansen

Updated September 14, 2022

reviewed by TBS Rankings Team
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History Degree Online

Professionals with a bachelor's degree in history enjoy diverse career options. Graduates can work in roles such as museum curator, archivist, writer, and teacher.

Additionally, many history graduates go on to earn a graduate degree to prepare for roles such as lawyer, historian, and librarian. History graduates enjoy above-average earning potentials. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, writers and authors make a median salary of over $62,000 per year, while high school teachers typically earn over $60,000.

The flexibility of an online history degree program allows students to balance their studies with personal and professional obligations. This format also lets students attend programs throughout the country without relocating.

Featured Online History Degree Programs

Choosing an Online Bachelor's in History Program

Prospective students researching bachelor's in history programs should consider several factors to find the best program for their needs, such as available courses and concentrations, cost, and delivery format. For example, students should think about their career goals before choosing a school to ensure that their program offers courses and concentrations aligned with their target career.

Additionally, prospective learners should research a program's costs beyond tuition, such as technology and book fees. Students should also learn whether a program offers tuition discounts for in-state learners or charges all online students the same tuition rate, regardless of residency.

A program's delivery format also impacts a student's experience in a program. Some programs offer courses in an asynchronous format, which means classes do not require set meeting times. This format may appeal to busy students who prioritize flexibility. Synchronous programs offer more opportunities to connect with professors and fellow students, but do not offer as much scheduling flexibility.

What Will I Learn in an Online Bachelor's in History Program?

Students pursuing an online bachelor's degree in history typically take classes in areas like premodern and modern history and Western and non-Western history. Students can often tailor an online history degree to match their interests by pursuing concentrations in areas like American history, Asian history, or ancient history.

Online History Degree Courses

Online History Degree Concentrations

Asian History

An Asian history concentration focuses on Chinese, Japanese, and Southeast Asian history. Students may take classes on topics like ancient history, the political development of different Asian regions, and the culture of Asian countries. Students may also study Asia's military, economic, and environmental history. In addition to covering Asian history, this concentration connects Asian history with the broader world, exploring topics like the Silk Road, the Opium Wars, and World War II. Students may specialize in a particular era or region.

European History

A European history concentration covers medieval, early modern, and modern European history. Students may take classes on the Renaissance, European colonialism, and the political history of Europe. Courses may also cover the impact of the Crusades, the development of modern states like Germany, and conflicts between European powers. Many programs also incorporate classes on the history of science, women's history, and/or military history. Students may specialize in a particular country (e.g., France or Britain) or time period (e.g., the medieval era).

American History

A concentration in American history focuses on the development of the U.S. from the colonial period to the modern era. Learners study the wars that defined American history, including the American Revolution, the Civil War, and World War II. Courses also cover the creation of the Constitution, the diplomatic history of the U.S., and the growth of the U.S. as a world power. Many programs include coursework on urban history, environmental history, and military history. Students may specialize in a particular era.

Roman History

A Roman history concentration focuses on the growth and decline of the Roman empire, from Rome's foundation (traditionally dated to 753 BCE) to Rome's fall in the fifth century CE. Learners study the transition from a republic to rule by an emperor, the expansion of Rome's territorial boundaries, and conflicts with rivals like Carthage. The concentration also covers the decline of the western Roman empire and the continuation of the Byzantine empire. Additionally, students learn about the ancient world, including Sumeria, ancient Greece, ancient India, and ancient China.

Accreditation for Online Bachelor of History Degrees

Prospective students considering an online history degree should always check a school's accreditation status. Accreditation indicates that a school meets high academic standards. Liberal arts and research institutions generally hold regional accreditation — considered the best type of accreditation for a history major — while technical and vocational schools often hold national accreditation.

Accreditation benefits history majors in several ways. For example, only students at accredited schools can receive federal financial aid, and many employers prefer candidates with an accredited degree. Credits earned at an accredited institution are also more likely to transfer to other schools. Additionally, many graduate schools only accept students who hold an accredited undergraduate degree.

Prospective students can check a school's accreditation status through the websites of the U.S. Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.

Online Bachelor's in History Careers

Earning an online history degree prepares graduates for roles such as archivist, museum curator, high school teacher, and writer. The following section covers several common careers and potential salaries for history graduates.

Archivists

Median Annual Salary: $49,850 Projected Job Growth: 11%

Archivists process and preserve permanent records and documents that hold historic value. They authenticate, appraise, and preserve historical documents and classify archival records to make them accessible. Archivists also manage electronic records systems. Many archivists coordinate educational programs -- including workshops and classes -- and work with researchers to identify relevant material in the archival collection.

Archivists can work with diverse records, including manuscripts, photographs, maps, video, and sound recordings. As part of their training, archivists may take courses on paleography or the study of handwriting. Archivists may specialize in a particular era or aspect of history.

High School Teachers

Median Annual Salary: $61,660 Projected Job Growth: 4%

High school teachers educate students on topics like mathematics, science, language arts, and social studies. Teachers with a history degree often teach subjects like U.S. history, world history, European history, U.S. government, and civics. They plan lessons, present material to students, and assess student learning through assignments and exams. Teachers also enforce classroom rules and supervise students during class.

Outside of the classroom, teachers meet with colleagues, grade assignments, and prepare teaching materials. Teachers at public schools must hold a teaching license. Licensure requirements vary by state but generally include a bachelor's degree, completion of a teacher training program, and passing scores on teaching exams.

Postsecondary Teachers

Median Annual Salary: $79,540 Projected Job Growth: 9%

Postsecondary teachers -- also called college professors -- instruct undergraduate and graduate students in a variety of academic disciplines. History professors often teach general education courses and classes in their history specialty. They design syllabi, write and present lectures, and assess student learning through examinations and papers.

Many history professors also conduct research and present their work. They may publish academic books and articles, serve on committees, and present research at conferences. Tenure-track professors generally need a Ph.D. in history, but some two-year institutions may hire candidates with a master's degree.

Curators, Museum Technicians, and Conservators

Median Annual Salary: $49,850 Projected Job Growth: 11%

Curators, museum technicians, and conservators work in museums to preserve materials with historic value and create exhibitions to educate the public. Curators -- also called museum directors -- oversee museum collections, manage research projects, and represent museums at conferences and public events. Museum technicians -- also known as collections specialists -- care for objects in a museum's collection. They also maintain records on collections and answer questions from the public about collections.

Conservators handle and preserve artifacts and specimens at museums. They may also conduct historical and archaeological research, including documenting findings and treating objects to limit deterioration.

Writers and Authors

Median Annual Salary: $63,200 Projected Job Growth: -2%

Writers and authors create content for books, websites, magazines, advertisements, scripts, and other media. They select a subject and conduct research on the topic before drafting their thoughts, stories, and/or ideas. After creating a draft, many writers and authors work with editors to conduct revisions and create a polished final draft.

Writers and authors often specialize in a type of writing, such as novelists who write fictional books. Playwrights and screenwriters create scripts for plays, movies, and television shows, while copywriters craft advertisements promoting goods and services.

The Best Online Bachelor's in History Programs

#1

Florida International University

School Information
Location Miami, Florida
Admission Rate 58%
Graduation Rate 63%
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 68% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Fast Facts

School Type: Public

Concentrations Available: Teacher certification, combined social science education major, pre-law, several undergraduate certificate programs

Accredited By: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

Do Distance Learners Pay In-State Tuition? No

FIU in Miami offers a bachelor of arts in history with four unique concentrations. Students earn their degree in history online or through a hybrid format. 

FIU degree-seekers study history as their major course of study, or combine it with other majors. Some history students enroll in the combined social science education major that prepares students as educators. 

FIU's history department offers many certificate programs as well. Options include African, Asian, or Latin American studies, pre-modern cultures, health humanities, or the national security study certificate. The university sponsors many study abroad and internship programs. 

Available Scholarships: Transfer Merit Scholarships

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#2

University of Central Florida

School Information
Location Orlando, Florida
Admission Rate 44%
Graduation Rate 72%
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 59% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Fast Facts

School Type: Public

Concentrations Available: Asian history, European history, America history, Latin American history, African history, or Middle Eastern history

Accredited By: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

Do Distance Learners Pay In-State Tuition? No

Students wanting to earn a bachelor's degree in history online can do so at UCF, a public school based in Orlando. Depending on their chosen electives, learners can complete the history degree 100% online. Some electives only offer in-person enrollment. 

The curriculum covers the full timeline of human civilization, from its earliest origin to recent developments. Students tailor their studies to include several geographic concentrations including Asia, Europe, America, Latin America, Africa, or the Middle East. An accelerated track lets students graduate with both a BA in history and a master's degree. 

Available Scholarships: Freshman Pegasus Awards

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#3

Excelsior College

School Information
Location Albany, New York
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education

Fast Facts

School Type: Private

Concentrations Available: No

Accredited By: Middle States Commission on Higher Education

Do Distance Learners Pay In-State Tuition? Yes

Excelsior is a private online college in Albany, New York. The institution features a 100% online history program focused on analytical writing, critical thinking, and an awareness of historical viewpoints. The history curriculum teaches students how to apply historical knowledge to current events, such as government and societal issues. 

The online history degree requires 120 total credits with a minimum of 33 history credits, including 18 upper-level credits. Students can transfer up to 113 approved credits. 

Available Scholarships: Marc Zboch Academic Scholarship 

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#4

McNeese State University

School Information
Location Lake Charles, Louisiana
Admission Rate 81%
Graduation Rate 47%
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 56% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Fast Facts

School Type: Public

Concentrations Available: Social studies education grades 6-12

Accredited By: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

Do Distance Learners Pay In-State Tuition? Yes

McNeese in Lake Charles, Louisiana, offers an online history program. The curriculum focuses on thinking critically, writing, researching, verifying historical information, synthesizing data, and studying different cultures. The online history degree offers internship and work-study programs. Students can get involved in tutoring fellow learners to gain in-person teaching skills. 

A senior capstone project lets degree-seekers dive deeper into a particular historical area of interest. They research their favorite historical era, location, and event to develop their knowledge before giving initial and final presentations. 

Aspiring teachers enter the social studies education grades 6-12 concentration to prepare to educate students in social sciences. Learners who complete the education track earn initial teacher certification upon graduation. 

Available Scholarships: The Horatio Alger National and Bill Doré Louisiana Scholarships

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#5

University of Arizona

School Information
Location Tucson, Arizona
Admission Rate 85%
Graduation Rate 65%
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 42% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Fast Facts

School Type: Public

Concentrations Available: No

Accredited By: Higher Learning Commission

Do Distance Learners Pay In-State Tuition? Yes

Based in Tucson, UArizona offers its bachelor's degree in history online. The program focuses on learning about the documented aspects of history, while balancing the analysis of opposing historical perspectives. 

The online history program's curriculum includes unique classes and opportunities for hands-on learning. Options include internships at historical institutions or museums and study abroad programs. Students must take a second language and reach proficiency by the fourth semester. 

One unique class from the curriculum includes games and play in medieval and early modern Europe. The class focuses on hunting games, jousting, chess, dice, and other games that have impacted medieval and modern societies. Other unique history courses include the history of crime in America and cuisine, culture, and power. 

Available Scholarships: Arizona Flinn Scholars

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#6

Arizona State University-Skysong

School Information
Location Scottsdale, Arizona
Admission Rate 64%
Graduation Rate 4%
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 98% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Fast Facts

School Type: Public

Concentrations Available: No

Accredited By: Higher Learning Commission

Do Distance Learners Pay In-State Tuition? Yes

ASU Online, Arizona State University's distance learning school, offers an online history program. Degree-seekers can choose the 4+1 accelerated option, earning a bachelor's and master's in history in five years. The online history degree focuses on understanding historical narratives and where they come from. The program focuses on research and analysis to formulate original interpretations. 

ASU's admission requirements exceed that of many other schools. If students cannot meet the requirements, they can earn online credits and qualify for the "Earned Admission Pathway." Applicants need a 2.75 GPA to qualify for this option.

Available Scholarships: ASU Black African Coalition Student Scholar Fund

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#7

University of Maryland Global Campus

School Information
Location Adelphi, Maryland
Graduation Rate 15%
Accreditation Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Percent Online Enrollment 90% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Fast Facts

School Type: Public

Concentrations Available: No

Accredited By: Middle States Commission on Higher Education

Do Distance Learners Pay In-State Tuition? No

UMGC's online history program started educating history students over 20 years ago. The program offers internship opportunities in public and federal institutions. Local students particularly benefit since the university is in the Washington D.C. area. 

The UMGC curriculum includes a senior thesis in history class as the final capstone course, comprising 15 credits. The capstone course lets students pick a particular historic topic and do intensive research on it. At the end, they present a historical research project that could become a publication or presentation. 

The program also offers a pathway letting students lower their coursework requirements for the master of arts in teaching degree. 

Available Scholarships: Welcome to MD Scholarship

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#8

The Baptist College of Florida

School Information
Location Graceville, Florida
Admission Rate 94%
Graduation Rate 47%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 75% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Fast Facts

School Type: Private

Concentrations Available: History and social studies, history and social studies secondary education 

Accredited By: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

Do Distance Learners Pay In-State Tuition? Yes

A private Christian college in Graceville, BCF offers two different degrees in history online.

The BA in history and social studies focuses on a Christian worldview of historical events. The program gives an overview of history and its notable occasions, places, and figures. The curriculum emphasizes a biblical theological foundation on how Christians influence other cultures. Classes also cover general educational foundation studies pertaining to various worldwide societies. 

The BA in history and social studies secondary education program prepares learners for teaching roles, specifically as Christian educators. The online history degree focuses on history, educational teaching tools, and classroom management. Enrollees complete a supervised internship at a local Florida public school during their final semester. 

Admission requirements include an application, a recommendation from a church pastor, immunization records, official highschool transcripts, and ACT or SAT scores.

Available Scholarships: William L. Boyd, IV, Florida Resident Access Grant (FRAG)

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#9

Nicholls State University

School Information
Location Thibodaux, Louisiana
Admission Rate 88%
Graduation Rate 49%
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 52% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Fast Facts

School Type: Public

Concentrations Available: No

Accredited By: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

Do Distance Learners Pay In-State Tuition? Yes

Nicholls in Thibodaux, Louisiana, offers a bachelor of arts in history

The online history program focuses on modern American, European, and Asian studies. 

Students enjoy the flexibility to set a course schedule that suits their work schedule and personal obligations. Nicholls offers an online accelerated eight-week course format. 

Freshman admission requirements include a 19 unit Core 4 curriculum with a 2.0 GPA. Other criteria include a 21 ACT score, 1060 SAT score, or minimum cumulative 2.35 high school GPA. 

Available Scholarships: The Taylor Opportunity Program for Students (TOPS)

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#10

Pennsylvania State University-World Campus

School Information
Location University Park, Pennsylvania
Admission Rate 76%
Graduation Rate 71%
Accreditation Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education

Fast Facts

School Type: Public

Concentrations Available: No

Accredited By: Middle States Commission on Higher Education

Do Distance Learners Pay In-State Tuition? Yes

Penn State World Campus, based in University Park, Pennsylvania, offers an online bachelor of arts in history

Penn State World Campus online history degree-seekers engage in research, writing, reasoning, presentation, and source analysis. The liberal arts degree from Penn State World Campus is associated with the Phi Alpha Theta national honor society. Students need a 3.1 GPA in history and 3.0 overall GPA to qualify for membership. 

The Penn State World Campus admissions department waives mandatory SAT/ACT score submission through the Summer/Fall of 2023.

Available Scholarships: Provost's Award

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Online Bachelor's in History Programs Ranking Guidelines

We selected the following degree programs based on quality, curricula, school awards, rankings, and reputation.

The motto of TheBestSchools.org is Finding the best school for you. Here is how we do it:

The value of any ranking list of schools and/or degree programs depends on having a methodologically sound assessment of each school’s/program’s characteristics, especially insofar as these can be objectively measured. A college or university is a complex entity, with numerous factors to consider, and distilling these down to the place where meaningful comparisons can be made to form a defensible ranking list becomes part science and part art.

To meet this challenge—and thereby provide you with the most useful and insightful educational rankings on the Internet — TheBestSchools.org formulates our rankings based on five informational categories (six, when considering online schools). The major metrics and qualities for which we rank are these (with expanded, detailed considerations and weights listed):

1. Academic excellence based on a school’s curriculum generally or within the selected discipline [weight = 25%]

  • Weighs school against known leading schools in that discipline
  • Weighs number of core curricula listed as advanced courses within that discipline and compares against introductory courses
  • Weighs school’s curriculum against known knowledge needs of major employers in that discipline
  • Considers number and types of specializations offered within that discipline
  • Considers faculty expertise in that discipline
  • Considers range of electives within that discipline
  • Considers quality of online environment offered to students (if applicable), particularly within that discipline

2. Strength of faculty scholarship [weight = 25%]

  • Considers education background of the faculty
  • Considers years of faculty experience both inside and outside of academia.
  • Considers faculty membership and leadership within relevant, prominent associations
  • Considers academic papers published by faculty in relevant, prominent periodicals
  • Considers awards and recognitions given to faculty members from prominent organizations and from other sources

3. Reputation [weight = 20%]

  • Considers a school’s reputation among academic peers and employers regarding the following:
    • Faculty
    • Curriculum
    • “Freshness” of academic knowledge
    • Adaptability to changes in employment sectors
    • Suitability of graduates for the workplace

4. Financial aid [weight = 10%]

  • Mandatory: Requires full accreditation from an agency endorsed by the U.S. Department of Education and listed on the federal register to accept student federal financial aid
  • Considers range of school-sponsored financial aid such as scholarships and grants

5. Range of degree programs [weight = 20%]

  • Considers range of degree levels: associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral and professional
  • Considers range of degree subjects offered, such as art & design, computers & technology, education & teaching, criminal justice, and business

6. Strength of online instruction methodology (if applicable) [weight = 25%; subtract 5% from each of the above for online schools/programs]

  • Considers the following of the online classes:
    • Types of online technology used to deliver content
    • Pedagogy style: asynchronous, synchronous, or both (depending on the degree)
    • Extent and quality of the online, community learning environment, including options for communication, interactivity, and collaboration between students and also between students and instructors
    • Variety, breadth, and depth of coursework, and its support, including project options and online tutoring
  • Considers the following of instructors:
    • Extent of training for teaching within an online learning environment
    • Amount of timely, consistent feedback to students
    • Extent of collaboration with prospective employers to ensure suitability of instructional materials for achieving desired skills
    • Ratio to number of students in a class
  • Number and quality of internships in a student’s geographical area for applicable degrees

Because students tend to review a variety of information when choosing a school, the weight a student gives any one criterion will vary. For instance, it’s not enough to offer a carefully constructed ranking of great schools if many are too expensive or too difficult to get into.

To better serve the needs of prospective students, we are therefore increasingly offering filters that help you better use our rankings to find the schools that match your specific needs. These supplement our ranking criteria and include:

  • Accreditation
  • Public or private status
  • Acceptance rate
  • Retention rate
  • Graduation rate
  • ACT/SAT requirements
  • Cost in-state / out of state
  • Undergrad, grad, or both offered
  • Region
  • State
  • City

Get the best rankings here AND get them to suit your personal needs. That’s TheBestSchools.org advantage!

If you have any questions about our ranking methodology, please contact us.

Citations: For a broader account of our ranking methodology, especially as it relates to TheBestSchools.org's underlying educational philosophy and, in other ranking articles, looks beyond academic excellence (as here) to such factors as return on investment or incidental benefit, see our article "Ranking Methodology: How We Rank Schools at TBS." Reputation of schools and degree programs can at least in part be gauged through the school or department's publishing activity, citations, and desirability. At TheBestSchools.org, we keep track of such social and peer validation: "Making Sense of College Rankings." For nuts-and-bolts information about colleges and universities, we look to the National Center for Education Statistics and especially its College Navigator. Insofar as salary and inflation data are relevant to a ranking, we look to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Finally, nothing beats contacting schools and degree programs directly, which our researchers often do, with the result that all the entries in this article should be considered as belonging to this citation!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a bachelor's in history?

A bachelor's degree in history examines different historical periods, including medieval history, U.S. history, and world history. These programs build strong critical thinking, research, and writing skills.

How long does it take to get a bachelor's in history?

Generally, an online history degree takes four years of full-time study to complete. However, students with prior college credits can complete the degree in less time.

Is a degree in history a BA or BS?

Most history programs offer this degree as a BA, which includes foreign language requirements. However, some online programs offer a BS in history.

What are the careers in history?

History graduates can work in fields like education, business, and law. With a bachelor's degree, graduates can pursue roles such as museum curator, writer, archivist, and teacher.

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