Best Online Master’s in History Programs

Rank School Name Relative Cost Location Description
1 University of North Carolina Wilmington N/A Wilmington, NC

UNC Wilmington, part of the 17-campus University of North Carolina System, has many of the top-tier master's programs in the South. The Wilmington campus enrolls over 1,800 graduate students each year and boasts the highest transfer student graduation rate in the UNC system.

UNCW's master's in history degree, one of nine online master's degrees available, is designed specifically for strengthening the professional practices of history educators. The MA for history educators is a two-year program consisting of two online courses taken sequentially each semester. It also includes two one-week, on-campus Summer Institutes, the school's unique annual workshopping conference. The Summer Institute is the only required in-person participation. The program culminates in a hands-on capstone project, focusing on teaching practices, lesson planning, and comprehensive exams – as opposed to a traditional thesis. To maintain a streamlined admissions process, UNCW gives preference to applicants who teach in North Carolina, at either public or private institutions.

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2 Norwich University N/A Northfield, VT

Norwich University, situated in the Green Mountains of Vermont, is the oldest military college in the nation. The school only offers graduate programs in an online format. In a 2014 survey, 93% of Norwich University Online alumni--many of them leaders in business, government, and the military--stated they would recommend the program.

Building on its own institutional history, Norwich offers a self-paced master of arts in history with a choice of two tracks: American history or world history. This is an 18-month, 36-credit program consisting of six courses, which are taught one at a time. The program fosters a supportive, personalized environment by offering small classes of no more than 15 students. Courses are taught by expert faculty who all hold doctorate credentials. Both professors and the school's dedicated distance learning librarian provide extensive research assistance. Most of the online history master's degree can be completed remotely, but the program concludes with a week-long capstone residency and an optional thesis or capstone paper.

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3 Emporia State University N/A Emporia, KS

Specializing in teacher education, Emporia State was the first public higher learning institution in Kansas. ESU offers programs in business, library and information management, and liberal arts and sciences. Thirty-one graduate programs with 33 concentrations are available both at the university's main Emporia campus, as well as online. The MA in history has two concentration options: public history and social sciences.

ESU's online master's degree in history consists of 12 hours of mandatory coursework – intro to grad studies, a readings seminar, and U.S. historiography – followed by the student's chosen concentration and internship options. To apply, students must have a minimum GPA of 3.0, at least 12 hours of bachelor's coursework in history, and a writing sample or lesson plan, depending on their prospective concentration. Students with bachelor's degrees are also eligible to partake in teaching assistantships to teach introductory courses in geography, U.S. history, or world history.

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4 Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania N/A Slippery Rock, PA

Slippery Rock is a teacher training college located in western Pennsylvania, providing undergraduate and graduate education to over 8,500 students. As well as its commitment to intellectual development, leadership, and civic responsibility, Slippery Rock's key focus lies in sustainability; the school was named by the U.S. Department of Education as the first four-year Green Ribbon School in the state.

SRU offers affordable online options for adult learners, including a master of arts in history degree. This 30-credit program emphasizes U.S., European, and world history, preparing students for doctoral programs or diverse careers in law, government, education, business, and the military. All coursework, including theory, practical, and objective training, is taught online and exclusively by faculty who hold history Ph.Ds. The program takes 24 months to complete, and incorporates unique subject areas such as material culture and historical interpretation, opium and 19th century international trade, and Pennsylvania history.

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5 University of Memphis N/A Memphis, TN

The University of Memphis is “Driven by Doing,” with an ethos that “the best way to learn is to simply do.” This motto carries through to its online college, UofM Global, which provides students with the same resources and opportunities as they would access on campus. By contrast, all online courses at UofM Global are entirely asynchronous and semester-based.

Graduate offerings include the fully online master of arts in history. The program encompasses all major geographic areas and time periods, but is strong in U.S. history, Asia, Medieval Europe, and women, gender, and family. As well as a full range of courses, students can participate in internships, graduate school workshops, and directed readings led by tenure and tenure-track faculty. UofM welcomes students in special circumstances to apply to its online history master's degree, including those who wish to transfer (up to 12) credits from prior college-level learning or previous students of University of Memphis returning to school.

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6 Louisiana Tech University N/A Ruston, LA

Located in Ruston, Louisiana Tech is a comprehensive, selective admissions research university promoting a technology-driven and interdisciplinary teaching, learning, and research environment. Louisiana Tech's Global Campus initiative upholds these standards with highly interactive course material in its six graduate programs, one of which is the MA in history.

Louisiana Tech combines the online master's in history with a teacher certification, making the program ideal for students who aspire to teach social studies at the secondary level. The degree program itself has two options: thesis (30 credit hours) and non-thesis (33 hours). Concentration options correspond with designated faculty's areas of specialization, which include everything from popular culture to Latin America. Graduate classes are small, usually consisting of eight to 12 students. Applicants need a GPA of 2.5 or higher and out-of-state applicants may be eligible to pay in-state tuition through the Bulldog Out-of-State Fee Scholarship.

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7 Pittsburg State University N/A Pittsburg, KS

Pittsburg State is a public institution, located in southeast Kansas, with a graduate enrollment of 1,400 students. The university has achieved a graduate placement rate of over 90% in some programs and an impressive return on investment, with tuition among the lowest in the region and starting salaries among the highest in the country.

Placing large emphasis on distance learning opportunities, Pitt State offers over 50 online graduate programs. The master of arts with a major in history comes with two options--thesis or seminar--to fit student goals. For example, a thesis is strongly recommended for students who will move on to pursue a Ph.D. PSU offers flat-rate tuition with two reduced rate initiatives: Gorilla Advantage, for students in selected counties around Kansas, and Gorilla Edge, for residents of Missouri, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Texas. All part-time students enrolled in the online master's in history program pay in-state tuition.

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8 Wayland Baptist University N/A Plainview, TX

Wayland Baptist University, along with its main campus in Plainview, Texas, provides faith-based education across 12 campuses in the Southwest, Hawaii, Alaska, and Kenya, as well as online. WBU's online Christian college strives for both flexibility and rigorous academic standards with a variety of online and hybrid programs.

WBU was one of the first universities to offer a master of arts in history completely online. The program includes 37 hours of ethnic, gender, environmental, regional, public history, and archival management courses. Students can study the master's in history online at their own pace, and they also have the option to produce a thesis on a topic of their choice as part of the core curriculum. As a Christian university, WBU offers history classes in unique areas such as church history, the intertestamental period, and baptist history.

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9 National University N/A La Jolla, CA

A nonprofit institution located in La Jolla, National University's goal is to invest in students with exemplary education, technologies, and services. The graduate student population at NU is more diverse than any other college or university in California; the university ranks top in the nation for awarding master's degrees to Hispanics, African-Americans, and women. In addition, the school is a leader in online education, with over 70 degrees and 1,200 courses available completely online.

One of these is the master of arts in history, which focuses on historical research, analysis, and writing. Prospective students, who are required to have a bachelor of arts in history or a closely-related discipline, can choose from either a research track culminating in a traditional thesis or a teaching option resulting in a master's portfolio. The online master's degree in history typically takes two years to complete. This covers 27 quarter units of core requisites, plus an additional 18 quarter units of electives.

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10 Western Kentucky University N/A Bowling Green, KY

Situated atop "The Hill" in Bowling Green, Kentucky, WKU is a public university recognized for its holistic learning experiences and high student achievement. The university offers online learning in two different formats. WKU Online offers over 50 degrees following a term-based calendar; WKU On Demand provides self-paced web, email, CD-ROM, or print classes, which have no enrollment caps and can be completed in as few as seven weeks.

The master of arts in history is part of the 28 online master's degrees, and is taught through WKU Online. Master's in history online courses are offered on a rotating basis across three years of study. The curriculum requires one core course (historiography), four courses in an area of concentration (such as pre-modern Europe), and 21 hours of electives. Before admission to the program, applicants should have completed a GRE and at least 18 hours of undergraduate history classes. Graduate students may transfer up to 12 hours from an accredited college. The WKU Online tuition rate for graduate students is the same regardless of location.

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