In this article, we profile the 20 best affordable online master's in history degree programs for 2017 at accredited colleges and universities.

We can better understand the present and plan for the future by studying the past. If you want to learn how to conduct historical research and gain an understanding of historical theories and ways of approaching questions about history, consider earning an online master's in history. Students pursue graduate degrees in history as preparation for further study at the doctorate level and to improve content knowledge for teaching secondary education. Many individuals also choose to earn an online history master's degree to gain critical thinking, analytical, and research skills useful in a wide variety of fields, including government, business, education, and law.

We reviewed 79 accredited colleges and universities that were listed by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES College Navigator) and offered online master's in history or closely related degree programs. From our list of schools, we looked at the rankings received from major publications like U.S. News and World Report. We selected schools that had received regional or national rankings from this publication and listed them in order of affordability.

Below are the resulting selections for our 20 best affordable online master's in history degree programs for 2017.

#20 – University of Massachusetts

Online Master's in History

Boston, Massachusetts


Graduate Tuition/Fees: $17,218

The online history master's degree from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the University of Massachusetts – Boston includes courses covering special topics in history, like genealogy and family research; the international history of a revolutionary idea; and Islam and historical study. The program appeals to students with a wide variety of academic interest and takes a broad approach. Students must complete a thesis, and take nine credits devoted to planning for and writing it. The 30-credit degree program requires learners to read about 250-300 pages a week and write 25 pages each semester. Students complete all coursework 100% online, with no in-person requirements.

#19 – University of Massachusetts

Online Master's in History

Amherst, Massachusetts


Graduate Tuition/Fees: $15,613

The University of Massachusetts – Amherst offers a 30-credit online master's in history that includes supervised research, writing projects, and both required and elective history courses. Tenure-stream history faculty members teach all online MA history courses. UMass Amherst's history MA focuses on modern American and European history. Secondary school teachers looking to expand their content knowledge in the field of history pursue the MA, as do college graduates considering Ph.D. programs or those who may be considering education or work in a variety of other fields. Students take courses like research methods, introduction to historiography, and history electives, but spend a large part of their time planning for, researching, and writing a thesis.

Learn more about the University of Massachusetts

#18 – Slippery Rock University

Online Master's in History

Slippery Rock, Pennsylvania


Graduate Tuition/Fees: $15,363

The 30-credit online master's in history at Slippery Rocky University focuses on advanced exploration of U.S., European, and world history. All faculty members who teach distance education courses hold doctoral degree in history. As part of the application process, prospective students must write an essay explaining how the past influences the present. All students must take a three-credit historiography class. Other available courses include Colonial America: 1607-1763, Hispanic American history to 1815, and women in history. All history MA students must pass a comprehensive exam. Graduates go on to pursue doctoral degrees in history and find employment in a variety of fields, including government, law, education, and the military.

#17 – Wayland Baptist University

Online Master's in History

Plainview, Texas


Graduate Tuition/Fees: $11,800

Wayland Baptist University, a private school affiliated with the Baptist Church and located in Plainview, Texas, offers an online history master's degree that lets learners explore historical events from a variety of different eras. The program includes the opportunity to complete a thesis. Students with graduate credits from another school may be able to transfer some of their credits to the MA. WBU offers the MA 100% online, with no in-person requirements. History MA students enroll in eleven-week courses, four times a year. Distance learners can apply for a variety of different types of financial support, including loans, scholarships, and grants. WBU's financial aid specialists help students figure out which programs they qualify for.

#16 – Western Kentucky University

Online Master's in History

Bowling Green, Kentucky


Graduate Tuition/Fees: $11,400

Western Kentucky University's 36-credit online master's in history does not require learners to complete a thesis. Courses offered on a rotating basis allow students to finish the MA in three years. Courses available include historiography, non-western world, and pre-Civil War United States. Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited university with at least 18 credits in history and a minimum 3.0 GPA. Prospective students also need to receive a score of at least 153 on the verbal reasoning section of the Graduate Requisite Exam. The program accepts new learners twice a year, in the fall and spring.

Learn more about Western Kentucky University

#15 – Southwestern Assemblies of God University

Online Master's in History

Waxahachie, Texas


Graduate Tuition/Fees: $11,310

The online history master's degree at Southwestern Assemblies of God University includes three tracks: thesis, non-thesis, or education. The program explores issues like American history, historiography, biblical backgrounds, military history, religion in America, and Medieval history. New history master's students qualify for a 15% tuition grant renewable for each year you remain in the program. Small classes allow learners one-on-one interaction with instructors. As a Christian university, SAGU incorporates a Christian worldview into the history MA's curriculum and hopes to increase students' faith. Distance students can take advantage of all the resources available to students on campus, including a career center, counseling center, and wellness center.

#14 – University of Memphis

Online Master's in History

Memphis, Tennessee


Graduate Tuition/Fees: $10,463

The University of Memphis offers a 33-credit online master's in history that includes a thesis option, typically for students who plan to pursue a doctorate. Learners who view the history MA as a terminal degree usually elect the non-thesis option. Students take classes such as U.S. historiography since 1877, studies in African American history, and Russia after 1917. Online history MA students complete a written comprehensive exam rather than an oral one that on-campus learners must pass. Students can transfer up to 50% of the required credits from another university towards the MA in history.

Learn more about the University of Memphis

#13 – University of Louisiana

Online Master's in History

Monroe, Louisiana


Graduate Tuition/Fees: $8,662

The 30-credit online master's in history from the University of Louisiana at Monroe does not require students to complete a thesis. The program's focus includes politics, law, and citizenship. Prospective students must earn a combined score of at least 283 on the Graduate Requisite Exam (GRE) general test; hold a minimum 2.5 GPA; and a minimum 707.5 formula score (calculated by multiplying GRE score by GPA). They also need a bachelor's degree with at least 18 credits in the humanities or social sciences, with at least half of those in history. Some applicants who do not meet the admissions criteria may receive conditional admission.

#12 – Liberty University

Online Master's in History

Lynchburg, Virginia


Graduate Tuition/Fees: $8,430

Liberty University, a private, Christian university in Virginia, offers a 36-credit online history master's degree. The MA takes full-time students about one-and-a-half years to complete. The 100% online program features eight-week courses, and learners can transfer up to 50% of credits needed to graduate with the MA. Faculty members give online students one-on-one attention and provide mentorship. Courses available include historical methods and interpretations; history of slavery and servitude in the western world; and Protestant reformation. The program helps students understand history using theoretical, historiographical, and methodological perspectives. The program also incorporates an understanding of historical events as part of God's plan.

Learn more about Liberty University

#11 – Emporia State University

Online Master's in History

Emporia, Kansas


Graduate Tuition/Fees: $7,806

Prospective history Ph.D.s, secondary teachers, and individuals interested in careers in public history graduate from the online master's in history program from Emporia State University. MA students at Emporia explore three facets of history: factual knowledge, historiography, and methodology. Available part-time or full-time, the program includes three concentrations: thesis, non-thesis, and social sciences education. Students can apply some credits from the history MA towards a master's in library science, to earn a dual degree. Emporia also encourages history MA students to add a certificate in archival studies to their degree. Full-time students able to come to Emporia's campus during spring and fall semesters can apply for graduate teaching assistantships.

Learn more about Emporia State University

#10 – Pittsburg State University

Online Master's in History

Pittsburg, Kansas


Graduate Tuition/Fees: $7,732

Pittsburgh State University's online history master's degree prepares graduates to teach history and gives them research skills applicable to a wide range of professional and academic situations. The History, Philosophy, and Social Sciences Department, which offers the degree, encourages students to take a multi-disciplinary approach, exploring other fields as they relate to students' specific research interests. For their culminating experience, students can complete a thesis or pass two graduate seminars in history. The thesis option takes 30 credits and the seminar option 32. Pitt State offers a variety of scholarships and other types of financial assistance to students.

Learn more about Pittsburg State University 

#9 – Indiana State University

Online Master's in History

Terre Haute, Indiana


Graduate Tuition/Fees: $7,328

The online master's in history from Indiana State University requires students to take 33 credits. Part-time learners typically complete the degree in three to five years, but can take as long as seven years. Students who can blend online and in-person courses can finish in as little as two years. The flexible curriculum lets learners customize their course of study to reflect their own personal academic interests. The program strongly encourages the MA in history for individuals planning to earn their history doctorate at ISU. Students interested in pursuing professional career in history in areas like law, high school teaching, journalism, and government may want to consider ISU's online master's of science in history.

Learn more about Indiana State University

#8 – Sam Houston State University

Online Master's in History

Huntsville, Texas


Graduate Tuition/Fees: $7,323

Students can complete the 30-36 credit MA in history from Sam Houston State University entirely online or as a hybrid online and in-person program. The program offers two culminating projects for learners to choose from: a thesis or written portfolio option. Courses available include recent African American history, the American West, and early modern Europe. History master's students choose to pursue one of three tracks: rights and identity; war and violence; and encounters and exchanges. Graduates gain analytical, reading, and critical thinking skills. SHSU accepts applications to the online history master's degree program on a rolling basis, with three starts times each year: fall, summer, and spring.

Learn more about Sam Houston State University

#7 – University of North Carolina

Online Master's in History

Wilmington, North Carolina


Graduate Tuition/Fees: $7,043

The online MA for professional history educators from the University of North Carolina Wilmington seeks to give graduates deep understandings of current research practices, historical content, and questions about historical problems. Applicants to the online master's in history must submit a 500-word application essay explaining the prospective student's love of history. History master's students at UNCW graduate in two years by taking two sequential courses each semester and attending two one-week on-campus summer institutes. Full-time UNCW faculty members with extensive experience teach all courses in the program. Rather than completing a thesis, students end their time in the program with a capstone experience.

#6 – University of North Alabama

Online Master's in History

Florence, Alabama


Graduate Tuition/Fees: $6,824

The University of North Alabama offers a 33-credit MA in history with a thesis or non-thesis option. Students who decide to complete a thesis take six credit hours to work on their thesis and must successfully defend it. Those who choose the non-thesis option take six credits of directed research and study must pass a comprehensive exam. Core courses of study in UNA's online master's in history program include seminars in U.S. history and world history. Highly qualified instructors teach in the program, which emphasizes U.S. history and prepare students to teach history at the secondary or higher level.

#5 – University of Nebraska

Online Master's in History

Kearney, Nebraska


Graduate Tuition/Fees: $6,693

The University of Nebraska's 36-credit online history master's degree includes both a thesis and a non-thesis option. Non-thesis students choose a major field of study in early America, modern America, early Europe, modern Europe, and public/digital history. They also take nine credits in a minor field of study, including American West, military history, and 20th century U.S. The graduate committee will consider other potential fields of study. Non-thesis students must complete a comprehensive academic portfolio that they submit in their last semester. The history department encourages students who complete a thesis to present their research at the Missouri Valley History Conference.

Learn more about the University of Nebraska

#4 – American Public University

Online Master of Arts for History Professionals

Charles Town, West Virginia


Graduate Tuition/Fees: $6,600

The MA in history from American Public University stands out from other history master's programs online because it lets you transfer up to 15 credits towards the 36-credit degree. Full-time students can finish the program in two years, with monthly start dates. Learners take core courses including historiography historical research methods, and must complete either a thesis or a practicum in applied history. Concentrations available include American history; European history; ancient and classical history; global history; and public history. Graduates of the program can assess primary and secondary resources, understand major historical theories, and make persuasive arguments.

Learn more about American Public University

#3 – Arizona State University

Online Master's in History

Tempe, Arizona


Graduate Tuition/Fees: $6,220

The 30-credit online master's in history degree from Arizona State University requires students to complete ten courses. The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, which offers the program, includes faculty members with Pulitzer Prizes, Nobel Laureates, and one MacArthur Fellow. Students take courses like oral history, comparative colonialism, genealogy, and global environmental history. The MA in history's selective admissions process requires applicants to hold a minimum 3.3 GPA and a bachelor's with at least 18 credits in history or other social science and humanities fields. Students also must submit a resume, statement of purpose, writing sample, and three references. Online history graduate students at ASU may qualify for numerous scholarship opportunities.

Learn more about Arizona State University

#2 – Missouri State University

Online Master's in History

Springfield, Missouri


Graduate Tuition/Fees: $5,554

Missouri State University's online history master's degree typically takes about two years to complete. The history department recommends that distance students begin the program in summer. Historiography and the historical method, the recommended first course for MA history students, is available online only in summer. Other available courses include American history readings seminar, women's history primary source seminar, and the American Revolution. Online student opportunities include participation in internships, a local chapter of the national history honor society, and an annual essay contest. Distance learners in the history MA program also may qualify for scholarships, grants, loans, and work study.

Learn more about Missouri State University

#1 – Fort Hays State University

Online Master's in History

Hays, Kansas


Graduate Tuition/Fees: $4,055

The online master's in history program at Fort Hays State University requires learners to complete 30-33 credits at the 600 level or higher. Students explore American, world, and European history and gain skills in research, writing, and editing. History majors do not need to complete a thesis for the online MA. Required courses include historiography, advanced historical methods, and two seminars that require major research papers. Students also must pass an eight-hour written comprehensive exam and demonstrate their ability to conduct historical research by submitting their best graduate research paper to their graduate advisor. Admissions requirements include a bachelor's degree that includes 18 credits in history courses, including a historical research methods course.

GSH Staff
June 2017

This concludes our list of the 20 best affordable online master's in history degree programs of 2017.