For graduate students, the question of how long does it take to complete an online Master's in History is an important one to answer prior to applying for different schools. That's because most graduate students like you cannot afford the cost of traditional programs, both in terms of price and time; that's why a virtual education is a great choice. But how do you know if a program is right for you, and how long you can reasonably expect to be enrolled in the program?

Resource: 25 Best Affordable Online Master's in History Degree Programs

Dependent on School

Online programs differ from school to school, especially at the graduate level. The differences are demonstrated through differences in credit hour requirements, available specializations, term schedules, transfer credit limits, and J-term availability; these factors that could either lengthen or shorten the amount of time you would spend in school. It's important to take these factors into account if you're working full-time or have other obligations; some schools are more flexible with programs than others, and knowing which school's program can be tailored to your needs is critical for the successful completion of your degree.

Credit Hour Requirements

Master's programs in this field can require anywhere between 27 to 46 credit hours for completion; most programs with higher credit hour requirements are thesis-based, which can be an advantage for students looking to become professors or researchers in the field. Be aware as well that while credit hours, semester hours, and quarter units refer to different measurements of completing credit requirements; some courses may be worth three or four credits, while others, such as seminars, may only be worth one credit. This is an important distinction and should be discussed with an admissions advisor prior to enrolling in any program.

Term Schedules

Schools schedule their virtual classes quite differently than traditional courses. It is possible to find full traditional academic semesters for courses as well as eight-week, seven-week, and five-week terms, depending on the college. Some schools also offer J-Term, which refers to a full academic term of one or two courses being taught during winter break, for virtual students. Summer semesters often enable students to finish some, but not all, courses during the break; electives are less likely to be provided during these breaks than foundational courses, so plan accordingly.

Full-Time or Part-Time

The biggest determination of how long it will take you to complete your degree is how you decide to attend the program: full-time or part-time? Full-time students often can complete a graduate degree in as little as 18 months, while part-time students often take up to five years to meet all of the requirements. Schools often enable a student to move from full-time to part-time with ease and the change can be implemented with the help of an academic advisor that will help you keep track of your requirements so you can graduate on time.

Getting a virtual degree is not as easy as it seems; it requires students to be disciplined and have a great work ethic, all while juggling work and school responsibilities. Now that the question of how long does it take to complete an online master's degree in history has been answered, students, including yourself, can take the next step in completing your graduate education.