Updated December 13, 2022

A flexible and affordable degree from the 25 Best Online Bachelor’s Degrees in History opens up a diverse array of careers in law, education, and business.

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What first comes to mind for many people when they imagine life after earning a History degree is likely being a public school History teacher or being stuck without a job until they can afford to pursue their Master's or Ph.D. While graduate school might be a common goal for History grads, however, the major opens up a plethora of job opportunities, some of them extremely high-paying. According to government data summarized by Data USA, the mean annual income for History graduates in 2017 was almost $86,000, and the most common jobs were in law, education, and management. 

Additionally, according to American Community Survey data from 2010-2014, less than half the number of Bachelor's in History grads pursued a higher degree, most History grads do not become professional historians or museum workers, and the vast majority of History grads earn income in the 75th percentile or higher. A review of this data published in the American Historical Association magazine Perspectives on History suggests History majors fill roles in a wider range of career paths than graduates of most other fields, and go on to become more educated than most of their peers. 

For non-traditional students who want to understand the world around them better and are open to careers in different fields, an online degree in History is an excellent choice. Most schools on our list offer robust career support and encourage students to pursue a minor to bolster their resumes, allowing students to showcase the broad critical thinking, writing, and communications skills employers crave. When it comes to choosing a career, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, careers in law are projected to grow at an average to much faster than average pace, most education careers are growing at an average pace, and most management careers are growing at a faster than average pace. 

An online degree is an obvious first choice for nontraditional students, some of whom may already have impressive work history on their resumes. Many universities offer self-paced or accelerated courses, which can make it easier to fit school around work or childcare schedules, and some programs offer joint Bachelor's/Master's programs that help students go further without paying full price. Many on-campus perks are available to online students as well, further bridging the gap between online and on-campus learning. 

Selection Criteria

Best Value Schools publishes college degree rankings with the belief of how one's higher education should be, both, affordable and an investment of continued value for the students who pursue them. The staff of BVS collects data from reputable sources in order to calculate Net Price and the short and long-term value of every ranked degree. Collected data is simplified into weighted categories before scoring and then scaled through a BVS Score up to 100. The weighted categories are:

  • Degree Investment Return (25%)
  • Student & Alumni Evaluation (25%)
  • Cost Value (25%)
  • Matriculation (10%) 
  • Academic Success (15%) 

No matter what degree you decide on, we hope our research and support has made the selection process easier. There are numerous resources BVS utilizes to collect information on degrees, and we encourage you to check them out for yourself! 

Here are the 25 Best Online Bachelor's Degrees in History!
#1 Harvard University Cambridge, MA
#2 Arizona State University-Tempe Tempe, AZ
#3 University of Central Florida Orlando, FL
#4 University of Illinois at Springfield Springfield, IL
#5 Excelsior College Albany, NY
#6 University of Louisiana at Monroe Monroe, LA
#7 Oregon State University Corvallis, OR
#8 Nicholls State University Thibodaux, LA
#9 University of Memphis Memphis, TN
#10 Sam Houston State University Huntsville, TX

Featured Online Programs

Figuring out where to apply? These top, accredited schools offer a variety of online degrees. Consider one of these accredited programs, and discover their value today.

  1. Harvard University

    Cambridge, MA



    It may be shocking to hear that Harvard University, an elite institution that has graduated U.S. presidents and powerful economic leaders, offers any kind of distance learning opportunities. However, with its Bachelor of Liberal Arts in Extension Studies with a Field of Study in History, high-achieving students with Harvard dreams but nontraditional student needs have access to a world-class education from behind the computer screen. Through Harvard Extension School's Earn Your Way In admissions, candidates begin by taking an academic writing and critical reading course, then two courses from their chosen major. At the same time, applicants submit an application (there are multiple deadlines throughout the year) and must maintain a cumulative Harvard GPA of at least 3.0 from those three initial courses. The program advertises itself as ideal for working adults who wish to pursue their degree part-time. The only other admissions requirement is that applicants have a high school diploma or equivalent that was obtained five years prior to enrollment. While the degree path is, for the most part, fully-online, there are a few instances in which students are required to be on campus for accelerated course sessions. Upon graduation, students receive a Harvard degree no different than those of their on-campus peers. A degree from Harvard is almost impossible to beat in terms of the university's reputation and international connections. Harvard ranks No. 2 in U.S. News & World Report's 2019 best National Universities ranking.

  2. Arizona State University-Tempe

    Tempe, AZ



    The online Bachelor of Arts in History program from Arizona State University offers a humanities-based education with a heavy focus on primary source research and teaches students how to use qualitative analysis and digital media to analyze and effectively present their work. The 120-credit program offers classes that run for 7.5 weeks at a time, and several History-specific scholarships are available. Students can also apply to be part of an undergraduate research team, on projects that range from book research to public multimedia History projects. College of Arts and Sciences faculty at ASU include 3 Nobel Laureates, 1 Pulitzer Prize Winner, and 1 MacArthur Fellow. ASU's on-campus stats are pretty impressive, with undergraduate enrollment topping 42,000, hundreds of student organizations, and several NCAA Division 1 team, but the online program has fared well in rankings as well: ASU is No. 2 on U.S. News & World Report's 2019 Best Online Bachelor's Programs list. Notable alumni include television host Jimmy Kimmel, professional baseball player Barry Bonds, and high-end fashion designer Kate Spade.

  3. University of Central Florida

    Orlando, FL



    The Bachelor of Arts in History program from the University of Central Florida aims to develop students' critical thinking and communication skills while giving them the background they need to understand what has shaped the modern world. Within the program, students have the opportunity to specialize not just in American or European History, but in a particular region such as Asia, the Middle East, Latin America, and more. What really sets UCF's online program apart from many others is that midway through a student's degree path, they can apply for an accelerated program that allows them to graduate with both their B.A. and Master of Arts in History. Another unique aspect of UCF's online program is its online coaches that work with students from application to graduation as a constant human point of contact to stay on top of their goals. Online coaches work in conjunction with academic advisers to connect students to resources and help students design online-relevant plans to graduate within their preferred timeline. UCF earned No. 14 in U.S. News & World Report's 2019 Best Online Bachelor's Program ranking and No. 10 in the Best Online Bachelor's Program for Veterans ranking.

  4. University of Illinois at Springfield

    Springfield, IL



    The online Bachelor of Arts in History program from the University of Illinois Springfield is open to students who live more than 50 miles away from UIS or who live nearby but have a documented disability. The program, like others in this list from larger research institutions, offers career-minded support to History students by way of internship placements, honors opportunities, scholarships, and more. Students who wish to pursue a teaching license must apply for a concurrent major in Elementary Education and complete fieldwork. Along with the opportunity to pursue research-heavy honors courses, high-achieving online History students can apply for membership in the Phi Alpha Theta History Honor Society, in which student members often submit research papers for regional and national conferences. Past students have also participated in study abroad opportunities. The History program boasts many award-winning faculty who make up the majority of University Scholar Award recipients, UIS' highest scholarship award for faculty. UIS ranks No. 33 in U.S. News & World Report's 2019 Best Online Bachelor's Degrees ranking.

  5. Excelsior College

    Albany, NY



    The online Bachelor of Science in History program from Excelsior College is a great option for students with prior credits they might be worried won't transfer, or who have the professional college-level experience necessary to move their degree forward more quickly. Excelsior has a generous credit transfer policy that allows the transfer of up to 117 credits with no time limit for some programs, meaning students just need to complete a capstone and information literacy course before graduation. The university also accepts a variety of college-level and professional exams, as well as its own UExcel Credit by Exam to help students save time and money by converting exams into credits.Within the History program, courses include titles such as Holocaust, Transatlantic Slave Trade, and Revolutionary America. All online courses are offered in 8-week increments. Excelsior primarily serves online students, with more than 36,000 students enrolled across the world. Excelsior is also committed to providing accessible education for active military service members and veterans. The university has Education Representatives at several military bases and came in at No. 3 in Military Times' 2019 Best for Vets ranking in the online and nontraditional school category.

  6. University of Louisiana at Monroe

    Monroe, LA



    The Bachelor of Arts in History program at the University of Louisiana Monroe is a 120-credit program that takes a unique approach to ensure online students' success: all online courses are offered on an eight-week schedule, which the university claims are an evidence-based way to limit students' workload, so they are more likely to succeed. 16-week semesters are broken up into two sections, during which students usually take two to three courses at a time. The B.A. in History program also requires a minor. The program's basic degree plan includes general education requirements, survey courses in History, and History and non-related electives (some of which must meet minor requirements). No thesis is required for graduation. ULM claims that an impressive 90% of ULM History graduates report employment 60 days after graduation. Notable alumni include country singer Tim McGraw, Head Coach of the Philadelphia Eagles Doug Pederson, and Louisiana Senator Mike Walsworth.

  7. Oregon State University

    Corvallis, OR



    The online Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science in History program at Oregon State University is a 180-credit program that focuses heavily on research and encourages online students to take advantage of opportunities outside just the basic degree requirements. The program has a robust list of History course offerings, separated into broad categories such as Race, Diaspora, Politics in the Atlantic World, Armed Conflict, Genocide and Society, and Gender and Sexuality. Students are encouraged to select a minor to boost their level of expertise as they enter the job market. OSU's ultra-supportive program takes the distance out of distance learning with career-minded support that helps online students feel less detached from the support of a large research institution. Unlike many other programs on this list, OSU helps place online, as well as on-campus, History students with at least a 3.0 GPA and 12 History credit hours under their belts into internships throughout the state. A variety of scholarships are also available, and local students are welcome to join the History Students Association, which plans the Undergraduate History Conference and conducts History-focused field trips. OSU even has a dedicated ECampus career center. OSU ranks No. 3 in U.S. News & World Report's 2019 Best Online Bachelor's Programs ranking.

  8. Nicholls State University

    Thibodaux, LA



    The Bachelor of Arts in History degree from Nicholls State University prepares students to specialize in American, European, or Asian History. The fully-online major requires 36 hours of core survey History courses, as well as 18 hours of History electives, which must include non-Western History. Foreign language study is not a required part of students' general education, but it is encouraged for those who plan to attend graduate school. One great aspect about paying for tuition at Nicholls State is that in-state, and out-of-state tuition differs by less than $600 per full-time semester, and the university claims most out-of-state students end up qualifying for in-state tuition. Otherwise, in 2017 the university awarded $15 million in grants and scholarships. According to its website, Nicholls State supplies a majority of the Bayou Region's teachers and received the Governor's Military and Veteran Friendly Campus designation. The school also reportedly ranks in the 85th percentile for helping students move from the bottom 20% of income distribution to the top 20%.

  9. University of Memphis

    Memphis, TN



    The Bachelor of Arts Degree in History from the University of Memphis offers students a wide support net to finish their degree, pursue an Honors track, and secure and pay for internships during their time at the university. The program emphasizes History as a means to understand the unity and diversity of experience we all have as a result of gender, culture, and social differences, and supports students in writing and communication, as well as research through the use of primary source documents. Though internships are optional, the university offers internship courses to accompany the internship experience, as well as scholarship opportunities and a long list of entities the university has partnered with in the past. Along with four core survey classes, History students must complete seven upper-division History electives, at least one of which covers non-American and non-European History. The university strongly encourages online students to take advantage of study abroad opportunities, for which there are multiple scholarships available, to both strengthen their History education and boost their likelihood of finding a job after graduation. Students with a high enough GPA can also apply for the History honors program their junior year. UM History faculty travel, speak and are recognized for their work all around the world.

  10. Sam Houston State University

    Huntsville, TX



    Sam Houston State University's fully-online Bachelor of Arts in History degree comes from what the university says is one of its largest-growing departments. Students within the major are required to choose a minor and study a foreign language, and those that live in the area can take advantage of SHSU's relationship with the Sam Houston Memorial Museum for internship opportunities. Applicants can apply for the Fall, Spring, and Summer semesters throughout the year and apply for a variety of scholarships. About 20,000 students are enrolled at SHSU, a steadily growing institution with deep historical roots. Recently, SHSU jumped on board with other universities in Texas to offer financial aid to students whose household income is $25,000 or less, a common situation for working adults going back to school. Additionally, the Carnegie Commission on Higher Education recognizes SHSU as one of 311 Community-Engaged universities for its commitment to serving the local community.

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