2020 Best Online Master's in History Degrees

By OnlineU Staff | Updated 3/9/2020
2020 Best Online Master's in History Badge

This list highlights the 18 best value colleges offering online master's programs in history. Graduates of the #1 school, the University of Massachusetts-Boston, report earning a median salary of $105,180. Tuition for the MA in History is just $8,625 annually. At #4, Fort Hays State University has the least expensive tuition on the list, charging only $4,316 per year. Students can choose between a Master of Arts in History and a Master of Arts in Public History.

Alumni salaries were provided by PayScale. View our methodology for more details or learn more about OnlineU.

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RankSchool Annual Tuition Mid-Career Salary
# 1 #1 University of Massachusetts-Boston $8,625 $105,180
# 2 #2 Arizona State University $10,640 $104,728
# 3 #3 Louisiana Tech University $7,704 $102,600
# 4 #4 Fort Hays State University $4,316 $99,100
# 5 #5 University of Memphis $11,849 $101,493
# 6 #6 University of North Carolina at Wilmington $13,638 $100,300
# 7 #7 Johns Hopkins University $54,900 $115,654
# 8 #8 Western Kentucky University $12,726 $98,000
# 9 #9 Florida International University $13,500 $97,224
# 10 #10 Norwich University $17,256 $96,552
# 11 #11 Missouri State University $5,310 $83,563
# 12 #12 Sam Houston State University $7,769 $71,400
# 13 #13 Liberty University $13,560 $71,987
# 14 #14 Southern New Hampshire University Online $11,286 $70,212
# 15 #15 Rutgers University-Camden $29,232 $66,900
# 16 #16 Wayland Baptist University $9,272 $58,700
# 17 #17 Jackson State University $8,316 $55,300
# 18 #18 Emporia State University $7,193 $50,300
Salary data provided by Payscale Logo

2020 Online Colleges Offering History Degrees - Ranking Details

#1 University of Massachusetts-Boston

  • Annual Tuition: $8,625
  • Median Salary: $105,180
  • Locations: Boston (MA)
  • Accreditation: NECHE

The online Master of Arts in History at the University of Massachusetts-Boston provides a flexible format for students interested in pursuing advanced studies. The curriculum is identical to the on-campus program and is taught by tenure-track faculty. Required coursework includes critical theoretical approaches in history, research methods, and thesis prep and writing classes. A choice of electives, including World War Two, Cold War America, Topics in European History, and Socialism, allows students to focus their studies on areas of interest. Students use the Blackboard learning management system to access their course materials, which include readings, written assignments, video lectures, and discussion forums. The program culminates with the thesis project, which requires students to complete an independent research project. Students must submit an online application, college transcripts, three letters of recommendation, a statement of purpose, and a writing sample to apply to the program. The GRE is not required; however, students are encouraged to submit their scores. A minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 is recommended for applicants. An undergraduate degree in history is preferred but not required. Students have access to academic advising, career services, scholarship opportunities, and virtual library resources.

#2 Arizona State University

  • Annual Tuition: $10,640
  • Median Salary: $104,728
  • Locations: Tempe (AZ) (and 4 others)
  • Accreditation: HLC

Arizona State University has an online Master of Arts in History that allows students to choose one of two curriculums depending on where their interests lie. Students can choose the North American history track, focusing on the historical elements of the North American continent and its historical relationship with other parts of the world. The curriculum of the global history track instructs students on the advancement of civilization throughout the world, exploring differences and similarities between the history of different countries and continents. ASU’s online programs are delivered through the Canvas learning management system. In addition to tech support for Canvas, students can access resources such as virtual tutoring, career services, counseling support, and disability resources. Taught by experienced faculty members, the 30-credit online master's in history program is designed to provide a well-rounded education and practical research and critical thinking skills. Admission requirements include an undergraduate degree with at least a 3.3 GPA and 18 or more credits of history or humanities coursework. There are three start dates for the program, and application materials include letters of recommendation, a statement of purpose, a writing sample, and transcripts.

#3 Louisiana Tech University

  • Annual Tuition: $7,704
  • Median Salary: $102,600
  • Locations: Ruston (LA)
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

Louisiana Tech University offers an online Master of Arts in History that aims to provide students with a versatile and flexible education. There is a 30-credit thesis option and a 33-credit non-thesis option. Students engage in coursework through the Moodle learning management system and may also use software such as Zoom and Gradescope. Written examinations, class presentations, and research projects are included as part of the curriculum. Louisiana Tech also offers a teacher certification program that can be combined with the master's in history to prepare graduates for teaching positions at the secondary level. In addition to teaching, graduates may pursue career opportunities in historical societies, museums, or landmarks, or pursue a Ph.D. Students interested in applying must satisfy the Louisiana Tech graduate school requirements, which include the submission of an online application, transcripts, GRE scores, and a personal statement. Prospective students must have at least a minor in history from their undergraduate education or equivalent coursework. Financial aid, IT support, and library access are just a few of the services available to online graduate students.

#4 Fort Hays State University

  • Annual Tuition: $4,316
  • Median Salary: $99,100
  • Locations: Hays (KS)
  • Accreditation: HLC

The online Master of Arts in History at Fort Hays State University provides students the opportunity to explore and research the period and area of history that interests them the most. The university offers research opportunities for a number of subjects, including western history, world history, local history, agriculture and rural studies, and the history of science and technology. While in the program, students have the opportunity to take on graduate teaching assistantships outside of their coursework. The online classroom is available through the Blackboard learning management system, using discussion boards, presentations, videos, labs, and exams to create a full learning experience. Graduates of this 30-credit hour online history degree may pursue careers in teaching at the secondary or college level, curating historical societies, or research writing. To apply, students must submit their transcripts, indicating a bachelor’s degree with at least 18 credits of history coursework and a 3.0 GPA minimum. Additional materials include a personal statement, two letters of recommendation, and a writing sample. Students are supported throughout their education through resources such as library access, career development tools, mental health counseling, and online tutoring.

#5 University of Memphis

  • Annual Tuition: $11,849
  • Median Salary: $101,493
  • Locations: Memphis (TN)
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

The online Master of Arts in History at the University of Memphis educates students in understanding and critiquing historical scholarly theories and writing. Students in the 33-credit hour program complete 11 advanced history classes, with coursework in early and modern U.S. history, African American history, modern European history, and ancient Egyptian history. A comprehensive written exam is included in the curriculum; a thesis option may be available. The program is available entirely online through the Desire2Learn learning management system, which is referred to as eCourseware. The system acts as a platform for students’ assignments, grades, and class materials. Students work asynchronously, which allows them the flexibility to work while pursuing their graduate degrees. Graduates may pursue teaching roles at the secondary and college level or prepare for advanced studies. Prospective students must fill out a graduate school application and submit their transcripts and test scores. All students have access to academic advising, career counseling, and technology support.

#6 University of North Carolina at Wilmington

  • Annual Tuition: $13,638
  • Median Salary: $100,300
  • Locations: Wilmington (NC)
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

The online Master of Arts in History from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington (UNCW) is specifically designed for professional history teachers. This program requires 30 credit hours to complete and emphasizes research skills and professional development for educators. The master’s in history online degree runs for two consecutive years, with two classes taken each semester (fall and spring) and an on-campus, week-long summer institute each summer. The online work is all asynchronous, so students can continue working while completing their assignments. Online classes are facilitated by Canvas learning management software. Graduates must successfully complete a capstone project, which includes a written and exam component. Online services include disability accommodations, a career center, a writing center, a counseling center, Randall library resources, and technical assistance. The application for the online MA in History for educators includes a personal essay that specifically addresses why the online program is a better fit for the student’s professional goals. This is a cohort program with one enrollment period each fall. A complete application includes official transcripts, GRE scores, three letters of recommendation, and an academic writing sample. North Carolina teachers are preferred.

#7 Johns Hopkins University

  • Annual Tuition: $54,900
  • Median Salary: $115,654
  • Locations: Baltimore (MD)
  • Accreditation: MSCHE

Master’s candidates seeking an online history degree from Johns Hopkins University have the option of a Master of Arts in Cultural Heritage Management. The program can be completed full-time or part-time in 12 or 24 months, respectively. The curriculum emphasizes management and technology-focused solutions toward conservation. The MA requires nine online courses and one, two-week intensive. There is also the option of an internship component. The intensive is a face-to-face requirement at a location determined by the program. Participants engage in hands-on activities and site visits. Online courses use Blackboard learning management software and Zoom video conferencing. Online students can access disability accommodations, 24/7 technology support, and resources from the Johns Hopkins library system. Students may enroll in spring, summer, or fall terms. Interested applicants must have a completed bachelor’s degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA. Undergraduate experience should be in a related field, such as anthropology, archaeology, or art history. In addition to the online application, admissions requirements include a statement of purpose, two letters of recommendation, a resume, and official transcripts.

#8 Western Kentucky University

  • Annual Tuition: $12,726
  • Median Salary: $98,000
  • Locations: Bowling Green (KY)
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

The Master of Arts in History from Western Kentucky University (WKU) is designed for history teachers or those who intend to pursue a doctoral degree in history. The MA in History is available entirely online and can be completed over three years. It is a non-thesis degree. The full program is 36 credit hours, which includes a research class and concentration courses. Concentration topics include pre-modern Europe/world, modern Europe, non-western world, pre-civil war United States, and post-civil war United States. Successful completion of a final exam in one of these specialties is required to graduate. WKU's online history degrees are facilitated through the Division of Extended Learning & Outreach (DELO). Online classes run in four terms (fall, winter, spring, and summer), and rely on Blackboard learning management software. Most classes are asynchronous. Online learners have access to career services, tutoring, library resources, and the Writing Center. These are all explained in detail during the online student orientation. Online master’s candidates must have a completed undergraduate degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA. Admission requirements include a completed application form (with fee), official transcripts, a personal statement, a research paper, and GRE scores.

#9 Florida International University

  • Annual Tuition: $13,500
  • Median Salary: $97,224
  • Locations: Miami (FL)
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

Florida International University (FIU) has a Master of Arts in History available through the Steven J. Green School of International and Public Affairs. Available entirely online, students have three tracks from which to choose: a report option, a thesis option, or a public history option. The program requires 30 credits to graduate, which includes a six-credit research seminar. The report option includes a final research paper, while the public history option includes an internship and portfolio. FIU’s online learners benefit from an engaging online experience with 24/7 support, real-time faculty feedback, and a personal academic coach for individualized guidance. Online learners use Canvas learning management software to engage in group discussions and complete assignments. Many classes are real-time and are not self-paced, so students are expected to meet deadlines and attend virtual classes. There is an online student orientation to acquaint students with the online learning environment. Prospective students must have a completed undergraduate degree with a 3.25 minimum GPA. A completed application (with fee), official transcripts, two letters of recommendation, writing samples, and a personal statement are also required. The GRE is not required, but students with high scores are welcome to submit those for consideration. International students are welcome, and FIU has been recognized for its support of students with a military background. Graduates are invited to attend the on-campus graduation ceremony.

#10 Norwich University

  • Annual Tuition: $17,256
  • Median Salary: $96,552
  • Locations: Northfield (VT)
  • Accreditation: NECHE

Norwich University is a private military college in Vermont that hosts an online degree platform with a range of services. Classes are offered asynchronously with 24/7 technical support. Students have weekly lessons and assignments and are expected to engage with faculty via discussion boards. Online students may access the writing center, library databases, electronic journals, and e-books. Norwich University’s 36-credit online Master of Arts in History has four concentrations for students to focus their graduate studies. Concentrations include Public History, American History, World History, and Legal and Constitutional History. Depending on the chosen track, students will be required to complete either a capstone paper, an internship, a research seminar, a capstone project, or an optional thesis. An online  Master of Arts in Military History is also available. Classes run for 11 weeks each. While mostly online, participants in both programs are required to attend campus for a one-week residency. The degrees take an average of 18 months to complete, and class sizes are limited to 15 students. Interested candidates must submit an application form, a letter of intent, a resume, one letter of recommendation, and all applicable transcripts. There are four start dates throughout the academic year.

#11 Missouri State University

  • Annual Tuition: $5,310
  • Median Salary: $83,563
  • Locations: Springfield (MO)
  • Accreditation: HLC

Those interested in a history graduate degree from Missouri State University have the option to apply for a 30-credit Master of Arts in History. Entirely online, the curriculum is designed for current teachers or those hoping to pursue a doctoral degree in history. The program emphasizes research techniques and professional development. Students may select a concentration in American Studies, Global Area Studies, or U.S. and World. A thesis is optional, though encouraged for those hoping to continue toward a Ph.D. Otherwise, a final seminar is required. Students may take courses on a part-time or full-time basis. Missouri State Online, the virtual learning platform for Missouri State University, provides students with graduate classes taught by the same faculty as the on-campus versions. Courses are asynchronous, and students engage in discussions on their own time. Distance education students have access to support resources, including career counseling, financial aid, tutoring, library resources, virtual research assistance, and help from the school's writing center. Interested applicants must have a minimum GPA of 2.75 and submit transcripts, three letters of recommendation, and a writing sample. GRE scores are not required. Preference is given to applicants with 24 undergraduate hours in history. Students may enroll in either the spring or fall semester.

#12 Sam Houston State University

  • Annual Tuition: $7,769
  • Median Salary: $71,400
  • Locations: Huntsville (TX)
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

The Master of Arts in History from Sam Houston State University (SHSU) Online is a 30-36 credit program that can be completed part-time or full-time. Many participants continue to work while completing their degree, and thus choose to complete one course at a time. Students may select either a thesis or final project option. The final project is a portfolio of written work. Individuals accepted into the online master’s program are required to select one of the following thematic concentrations: Rights and Identity, War and Violence, or Encounters and Exchanges. Online courses share the same faculty as the on-campus versions and are writing intensive. Class delivery methods include e-mail, discussion boards, and chat rooms. Students must complete work on the same timetable as the on-campus classes. Online materials are facilitated through Blackboard’s learning management software. Resources for online students include SHSU’s 24/7 online support desk, career services, online tutoring, library resources, and academic advising. Interested candidates must take the GRE and must complete at least 18 credits of undergraduate history coursework. Also required is a completed bachelor’s degree with a 2.5 GPA minimum, official transcripts, an academic writing sample, two letters of recommendation, a cover letter, and a completed application form (with fee).

#13 Liberty University

  • Annual Tuition: $13,560
  • Median Salary: $71,987
  • Locations: Lynchburg (VA)
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

Prospective students interested in a history degree from Liberty University have two graduate-level options: a Master of Arts in History or a Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction with a concentration in History. The MA in History is a 1.5-year program requiring 36 credit hours and focuses on research methods and major topics in U.S. history. The M.Ed. is also 36 credits, taught over 1.5 years, and focuses on professional teaching skills and designing a history curriculum. This is a non-licensure program. Classes are entirely online and run in eight-week terms. Online learning is facilitated through Blackboard learning management software. It follows an asynchronous format, allowing students to complete work at their own pace without meeting specific login times for class. Online learners have access to Adobe products, an IT Helpdesk (with hours Sunday through Saturday), an online writing center, resources from the Jerry Falwell Library, and free tutoring. Applicants must submit a completed application and official transcripts showing the successful completion of a bachelor's degree.

#14 Southern New Hampshire University Online

  • Annual Tuition: $11,286
  • Median Salary: $70,212
  • Locations: Manchester (NH)
  • Accreditation: NECHE

The online Master of Arts in History from Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU) Online can be completed without any residential requirement. The online history program can be completed in 15 months at a student’s own pace. Students will develop skills in research methods, writing, and presenting. Students may select a concentration in American History, Military History, or Public History. The full program requires 33 credit hours. It includes an internship, a research seminar, and a capstone course. Classes are asynchronous, allowing students to access materials and complete work on their own schedules. Coursework is available 24/7, and there are four consecutive terms throughout the year. Online resources include access to the Online Writing Center, tutoring services, career services, academic advising, 24/7 technical support, and an online library. Applicants can transfer up to 12 graduate credit hours and do not need to submit GRE or GMAT scores. SNHU offers rolling admissions so that candidates may apply anytime. Applicants must have a completed bachelor’s degree and submit official transcripts and a personal statement with their completed application form. There is no application fee.

#15 Rutgers University-Camden

  • Annual Tuition: $29,232
  • Median Salary: $66,900
  • Locations: Camden (NJ)
  • Accreditation: MSCHE

Rutgers University’s Camden campus hosts a Master of Arts in Liberal Studies with a concentration in World History and Politics. It is an interdisciplinary program available entirely online, with a heavy emphasis on reading and exploring topics through multiple perspectives. The program is designed for professionals and requires 30 credits, including a final three-credit capstone research project. It can be completed on a part-time or full-time basis. Online class sizes are kept small, and students complete work on their own time and participate via discussion boards facilitated by faculty members. Typically, students log in weekly to review assignments and complete written responses. Online learning is facilitated using Canvas learning management software and Moodle. Online students can use resources from the Rutgers University library system, an IT help desk, and disability accommodations. Students interested in the MA in Liberal Studies may start in spring, summer, or fall. Applicants must have a completed bachelor’s degree with a 3.0 GPA minimum. The full admissions process requires official transcripts, two letters of recommendation, a writing sample, and a personal statement. The GRE is not required.

#16 Wayland Baptist University

  • Annual Tuition: $9,272
  • Median Salary: $58,700
  • Locations: Plainview (TX)
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

Prospective history students may consider the Master of Arts in History from Wayland Baptist University (WBU). It is available entirely online through WBUOnline, which provides asynchronous classwork for a highly flexible schedule. Students may complete coursework on their own time at their own pace. Classes operate with Blackboard learning management software. Online courses run in four 11-week terms and allow students to continue working while completing their degrees. Online students are assigned an academic advisor and may use counseling services, tutoring services, and career development services. The online history curriculum is a total of 37 credits and includes courses in American history, environmental history, and history of technology. Students admitted to the MA in History program online may complete a research thesis in lieu of a final comprehensive exam. WBU is recognized as a Military-Friendly school, and credit may be awarded for military experience. Interested applicants to WBU’s graduate program in history should have a completed bachelor’s degree with at least six credit hours of undergraduate history coursework. Candidates must submit official transcripts and a completed application form.

#17 Jackson State University

  • Annual Tuition: $8,316
  • Median Salary: $55,300
  • Locations: Jackson (MS)
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

Jackson State University’s (JSU) Master of Arts in History program has either a thesis option or a project-based option. The thesis option is most appropriate for those considering doctoral-level work post-graduation. Hosted through the Department of History and Philosophy, the program requires 36 credit hours and can be completed in two years. Classes cover a range of subjects, including women’s history, the Middle East, public history, and African American history. Students may select a concentration in one of the following: Global History, Social and Cultural History, United States History, Public History, or African Diaspora History. Online learning is facilitated through Canvas learning management software. Students engage in class through e-mail, discussion boards, and chat features. Online students at JSU receive access to JSU libraries, a 24/7 technical help desk, and e-tutoring. Graduate school application requirements include a completed application form (no fee for in-state residents), three letters of recommendation, a personal statement, and two copies of official transcripts. All candidates must have a completed bachelor’s degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA. Those with lower than a 3.0 GPA must submit an academic writing sample.

#18 Emporia State University

  • Annual Tuition: $7,193
  • Median Salary: $50,300
  • Locations: Emporia (KS)
  • Accreditation: HLC

The Master of Arts in History from Emporia State University (ESU) has a thesis option, a non-thesis option, or a concentration option in Social Sciences Education. The degree is available entirely online and includes research seminars, internship opportunities, and extensive readings. The non-thesis option includes additional classes, a written exam, and an oral defense. The Social Science Education option is a teacher certification program that leads to Kansas state licensure to teach sixth grade through twelfth grade. This option includes a content-based project. Online education at ESU is asynchronous, allowing students to participate in class on their own schedules. Coursework incorporates weekly lectures and discussions with assigned due dates. Online tools and materials are facilitated with Canvas learning management software. Distance learners may access an IT help desk, library resources, an advising center, disability accommodations, and the Academic Center for Excellence and Success (for tutoring and workshops). Interested applicants must complete an online application form (with fee) and submit official transcripts. Candidates must have a completed bachelor’s degree with at least a 2.5 GPA.

Online Master's in History Overview

Program Requirements

Online history master's degrees usually take two to three years to complete and consist of approximately 36 semester credit hours. Applicants will need to have a bachelor's degree in a related field and will need to submit transcripts from their undergraduate studies as part of the application process. In addition to transcripts, some schools will also require applicants to submit standardized test scores, letters of recommendation, and/or personal statements.

Curriculum

Examples of core classes included in these degree programs include colonialism, cultural and religious history, diplomatic history, imperialism, historiography, Roman history, slavery, women's suffrage, and race, class, and gender history. Other common classroom topics may include research methods of historians, popular culture throughout history, early American history, analyzing historical data and samples, history of ancient Greece, and history of ancient indigenous people. Coursework will vary based on students' areas of interest and whether they choose to specialize in one aspect of historical studies.

Graduates of online history master's programs may go on to become museum administrators, teachers, archivists, librarians, and writers; many master's graduates become college instructors. Those who are interested in becoming consultants or scholars in the field should consider earning a doctoral degree as well.

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