Fastest Online Humanities Degree Programs

An accelerated degree in humanities can lead to a variety of careers. Graduates may qualify for advanced degrees or jobs in law, business, and education.

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Published August 1, 2022

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Accelerated bachelor's programs allow students to take additional coursework to graduate in fewer than four years. Accelerated online bachelor's programs in humanities, which include subjects like history, English, philosophy, and foreign languages, help students build critical thinking, problem-solving, and qualitative analysis skills within a compressed timeframe.

At most schools, accelerated bachelor's programs allow online learners to take extra courses, sometimes over the summer semester, to graduate within three years instead of four. In some cases, students in accelerated programs can actually earn their degrees within two years.

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Accelerated programs usually differ slightly from degree completion programs, which require incoming students to have completed significant prior coursework, often 30-60 credits. However, some degree completion programs may offer accelerated timelines.

For centuries, learners seeking knowledge and personal growth have found the humanities worth studying. Read on to learn more about these programs and why an accelerated degree in humanities might be a good fit for you.

How Fast Can I Get an Online Bachelor's in Humanities Degree?

In most fields, including the humanities, accelerated bachelor's programs allow students to graduate in 2-3 years instead of the usual four. Accelerated programs often cover the exact same course material and the same number of credits as traditional programs; however, they use a more concentrated, often asynchronous format.

Most accelerated bachelor's programs still consist of approximately 120 credits. Students can graduate more quickly by taking more courses per semester or during the summers. Some programs use competency-based education, allowing students to test out of material they already understand and progress more quickly through the curriculum. Competency-based education is often the quickest way to earn a bachelor's degree.

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

Humanities is an umbrella term, referring to a multidisciplinary field that deals with human culture and experience. Humanities fields include literature, language, philosophy, religion, and history. Bachelor's in humanities programs often offer majors or concentrations in these and related fields.

Accelerated bachelor's programs in humanities can be a good fit for students interested in these fields who have the capacity for rigorous and fast-paced coursework. These programs usually offer plenty of customization through concentrations and majors, as students can often pick which field of humanities they want to focus on.

Most online bachelor's in humanities programs require students to complete 120 credits. These programs generally consist of mostly regular coursework, although some programs may include internship opportunities and capstone or thesis requirements. Accelerated programs often allow students to complete all degree requirements in 2-3 years of year-round study.

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

Introduction to Humanities

This survey course, which students often take during the first semester of a bachelor's in humanities program, covers significant developments in human culture, including in art and music.

Introduction to Philosophy

This course covers major philosophical movements and thinkers throughout history, potentially including Aristotle, Plato, and existentialism. Students also receive an introduction to major ideas and central questions of the discipline.

Contemporary Social Justice

This survey course delves into major thinkers and ideas who have influenced contemporary ideas of social justice. Possible topics include environmental justice, the Civil Rights Movement, women's rights, and healthcare equity.

History of Western Art

Often running from the prehistoric age through the Middle Ages, this course introduces students to major developments in Western visual art. Students gain the terminology and skills needed to analyze and describe different works of art.

Capstone or Thesis

Many humanities programs include some sort of culminating experience, which often takes the form of a senior seminar, a capstone project, or a thesis.

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

Admission requirements are often similar, if not completely identical, for on-campus and online bachelor's in humanities programs. For accelerated programs, in addition to the materials listed below, you may have to complete a phone or Zoom interview to demonstrate that you can cope with the fast pace of coursework.

Application

All online bachelor's in humanities programs require prospective students to complete an application form. In many cases, undergraduate applicants can submit materials to multiple schools at once through application systems like the Common App and Coalition App.

Test Scores

While more and more schools aren't requiring the ACT or SAT or are adopting test-optional policies, some programs still require applicants to submit standardized test scores. If you plan on applying to schools that do require testing, try to take the ACT and SAT at least once each.

Letters of Recommendation

Most undergraduate programs, regardless of discipline, require prospective students to send in 2-3 letters of recommendation. If you are a recent high school graduate, you should ask former teachers to write these letters on your behalf. If you've worked for several years since high school, you can ask professional supervisors.

Essays

Writing is an essential skill for any humanities major. As such, most undergraduate humanities programs require applicants to send in 1-3 short essays, often of 500-700 words. Common prompts include a statement of purpose or career goals or a time you overcame a difficult situation.

Official Transcripts

All undergraduate programs require applicants to submit transcripts from all prior secondary and postsecondary schools they have attended. These documents help schools determine which courses to place you in. They also use transcripts to award AP and transfer credit. Students who transfer from community colleges should always ask for a transfer credit evaluation.

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

Career Outlook

The level of popularity of humanities among college majors is a bit unclear. A 2019 National Center for Education Statistics study found that history and social sciences was the third most popular college major, which means that many students do pursue at least one humanities field.

However, the skills that you learn during a humanities program, including critical thinking and qualitative analysis, can make you a valuable asset in many different careers. Employers do not distinguish between accelerated and traditional bachelor's degree-holders, so if you have the capacity to pursue an accelerated humanities program, you may be able to enter the workforce more quickly.

Possible postgraduate careers for humanities majors include writer, teacher, professor, and nonprofit or museum worker. Graduates may also be able to find work as technical writers.

See where a bachelor's in humanities can take you. Learn more about humanities careers.

Career Paths

Writer or Author

These professionals develop written materials, such as books, reported articles, brochures, ad copy, and search engine optimization content. There are many different types of professional writing, and humanities majors can often find a fit as writers or authors. These professionals usually need a bachelor's degree and relevant experience.

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


High School Teacher

These educators usually focus on a specific content area, teaching lessons and providing students with the academic skills they need to succeed in high school and beyond. Humanities graduates can teach courses in subjects like history, English, and art history. Public school teachers need a state-issued teaching license in addition to a bachelor's degree.

Median Annual Salary (May 2021): $61,820


Social or Community Service Manager

Social and community service managers head up nonprofit, faith-based, and governmental organizations. Day-to-day tasks may include managing budgets, hiring employees, running meetings, and liaising with a board of directors. These professionals usually need a bachelor's degree and significant professional experience.

Median Annual Salary (May 2021): $74,000


Museum Worker

There are several different roles that humanities graduates can pursue at museums, including program manager, tour guide, archivist, curator, and conservationist. In each role, knowledge of history, often covered in humanities programs, is essential. These professionals usually need a bachelor's degree.

Median Annual Salary (May 2021): $50,120


Postsecondary Teacher

Postsecondary teachers in the humanities teach college courses and perform scholarly research in their discipline. These careers require at least a master's degree, and tenure-track professorships require a Ph.D. However, earning a bachelor's degree can be the first step toward landing one of these jobs.

Median Annual Salary (May 2021): $79,640

Humanities Not For You? Check Out These Related Careers.

Continuing Education

Continuing education is very common for students who earn bachelor's degrees in the humanities. Many careers, such as postsecondary teaching, require additional education. Furthermore, since humanities is a broad field that doesn't lead to any specific career, some bachelor's degree-holders pursue master's degrees in professional fields like counseling and teaching.

Some graduates of bachelor's in humanities programs transition directly into Ph.D. programs in their same fields. Students who complete these programs can pursue careers in academia and research.

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

Cost

Average costs for online bachelor's in humanities programs vary, as there are many different humanities fields. However, for the most savings, consider enrolling online at in-state public universities as opposed to out-of-state private schools.

Program Format

All distance learners, no matter the discipline, must determine whether synchronous or asynchronous learning is a better fit for them. They should also consider whether they want to enroll full time or part time or pursue an accelerated program.

Location

Even if you enroll in an online program, you may want to pick a school close to you. Some humanities programs include in-person requirements, which are usually much easier to complete if you live near the school. Furthermore, some programs maintain relationships with local employers, so you may have an easier time finding jobs and internships at a nearby school.

Accreditation

Accreditation is a process overseen by the U.S. Department of Education and Council for Higher Education Accreditation that verifies the quality of a school's programs and services. Make sure that the school you choose to attend holds accreditation. Otherwise, you cannot receive federal financial aid.

Student Support

Student support is essential for distance learners, who may not always feel the support of an in-person community. Before you commit to a program, check to see if the school offers student services like mentorship opportunities, internship placements, advising, and alumni connections.

Fastest Accredited Online Bachelor's in Humanities Degree Programs

Rankings compiled by the BestColleges Ranking Team

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#1

Campbellsville University

School Information
Location Campbellsville, Kentucky
Admission Rate 70%
Graduation Rate 36%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 77% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

100% Online | Self-Paced Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit

In State | $410

Out of State | $410

Credits to Graduate

120

Program Information

Program Accreditation | N/A

CU's accelerated degree in humanities explores liberal arts and science from a Christian perspective. The program offers eight-week courses and multiple start dates throughout the year. Students can choose from nine concentrations including business administration, history, or sociology.

Students may transfer up to 72 credits; however, at least 30 must be completed online at CU. Applicants must submit high school transcripts (if transferring less than 24 credits) or college transcripts from all previously attended schools.

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#2

Ottawa University-Phoenix

School Information
Location Phoenix, Arizona
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 100% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

100% Online | Self-Paced Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit

In State | $499

Out of State | $499

Credits to Graduate

52

Program Information

Program Accreditation | N/A

OU's online bachelor of arts in history offers an optional concentration in secondary education. The program explores world geography, world civilizations, and the American experience. Students must also complete a practicum, senior seminar, and senior comprehensive project.

OU recommends that prospective students contact an enrollment advisor before they apply. Applicants should submit their official transcripts from high school or colleges previously attended for admission consideration.

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#3

University of Massachusetts-Lowell

School Information
Location Lowell, Massachusetts
Admission Rate 73%
Graduation Rate 66%
Accreditation Yes New England Commission on Higher Education
Percent Online Enrollment 32% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

100% Online | Self-Paced Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit

In State | $380

Out of State | $380

Credits to Graduate

120

Program Information

Program Accreditation | N/A

UMass Lowell's online bachelor of arts in English stresses writing, research, and critical-thinking skills. The curriculum includes an optional seminar in the teaching of writing, and culminates in a capstone course in English. Students can graduate in 12-36 months.

Students with previous college experience can transfer up to 90 credits toward the degree. Applicants must hold a high school diploma or undergo placement testing for admission consideration.

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#4

Montana State University

School Information
Location Bozeman, Montana
Admission Rate 82%
Graduation Rate 57%
Accreditation Yes Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
Percent Online Enrollment 13% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

100% Online | Self-Paced Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit

In State | Varies by credit load

Out of State | Varies by credit load

Credits to Graduate

120

Program Information

Program Accreditation | N/A

MSU's fast online bachelor's in humanities suits students with at least two years of college experience. This degree-completion program explores subjects like Earth system sciences, human nutrition, and media and politics, culminating in a senior project.

Students can start the online bachelor's in liberal studies in the fall, spring, or summer semester. Applicants need an associate degree from a regionally accredited institution or at least 30 transferable college credits and a GPA of at least 2.0.

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#5

Iowa State University

School Information
Location Ames, Iowa
Admission Rate 92%
Graduation Rate 74%
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 23% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

100% Online | Self-Paced Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit

In State | Varies by course

Out of State | Varies by course

Credits to Graduate

120

Program Information

Program Accreditation | N/A

ISU's online liberal studies program suits students seeking degree-completion. The online bachelor's in humanities may include multidisciplinary curriculum in fields like social sciences, communications and art, and natural sciences and math. Students must complete a minimum of 30 credits in residence at ISU during their junior and senior years.

Applicants should hold an associate degree or at least 24 transferable college credits and a 2.0 GPA. ISU offers a preliminary transcript evaluation service for prospective transfer students.

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#6

Los Angeles Pacific University

School Information
Location Los Angeles, California
Graduation Rate 22%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission

100% Online | Self-Paced Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit

In State | $475

Out of State | $475

Credits to Graduate

47 or 120

Program Information

Program Accreditation | N/A

LAPU offers a bachelor of arts in liberal studies for teacher preparation or with a teaching credential. The teacher prep program includes an internship and prepares graduates to take the California Subject Examination for Teachers. The credentialing program leads to multiple-subject certification for elementary teachers in California.

Applicants may transfer up to 90 credits toward a 120-credit program. LAPU also offers fast online bachelor's in humanities in subjects like applied psychology and interdisciplinary studies.

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#7

California Baptist University

School Information
Location Riverside, California
Admission Rate 78%
Graduation Rate 63%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 55% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

100% Online | Self-Paced Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit

In State | $613

Out of State | $613

Credits to Graduate

49

Program Information

Program Accreditation | N/A

CBU's online bachelor of arts in English develops communication, analytical, and critical-thinking skills for a variety of careers in the liberal arts. The curriculum blends composition, language, and literature coursework with Christian theory and principles, culminating in a capstone project.

Applicants need a high school diploma or equivalent or 24 transferable college credits (preferred) and a minimum 2.0 GPA. Students can complete this accelerated degree in humanities in 16 months.

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#8

Wilmington University

School Information
Location New Castle, Delaware
Graduation Rate 21%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Percent Online Enrollment 75% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

100% Online | Self-Paced Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit

In State | $390

Out of State | $390

Credits to Graduate

120

Program Information

Program Accreditation | N/A

WilmU's bachelor of science in liberal studies offers a degree-completion program to students with previous college experience. The curriculum follows the guidelines for career readiness set by the National Association of Colleges and Employers, culminating in a senior seminar course.

Applicants must possess at least 30 transferable college credits to qualify for the bachelor's in humanities. Prerequisites include English composition, math, public speaking, and critical-thinking coursework. Wilmington University accepts applications on a rolling basis and maintains a test-optional policy.

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#9

University of Southern Mississippi

School Information
Location Hattiesburg, Mississippi
Admission Rate 97%
Graduation Rate 49%
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 70% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

100% Online | Self-Paced Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit

In State | $390

Out of State | $390

Credits to Graduate

120

Program Information

Program Accreditation | N/A

USM's liberal studies program explores topics including social and behavioral sciences, math, and written communication. The fast online bachelor's in humanities can be completed in 2-4 years. Students must complete a capstone and either a research seminar or experiential learning course. 

Applicants must submit transcripts from high school and any other colleges attended, and SAT or ACT scores. USM offers multiple start dates and accepts applications in the fall, spring, and summer semesters.

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#10

Fisher College

School Information
Location Boston, Massachusetts
Admission Rate 69%
Graduation Rate 33%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes New England Commission on Higher Education
Percent Online Enrollment 61% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

100% Online | Self-Paced Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit

In State | Varies by semester and resident status

Out of State | Varies by semester and resident status

Credits to Graduate

121

Program Information

Program Accreditation | N/A

Fisher's online bachelor of arts in liberal arts promotes well-rounded scholars and professionals. Required courses include English, introduction to psychology, and computer concepts and applications. Students must complete an internship and senior project to earn a bachelor's in humanities.

Prospective students must apply online and submit official transcripts to demonstrate completion of a high school diploma or associate degree. The liberal arts program includes eight-week courses and takes just under 3.5 years to complete.

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Popular Online Humanities Programs

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

How We Rank Schools

Each year, the BestColleges Ranking Team evaluates hundreds of programs to produce our annual Best Online Bachelor's in [SUBJECT] ranking. In 2022, the team sourced the most recent data available from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System and College Navigator, both of which are hosted by the National Center for Education Statistics. We identified [NUMBER OF SCHOOLS] schools that qualify for our ranking list based on the following criteria.

To ensure the accuracy and quality of our final ranked list, the ranking team reviewed each qualifying school to ensure it met the criteria for our ranking, and then applied our proprietary ranking methodology to identify the best schools offering this program in the nation. Each school is ranked based on a formula measuring academic factors (60%) and affordability (40%).

The BestColleges Ranking Team is made up of contributors from our data science and product management teams. These contributors operate independently from the editorial team. All BestColleges school rankings are produced by the ranking team and are free of editorial influence. Read our Editorial Policy and Standards to learn more.

Frequently Asked Questions About Fastest Online Humanities Degree Programs

Can I get a bachelor's degree in one year?

In rare cases, you can earn a bachelor's degree in one year. Most students who manage to earn a degree that quickly have already completed a significant amount of college credits or have received significant credit for prior learning or work experience. As such, students who earn a degree in one year are usually enrolled in degree completion programs.

Most accelerated bachelor's programs take 2-3 years to complete instead of the usual four years of full-time study.

Are accelerated degree classes worth it?

It depends on each individual student. However, if you are able to commit a significant amount of time to your studies and want to enter the workforce quickly, accelerated online classes are often worth it.

If you're a good fit for accelerated classes, you can graduate quickly and start earning a salary. As such, accelerated programs often provide a high return on investment. However, if you have significant professional or family commitments, accelerated classes probably aren't worth it, as you may not be able to keep up with coursework or your stress levels might increase.

Are accelerated bachelor's degrees as valuable as traditional degrees?

Yes, accelerated bachelor's degrees are as valuable as traditional degrees. Employers do not differentiate between job candidates who earned accelerated degrees and their peers who earned traditional degrees. In almost all cases, the actual degree does not say whether or not the student earned it in an accelerated or traditional format.

In most programs, accelerated and traditional degrees cover the exact same course material and require the exact same number of credits. There is no difference in the quality of instruction.

Is an accelerated bachelor's degree in humanities right for me?

It depends on your goals and obligations. If you do not have many other commitments and are able to invest significant energy in your coursework, an accelerated bachelor's degree in humanities might be right for you. If you are interested in a specific humanities field or aspire to a career in academia or research, one of these programs might also be a good fit for you.

An accelerated bachelor's program in humanities also might be a good fit if you want to enter the workforce and start earning a salary in under four years.

Are accelerated degree programs affordable?

Accelerated degree programs usually provide the same level of affordability as their traditional counterparts. While costs can vary widely by school and by program, tuition rates for these types of programs often range from $300-$600 per credit, which is comparable to full-time, four-year bachelor's programs.

You may be able to save money if you enroll at schools that charge tuition by semester instead of by credit. Since you'll graduate more quickly in an accelerated program, you'll likely pay fewer semesters of tuition.

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BestColleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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