Best Online Master’s in History Programs of 2021

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September 15, 2021

Edited by Jordan Stewart-Rozema
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Students who excel in social sciences, enjoy reading and writing, and possess an affinity for learning about historical events and culture may want to earn a master's in history. This degree qualifies graduates for multiple career paths.

This page covers program requirements, common coursework, concentrations, admission procedures, and potential jobs. It also showcases the top 10 history masters programs at accredited universities in the U.S.

What Are the Best Online Master's in History Programs of 2021? Here Are Our Top 10:

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#1 Florida International University Miami, FL
#2 Louisiana Tech University Ruston, LA
#3 University of Louisiana at Monroe Monroe, LA
#4 Sam Houston State University Huntsville, TX
#5 University of North Alabama Florence, AL
#6 University of North Carolina Wilmington Wilmington, NC
#7 Eastern Illinois University Charleston, IL
#8 Arizona State University Scottsdale, AZ
#9 Liberty University Lynchburg, VA
#10 University of Nebraska at Kearney Kearney, NE

Related Programs That Might Interest You

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

Professionals who hold a master's in history can pursue careers as archivists, curators, or conservators. These professionals typically work in museums, historical sites, educational services, or government. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects a 19% increase in job opportunities for these experts between 2020 and 2030.

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2021 Best Accredited Online Master's in History Programs

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Florida International University View School Profile Miami, FL

Located in Miami, FIU offers an online master of arts in history. Students choose one of five culture areas as a core concentration, focusing their studies on Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, or the United States.

In addition to this concentration, students choose a "breadth area," developing a broader context for historical understanding. This breadth area consists of six credits in either another cultural area (listed above), another discipline outside the history department, or a combination of the two.

Students can complete their degree in one of three ways, by finishing a report, a thesis, or a public history portfolio. The report option can be completed entirely online, while the other options require some in-person work or presentations.

FIU is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Program Snapshot

Program Name: Master of Arts in History
School Status: Public
Tuition: $479 per credit (in-state); $1,025 per credit (out-of-state)
Credit Requirements: 30 credits
Program Length: 3-4 semesters
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.25 minimum required
Standardized Tests: GRE optional

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Request more information about this program.

Louisiana Tech University View School Profile Ruston, LA

Located in Ruston, Louisiana Tech offers an online master's in history. With thesis and nonthesis tracks available, students can tailor their educational experience to fit their future career goals. Louisiana Tech encourages those interested in pursuing a doctorate in history to choose the thesis plan, while students not bound for a doctorate may instead choose the nonthesis plan, which requires students to submit two research papers to prove mastery in their chosen subject area.

In conjunction with a graduate advisor, students select their focused subject area, building their coursework and research credits around a specific historical focus. Students complete 12 credits in this chosen subject area, which should be included as the focus of their thesis or research papers.

Louisiana Tech is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Program Snapshot

Program Name: Master of Arts in History
School Status: Public
Tuition: $3,321 per semester (full-time, in-state); $5,930 per semester (full-time, out-of-state)
Credit Requirements: 30 credits
Program Length: 3-4 semesters
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: Not minimum specified
Standardized Tests: GRE required

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University of Louisiana at Monroe View School Profile Monroe, LA

Located in northern Louisiana, ULM offers an online master of arts in history. Most courses in this program focus on history within the western hemisphere, with a few giving special focus to regions east of Europe. Curriculum highlights include courses on biblical lands, ancient near-East and Greece, the makers of America, and the rise of Southern nationalism.

While students may tailor their program to fit their research interests, learners who want to complete a thesis should note that this program does not allow online completion of the thesis track.

ULM is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Program Snapshot

Program Name: Master of Arts in History
School Status: Public
Tuition: $4,619 per semester (full-time, in-state); $10,669 per semester (full-time, out-of-state)
Credit Requirements: 30 credits
Program Length: 3-4 semesters
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0 minimum required
Standardized Tests: GRE or GMAT optional

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Request more information about this program.

Sam Houston State University View School Profile Huntsville, TX

Located in Huntsville, Texas, SHSU offers an online master of arts in history. Students examine historical issues, periods, peoples, and cultures through a sociological lens, choosing to focus on one of three tracks: rights and identity, war and violence, or encounters and exchanges.

Students tailor their courses to fit their professional goals, choosing either a 30-credit thesis track or a 36-credit portfolio track. Curriculum highlights include courses on Mesoamerican civilizations, the Japanese colonial empire, and the American West. SHSU's online academic success center also offers students customized writing feedback and one-on-one tutoring sessions.

SHSU is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Program Snapshot

Program Name: Master of Arts in History
School Status: Public
Tuition: $516 per credit
Credit Requirements: 30 or 36 credits
Program Length: 3-4 semesters
Format: Online

Admission Requirements

GPA: No minimum specified
Standardized Tests: Not required

Contact the School

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University of North Alabama View School Profile Florence, AL

Located in Florence, UNA offers an online master of arts in history. Students can pursue a thesis or nonthesis option, tailoring their academic experience toward their intended career. Designed as a generalist program, UNA's students explore a wide variety of historical perspectives, with instruction leaning toward a focus on U.S. history. Curriculum highlights include courses in historiography and methodology, as well as seminar classes covering both world and U.S. history.

Students at UNA who elect to follow the nonthesis track instead take six credits of directed research and study, concluding the program with a comprehensive exam.

UNA is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Program Snapshot

Program Name: Master of Arts in History
School Status: Public
Tuition: $400 per credit
Credit Requirements: 33 credits
Program Length: 2 years
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 2.75 minimum required
Standardized Tests: GRE required, with a minimum of at least two of the three following scores: Verbal, 146; Quantitative, 140; Analytical Writing, 3.5

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University of North Carolina Wilmington View School Profile Wilmington, NC

Located in Wilmington, UNCW offers a mostly online master's in history. A nonthesis program, UNCW's history curriculum focuses on U.S., European, and global history. Rather than offering specific concentrations, the program aims to graduate diversified students who are knowledgeable in a broad variety of topics. Course highlights include the internal combustion revolution, the British empire, and issues and approaches within the historian's craft.

Through UNCW's summer institute, students take courses on campus for one week each summer of the program, helping them build community with others in their field.

UNCW is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Program Snapshot

Program Name: Master of Arts in History
School Status: Public
Tuition: $259 per credit (in-state); $937 per credit (out-of-state)
Credit Requirements: 30 credits
Program Length: 24 months
Format: Online, with two required on-campus summer sessions
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: No minimum specified
Standardized Tests: GRE requirement waived through 2021

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Request more information about this program.

Eastern Illinois University View School Profile Charleston, IL

Located in Charleston, EIU offers a mostly online master of arts in history for educators. The nonthesis program is specifically tailored for teachers who want to earn their master's while continuing to work in the classroom. EIU offers a custom schedule, aimed at helping educators complete more coursework in the summers, while providing a lighter loader during the traditional school year. Required coursework covers topics like American history and historiography, and students also complete nine credits of electives.

EIU's cohort model cultivates community and consistency, with every class starting their journey with a five-day intensive on campus. The remainder of the coursework is delivered online. A final research project — completed through independent study — concludes the program and offers students the chance to tailor their learning toward a specific area.

EIU is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Program Snapshot

Program Name: Master of Arts in History
School Status: Public
Tuition: $318 per credit in-state; $750 per credit out-of-state
Credit Requirements: 32 credits
Program Length: 3 Years
Format: Online, with five-day campus residency to begin the program
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: No minimum specified
Standardized Tests: Not required

Contact the School

Request more information about this program.

Arizona State University View School Profile Scottsdale, AZ

A public university located in Phoenix, ASU serves more than 20,000 distance learners. The school offers an online master of arts in history that features a nonthesis curriculum. Students can tailor their coursework to match their historical interests, taking classes like public history methodology, global history, and North American history. Students also complete a culminating capstone experience.

Noted for its innovation, ASU offers distance learners a collaborative online learning environment that provides access to counselors, career advisors, tutors, and time management coaches.

ASU is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Program Snapshot

Program Name: Master of Arts in History
School Status: Public
Tuition: $595 per credit
Credit Requirements: 30 credits
Program Length: 2 years
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.3 minimum suggested
Standardized Tests: Not required

Contact the School

Request more information about this program.

Liberty University View School Profile Lynchburg, VA

A Christian college located in Lynchburg, Virginia, Liberty offers an online master of arts in history. Students may transfer in up to half of the credits required for Liberty's program, providing a smooth pathway for transfer students. Courses are taught in eight-week blocks.

The nonthesis curriculum focuses on shaping students' understanding of the past — including contexts, cultures, and innovations — but with an eye toward the future. Featured courses cover topics like the Protestant Reformation, historiography, and American Christian heritage. Students may also elect to pursue an internship.

Liberty is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Program Snapshot

Program Name: Master of Arts in History
School Status: Private
Tuition: $565 per credit
Credit Requirements: 36 credits
Program Length: 1.5 years
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0 minimum required
Standardized Tests: Not required

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Request more information about this program.

University of Nebraska at Kearney View School Profile Kearney, NE

A public university founded in 1905, UNK offers an online master's in history. Students can pursue a thesis-based program, a nonthesis program, or a program featuring a concentration in public history. UNK's curriculum covers various historical methods and also branches into innovative ways of engaging with historical sources and cultures. Curriculum highlights include classes in public and digital history, readings in American history, and an optional internship.

Students may focus their electives toward a major and/or minor area in history. Learners dedicate 6-9 credits of electives toward their focus, depending upon their concentration topic.

UNK is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Program Snapshot

Program Name: Master of Arts in History
School Status: Public
Tuition: $315 per credit (in-state); $504 per credit (out-of-state)
Credit Requirements: 36 credits
Program Length: 1.5-2 years
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.25 minimum required, depending on test scores
Standardized Tests: GRE optional

Contact the School

Request more information about this program.

Norwich University View School Profile Northfield, VT

The oldest private military college in the United States, Norwich offers a mostly online master of arts in history. Students engage in courses fully online before completing a one-week residency on campus, which serves as a culminating experience. With class sizes limited to a maximum of 15 students, learners engage deeply with their peers and faculty as they become familiar with multiple historiographical traditions.

Shaped around the formative force of the military in global history, students may choose a track in public history, world history, or American history. American and world history students may elect to complete a thesis, or choose a capstone project instead. All public history students complete a capstone project.

Curriculum highlights include courses that cover the hunter-gatherer and agrarian eras, global military history, and early national history.

Norwich is regionally accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.

Program Snapshot

Program Name: Master of Arts in History
School Status: Private
Tuition: $719 per credit
Credit Requirements: 36 credits
Program Length: 18 months
Format: Online with a one-week residency
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 2.75 minimum required
Standardized Tests: GRE optional

Contact the School

Request more information about this program.

Pittsburg State University View School Profile Pittsburg, KS

Located in Pittsburg, Kansas, Pitt State offers an online master of arts in history. Students can customize their learning experience by choosing one of three learning options: completing a thesis, conducting an applied research project, or taking at least 33 credits of coursework.

Courses in historiography, historical research, American history, and world history anchor the curriculum. After completing core coursework, students select at least 18 credits of electives. Faculty interests in film history, historical methods, and cultural context help students find connections with experts in various areas of history and historical retelling.

Pitt State is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Program Snapshot

Program Name: Master of Arts in History
School Status: Public
Tuition: $371 per credit
Credit Requirements: 30-33 credits
Program Length: 2 years
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 2.75 minimum required
Standardized Tests: Not specified

Contact the School

Request more information about this program.

Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania View School Profile Slippery Rock, PA

Located in western Pennsylvania, SRU offers an online master's in history. Students benefit from small class sizes — 16 students on average — and engage in a generalized, nonthesis curriculum centered around European, U.S., and world history. A comprehensive exam at the end of the program tests each student's overall historical proficiency.

Course highlights include Hispanic American history, history of medicine, political violence in Latin America, and U.S. foreign policy. Beyond gaining a deep understanding of historical narrative, students develop critical thinking skills that can help them better understand current events.

SRU is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Program Snapshot

Program Name: Master of Arts in History
School Status: Public
Tuition: $516 per credit (in-state); $568 per credit (out-of-state)
Credit Requirements: 30 credits
Program Length: 24 months
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0 minimum required
Standardized Tests: Not specified

Contact the School

Request more information about this program.

Missouri State University-Springfield View School Profile Springfield, MO

Located in Springfield, MSU offers an online master of arts in history. Students can specialize in various subjects within world and U.S. history, with concentration options like American studies, global area studies, and U.S. and world studies. Participants also choose to complete a thesis or a seminar. Learners in the seminar track must write a paper and give a presentation of their graduate research.

Students who live near an MSU campus may elect to take some classes in person and receive a hybrid education. All MSU faculty in the graduate history department are full-time employees who are tenured or tenure-track professors.

MSU is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Program Snapshot

Program Name: Master of Arts in History
School Status: Public
Tuition: $295 per credit
Credit Requirements: 30 credits
Program Length: 1.5 years
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 2.75 minimum required
Standardized Tests: Not required

Contact the School

Request more information about this program.

Southern New Hampshire University View School Profile Manchester, NH

Located in Manchester, SNHU offers an online master of arts in history. Students select from concentrations in American history, military history, or public history. The curriculum focuses on helping learners develop analytical, interpretive, and narrative skills in history, combining these abilities to develop their own approach to historical analysis.

Course highlights include early American encounters, the Gilded and Progressive eras, America and the Cold War, and digitization of history. Students also complete information systems management and quantitative reasoning coursework.

SNHU is regionally accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.

Program Snapshot

Program Name: Master of Arts in History
School Status: Private
Tuition: $627 per credit
Credit Requirements: 33 credits
Program Length: 15 months
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 2.75 minimum encouraged
Standardized Tests: Not required

Contact the School

Request more information about this program.

What Can I Expect From an Online Master's in History Program?

An online master's in history allows students to critically examine the past and explore how historical narratives develop over time. Foundational courses include historiography, historical methods, and theory. An online master's in history often includes a thesis or applied research option.

Universities may allow history majors to customize their degree. Students may choose to study the field generally or focus on a specific historical era or subject. For example, aspiring K-12 history teachers may concentrate on content taught at the elementary or secondary level.

While this degree prepares students for advanced roles in the field, many professionals choose to earn a doctorate to distinguish themselves from other job candidates or to qualify for teaching roles in higher education.

What Courses Will I Take in an Online Master's in History Program?

Historical Methods

Historical methods courses examine modern approaches to studying the past and professionalism within the field. Assignments may provide flexibility, allowing students to focus on their own areas of interest. This writing-intensive course may require weekly essays, research proposals, and/or a research portfolio component.

Seminar in American History

A seminar in American history includes hands-on research and writing on events such as the Great Depression, WWII, and the civil rights movement. Professors typically allow students to choose their own topics for assignments. Course objectives include selecting useful primary sources, responding to criticism, and drafting publishable work.

Seminar in Global History

A seminar in global history introduces students to modern and ancient movements and events across the world. This course emphasizes reading, research, writing, and critical thinking. Final assignments typically include a research proposal and a high-quality research paper. This course also encourages student collaboration and debate.

Introduction to Historiography

Introduction to historiography courses present key concepts and challenges modern historians face. This course requires intensive reading, writing, and research. Students engage with philosophical and theoretical works that analyze how the field has evolved. Course objectives include developing independent intellectual agendas, honing critical reading and writing skills, and discerning future historiographic trends.

History of Islamic Societies

This course surveys the Middle East from pre-Islamic years through Ottoman rule. Among other topics, students may consider the plurality of cultures that make up the region and the intellectual and spiritual formation of Muslims, along with the civilization's literary works, art, warfare, and trade.

Related Master's in History Degree Concentrations

American History

A concentration in American history examines pertinent topics regarding the establishment and development of the U.S., its people, the land, and its global presence. This concentration prepares graduates for multiple roles, including K-12 teaching positions in secondary schools.

Public History

Public history emphasizes teaching historical lessons in non-school settings, such as museums and historic sites. Students gain the knowledge and skills to broaden public awareness regarding the value of studying history using methods like public colloquia and digital media. This concentration often requires an internship.

European History

Students examine Europe's historical, political, economic, and global influence from its inception to current day. Courses may include German nationalism and state formation, Russian and Soviet history, Irish history, and Reformation and Renaissance history. This concentration requires extensive research.

World History

Students examine historical connections between people from multiple regions, cultures, and states. Areas of study may include constitutionalism, economic networks, slavery, environmental exchange, migration, exchanges and diffusion of disease, and diaspora.

Museum Studies

Students interested in studying art and artifacts can supplement a master's in history with a specialization in museum studies. This concentration explores collections, exhibitions, and historic preservation. Students also gain experience with revenue generation, proposal writing, and fundraising.

Related Programs That Might Interest You

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

What Are the Admission Requirements for an Online Master's in History Program?

Students considering a master's in history need to submit official transcripts from an accredited bachelor's program. Students without sufficient prerequisite undergraduate credits may need to complete additional coursework before gaining admission.

Colleges and universities may require letters of recommendation to confirm a student's work ethic and academic performance. Students can ask former professors, academic counselors, and/or employers for these letters.

Colleges and universities may require students to complete the GRE to determine their potential for success. An increasing number of online programs do not require the GRE, and other universities allow students to choose whether they want to submit their scores. Students with a low GPA should submit GRE scores to increase their chances of admission.

A master's in history emphasizes reading, research, and writing. History graduate programs may require students to submit a research paper that examines an issue in-depth, using primary and secondary sources. Universities may include a page limit and/or minimum page requirement.

The TOEFL exam evaluates international students' mastery of the English language and ability to study at a college level. The TOEFL contains four sections: speaking, listening, reading, and writing. International students must complete this exam in four hours.


What Can I Do With an Online Master's in History?

Students who earn a master's in history may become historians. However, to teach in many university settings, you need a doctorate. Therefore, many graduates go on to earn their Ph.D.

History graduates may also become K-12 history teachers. This role requires a teaching license. Students who did not earn a teaching license in their bachelor's program may need to complete additional coursework.

Graduates may also work in libraries, archives, museums, and other historic settings.


Related Careers

Frequently Asked Questions About Online Master's in History Programs

What can I do with a master's degree in history?

Professionals may work in colleges and universities, K-12 schools, museums, and historical sites. Federal and state governments, hospitals, and scientific establishments also offer opportunities for history professionals.

How long does it take to get a master's degree in history?

On average, students can earn their degree in two years of full-time attendance. Part-time students should anticipate earning their degree in three or four years. Programs may offer accelerated options that allow students to graduate sooner. Students should also note that additional concentration areas may extend the length of their program.

How much does it cost to get a master's degree in history?

The cost of a master's in history varies. Online programs may offer lower tuition rates than on-campus programs. However, students should also factor in out-of-state costs if they hold residency in another state. Choosing a private college or public university can also influence tuition rates.

How much can I earn with a master's degree in history?

Students should identify what role interests them to determine an average salary. The cost of living may also influence earning potential. Researching state-specific information can help students uncover accurate average salaries, as well.

What master's degree can I get with a BA in history?

Students who hold a bachelor's degree in history often go on to earn a master's degree in history. However, students considering another field may want to make a list of transferable skills. For instance, history majors often excel in research, reading, and writing. These skills would help a student considering law school.

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