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.
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Here are the 25 Best Online Bachelor's Degrees in History!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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%.
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.
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.
While the University of North Dakota offers a Bachelor of Arts in History degree on campus, its only online option is the Bachelor of Arts in Social Science with a concentration in History degree. UND's online program is a great option for students looking for flexibility, as it offers some of the 120 credits required for graduation as Enroll Anytime Courses. This means students can start a class anytime to get their feet off the ground, and can also work at their own pace, as many courses can be completed in three to nine months. Many courses are offered on a regular semester basis in which students participate in discussions and work with regular UND faculty. Another great aspect of UND's online education is that online tutoring is available 24 hours a day, and students also have access to 1:1 assistance from the university's writing center. Currently, there are about 3,500 students enrolled in online classes exclusively, while about 3,000 more enroll for at least one online class. Notable alumni include NASA Astronaut Karen Nyberg, poet and screenwriter Thomas McGrath, and several professional ice hockey players.
The University of Massachusetts Lowell's Bachelor's Degree in Liberal Arts with a concentration in History aims to give students a well-rounded History education with a solid base in Science and Humanities courses. The History concentration offers students practical research experience and includes course titles such as European Economic & Social History, The Holocaust, and Stalin's Russia. The only requirements for admission are the completion of a valid high school diploma or GED and admitted students must enroll in at least six credits per semester to qualify for financial aid. UMass Lowell ranks No. 25 in U.S. News & World Report's 2019 Best Online Bachelor's Programs ranking, as well as No. 20 in the Best Online Bachelor's Programs for Veterans ranking, which ranks the best online programs that reduce costs for veterans. By earning an online degree from UMass Lowell, students join thousands of on-campus students that make up the largest university in the Merrimack Valley and the second-largest public university in Massachusetts.
The fully-online Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science in History program at the University of North Alabama aims to provide a wide historical knowledge base for students and also develop their critical thinking, communication and writing skills. Both B.A. and B.S. tracks require seniors to complete a thesis, and a secondary major or minor is required for all History students to create a customized well-rounded education. Required courses include World Civilization and U.S. History, as well as an introduction to research course and electives in U.S. and non-U.S. History. Study abroad opportunities in London, Scotland, Italy, and Hawaii are also available. A notable aspect of UNA's History department, especially relevant to students living in the area or pursuing teaching licenses, is its partnership with the National Trail of Tears Association and U.S. Parks Service to create curriculum that educates public school students at all levels on the forced removal of Native Americans from the region in the 1800s. The partnership aims to create relevant materials for classes beyond just History. This might interest any student looking for a program that promotes diversity and inclusion in its curriculum and culture, something that is solidified in the department's mission statement.
The Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science in History program from Utah State University prides itself on being one of 12 programs recognized by the American Historical Association for excellence in teaching and leadership. About one-third of students in the program opt to concentrate on teaching and pursue a teaching license if they can meet minimum GPA requirements and complete student teaching, and all History students have the option to complete and present undergraduate research. All seniors complete a capstone before graduation. The program aims to prepare students for careers in preservation and education, communications, archivism and public service, advocacy, and business. Unlike some of the other programs on this list, the History program at USU does have prerequisites. Students must have completed at least 15 credits with a 2.5 GPA before being accepted into the major (newly-accepted freshmen are considered pre-majors before they complete these courses), and they must also complete 12 credits of pre-major courses. USU has achieved 15th place in U.S. News & World Report's 2019 Best Online Bachelor's Programs ranking and supports Utah residents with affordable in-state tuition and extension offices in 28 of 29 counties in Utah.
A Bachelor of Arts in History degree from the University of Arizona is an excellent, affordable option for students wanting a degree from a larger state school and well-respected research institution. The program advertises itself as a foundation for a broader study of interdisciplinary arts, sciences, and humanities, as it believes History informs all of these subjects. While students in the major reportedly participate in some amount of research, no thesis or senior capstone are required. Course titles include History of Epidemics, History of Modern Ireland, Jewish-Christian Relations, and more. One unique aspect of the University of Arizona's online school is that out-of-state students pay the same tuition as Arizona resident students. Application deadlines and start dates are also available throughout the year. According to a 2018 in-house survey, 93% of UA online students said they would recommend online classes to others, which speaks to the quality of classes and advising program the university prides itself on. UA tied for No. 29 in U.S. News and World Report's 2019 Best Online Bachelor's Program rankings. Notable alumni include reality TV star Kourtney Kardashian, Olympic swimmer Amanda Beard, and former astronaut Thomas Jones.
Students in the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee online Bachelor's in History program can create their own path with a variety of independent study and internship options, along with a huge list of History courses in diverse subjects. While the degree path is a little more structured than others on this list (online students are held to the same semester schedule as on-campus students), the course options, both on the introductory and advanced level, are vast. Courses include A History of Greek Civilization: The Age of Alexander the Great; History of Race, Science, and Medicine in the United States; Women and Gender in Europe: 1750 to the Present; and The Korean War. Students with a minimum 2.5 GPA can take both a lower-division and upper-division independent study course, and pursue internship opportunities. While UWM does not place students into internships, students who find an acceptable placement overseen by a faculty supervisor can complete their work for class credit. History graduates from UWM have gone on to find jobs as librarians and archivists, grant writers, paralegals, CEOs and other business executives, and more. For students interested in undergraduate research, the university offers paid research assistant positions to undergraduates, as well as a two-semester senior thesis track for those that want to dive deeper into a particular subject.
Students in the University of Idaho's online History program can choose from four different degree tracks: Bachelor of Arts in History with a General Emphasis, B.A. in American History, B.A. in European History, and Bachelor of Science in History. The program prides itself on offering unique capstone courses for seniors, undergraduate research opportunities, and internships in museums, libraries, and historical societies. Past History majors have interned with U.S. Senator, the Hon. Richard G. Lugar, the Idaho State Historical Museum, and various county and local historical societies. The College of Letters, Arts, and Social Sciences, which houses the History department, offers scholarships totaling more than $1.5 million every year. History faculty at U of I have won various teaching excellence and outstanding faculty awards, and have co-authored books on local Idaho History, Women's History, slavery around the world, and more. U of I was the first university in Idaho and the only university for its first 71 years. It remains the state's primary research university and is home to over 140 different degree programs and over 12,000 students. With extension campuses all over the state, attending a hybrid online/on-campus program is easy for Idaho residents, even though the History program is available fully online. Prominent U of I graduates include many states and national legislators such as former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin and Linda Copple Trout, the first female Idaho Supreme Court Justice.
Northwestern State University of Louisiana's online Bachelor of Arts in History program focuses primarily on American and European History spanning from Classical Antiquity in Europe and Colonial America to modern times. Other courses focus on Asian History, as well as Louisiana and Creole History. Admissions criteria include a minimum high school GPA between 2.0 and 2.35, as well as test scores at or above the minimum threshold. The University's Fall 2017 acceptance rate was 80%. History students particularly interested in the History and heritage of Louisiana might be drawn to NSU for the Louisiana Creole Heritage Center, which is run by NSU personnel. It aims to protect Creole culture throughout Louisiana and across the country and does so through archives, genealogies, exhibitions, and participation in cultural celebrations. Fun fact: athletic teams at NSU go by The Demons, and their mascot is Vic the Demon.
The Bachelor of Arts in History degree from the University of Maryland University College takes a deep approach to History by encouraging students to develop self-reflection in their research and analysis of History and understand the subject as a moral and ethical practice. After completing general education and History survey courses, students choose between a U.S. or World History focus and take most of their upper-division courses in those concentrations. Upper-level courses include African American History, Europe's Bloodiest Century, and History of the Contemporary Middle East. The program aims to prepare students for careers in law, journalism, politics, and more. For students that live in the area, Maryland is just a few miles away from internships and jobs in Washington, D.C. in the National Archives and National Parks Service, as well as many government offices. Focused almost exclusively on online education, and with an undergraduate enrollment of about 45,000 and a 100% acceptance rate, UMUC aims to reach students across the world. To top it off, most course materials are available online at no cost to students.
The Bachelor of Arts in History degree from Westfield State University offers an online-only track with seven-week, 14-week, and even two-week intensive courses that allow students to complete their four-year degree in one-three years depending on the level of intensity they prefer. Courses aim to prepare students for WSU's teacher licensure program or graduate programs, as well as jobs in government, archivism, or any other field looking for students with strong analytical, writing, and communication skills. Apart from general History survey courses, students can choose from elective courses in the U.S., European, African, Middle Eastern, World, and Latin American History. Courses include U.S. Women's History, Roman Empire, and Contemporary Africa, along with niche subjects such as Zombies and Pop Culture, Faces of Evil, and U.S. Disability History. History majors can also combine their degree track with a minor in Women and Gender Studies, Religious Studies, and more. WSU is an excellent choice for students wanting to match affordability with course diversity, and even more so for Massachusetts residents: through the MassTransfer and Commonwealth Commitment program, students who have earned an Associate's degree from a community college in Massachusetts may qualify for a 10% rebate on online program tuition.
The fully-online Bachelor of Arts in History degree from American Public University aims to offer students a deep, specialized History education taught by dedicated historians with strong research backgrounds. Upon enrollment, students are required to choose one of the four-degree concentrations. Choices are American History, European History, General, and Global History. Within these concentrations are a vast array of course options, including The Cold War, Ancient Greece, History of the Middle East, and more. The required Senior Seminar course prepares students for research and a major end-of-program paper. APU accepts students on a rolling basis with no application fee. Applicants are not required to submit test scores but may need to complete a College Readiness Assessment. Online students looking to save money are at a particular advantage because they qualify for free online books as part of APU's Undergraduate Book Grant. APU focuses specifically on serving members of the military with tuition grants and flexible online options and was ranked No. 8 in Military Times' Best for Vets 2019 online and nontraditional school rankings. Additionally, in 2016 the APU System awarded the highest number of History degrees in the U.S., according to the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System.
The University of Nebraska at Kearney's fully-online Bachelor of Arts in History degree aims to give students the tools to understand past and contemporary cultures and societies, and to prepare for graduate study or work in education, law, government, or business. Apart from 45 credits in undergraduate general education requirements, students must complete courses in U.S. and World History, as well as electives, some of which must be advanced History electives. These include Advanced U.S. History, Advanced European History, and Advanced Non-Western History. UNK is another small public university with an undergraduate enrollment of about 4,000 students. It ranked No. 10 in U.S. News & World Report's 2019 Top Public Schools ranking and had an acceptance rate of 82% in Fall 2017. For such a small campus, UNK supplies a lot of degrees for those who go on to work in the Kearney and greater Nebraska community: according to the university's website, 20% of all Nebraska school staff are UNK grads, as are more than 40% of school superintendents, over 50% of school psychologists, and one third of all speech-language pathologists in the state.
A Bachelor of Arts in History from Regent University offers students the opportunity to complete coursework fully online or partly on-campus, with the flexible option of shorter eight-week course sessions, all in a small Christian-focused environment. Theological coursework, including The Marking of a Christian Leader and American Evangelicalism, makes up a large part of every student's graduation track, and the History degree includes both advanced topics in world history as well as general education foreign language, science, and math requirements. Courses aim to prepare students for careers in education, museum work, journalism, and government. About 10,000 undergraduate and graduate students make up Regent's small campus, but for those living out of the area, the university's College of Arts and Sciences was ranked No. 1 in Virginia and No. 42 in the country in U.S. News & World Report's 2019 Best Online Bachelor's Program ranking. Prominent graduates include former presidential cabinet members and state legislators, as well as award-winning performers and screenwriters and award-winning educators.
Texas State University's Bachelor of Arts in History program is a flexible, affordable, and diverse program for students wanting a hybrid online/on-campus History education. Students can choose from a BA with a teaching certificate in one or two fields, including geography, social science, and political science, or complete the BA alone to prepare for graduate school or work in non-teaching fields. Required courses include the U.S. and World History, as well as at least 18 hours of advanced History courses and a senior seminar. The university advertises that close to half of the required coursework can be completed online. Texas State students also have the option of completing some of their coursework abroad: past opportunities have included programs in India and the United Kingdom, as well as shorter-term trips across the U.S. that are intended to bring different aspects of a particular course to life. Several scholarship opportunities are available to students with high GPA's and commitment to community service or special projects. Students looking for an affordable but reliable well-rounded History education might be attracted to Texas State's campus diversity: 52% of students identify as members of ethnic minorities, and the university ranks 14th in the U.S. for the number of degrees awarded to Hispanic students.
A Bachelor's in History Education degree from Valley City State University is essentially a teaching degree intended to prepare students for work as public school History teachers. As part of this focus, graduation requirements include an introduction to education courses, an 80-hour practicum, a 25-hour Culturally Diverse Practicum including three consecutive days in a classroom, and a 12-week student teaching experience. The program does not specify how online-only students accomplish the practicum piece, but students are encouraged to work with their academic advisor on an ongoing basis. The program also aims to prepare students to go into graduate school or pursue work in archivism, publishing, government, etc. Students are required to complete a standard general education curriculum, as well as History courses including World Civilizations, Topics in Non-Western History, Native American Studies, Methods of Teaching Social Science, and more. One cool aspect about paying for online tuition at VCSU is that beginning in Fall 2019, non-resident and international online students will pay the same discounted tuition rate that students living in the Western United States qualify for as part of the Western Undergraduate Exchange Program. Prominent VCSU graduates include former U.S. Representative and U.S. Secretary of the Interior Thomas Kleppe and professional basketball player Jason Perkins.
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