Pursue your passion for preservation, research, and writing! The 20 Best Online Master’s Degrees in History provide programs with a spectrum of concentrations and specialty topics.
A Master’s degree in History is not just for teaching, although that is one of the most obvious career paths. Having a graduate degree in History can prepare you for roles in several sectors, both public and private. Historians can be found in many professional vocations outside of academia, such as library archives, historical associations, public administration, museums, and local history centers.
In addition, a Master’s Degree in History trains graduates on how to perform extensive research, manage archives, curate, collect and document materials, and even apply historical research for analysis for business and investment purposes. For virtually any sector, there is a unique role for a historian to fill.
The programs listed in the Best Online Master’s Degrees in History for 2020 have two common attributes: they all offer a specific theme, concentration, or area of specialization. Prospective graduate students who have a clear idea of the particular geographical region or group of people that fascinates them will find a program that offers a pathway to delve deep into that passion. The other common attribute is that each program offers a thesis or non-thesis option.
For students who wish to integrate their learning and research in a format other than the traditional thesis, some programs offer the option of additional coursework, an extensive project, a comprehensive examination, or a combination of all three. Some of the programs, while they don’t offer a teaching certification, also have designed their curriculum to specifically meet the needs of graduate students who are preparing to teach history in elementary or secondary education.
Liberty University's Master of Arts in History is a 36 credit hour program that can be completed in under two years. Courses are eight weeks in length. The program emphasizes Christian history while also giving students a firm foundation in the methodologies of historical research. Students will take courses about the Protestant Reformation, the History of American Political Parties Since 1896, and the History of Slavery and Servitude in the Western World.
Veterans and members of the military receive discounted tuition at Liberty. Students who have accumulated previous graduate-level coursework in history may be able to transfer up to half of their credit to their Liberty graduate degree. Liberty's IT Help Desk is available during the week from 7 a.m. until midnight. Admission to the MA in History program requires a 3.0 GPA and at least 18 credit hours in undergraduate history or related classes. Liberty utilizes Blackboard for its online learning platform and has specific preparatory steps, advice, and tutorials for online students.
The Master of Arts in History at Norwich University offers graduate students concentrations in American, World, or Public History. The program can be completed in less than two years and has multiple start dates each academic year. It is a total of 36 credit hours and requires that students attend a week-long residency at the end of the program. Depending on the student's area of concentration, course topics cover 19th Century America, Hunter-Gatherer and Agrarian Eras to 1500, or Museum and Archival Studies. All students are required to submit a six-credit capstone project. Other elective course curriculum examples include Military Thought and Theory, Amphibious Warfare, and Race and Gender in Military History. Norwich University has the legacy of being the founding institution of the ROTC.
The GRE is not required as part of the admission application. A resume, transcripts, a sample of the candidate's scholarly writing, and a letter of recommendation should accompany the admissions application. Students may be able to transfer up to 12 credits to the program. Norwich offers several scholarships for graduate students. Norwich has developed online learning success strategies for its students.
At Louisiana Tech University, students have the option of choosing the program's thesis plan, or a non-thesis plan. Non-thesis students will complete a total of 33 credits, and thesis students will complete 30 credits. A written examination is required of all students in the program. Course offerings in the program cover a wide range of subjects such as Near East History, American Foreign Relations, and Current Problems in History. The program prepares students to continue to doctoral work or teach in a secondary education environment.
Qualified candidates to the program should have at least 21 credits in undergraduate history courses. GRE test scores and unofficial transcripts are also required. LA Tech offers several competitive scholarships to graduate students. The Career Center, Counseling Services, Student Health Center, Disability Services, and Multicultural Affairs are all available resources for LA Tech graduate students. History students may be particularly interested in the library's special collections, manuscripts, and archives.
The Master of Arts for History Educators at the University of North Carolina Wilmington is a 30 credit program that can be completed in two years. Students are required to attend two one-week long summer institutes in June. A capstone experience is also needed to demonstrate the student's readiness for curriculum development and teaching in the classroom, plus a body of written work delving into an area of historical interest. This program is geared towards current North Carolina teachers. Applications are due in July to start in the fall term. The program has seven scholarships for first-year graduate students.
Admission to the program requires that applicants submit three letters of recommendation, a sample of the student's research writing, GRE scores, transcripts from all previous institutions, and a statement explaining the student's interest in history and desire to teach. The faculty of the Department of History at UNCW is made up of over 20 full-time faculty members with research interests spanning many topics, including U.S. Civil War and Reconstruction, Irish History, Global Trade, and the Modern United States Culture and Capitalism.
Students in the University of Louisiana Monroe's Master of Arts in History program will complete a total of 30 semester hours to earn their degree. The ULM Online MA in History does not require a thesis. Course topics include The Holocaust, the History of the American Revolution, and African, European, and Native American magic and religion. All students are also required to take a research methods class that examines techniques for data analysis, bibliographical tools, and different techniques in research. Students residing outside of the state of Louisiana will pay the same tuition rate as in-state residents.
Applications to the program are accepted on a rolling basis. Admission to the program requires a 3.50 GPA, 18 credit hours in history, the social sciences, or the humanities. GRE test scores with strong verbal and quantitative scores are also required. Transfer credits may be accepted towards the M.A. in History degree. ULM offers several resources to its online students. Academic advising and The ULM Office of Career Connections assists graduates in preparing for their careers after completing their degree.
The Master of Arts in History online program at Sam Houston State University gives students a variety of options to focus on their area of interest. Students may opt to complete a traditional thesis, or they may submit a portfolio of written work demonstrating their research. The program is a total of 30-36 credit, depending on whether students select the thesis or non-thesis track. The program is organized by three historical themes of which students select one to concentrate on, including Rights and Identity, War and Violence, and Encounters and Exchanges. Examples of courses include The American West, Latin American History, and Cross-Cultural Interactions. The History Department faculty at SHSU has received many accolades, including a Pulitzer-prize winning book and the Carnegie Professor of the Year award. The department is also home to the Living History Podcast.
The program offers start dates to new students in the fall, summer, and spring terms. Applications require transcripts from all previous institutions, GRE scores, an example of the student's academic work, a letter of intent, and two letters of recommendation. SHSU offers $1,000 scholarships specifically for new online students. The Department of History also offers scholarships, as does the Graduate School.
Western Kentucky University's Master of Arts in History program is 36 credit hours and can be completed in three years at part-time enrollment. Students complete courses such as Pre-Modern Europe, Modern Europe, and post Civil War U.S. History. A minimum of 21 elective credits is required for graduation. Elective course options include topics such as The Crusades, A Cultural History of Alcohol, and Colonial North America to 1763. Students may opt to write a six-credit thesis plus fulfill 24 credits, or they may fulfill their degree requirements without a thesis and take additional courses. WKU's History Department is made up of over three dozen members, all of whom rotate teaching online courses.
Candidates to the program must have taken at least 18 undergraduate credit hours in history with a minimum GPA of 3.0. Competitive scores on the verbal portion of the GRE, an example of the student's research writing, and a personal essay briefly stating the candidate's goals and interest in pursuing graduate study in history are also required. Western Kentucky University's History department periodically hosts the Ohio Valley History Conference.
The Master of Arts in History program at the Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania is a 30 credit hour and can be completed in two years at full-time enrollment. All of the faculty in the history department at SRU hold doctorates. The program is organized around the geographic regions of the United States; Latin America or Europe. Examples of courses include Hispanic American History to 1815, The American West, and Pennsylvania History. Historiography is required for all students. The degree is finalized with a comprehensive examination and a thesis or research project.
Conditional admission may be granted to students who do not have at least a 2.75 in their undergraduate work. Applicants should submit Transcripts from previous institutions and a one page detailing the student's interest in the program at SRU and career goals. Up to 12 credit hours may be transferred and applied to the degree from another institution. SRU's student services and technical guidance are all available to online students. SRU also serves the needs of veterans and students currently on active duty.
The Master of Arts in History at the University of North Alabama is a 33-credit hour program that prepares students for future careers as history teachers or doctorate coursework. Students will take 15 credits in seminar studies that will cover U.S. History since 1877 and World History since 1815. Students may elect to fulfill degree requirements with a thesis or with directed study and research, an additional 12 credit hours of elective credits and a comprehensive exam. Candidates to the MA in History at UNA must have at least 24 credit hours in an undergraduate history course and a total GPA of 2.75 or above.
GRE scores, three letters of recommendation, an essay explaining the candidate's career goals, and a writing sample are also requirements. Up to 12 credit hours may be transferred from a previous institution. There are over three dozen faculty members of the History department at UNA. UNA's History department partners with the National Trail of Tears Association, as well as the National Park Service in a project to educate primary and secondary age children about the forced removal of Native Americans in 1830.
Arizona State University-Tempe's Master of Arts in History is a total of 30 credit hours and just ten classes. Each term is 7.5 weeks long. The course offerings in the program vary, but past courses have covered topics such as The Sixties, Global Environmental History, and Genealogy. Students may opt to write a traditional thesis or may complete a research project. There are over 40 faculty members in the History department at ASU, representing a broad range of interest and specialty areas.
The program admits new students in the fall, spring and summer terms. Applicants to the program should submit a statement of purpose, transcripts from all previous institutions, a CV or resume, three letters of recommendation, and a sample of the candidate's writing. Qualified candidates will have at least a 3.0 undergraduate GPA and at least 18 credit hours in history or related humanities or social sciences discipline. Tuition in the online program is the same for in or out-of-state students. The Department of History at ASU has several scholarship opportunities for graduate students.
Students at the University of Nebraska at Kearney's Master of Arts in History have the option of choosing a thesis or an internship/directed research in this program. Required classes include America Interpreted and Historical Methods. Students then engage in a total of 12 credit hours in their selected major. Possible major options include Public/Digital History, Early America, Modern America, and Early or Modern Europe. Overall, the MAH is a total of 36 credit hours.
Applicants to the program must have at least a 3.25 GPA in their undergraduate work, or, they must submit GRE scores. A B.A. in any field is acceptable, but candidates to the program should have at least 18 semester hours of history. Two letters of recommendation are required, as is a statement explaining the candidate's interest in the program, research goals, and long term career aspirations. The University of Nebraska's Office of Graduate Studies offers four Reichenbach Scholarships per year.
At the University of Memphis, the Master of Arts in history program spans a wide variety of historical subjects. The program offers five central areas of historical study for graduate students: Women, Gender and Family History; African-American and Southern History, European history, Global History; and Egyptology. U of M has over 120 history courses in its catalog. The 33-credit MAH allows students to take up to eight years to complete and concludes with a master's thesis.
The Master of Arts in History online program at the University of Memphis furnishes students with tools and resources for post-graduation employment and career planning. The Department of History has a strong record of alumni with gainful employment working in academia and beyond. Career Services and support are a cornerstone of U of M's online degree programs. Additionally, U of M provides a firm foundation for adult students returning to school in an online program with Smart Start. Library services, technology support, and online tutoring resources are all available to U of M students online.
The 30-credit Master of Arts in History at Missouri State University-Springfield may take six semesters at part-time enrollment. Students in the program will take seminars in American History, Women's History, and World History. Other course topics in the program include Plagues and Pandemics, the French Revolution, and the American Revolution. Current middle school and high school teachers enroll in this program to broaden their historical knowledge. Students in the online program have access to the same faculty, seminar and thesis advisors and professors as on-campus students.
The tuition rate for out of state students in the online programs at MSU is the same as resident rates for online courses. The history department at MSU offers several scholarships to history majors with financial need who have demonstrated academic promise. Admission applications to the program require GRE scores that are no older than five years, a minimum GPA of 3.0 in undergraduate work, and at least 24 credit hours in history classes. MSU admits new students for the summer, fall and spring terms.
The Eastern Illinois University Master of Arts in History offers a thesis or non-thesis track. The curriculum is designed for students who wish to teach history in an elementary or secondary education environment. The program is 32 credit hours and can be completed within three years. A one-week residency is required in the student's first term, which takes place in the summer. A total of 17 required credits will cover seminars in American, Premodern and Modern World History. All students must also take historiography and engage in an independent study. Independent study will lead to the submission of a final research project and examination process. Both are required as part of the capstone experience to graduate from the program.
Applicants to the program should submit three letters of recommendation, with one of those letters from a current professor familiar with your academic work. A CV and statement of goals are also required. GRE scores may be submitted to supplement an application, but they are no ct required. There are currently 16 members of the EIU Master of Arts in History faculty, all of whom teach online courses.
The 30-32 credit Master of Arts in History program offered by Pittsburg State University online prepares graduates for teaching careers, doctorate work and research, and a lifetime of challenging scholarship. The program's faculty has designed the program to focus on the history of the modern world as well as American history. Courses in the program are offered year-round. Recent seminars and classes explored the history of American Slavery, World War II, and contemporary Irish history. Newly admitted students start in the fall, spring, or summer semesters. Pittsburg tuition for out-of-state online graduate students is the same as in-state, resident tuition. PSU has been offering graduate-level degrees since 1929. Tech support is available for online students via chat, email, or phone.
Emporia State University's online Master of Arts in History is offered in both a thesis and non-thesis format. Non-thesis students will take written exams instead of writing a thesis to finish the degree. Online courses are taught by the same tenured faculty that teach on-campus courses. The program is a total of 36 credits, and students take a variety of historiography seminars and electives to complete the coursework. The History department at Emporia is a member of the American Historical Association. Travel and study abroad are options for graduate students in the history program. Whether students are on the thesis or non-thesis track, graduates of the program should be able to think critically about historical narratives and synthesis research from a wide variety of sources. Online graduate students are eligible to apply for the Department of Social Sciences scholarships. Other resources that online students have access to are academic assistance, career services, and technology support. Emporia participates in the Yellow Ribbon program for veterans and active members of the military. The university was founded in 1863.
The Master of Science in History program at Indiana State University allows graduate students part-time enrollment and up to seven years to complete the degree. It is a total of 33 credit hours. The faculty encourages students to pursue innovative, non-traditional scholarship in the program. ISU's library has extensive special collections on subjects such as the American labor movement. They are also partners with several other libraries and research centers, as well as a depository for the U.S. government library.
All students will complete courses on the History of Labor in the United States and Popular Movements in the U.S. Students may choose to take elective courses on The Gilded Age and Progressive Era, Women in History or Race and Nationality in the United States. Students t a final oral examination that demonstrates their coursework and a final research seminar paper. Admission requirements include a Bachelor's degree in history or a related field, and a minimum GPA of 2.7. Two letters of recommendation, a writing sample and a statement of purpose are also required components of the MS in History application.
In the University of Massachusetts Boston online Master of Arts in History, students can immerse themselves in a variety of topics. The program has courses to deepen student's understanding of the American Revolution, the era of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Jacksonian America, or European Fascism. The online program is limited to 15-20 students each year. All students will receive advanced direction in undertaking scholarly research. Research courses in the program prepare students for the work of their graduate thesis. Students in the program should expect a reading load of 250-350 pages per week during the term, and up to 25 written pages. The History Department at UMass-Boston has over a dozen faculty members.
Applications to the program are due by January 15 for enrollment in the following fall term. Application materials should include three letters of recommendation, transcripts from all previous institutions, a statement of purpose, a sample of the student's writing, preferably in a topic related to history. GRE scores are recommended. UMass-Boston offers tuition remission for residents of Massachusetts and New England.
The Master of Arts in History online degree at Fort Hays State University is offered as a non-thesis program. Students will complete a total of 30-33 credit hours. Six credit hours will be within a seminar format that consists of the student writing two substantial research papers, 21 elective credit classes, and an eight-hour comprehensive examination. Examples of graduate-level courses include The Indian in American History, African-American History, and Women in American History. Study tours, as well as apprenticeships, are also options to earn credit towards the degree. This degree was designed to assist students in furthering their academic careers and going on to Ph.D. work, or gaining full-time employment in several fields– not just limited to teaching.
The online Master's Degree in History at Southwestern Assemblies of God University offers a thesis and non-thesis option to graduate students– both are a total of 30 credit hours. Examples of classes include Biblical Backgrounds, Research Literature and Technology and Modern Europe from 1848-1945. In the non-thesis option, students will complete a three-credit research project. Additional elective options such as Religion in America, Ages of Faith, or a Historical/Cultural Study Tour. In the thesis track, students will complete a total of six thesis credits. Teaching certification, valid in the state of Texas, is another option in tandem with this degree.
SAGU offers a 20% grant towards graduate students' tuition in the history program. Online students receive the same support and services that on-campus students. SAGU also provides a Career Center, Wellness Center, and Counseling Center to its students. Applicants to the program must have 12 credit hours in undergraduate history courses. A History of Christianity is also a prerequisite. GRE scores of at least 150 on the verbal and 3.5 for the analytical writing section.
Our Methodology, Explained
Grad School Hub compiles rankings based on public data released from educational, commercial, and government databases. Sources such as the National Center for Education Statistics and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics play a significant role in how we source our educational data. After collecting insight for each institution, we organize information into five weighted categories.
Full-time faculty percentage, student-to-faculty ratio, student retention and graduation rates
Tuition rates, median student debt, and financial aid
Admission and enrollment rates
Number of program options
Online Enrollment Score
Portion of learners taking at least one online course
Master's in history degrees are surprisingly versatile for post-graduates to apply their social sciences background in various careers from education to politics. Whether taken on-site or online, master's degrees typically...