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Students passionate about history and culture can pursue a variety of career opportunities after earning a master's degree in history.

A master's in history is a research-focused graduate program that usually requires 30-60 credits and takes around two years to complete. These programs may examine different fields, such as economics and sociology, as they relate to historical events, cultures, individuals, and movements.

History is an expansive field, including everything that has occurred over time, so students have innumerable options for personalization. Learners can study topics like legal history, historic preservation, history of a specific country or culture, historic literature, or the history of medicine.

Featured Online Schools

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), historians earn a median annual salary of $63,680, and jobs are projected to grow 6% between 2018-2028.

This page ranks the best online master's in history programs. It also covers other important information for prospective students, including common courses and potential careers for graduates.

Top 10 Online Master's in History Programs
#1 Florida International University Miami, FL
#2 Louisiana Tech University Ruston, LA
#3 Southern New Hampshire University Manchester, NH
#4 Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania Slippery Rock, PA
#5 University of North Alabama Florence, AL
#6 University of North Carolina Wilmington Wilmington, NC
#7 University of Louisiana at Monroe Monroe, LA
#8 Arizona State University-Skysong Scottsdale, AZ
#9 Liberty University Lynchburg, VA
#10 Missouri State University-Springfield Springfield, MO

The Best Online Master's in History Programs 2021

  1. Florida International University
    Location

    Miami, FL

    Tuition

    $9180

    Top-ranked for research, FIU serves more than 50,000 undergraduate and graduate students annually.

    The university's online master of arts in history offers students a foundation in five cultural areas: Africa, Asia, the United States, Latin America, and Europe. Some graduates take professional positions, including at the State Department, while others go on to a Ph.D. program.

    Online students follow the Report track, which requires a two-semester research seminar and presentation. Courses include Historical Methods and Readings in African History.

    Applicants must submit undergraduate transcripts with a GPA of 3.25 in upper-level coursework and 12 upper-level credits in history courses. The university also requires a resume, writing sample, statement of purpose, and two recommendation letters. While the program does not require GRE scores, those with high scores could qualify for funding.

    Florida International University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

  2. Louisiana Tech University
    Location

    Ruston, LA

    Tuition

    $9795

    Louisiana Tech, founded in 1894, serves nearly 12,000 undergrad and graduate students from its rural campus.

    Louisiana Tech's online master of arts in history offers both thesis and non-thesis tracks. Typically those interested in doctoral study choose the thesis option. Regardless of track, all students must take Introduction to Historiography and Intro to Historical Research and Writing. Other highlights include Recent European History and Current Problems in History. All students must choose a major field.

    Applicants need to submit undergraduate transcripts reflecting at least 21 credits in history, GRE scores, and a one-page statement of purpose.

    Louisiana Tech University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

  3. Southern New Hampshire University
    Location

    Manchester, NH

    A private university founded in 1932, SNHU welcomes approximately 3,300 students each year.

    SNHU offers an online master of arts in history focused on how examining the past informs future decision-making. Students can choose a general course of study or specialize in military history, public history, or American history. Highlights from each include History of Military Thought, Museum Collection Management, and the Progressive Era. All students must complete a final capstone project.

    Applicants need a 2.75 undergraduate GPA. Those under 2.75 are eligible for provisional admission. GREs and GMATs are not required.

    Southern New Hampshire University is regionally accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE).

  4. Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania
    Location

    Slippery Rock, PA

    Tuition

    $17617

    SRU, a public university founded in 1889 and today part of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education, serves more than 8,500 students each year.

    SRU offers a fully online master of arts in history. With just one required course in historiography, the 30-credit program allows students to determine their own direction. Students choose courses from three broad geographic areas: U.S., European, and world history. Courses include U.S. Foreign Policy, Women in History, and Political Violence in Latin America. All students must pass a comprehensive final exam.

    Applicants must submit undergraduate transcripts, a letter of intent, and a one-page analytical essay.

    Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).

  5. University of North Alabama
    Location

    Florence, AL

    Tuition

    $12121

    Founded as LaGrange College in 1830, UNA became a teacher's college in 1872 and now welcomes more than 8,000 students.

    UNA offers a 100% online master of arts in history. This generalized program with an emphasis on American history offers both thesis and non-thesis tracks. Those aiming for a Ph.D. usually choose the thesis track while students with more hands-on career goals take the non-thesis route. All students take core courses in historiography and methodology, U.S. history to 1877, and world history since 1815.

    Thesis students enroll in thesis defense in their final semester. Non-thesis students must complete six hours of directed research and pass a comprehensive final exam.

    Applicants need a 2.75 undergraduate GPA with a history major or minor or 24 credits in history. Required GRE scores must meet minimums in two of three areas: Verbal 146, Quantitative 140, and Analytical Writing 3.5. Other requirements include three recommendations, an application essay, and a minimum four-page writing sample.

    University of North Alabama is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

  6. University of North Carolina Wilmington
    Location

    Wilmington, NC

    Tuition

    $17771

    A public research university founded in 1947 and now part of the University of North Carolina system, UNCW welcomes more than 17,000 undergrads and graduate students each year.

    UNCW offers an online master of arts in history. Designed for professional educators, the 30-credit program provides a broad overview of United States, European, and global history. The lockstep curriculum includes such topics as the British Empire, local and regional history, and the internal combustion revolution. All students must pass a final capstone course.

    Admission requirements include undergraduate transcripts, a 500-word essay, and a writing sample such as a research paper. GRE scores are not required during the COVID-19 pandemic. North Carolina educators, including librarians and museum educators, receive preference.

    University of North Carolina Wilmington is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

  7. University of Louisiana at Monroe
    Location

    Monroe, LA

    Tuition

    $9455

    Founded in 1931 as a public university and part of the University of Louisiana system, ULM enrolls approximately 8,400 students annually.

    ULM offers a 100% online master of arts in history. The online non-thesis program requires students to take research methods, 27 elective credits, and comprehensive oral and written exams. Course options include Biblical Lands, the Holocaust, and Voodoo, Hoodoo, and Conjure.

    Applicants must have an undergraduate GPA of 3.0 with at least 18 credits in social sciences or humanities, nine of which must be in history. Applicants must also submit a writing sample of no more than 10 pages.

    University of Louisiana at Monroe is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

  8. Arizona State University-Skysong
    Location

    Scottsdale, AZ

    Tuition

    $14166

    A public university founded in 1885, ASU graduates more than 20,000 students annually.

    ASU offers a fully online master of arts in history. The 30-credit program covers topics such as historical methods, North American history, and public history methodology. All students must pass a final capstone experience. Many graduates go on to careers in education, museums, or state or federal agencies.

    Applicants need an undergraduate GPA of 3.3 with at least 18 credits in history, social science, or the humanities, along with three letters of recommendation, a statement of purpose, a resume, and a writing sample of no more than 35 pages.

    Arizona State University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

  9. Liberty University
    Location

    Lynchburg, VA

    A private evangelical Christian university founded by Jerry Falwell in 1971, Liberty infuses its curriculum with a Biblical perspective. The university welcomes more than 100,000 primarily online students each year.

    Liberty offers a fully online master of arts in history rooted in the wisdom gained from exploring the past. All students take core courses in historiography, historical methods, and American Christian heritage, plus electives in topics such as the Protestant Reformation.

    Applicants must have a 3.0 undergraduate GPA. The university does not require standardized testing.

    Liberty University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

  10. Missouri State University-Springfield
    Location

    Springfield, MO

    Tuition

    $15783

    Founded in 1905 as the Fourth District Normal School, MSU went through several names before adopting its current moniker in 2005. Today the university has more than 26,000 students.

    MSU offers a hybrid or 100% online master of arts in history. The highly flexible program allows students to choose from three tracks: American studies, global area studies, or U.S. and world history. Those interested in teaching may add a secondary education sub-track. All tracks offer both thesis and non-thesis options. Non-thesis students must complete a seminar paper and oral presentation. All students take research and primary source seminars. Courses range from Women in Islam to the American West and History of Fascism.

    Applicants must have a 2.75 undergraduate GPA (3.0 preferred) with 24 credits in history preferred, submit three reference letters and a writing sample. Those holding current teaching certifications in social studies must submit a copy.

    Missouri State University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

Best Online Programs

Online Master's in History Programs Ranking Guidelines

We ranked these degree programs based on quality, curricula, school awards, rankings, and reputation.

What Is an Online Master's in History Degree?

Master's in history programs cover advanced history topics and typically include concentrations in areas such as ancient, American, military, art, and public history. Unlike undergraduate programs, master's curricula often focus exclusively on the student's concentration.

Regardless of concentration, most history master's students examine research methodologies and learn to differentiate among primary, secondary, and non-scholarly sources. Degree-seekers also learn to analyze and interpret sources for insights on past events. Most students also complete a final project or thesis on a topic relevant to their concentration.

Choosing an Online Program

With so many online master's in history degrees available, students may wonder how to narrow their choices down to just a few options. While the list of programs may feel overwhelming at first, many learners use a process of elimination to create a smaller pool of potential programs.

One of the most important things to consider is the focus of your potential program. Because history encompasses so many eras and subjects, each school offers different courses and research interests. For example, degree-seekers interested in American studies should seek out programs where faculty members are well versed in this subject. Students should also review available concentrations, since this can provide a better sense of the strengths of the department. Learners should also research electives and core curricula.

In addition to core and specialized coursework, most online master's in history degrees require a culminating thesis. These documents usually range from 20,000-40,000 words, exploring a time or topic in history using primary research and independent thought.

What Else Can I Expect From a Master's in History Program?

Offerings vary by program, but the following sections highlight courses and concentrations commonly found in online master's in history programs.

History Concentrations

Modern History

This concentration focuses on history from 1750 to the present. Major events include the Industrial Revolution, both world wars, the Russian Revolution, the Civil Rights movement, decolonization, and the Cold War. Coursework may focus on any part of the world.

European History

This concentration examines the history of the European continent. Students examine the shifting borders of nations and empires across centuries. Topics include wars, pandemics, cultural and social shifts, and modernization. Learners also examine colonialism and foundations of modern governments.

Women's History

This concentration focuses on the role of women throughout history, with special emphasis on power shifts and social dynamics. Students examine how individuals and cultures have viewed a woman's place in society over time.

History Curriculum

Historiography

Usually taken during the first year, this course examines trends in historical research, helping students understand how historical theories and frameworks connect to professional practice as a historian.

History of Modern Medicine

This course assesses how the idea and practice of medicine developed over time, focusing on advancements made in the last two centuries.

American Post WWII

This course analyzes how the U.S. has developed since 1945. Topics include the nation's role as a global superpower, the Cold War (including Korea and Vietnam), and the ongoing struggle for equality for all citizens.

History Professional Organizations

History students and graduates can take advantage of professional organizations. Many organizations offer benefits like professional development, networking, and continuing education opportunities. Professional organizations may also offer funding for research, information on available careers, and student discounts.

American Historical Association

AHA is a nonprofit organization that hosts a yearly meeting with exhibitors and career development opportunities. The association awards fellowships, grants, and prizes for historical endeavors and publishes books, pamphlets, and journals. Members can search for careers through the AHA Career Center.

American Association for State and Local History

AASLH offers professional development webinars, workshops, and classes. The association also hosts a yearly meeting. The group's Career Center offers resume feedback and job listings for history professionals.

National Council on Public History

NCPH provides information on available careers and professional development workshops. The website also delivers resources for K-12, undergraduate, and graduate history education. NCPH publishes a journal, newsletter, and blog on historical topics and hosts a yearly meeting.

History Careers

Historians

Historians study past events, civilizations, and individuals. They may focus on particular eras or topics, such as Ancient Rome or art history. Historians may work in museums, write nonfiction books and articles, or present historical findings through educational lectures. These positions typically require at least a master's degree. Employers may also insist on field experience. Beneficial traits for historians include critical thinking, communication, and research skills.

Median Annual Salary

$63,680

Projected Growth Rate

6%

College Professors

College history professors instruct college students on historical topics. They design lessons, deliver lectures, and assess student learning through exams and projects. They may also advise departments on curriculum changes and publish scholarly articles. Some institutions may require a doctorate for these positions, while others hire master's graduates. Professors benefit from strong communication, public speaking, and research skills.

Median Annual Salary

$79,540

Projected Growth Rate

11%

Political Scientists

Political scientists examine the structures, trends, and impacts of political decisions. They may advise political figures, assist with creating new policies, and deliver presentations on political issues and concepts. More than half of political scientists work for the federal government. Employers usually insist on a graduate degree for these positions. These professionals need strong research, analytical, and communication skills.

Median Annual Salary

$122,220

Projected Growth Rate

5%

Frequently Asked Questions

How Long Does It Take to Complete a Master's in History Program?

Most history master's programs take about two years of full-time study to complete.

What Can I Do With a Master's in History?

Graduates with a master's in history can work in roles like political scientist, college professor, and historian.

Can You Get a Master's in History Without a Bachelor's in History?

Many master's in history programs do not require a bachelor's in history for admission, though they usually do require a bachelor's degree of some kind.

Is a History Degree Hard?

History master's degrees are typically challenging yet rewarding, leading to a variety of high-level careers.

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