Most Affordable Online Humanities Degree Programs

A liberal arts degree helps build skills in critical and analytical thinking. Learn about the most affordable online humanities degree programs.

portrait of Genevieve Carlton, Ph.D.
by Genevieve Carlton, Ph.D.

Published on August 1, 2022

Edited by Jared McMasters
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A humanities degree builds communication, interpersonal, and writing skills. And an affordable online program helps graduates reach their educational goals with less debt.

The humanities include subjects like literature, philosophy, art, and world languages. Humanities majors strengthen their cultural analysis abilities while also learning how to communicate ideas effectively. These transferable skills serve graduates in diverse career paths.

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With a humanities degree, graduates pursue careers in the public and private sector. Training in the humanities also leads to nonprofit careers. You can find humanities majors working as writers, teachers, public relations specialists, and event planners. A humanities degree also prepares graduates for further education.

Many top-ranked online schools offer online humanities programs. Our list introduces the most affordable online bachelor's in humanities programs. Prospective students can use the ranking to find the best fit for their budget and professional goals.

How Much Does an Online Bachelor's in Humanities Degree Program Cost?

Earning a college degree is a significant investment. According to a BestColleges data report, full-time online students paid an average net price of $15,467 per year for a bachelor's degree. The total cost varies depending on the school, delivery format, and financial aid package.

In addition to tuition, learners must also factor in costs for books, supplies, and living expenses.

How can degree-seekers lower their costs? Affordable online bachelor's in humanities programs can help students save money. Some programs offer tuition discounts for online learners. Distance learners can also take advantage of affordable programs in other states without the cost of relocating.

What Can I Expect From an Online Bachelor's in Humanities Degree Program?

Humanities majors explore the human experience. During a humanities degree, undergraduates take courses in literature, history, art, culture, and philosophy. Students examine changing concepts of ethics and evolving rhetorical approaches.

Humanities concentrations include:

Most bachelor's in humanities programs require a minimum of 120 credits and take around four years to finish. Majors take general education courses in the social sciences and natural sciences to provide a well-rounded foundation. Learners then take upper-division humanities classes along with electives. Humanities majors can minor in a complementary subject to enhance their skills.

What makes earning an online bachelor's degree different from an in-person program? Online degrees prioritize flexibility, allowing undergraduates to complete coursework on their schedule. An online program can also offer a more affordable route to a bachelor's degree.

Still Looking for the Right Fit? Discover Similar Degree Programs.

Popular Online Humanities Programs

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

What Courses Will I Take in an Online Bachelor's in Humanities Degree Program?

Introduction to Humanities

Humanities majors explore the major disciplines and methods within the field. Students learn about research methods, conceptual tools, and key principles in the humanities. The course prepares majors for upper-division classes.

World History

In world history classes, students examine the social, cultural, political, and economic development of past civilizations. Courses explore themes like migration, revolution, and the environment to understand the past.

History of Religion

As an introduction to religious studies, this course examines the history of major religions, including Judaism, Christianity, Islam, and Hinduism. Learners examine the development of religious movements and their impact on world events.

Rhetoric

Rhetoric is the art of persuasion. In rhetoric courses, students examine texts from the ancient period through modernity. They look at the evolving ways rhetoric transmits ideas while strengthening their rhetorical analysis skills.

Literature and Art

Learners explore literature and art with an interdisciplinary approach. The course may focus on a particular time and place, such as 18th-century Britain or 20th-century America. The class may also take a comparative approach.

What Are the Admission Requirements for an Online Bachelor's in Humanities Degree Program?

Prospective humanities majors must complete the application process and meet admission requirements to start their online degrees. Most online colleges ask for official transcripts, test scores, essays, and recommendation letters. Some schools also conduct interviews for online programs. Reach out to programs to learn more about their admission requirements.

Application

Candidates for online admission submit an undergraduate application. Schools generally use different applications for first-time college students and transfer students. The application asks about your educational and personal background. Students may also include financial aid information on their applications.

Test Scores

Online colleges often use test scores to evaluate applicants. The most common college entrance exams include the SAT and ACT. However, many colleges do not require test scores for applicants with prior college experience. Applicants can also choose whether to provide test scores at test-optional colleges.

Letters of Recommendation

Prospective humanities majors often submit 1-3 letters of recommendation with their application. These letters should come from former instructors, supervisors, or mentors. Letter writers can speak to the applicant's ability to succeed in a postsecondary program. Learners should make sure to ask for letters of recommendation at least three weeks before the deadline.

Essays

Applicants submit college application essays to showcase their writing and communication skills. Schools often ask for an essay on a selected topic or a personal statement about the applicant's preparation and plans for a bachelor's degree. Some programs also ask for a writing sample.

Official Transcripts

Online programs use official transcripts to assess applicants' academic strengths. Transcripts also help colleges award transfer credits from community colleges. A generous transfer credit policy helps degree-seekers save time and money. Prospective students can ask schools for a transcript review to determine their transfer credits.

What Can I Do With an Online Bachelor's in Humanities Degree?

Career Outlook

A humanities degree emphasizes strong research, communication, and writing skills. Many fields value these abilities, including business, education, and social services. Like many of the most popular majors, a humanities major does not limit your career opportunities.

Some of the most common career paths with a humanities degree include roles in public relations, journalism, and education. The degree leads to opportunities as a high school teacher, writer, editor, or public relations specialist. Humanities graduates also work in museums, nonprofit organizations, and the legal profession.

When considering a humanities degree, research possible career paths and consider an internship or other experiential learning to build career-focused skills. Humanities majors can showcase their soft skills on resumes and during interviews.

See where a humanities degree can take you. Learn more about humanities careers.

Career Paths

Public Relations Specialist

Public relations specialists create press releases, speeches, and media releases that build their organization's public image. They manage media outreach and craft messages for the public. These tasks help organizations strengthen their identities and communicate with the public. With experience, public relations specialists may move into roles like public relations manager.

Median Annual Salary (May 2021): $62,800

Editor

Editors oversee the planning and revision process for published content. Depending on their role, they assign pieces to writers, conduct fact-checking, and evaluate submissions for quality. Editors work closely with writers to improve clarity, correct errors, and develop story ideas. Some editors also work on layout and formatting.

Median Annual Salary (May 2021): $63,350

Writer

Writers create content for websites, advertisements, and entertainment. They specialize in areas like screenwriting, speechwriting, copywriting, and content writing. Other types of writers include bloggers, biographers, and playwrights. Some writers also create nonfiction or fiction books. In many roles, writers work closely with editors to improve material for publication.

Median Annual Salary (May 2021): $69,510

Event Planner

Event planners, also known as meeting planners or convention planners, oversee scheduled meetings, including professional events. They bring strong project management skills, which they use to create budgets and schedules. Event planners also coordinate food, transportation, and other services. During an event, event planners oversee activities.

Median Annual Salary (May 2021): $49,470

Fundraiser

Fundraisers plan events and help organizations raise money. They cultivate relationships with donors and oversee promotional campaigns. Fundraisers with a background in the humanities bring their writing and communication skills to their role. They also research donors and craft compelling fundraising messages. With experience, fundraisers can train and supervise volunteers.

Median Annual Salary (May 2021): $60,660

Humanities Not For You? Check Out These Related Careers.

Continuing Education

Many humanities majors continue their education after earning a bachelor's degree. For example, they may pursue graduate programs in diverse fields, including a master's in English, foreign languages, or philosophy. The critical thinking and writing skills cultivated during a humanities degree also lead graduates to professional programs such as law school.

In addition to graduate education, humanities majors can earn voluntary certifications to advance within their chosen field. A professional certification in public relations or board certification as a teacher can help humanities professionals move up in their field.

How Do I Choose an Online Bachelor's in Humanities Degree Program?

Cost

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, tuition and fees for a bachelor's degree cost an average of $9,375 per year in 2020-2021. Tuition and fees at private schools cost an average of $32,825 per year. Fortunately, students can find more affordable options. When comparing online and on-campus costs, prospective applicants can look for online programs with lower tuition rates or tuition discounts. Learners should also factor in the cost of books, supplies, and other expenses.

Program Format

Program formats shape the student experience. While many programs offer full-time and part-time options, working students often prefer those with the most flexibility. Choosing asynchronous courses means no required class times. Students seeking the fastest route to a degree can enroll in an accelerated bachelor's program.

Location

Should you choose an on-campus or online program? Even if you choose an online option, you should consider location. Attending a local college can mean more opportunities for in-person meetings and the ability to attend local networking events. However, attending an out-of-state college online opens up more program options for learners.

Accreditation

Students should prioritize choosing an accredited online school. Accredited institutions undergo a rigorous, independent review that evaluates its student learning outcomes, faculty qualifications, and academic standards. And accredited degrees meet the requirements for more jobs. In addition, federal student aid programs only fund students at accredited institutions.

Student Support

The best online colleges provide strong student services. Examples include academic advising, career counseling, and online tutoring. Prospective applicants can also ask about internship programs and mentorship opportunities. Make sure to research online student services when comparing programs.

How Do I Pay for an Online Bachelor's in Humanities Degree Program?

Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)

Undergraduates qualify for federal aid by submitting the FAFSA. Federal aid, including the Pell Grant and work-study programs, are a key part of financial aid for many college students. States and institutions also use the FAFSA to determine eligibility for aid.

Loans

Many college students rely on student loans to cover costs. Federal loans generally offer the lowest interest rates and most favorable repayment options. Students can also take out private loans. Learners should prioritize grants and scholarships over loans to limit student debt.

Grants

Humanities majors qualify for many college grants. These types of financial aid are free money that recipients do not need to repay. In addition to federal programs like the Pell Grant, many states and colleges offer grants.

Work-Study Programs

Work-study programs connect eligible students to part-time jobs. Students can then use their work-study job to pay for tuition and other educational expenses. The federal work-study program sets income eligibility limits for recipients.

Scholarships

Scholarships are one of the best forms of financial aid, because recipients do not need to pay back their awards. Students can apply for private scholarships and any offered by their college or university. Learn more about finding scholarships in our scholarship guide.

Most Affordable Accredited Online Bachelor's in Humanities Degree Programs

Rankings compiled by the the BestColleges Ranking Team

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How We Rank Schools

At BestColleges, we believe a college education is one of the most important investments you can make. We want to help you navigate the college selection process by offering transparent, inclusive, and relevant school rankings.

Our rankings are grounded in a few guiding principles and use the latest statistical data available from trusted sources. Read our ranking methodology. We hope our approach helps you find the school that is best for you.

#1

Florida International University

School Information
Location Miami, Florida
Admission Rate 58%
Graduation Rate 63%
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 68% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Online | Scheduled Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $228
Out of State | $345

Credits to Graduate
120

Program Information
Degree Completion Program | No
Program Accreditation | N/A

Florida International University's bachelor's in humanities features a writing and rhetoric focus. Some sample courses include professional and technical writing, modern English grammar, rhetorical theory and practice, and writing and new media. This degree prepares students for careers in media and communications.

Applicants must submit an online application, an application fee, standardized test scores, and official high school transcripts. Transfer students with more than 60 credits do not need to submit high school transcripts and standardized test scores.

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#2

University of Missouri-St Louis

School Information
Location Saint Louis, Missouri
Admission Rate 73%
Graduation Rate 52%
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 32% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

100% Online | Scheduled Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $396
Out of State | $1,070

Credits to Graduate
120

Program Information
Degree Completion Program | No
Program Accreditation | N/A

Students in the online bachelor's in humanities program at the University of Missouri-St. Louis must choose two minors or a minor and an undergraduate certificate. To graduate, students need a cumulative GPA of 2.0 and must fulfill a residency requirement. 

First-year applicants to UMSL must submit standardized test scores and official high school transcripts. The university offers rolling admissions, allowing applicants to receive admission decisions in 1-2 business days. Transfer students with more than 24 credits must submit official transcripts from all previously attended universities.

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#3

University of Central Florida

School Information
Location Orlando, Florida
Admission Rate 44%
Graduation Rate 72%
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 59% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

100% Online | Scheduled Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $179
Out of State | $715

Credits to Graduate
120

Program Information
Degree Completion Program | No
Program Accreditation | N/A

The bachelor's in humanities at the University of Central Florida focuses on English literature. Some sample classes include creative writing, writing for the technical profession, literature history, and contemporary American women's fiction. Students must earn a minimum 2.0 GPA in each required course to graduate.

UCF requires standardized test scores and an application essay. Transfer students can work with a "success coach" to create a transition plan to UCF. Applicants need a minimum 2.0 cumulative GPA.

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#4

University of Louisiana at Monroe

School Information
Location Monroe, Louisiana
Admission Rate 80%
Graduation Rate 47%
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 43% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

100% Online | Scheduled Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $400
Out of State | $400

Credits to Graduate
120

Program Information
Degree Completion Program | No
Program Accreditation | N/A

The online bachelor's in humanities at the University of Louisiana of Monroe specializes in history. The program builds skills in research and analysis. Graduates can pursue careers in fields such as law, public relations, and foreign affairs. 

ULM requires standardized test scores from applicants to be eligible for scholarship consideration. Transfer students at ULM must complete one college-level English and mathematics course with a minimum grade of "C" to enroll in this program. 

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#5

University of Illinois at Springfield

School Information
Location Springfield, Illinois
Admission Rate 77%
Graduation Rate 54%
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 70% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

100% Online | Scheduled Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $322
Out of State | $647

Credits to Graduate
120

Program Information
Degree Completion Program | No
Program Accreditation | N/A

The University of Illinois at Springfield's bachelor's in humanities builds critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Some core classes include civil rights movements of the 20th century, law and inequality, culture and education, and visual storytelling and reporting.

Applicants to UIS may submit standardized test scores if they choose. The university allows up to 72 lower-division transfer credits. Transfer applicants can determine if their credits will transfer through the UIS website or by contacting the admissions department.

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#6

Utah State University

School Information
Location Logan, Utah
Admission Rate 91%
Graduation Rate 54%
Accreditation Yes Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
Percent Online Enrollment 50% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

100% Online | Scheduled Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $345
Out of State | $382

Credits to Graduate
120

Program Information
Degree Completion Program | No
Program Accreditation | N/A

The online bachelor's in humanities at Utah State University allows students to create a multidisciplinary plan of study with available classes in areas like the social sciences and the arts. This program builds skills in critical and analytical thinking, adaptive learning, and research.

USU requires standardized test scores and official transcripts from first-year applicants. The university offers rolling admissions and typically contacts applicants with decisions within a couple of weeks.

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#7

University of Minnesota-Crookston

School Information
Location Crookston, Minnesota
Admission Rate 68%
Graduation Rate 50%
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 46% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

100% Online | Scheduled Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $437
Out of State | $437

Credits to Graduate
120

Program Information
Degree Completion Program | No
Program Accreditation | N/A

The bachelor's in humanities at the University of Minnesota Crookston specializes in English. Some sample classes include world culture and literature, applied literary theory and criticism, creating meaning through literature and the arts, and news and social media communication.

All applicants to UMC must submit a personal essay and official transcripts. The university does not require any standardized test scores and asks applicants not to submit any scores. Letters of recommendation are optional.

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#8

University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh

School Information
Location Oshkosh, Wisconsin
Admission Rate 76%
Graduation Rate 61%
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 10% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

100% Online | Scheduled Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $368
Out of State | $368

Credits to Graduate
120

Program Information
Degree Completion Program | Yes
Program Accreditation | N/A

The online bachelor's in humanities at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh includes core courses in critical thinking and writing, ecology of occupation, contemporary global issues and problems, and ethics and cultural diversity in the U.S. 

Transfer applicants need a minimum 2.0 GPA and can work with the admissions department to determine how many credits will transfer. Students transferring from a UW system school do not need to pay the application fee.

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#9

Charter Oak State College

School Information
Location New Britain, Connecticut
Accreditation Yes New England Commission on Higher Education

100% Online | Scheduled Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $319
Out of State | $419

Credits to Graduate
120

Program Information
Degree Completion Program | No
Program Accreditation | N/A

Charter Oak State College's bachelor's in humanities features specializations such as advanced writing, environmental sciences, political science, and foreign languages. Charter Oak also allows students to earn credit through prior learning assessments and testing. 

Applicants must submit official transcripts from all colleges attended. Applicants with fewer than nine college credits must submit official high school transcripts. Transfer applicants should reach out to the admissions department to determine how many credits they can transfer.

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#10

Excelsior College

School Information
Location Albany, New York
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education

100% Online | Scheduled Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $510
Out of State | $510

Credits to Graduate
120

Program Information
Degree Completion Program | No
Program Accreditation | N/A

Excelsior College's online bachelor's in humanities specializations in history. Students need a minimum 2.0 GPA in core classes to graduate. Some sample classes include world history, African American history, the global cold war, and U.S. civil war. Students must also complete a capstone course.

The liberal arts program does not require any prerequisites. Transfer applicants must submit previously earned credit to the admissions department for consideration. Excelsior requires official transcripts from all previously attended colleges.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Humanities Degree Programs

Is a bachelor's in humanities worth it?

Earning a bachelor's in humanities can offer a strong return on investment, particularly when students choose an affordable program. Humanities majors strengthen transferable soft skills, like communication and critical thinking. And an online degree can pay off when students choose an accredited program with high academic standards.

Humanities majors can take several steps to improve the value of their degrees. They might consider a minor in a complementary field. Or, they may pursue an internship to add valuable experience to their resumes and prepare for the workforce.

What can I do with a bachelor's in humanities?

Humanities majors work in diverse fields. With a degree in the humanities, you can find entry-level positions in business, the nonprofit sector, and the public sector. Common career paths include those in education, public relations, communication, writing and editing, or nonprofit jobs.

Many humanities majors also pursue a graduate degree. With a graduate degree in the humanities or education, professionals qualify for supervisory roles. An undergraduate degree in the humanities also leads many to professional programs like law school. Humanities majors need to think creatively about their career paths and options.

Are humanities majors in demand?

Humanities is one of the oldest academic disciplines. It trains majors to think creatively, analyze human culture, and communicate effectively. As a result, the skills gained during a humanities degree are in high demand. Many of these abilities, including persuasion and creativity, are known as soft skills.

Employers in diverse industries look for candidates with these abilities. Transferable skills like analyzing documents, creating written reports, and critiquing presentations also serve humanities majors in many roles. Humanities majors can stand out on the job market by highlighting these in-demand skills.

How much money can I make with a bachelor's in humanities?

The earning potential with a bachelor's in humanities varies depending on the career path. For example, writers reported a median annual salary of $69,510 in May 2021, while editors earned a median pay of $63,350 that same year, as per the BLS. Many nonprofit roles like fundraiser offer salaries around $60,000 per year, as of May 2021. All of these roles' salaries exceed the median annual wage for all jobs of $45,760.

What are the highest-paying jobs with a bachelor's in humanities?

Humanities majors can earn six-figure salaries with experience. The BLS reported that public relations and fundraising managers earned a median pay of $119,860 per year in May 2021. These roles typically require a bachelor's degree and at least five years of professional experience. Earning a master's degree can help professionals increase their earning potential.

In many other fields, the highest-paid professionals report salaries of over $100,000. For example, the best-paid writers made over $133,580 per year in 2021. Humanities majors with a graduate degree report higher median salaries as well. As per BLS data, lawyers reported a median pay of nearly $128,000 per year in 2021.

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