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Published on January 29, 2019

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According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, historians earn a median salary of $59,120, and the career is projected to grow 6% by 2026. Those interested in pursuing a bachelor's degree in history or higher also benefit from learning a set of skills that can be applied to a wide range of external fields. History students learn to research using scholarly sources, and these research and analytical skills prove useful for careers in law, management, and journalism.

What are the best history programs of 2020? Here are our top 10:

Rank School Location
1 University of Central Florida Orlando, FL
2 Florida International University Miami, FL
3 Arizona State University Scottsdale, AZ
4 The Baptist College of Florida Graceville, FL
5 University of Illinois at Springfield Springfield, IL
6 Texas State University San Marcos, TX
7 Sam Houston State University Huntsville, TX
8 Clayton State University Morrow, GA
9 University of Louisiana at Monroe Monroe, LA
10 Liberty University Lynchburg, VA

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, historians earn a median salary of $59,120, and the career is projected to grow 6% by 2026.

For students who want a history-based profession, a bachelor's degree in the field could mean a focus on public history programs, which prepares students to work in museums. History programs also include in-depth study of cultures and globalization; professionals with cultural knowledge can consult companies and organizations on proper and effective communication and cultural tendencies. This guide will give those interested in a degree in history an overview of why you might choose a bachelor's degree in history program, as well as how to do so, what the admission process looks like, and what you can expect from a history program.

Should I Get a Bachelor's in History?

Ideals candidates for history degrees should possess a fascination of cultures and facts, since these two elements represent a significant portion of historic studies. History programs also include numerous texts and sources, so students should hold an interest in reading and research as well. Students do not need a solid career plan to enroll in a history program, since the skills acquired from coursework and program experience extend into other fields. The research, writing, and analysis skills that students must utilize in classes prepares them for legal careers, government jobs, and research positions.

Students who decide to pursue a degree in history will need to decide whether to attend on-campus or online courses. Many students entering college for the first time may want to fully submerge into the world of higher education by attending school on-campus, while candidates in established careers may require or prefer more flexibility to complete program requirements, which would make online learning the better option.

Students in bachelor's in history programs benefit from networking opportunities gained through social interaction with faculty and students, history events on campus, and internships. Each of these details provides a strategy to establish connections that lead to recommendation letters and professional relationships that expand career options.

What Can I Do With a Bachelor's in History?

History is a multifaceted field, and career options for graduates reflect this quality. As an example, students explore different cultures through history programs. This allows graduates to become candidates for positions that deal with cultural tendencies. Additionally, the research-heavy nature of the field provides a foundation for careers as a paralegal and business researcher. Other career options relate to the writing aspect of history programs, such as journalist and editor. The skills gained through a history program pair well with a variety of careers, making it one of the most versatile options for students. Below are some of the career options for a student with a bachelor's in history degree.

Museum Worker

Employees in museums include curators, archivists, and technicians. Although some of these careers typically require a master's degree, such as the archivist position, museum technicians only need a bachelor's degree in history or a related field. These employees upkeep the museum's exhibits and may work in individual museums or organizations connected to schools, sites of significance, or government facilities.

Median Annual Salary: $47,360*


Geographers do more than examine physical aspects of the world's structure. They also study people from different areas. A history degree helps to prepare for this career since history includes evaluating peoples of different cultures. Beginning geographers can benefit from a bachelor's degree in history.

Median Annual Salary: $76,860*

Management Analyst

These workers act as problem-solvers for companies by analyzing business approaches and providing insight for improvement opportunities. A history degree can supply graduates with the research and analysis skills to perform well in this position. Management analysts typically need a bachelor's degree.

Median Annual Salary: $82,450*


Responsibilities in this position include researching, analyzing, and presenting information about past occurrences, whether through written works, lectures, or documentaries. Historians may need to travel to gain insight for their reports. Many historian careers require advanced degrees, but a bachelor's degree in history can qualify graduates for entry-level positions.

Median Annual Salary: $59,120*

Paralegals and Legal Assistants

These workers assist attorneys by maintaining a structured working environment and also participate in legal cases. Paralegals may collect information for individual cases and construct reports to aid the attorney.

Median Annual Salary: $50,410*

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Best States for Historians

Historians devote their careers to learning and educating others about the past. Historians work in museums, libraries, and schools. They hold many job titles beyond historian, including history professor, archivist, and museum curator. This list ranks the best states for historians, considering factors such as salary, cost of living, job opportunities, and a state's historical sites and museums.

Historians conduct research, curate museum exhibits, and teach students about the past. At national historical sites and presidential libraries, historians may focus on a narrow time period or event. History professors, by contrast, specialize in all subfields of history, from the ancient period through modern history. They also study global regions. Local and public historians contribute to the historical knowledge of their region, making historians valuable community members.


To rank the best states for historians, our methodology incorporates several factors, including salaries and a state's population of history professors and related professions, such as archivists and museum curators. We also factored in the cost of living to determine the best states for historians, which shapes the quality of life. In addition, the rankings consider a state's museums and historical sites, which employ and attract historians. Salary information comes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Virginia View School Profile ,

With a rich history and many prestigious museums and historical sites, Virginia ranks as the best state for historians. Historians can work at Mount Vernon, once home to George Washington, and Monticello, Thomas Jefferson's home. They can also work at historic Jamestown and Colonial Williamsburg, sites that attract many tourists each year. Virginia's colonial and Civil War history make it a top state for historians.

Virginia ranks as one of the top states for employing historians, according to the BLS, and historians in Virginia earn an average salary of over $74,000 a year. Virginia historians benefit from proximity to the greater Washington, D.C. area, which ranks as the top metropolitan area for historian employment and offers an average salary of over $100,000. The state also boasts many colleges and universities which employ historians as professors.

Washington, D.C. View School Profile ,

Washington, D.C. is home to the Smithsonian Institute, one of the most important museum collections in the country and the world's largest museum, education, and research institution. The Smithsonian hires historians as museum technicians, researchers, and curators. In addition to the Smithsonian, the federal government employs historians, as do other important agencies and institutions in the capital.

Washington, D.C. might not be a state, but it ranks among the top areas in historian employment, according to the BLS, even outranking neighboring Virginia. D.C. also boasts the highest concentration of historian jobs, with 14 times as many historians as the national average. Historians in D.C. earn the highest average salary in the country, at over $106,000 a year.

New York View School Profile ,

The New York Historical Society dates back to 1804, when it became the first museum in the state. In addition to offering job opportunities for historians, the society runs the Patricia D. Klingenstein Library, which contains historical research materials. Recently, the society opened its Center for Women's History, connecting scholars and educators countrywide.

The state also hosts other historically significant locations, including Federal Hall, where Congress met before the capital was moved to Washington, D.C.; Revolutionary War battlefields; and the Tenement Museum.

New York employs more historians than any other state, according to the BLS. While the state offers many opportunities for historians and history professors, salaries for historians lag behind the national average. History professors, however, earn over $92,000 a year on average.

California View School Profile ,

With its combination of world-class universities and important historical sites, California ranks as one of the best states for historians. California employs more historians than all but two states, according to the BLS, and the state's historians earn above-average salaries. The average salary for California historians exceeds $85,000 a year. The state also boasts a rich history, with historical sites covering its relationships with Native American communities, Spanish conquerors, and American settlers.

California boasts high employment rates for history professors, with over 1,500 working in the state. These historians work at California's many top universities, including UCLA, Stanford, and UC Berkeley. History professors in California earn among the highest salaries in the country, at over $105,000 on average. Historians working in the LA area also benefit from some of the highest wages in a metropolitan area.

Utah View School Profile ,

Combining high historian employment rates with a low cost of living, Utah ranks as one of the best states for historians. The state's historians earn an average salary of over $65,000 a year, which goes far in Utah thanks to the low cost of living. History professors also fare well in Utah, earning an average salary of over $82,000 a year.

The Utah Division of State History, which includes the Utah State Historical Society, is a valuable resource for historians. Dating back to the 1800s, the historical society publishes the Utah Historical Quarterly, which chronicles Utah's history. The division also employs multiple public historians, specialists in historic preservation, and research librarians. With numerous opportunities and an affordable, scenic location, Utah earns its spot on the list.

New Mexico View School Profile ,

New Mexico boasts rich historical sites that educate people about the state's past, like Santa Fe's Palace of the Governors, which dates back to the 17th century when it was Spain's southwest capital. Today, the building hosts the New Mexico History Museum, which chronicles the Spanish Colonial period. New Mexico also showcases important Native American ruins in Chaco Canyon and Taos Pueblo.

The BLS reports that New Mexico offers one of the highest concentrations of historians, with more than twice as many historians as the national average. New Mexico's historians also benefit from high salaries, earning over $76,000 a year on average. In New Mexico, historians earn more than the state's history professors, who average under $63,000 a year.

Maryland View School Profile ,

Maryland offers a rich history, close proximity to Washington, D.C., and high salaries for historians. Home to the Antietam battlefield, where the bloodiest day of war in U.S. history took place during the Civil War, historians find valuable resources in Maryland.

Other sites with military significance include Fort Frederick, which operated during the French and Indian War, the Revolutionary War, and the Civil War. Historians may work at the Frederick Douglass Museum and Cultural Center, recapturing the life of one of America's most important freedom fighters.

In addition to its historical sites, Maryland also offers historians easy access to the federal government, which remains the top-paying industry for historians. Maryland ranks among the top-paying states for historians as well, with an average salary of just under $80,000. The state's location, history, and salaries make Maryland one of the best states for historians.

Massachusetts View School Profile ,

Home to the Boston Tea Party, the Plymouth Plantation, and America's oldest university, Massachusetts offers a wealth of historically significant sites that employ and attract historians. Historians work at many museums, including the Salem Witch Museum, the New Bedford Whaling Museum, and the John F. Kennedy Hyannis Museum. With several colleges and universities, Massachusetts also offers many opportunities for history professors.

In Massachusetts, historians earn salaries above the national average, according to the BLS. The state's historians earn just over $66,500 a year, on average. Massachusetts employs a high number of history professors at its institutions of higher learning, offering jobs for history professors at nearly twice the national average. These professors earn high average salaries of over $94,000 a year.

Colorado View School Profile ,

Colorado combines important historical sites with high salaries for historians. Home to Mesa Verde National Park, one of the most significant Anasazi sites, Colorado makes its Native American heritage accessible to scholars and the public. Colorado also offers the Ute Indian Museum and the Koshare Indian Museum, where historians teach visitors about the past. As a former frontier state, Colorado boasts several historic forts, mining towns, and other sites where historians work.

The state's historians benefit from some of the highest average salaries in the country. The BLS reports that Colorado historians earn nearly $76,000 a year on average. That salary exceeds the average for history professors in the state, which stands at just under $69,000. With valuable historic sites and a cost of living just below the national average, Colorado remains an attractive state for historians.

Pennsylvania View School Profile ,

Pennsylvania offers historians important historical sites and museums. The state houses Independence Hall, where the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were signed. In addition, Pennsylvania boasts many significant sites related to the Revolutionary War era, including Valley Forge. Pennsylvania also welcomes scholars and visitors to Gettysburg National Military Park, where President Lincoln gave the Gettysburg Address. These national historic sites provide professional opportunities for historians, along with the state's museums and libraries.

Historians in Pennsylvania earn slightly below the national average, according to the BLS, at just under $62,000 a year. However, history professors teaching at Pennsylvania's many colleges and universities earn above-average salaries, making over $87,000 a year on average. The state also employs slightly more history professors than the average state.

Illinois View School Profile ,

The Land of Lincoln boasts important historic sites, including the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield. Chicago also attracts history scholars, particularly the Newberry Library, which is one of the premier independent research institutions in the country. The Newberry hosts exhibitions and speaker events, offers seminars to students, and employs historians. The Newberry's Center for Renaissance Studies and Center for the History of Cartography attract scholars worldwide.

Illinois historians benefit from above-average salaries, according to the BLS. Historians earn an average salary of over $70,000 a year, with a strong concentration of jobs in the greater Chicago area. Among metropolitan areas, Chicago employs more historians than nearly any other region. Chicago's historians earn salaries slightly above the state's average, at just over $71,000 a year. The state's history professors earn even higher salaries, at over $88,500 a year on average.

Texas View School Profile ,

The Lone Star State offers many museums, historical sites, and libraries where historians work. In Austin, the LBJ Presidential Library chronicles life in the 1960s, and the nearby Bullock Texas State History Museum charts the history of the region over centuries. In San Antonio, scholars and historians remember the Alamo by visiting the Alamo Mission, a world heritage site. Historians can also find work at the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library and the George W. Bush Presidential Library in Texas.

Texas provides above-average salaries for historians, according to the BLS. Texas historians make just under $70,000 a year, on average, with history professors earning an even higher salary at $81,500 a year. San Antonio also ranks as one of the top-paying metropolitan areas for historians, just behind Washington, D.C., with an average salary of over $84,000 a year.

Missouri View School Profile ,

In Missouri, historians benefit from a low cost of living, many historical sites, and the state's plentiful museums. The Missouri Historical Society, which dates back to 1866, runs the Missouri History Museum, where over 400,000 visitors each year interact with the collection's 175,000 artifacts. The museum employs historians as museum curators and researchers at the library and research center. Missouri also attracts historians with the Harry Truman Presidential Library and numerous local historical societies and museums.

Missouri historians earn salaries below the national average at around $48,500 a year, according to the BLS. The state's history professors earn significantly higher salaries, however, at over $79,000 a year on average. Missouri historians benefit from the state's low cost of living and affordable housing prices. With its historical attractions, many historians find Missouri one of the best states to live.

Hawaii View School Profile ,

Hawaii's rich history includes its years under Hawaiian rule, Hawaii's colonial era, and modern history. The state's top-visited site remains the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center, with nearly 2 million visitors annually. With memorials, monuments, and museums, Pearl Harbor appeals to historians and offers employment opportunities.

In addition to Pearl Harbor, the state boasts other historically significant sites, including early Hawaiian settlements, royal palaces, and temples. The Hawaiian Historical Society dates back to 1892.

The state's curators, museum technicians, and conservators earn salaries slightly below the national average, with curators earning just under $54,000 a year, according to the BLS. History professors earn salaries around the national median, at $72,000 a year on average. While the state has the highest cost of living in the country and the most expensive housing prices, its historical sites and natural beauty make Hawaii a draw for historians.

Georgia View School Profile ,

With its long history and many historical sites, Georgia appeals to historians. It also offers above-average salaries and a below-average cost of living. Georgia's history includes important sites from the Civil War, such as the Andersonville National Historic Site, and valuable research institutions, like the Atlanta History Center. In addition to its exhibits and collections, the Atlanta History Center offers employment opportunities for historians. Pop culture historians may find opportunities at the World of Coca-Cola in Atlanta.

Georgia historians earn above-average salaries, according to the BLS. Historians earn over $66,000 a year on average, while history professors earn nearly $80,000. Georgia also boasts many prestigious colleges and universities where historians may find employment. Due to Georgia's below-average cost of living, historian salaries go far in the state.

Louisiana View School Profile ,

Louisiana may not employ many historians and related professions, but the state's rich history, especially in New Orleans, and low cost of living make it one of the most attractive states for historians. Both the Louisiana History Museum and the Louisiana State Museum offer opportunities for historians to work as museum curators and conservators.

Scholars and visitors curious about Louisiana's past can visit Natchitoches, which was founded by a French settler, or Fort St. Jean Baptiste, which was a French and Spanish fort. Many parts of New Orleans retain their historic flavor, welcoming historians and others interested in the past.

Historians in Louisiana earn salaries slightly below the national average, according to the BLS. Archivists earn around $45,000 a year, while curators make just under $40,000. History professors at the state's many colleges and universities earn a higher average salary, at over $71,000. Historians in the state benefit from its below-average cost of living.

North Carolina View School Profile ,

North Carolina offers salaries close to the national average, a low cost of living, and many historical sites and museums that attract historians. The state's museums include the North Carolina Museum of History, a division of the Smithsonian, and the Greensboro Civil Rights Museum. Scholars and visitors can see Civil War battlefields and the site of the Wright Brothers' first flight in North Carolina.

The state's historians earn salaries just below the national average, at around $60,500 a year on average. History professors earn a higher salary, making nearly $74,000 a year. North Carolina attracts many history professors because of the state's numerous prestigious institutions of higher education, including the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and Duke University. North Carolina historians also benefit from the state's below-average cost of living and housing costs.

Washington View School Profile ,

Washington attracts historians with numerous museums organized around the state's history and specializations. Near Boeing Field, historians visit and work at the Museum of Flight, one of the largest air and space collections. Near Amazon's headquarters, the Museum of History and Industry charts the growth of Seattle into a major industrial center. In Tacoma, the Washington State History Museum employs historians and curators to tell the state's history.

Historians working in Washington earn salaries close to the national average, according to the BLS. Archivists make over $57,000 a year, while museum curators earn over $58,000. Museum technicians and conservators make slightly less, at $45,000 a year, while history professors bring in the highest salaries, at just under $70,000 a year on average.

Oregon View School Profile ,

After crossing the country, Lewis and Clark spent the winter at Fort Clatsop, which their expedition built in three weeks on the Pacific coast of Oregon. The state's historical sites, including those linked to the Oregon Trail and the Lewis and Clark Expedition, attract visitors and historians. Historians may work at the Museum of the Oregon Territory and the Oregon Historical Society Museum. Ample professional opportunities combined with a cost of living below the national average make Oregon one of the best states for historians.

Oregon archivists and museum curators earn salaries slightly lower than the national average, according to the BLS. Both earn around $46,000 a year on average, while museum technicians and conservators make slightly less at $42,000 a year. Oregon history professors bring in higher wages, at over $76,000 a year.

New Jersey View School Profile ,

From the Newark Museum to the Thomas Edison National Historical Park, historians work across New Jersey, educating people about the past. New Jersey also welcomes visitors to many Revolutionary War sites, including Washington Crossing State Park, where George Washington and his army landed before defeating the British army at Trenton and Princeton. Trenton's Old Barracks Museum includes a collection dating back to the Revolutionary War.

Historians in New Jersey earn salaries well above the national average, according to the BLS. The state's historians earn nearly $76,000 a year on average, and history professors earn an average salary of nearly $89,000 a year. New Jersey also offers numerous opportunities for history professors at the state's prestigious colleges and

Ohio View School Profile ,

Historians interested in presidential history visit Ohio, the birthplace of eight presidents, to visit the homes of James A. Garfield and Ulysses S. Grant. William McKinley's Presidential Library and Museum offers a collection of artifacts and research materials. Plus, the Ohio History Center in Columbus connects scholars and visitors to Ohio's past. With battlefields from the War of 1812 and the Civil War, military historians also find important sites in the state.

Ohio historians earn salaries slightly below the national average, according to the BLS. The state's historians earn around $57,500 a year, on average, while Ohio history professors earn an above-average salary, at over $87,000 a year. Ohio's many colleges and universities, including Ohio State University, attract history professors. Ohio's low cost of living helps salaries go far in the state.

Michigan View School Profile ,

The Michigan History Center welcomes historians, offering museums and archival collections staffed by historians. The state's network of 12 museums and historic sites that comprise the Michigan History Museum System cover the state's maritime heritage, historic petroglyphs, and logging history. The Michigan History Museum chronicles the state's past, offering job opportunities for historians.

Michigan historians earn salaries close to the national average, according to the BLS. Historians earn just over $60,000 a year, while history professors bring in close to $76,000 a year. Michigan's low cost of living and affordable housing prices attract historians. Plus, the state hosts the International Congress on Medieval History in Kalamazoo each year, which attracts historians from around the world.

Minnesota View School Profile ,

The Minnesota Historical Society offers historical adventures for history lovers and scholars. Minnesota's historians chronicle the state's history. The Minnesota History Center in St. Paul provides curated exhibits and a research library staffed by historians. The state also boasts many colleges and universities, which offer employment opportunities for history professors, making Minnesota one of the best states for historians.

Historians and professionals in related fields earn salaries slightly below the national average, according to the BLS. Archivists earn just under $50,000 a year in Minnesota, while museum curators earn just under $55,000. The state's history professors earn higher salaries at around $85,000 a year on average, exceeding the national average. In each of these fields, Minnesota history professionals earn more than the personal income average for the state.

Connecticut View School Profile ,

Connecticut is one of the oldest British colonies in North America. Today, the state attracts historians and visitors interested in Revolutionary War sites, including forts and battlefields. The Mark Twain House and Museum also draws visitors and historians, while the Museum of Connecticut History traces the state's past dating back centuries.

To complement the state's high cost of living, historians working in Connecticut benefit from above-average salaries. According to the BLS, archivists and museum curators in Connecticut make more than the national average in their fields. Archivists earn over $63,500 a year on average, while curators earn over $65,000. Connecticut history professors earn over $86,000 on average. The state's numerous colleges and museums attract history professors, particularly the flagship university, the University of Connecticut, and the state's ivy league institution, Yale University.

Maine View School Profile ,

Maine's long history includes its Native American heritage, settlements by France and Holland, and the territory's time as a British colony. Historians interested in the Revolutionary War can visit Fort George, which occupying British troops built and defended in 1779. Additionally, scholars and visitors can trace maritime heritage at the Maine Historical Society's museum and the Maine State Museum.

Historians in Maine earn salaries around the national average, according to the BLS. The state's museum curators earn around $54,500 a year, while its museum technicians and conservators earn just over $40,000 a year. Maine's strong liberal arts colleges and the University of Maine attract history professors. History professors in the state earn salaries in line with the national average, at around $77,000 a year.

How to Choose a Bachelor's in History Program

Students pursuing a degree in history should consider several factors. For instance, history programs offer specializations, including focuses in geographic areas, time periods, and concepts. Make sure you are taking into account what specialization you would like to pursue and search for a school that offers that subject.

The total cost of the program also matters when choosing a school, since candidates may need to study on a budget -- particularly if their cost of living is high. Selecting a college or university with lower tuition would ease the process of paying out-of-pocket and lessen student loan burdens. Many history programs require approximately $1,000 per course, but tuition can vary based on a variety of factors, such as if the institution is private or public.

In general, bachelor's degrees require four years to complete at full-time status. Students looking to lessen this time frame can look into programs that offer self-paced courses or other accelerated program options. Students should also consider the benefits of online versus on-campus programs and the curriculum details. Students may find that the online format fits their time constraints better and allows for flexibility and balance of work, life, and school commitments. When looking at curriculum details, students may choose to enroll in a program that offers a practicum rather than a final project due to the networking benefits. These practicums prove beneficial at organizations near the student's living area, so students without local options may choose programs with a thesis or final project instead.

Finally, students should ensure that prospective colleges and universities are accredited so the degree holds professional value. Otherwise, graduates may find that employers do not accept their degrees for employment qualification.

Accreditation for Bachelor's in History Programs

Accreditation means an institution meets the standards of an agency that is qualified to examine and verify academic merit. Each accreditation agency reviews schools by uniform standards, so all schools with the same accreditation hold comparable academic qualities. Additionally, many forms of financial aid are only available to candidates at accredited schools, and future colleges or employers may not accept coursework from schools without accreditation.

Accreditation comes in three forms: national, regional, and programmatic. Regional accreditation allows a better chance of transferring credits, and programmatic accreditation gives significance to a particular degree. Programmatic accreditation is given to programs or departments within an institution that is already nationally or regionally accredited.

Bachelor's in History Program Admissions

In general, students should submit applications to three school types: preferred schools, safe choices, and reaching options. For preferred schools, students select institutions that match educational needs and provide a strong chance of acceptance. Safe choices offer essential educational elements, such as a history program, but include easier admission standards for a more certain chance of acceptance. Schools that have the ideal history program and/or concentration but a more competitive admission rate make up the reaching options.

Most schools require an application fee, so applying to a high number of institutions can become expensive. For this reason, degree candidates should maintain selective criteria when choosing institutions to apply to. Factors such as cost of tuition, student-to-faculty ratio, and program concentrations should be taken into account.

Application experiences may also vary between on-campus and online programs. Specifically, the online admission process typically delivers more interaction and involvement between the school and the student. Such details can influence application decisions.


Minimum GPA standards ensure applicants are capable of academic success. For a bachelor's degree in history, institutions often set this requirement between 2.0-3.0. Schools may admit students who do not meet these standards on a provisional basis.

Admission Materials

This form supplies a student's academic information for review purposes. The full application process can take several weeks since most schools will require recommendation letters and writing samples. The Common Application allows students to apply to multiple schools with one application. Transcripts provide proof of an applicant's academic achievements. Students should request transcripts from all schools previously attended and have those documents sent to the new school. High schools may deliver transcripts for free, though many colleges and universities charge a fee. These letters supply evidence of support for candidates from respected professionals. Applicants should submit the number of recommendation letters that the school requests and allow the professionals writing the letters at least two weeks to complete the task. Common required tests for admission include the SAT and ACT. Minimum scores required can vary by school and program. Schools receive thousands of applications, and these fees compensate for reviewing submissions. Colleges and universities commonly charge between $25-$100, but in some cases students can have these fees waived.

What Else Can I Expect From a Bachelor's in History Program?

Many schools offer a history degree, but each program may differ in the era or specialization. Students should explore concentrations and required courses to find which program best suits their historical interests.

Concentrations Offered for a Bachelor's Degree in History
Concentration Description Careers
Classical History This concentration focuses on ancient Greece and Rome, from the beginning of Greek culture to the fall of the Roman Empire. Common topics involve art, literature, military, politics, science, and economy. Possible classical history careers include working as a museum curator, documentarian, and or archaeologist.
Military History Military history students explore warfare tactics throughout different eras as well as details of specific wars. Students also examine people and countries involved with these wars, gaining insight into various cultures. The blend of military and political information equips students with knowledge useful in political science and national security positions.
Public History Public history programs prepare students to use historic knowledge in a modern-world manner. Typically, this entails working outside of a classroom and bringing history concepts to contemporary life through community projects, tourism, and consultation work. Public history graduates can explore careers as museum workers and archivists and may also work in historic preservation or for historic sites.
Legal History Some form of law has existed since the Code of Hammurabi, though legal regulations and processes vary among cultures and eras. A legal history focus allows candidates to examine major movements in law-making and legal practices. Graduates may find work as paralegals or use this bachelor's to enter law school for higher employment options, such as attorney positions.
Economic History Students in these programs examine history through an economic lense, studying concepts like capitalism, government aid, and globalization. Students may explore why certain practices proved successful, as well as factors that influenced economies and the ways economic variations impacted citizens. Economic history graduates can explore career options in marketing research and grant writing.

Courses in a Bachelor's in History Program

History programs vary in course requirements due to the quantity of concepts included in historical studies. Different eras, geographic areas, and past concepts may surface in curriculum, and since field concentrations exist within departments, students can expect each program to present different coursework. However, certain topics tend to be common to most history programs, such as the following.

World Civilization

These classes cover various eras, times, locations, and peoples, beginning with pre-history. Additionally, world civilization courses can examine different factors within each discussed civilization, such as culture, economics, military, and politics. This course prepares students for careers in archaeology by delivering information that helps in deciding dig locations and interpreting archaeological finds.

History of the U.S. to 1865

This exploration of U.S. history includes the creation of the colonies, the founding of the country, and the Civil War. The knowledge gained from this course can prepare students for careers at U.S. historic sites as tour guides and preservers by supplying the historic context for a specific site's importance.


Historiography students examine past and present approaches to history, essentially studying the methodology professionals have used to study the field. Candidates may apply these methods to new research projects to improve writing and research skills. Due to the heavy focuses on methodology and writing, this class can help students succeed in historical writing careers.

Renaissance Europe

These courses cover the Renaissance movement. Topics can include artistic concepts, such as paintings and music, as well as cultures, politics, and educational advances. Given that the Renaissance holds status as a major artistic period, this course prepares candidates for positions at art museums.

History Communication

Students learn how to present historical information in a modern world through various communication methods, including social media, books, and documentaries. These concepts prepare candidates for public careers, whether as noted authors of history books or lecturers in the field. These communication skills can also train students to present information to the public as tour guides.

How Long Does It Take to Get a Bachelor's in History?

Generally, a bachelor's degree requires four years to complete, though certain factors affect the time frame. Cohort programs enable students to fulfill requirements as a group, while other programs may deliver courses with an accelerated pace for students who intend to graduate quickly.

Students who want to complete programs in under four years can also enroll in summer courses. Additionally, students can take higher credit loads per semester. Completing 15 credits for spring and fall semesters for four years fulfills the typical 120-credit requirement for a history degree. By choosing to enroll in just three credits more per semester, candidates can eliminate one semester for quicker graduation. Students should note that supplementary hours, or course overloads, can lead to higher tuition. Those who choose to study part time should be aware that this pushes back graduation, affects the amount of financial aid they may be eligible for, and that schools can charge higher per-credit tuition for part-time students.

How Much Is a Bachelor's in History?

Tuition represents the main expense of a college education. The amount needed to pay this expense varies, but students can use general guidelines to infer which colleges and universities are more expensive. Private institutions do not receive state funding, so tuition rates at these institutions are frequently higher than at state-funded public schools. Colleges and universities can also charge non-resident degree seekers more for tuition than their resident students. For this reason, students could save money in tuition by studying in state -- sometimes by hundreds of dollars per credit.

Tuition rates for resident undergraduate students are often between $250-$500 per credit, though certain schools may list higher amounts. Institutions may also charge tuition on a per-semester basis, and these costs can vary.

Textbooks can cost more than $100 each, and certain classes call for more than one text. On-campus students may also endure traveling expenses, such as gasoline and a parking permit. Additionally, many schools collect fees from on-campus and online students, including housing, technology, and graduation charges.

Certifications and Licenses a Bachelor's in History Prepares For

Smithsonian Associates Certificate Program in World Art History

This certification supplies history expertise in art, which can assist in gaining employment in art museums or as history teachers for art-related courses. Either of these careers may require further education, depending on the position, but this credential uniquely molds candidates for the opportunities.

Teaching Licensure

While many teachers earn a bachelor's in education, other paths exist to this career. For instance, history graduates may pursue a master's degree that leads to teaching licensure. Holding a background in history could assist candidates in training for teaching positions after fulfilling all licensure requirements.

Museum Studies

Obtaining a certificate in museum studies can verify a graduate's abilities to work in the noted environment. Colleges and universities offer this certificate, and covered topics include maintaining collections and overall management of the facility. Concepts such as technology and business details may also surface. Candidates may complete a museum studies program online.

Professional Genealogist

Genealogy holds a logical connection to history, so graduates may consider pursuing this certification. Candidates can apply through the Board for Certification of Genealogists and may also explore the lecturer option for certification. Keep in mind that applications can take as long as six months to review.

Graduate Certificates

Schools may offer graduate certificates in history for particular concepts. These credentials can heighten employment chances by providing evidence of focused expertise in a specific area. Possible topics include classical history, the American Revolution, and World War II. Students may often complete these programs in less time than what is required for a master's degree.

Resources for History Students

Project Gutenberg

This resource provides free virtual copies of thousands of books, including ancient primary sources. Students may use this site to explore volumes by ancient people, such as Suetonius, Plutarch, and Polybius, to construct solid research papers and projects.

National Archives

This organization keeps some of the nation's most valuable documents, such as military records and genealogy details. American history students can use this information to research specific time periods, concepts, and people.

British Museum

The British Museum delivers information on research projects through this website. Degree candidates can explore this information by categories, including specific geographic areas and academic fields.


JSTOR houses sources for history students in the forms of scholarly articles, book excerpts, research documents, and pamphlets. These documents include primary and secondary sources for strong historical research.

National Council for the Social Studies

Students can browse this website to find information on topics related to U.S. history, such as Pearl Harbor and the Civil War. The organization also conducts a yearly conference where participants can expand social studies knowledge through tours and workshops.

Professional Organizations in History

To increase employment chances, candidates may look toward professional organizations for networking purposes. Through these groups, members can interact with other historians to create professional relationships that open career doors. Additionally, these organizations often maintain a job board and provide career tips through conferences, seminars, and virtual resource collections to assist members in professional endeavors. Members may also find opportunities to fulfill any needed continuing education hours for careers and licenses through these organizations.

American Historical Association

This group publishes two historical sources: Perspectives on History and the American Historical Review. Members can use these sources to expand historical knowledge. AHA also provides information on available jobs in history and conducts an annual meeting.

Organization of American Historians

OAH provides site visitors with information about American history topics, such as the Civil War. The organization also publishes several journals, including The American Historian. Members can participate in the group's yearly meeting.

Virginia Association of Museums

VAM hosts yearly workshops that deal with concepts such as preservation and archeology. Additionally, the group offers online courses and a certificate program. VAM also arranges more casual group meetings for social networking.

World History Association

This group produces the Journal of World History and the Middle Ground Journal; they also host conferences and provide the World Traveler Scholar Fund. Several awards are offered, such as the World History Association Jerry H. Bentley Book Prize and the World Historian Student Essay Competition.

The Society for Military History

This group publishes the Journal of Military History and hosts an annual meeting. The organization also provides information about upcoming workshops, current jobs, competitions, and fellowships on the site.

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