A master’s in history online is one of the most versatile and respected degree programs, with programs at nearly all universities and colleges. The online master’s in history supports the development of valuable skills that can translate into jobs in a wide range of industries, from education to business to law, while deepening the level of knowledge and understanding. The online masters in history allows students to fulfill the demands of their work-and-home life while completing a degree.

Perhaps the best part of getting a master’s degree in history online is that the student can complete the degree at his/her own pace from virtually anywhere in the US (or even the world). The online Master’s degree in history opens up more opportunities for students with career options as historians, museum curators, community college lecturers, high school teachers, history professors, archivists and much more.

Methodology: Ranking the Best Online Master’s Programs in History

A good online master’s in history program should not just provide knowledge, but really have an impact on the graduate’s life and career. That’s why Best Master’s Programs editors rank programs according to practical considerations, including cost, salary potential, and student satisfaction, using data from IPEDS, College Scorecard, Niche, and U.S. News. All featured programs are fully accredited and recognized for their excellence.

1. Norwich University

Topping the list of the best online masters programs in history is the Master of Arts in History from Norwich University. There are four concentrations to choose from: American history, legal and Constitutional history, public history, and world history. Students are taught by professors with doctoral degrees and learn essential skills that help with careers in government, education, law, and business as well as history.

Norwich University understands that history is important, and its own rich history enables it to bring more depth to the history program. Norwich was the first private military college in the United States and is the place where ROTC got its start. Many of the school’s 18,000+ alumni have made historical contributions, including General Gordon R. Sullivan, US Army chief of staff in the 1990s; Harry Bate Thayer, chairman and president of AT&T in the 1920s; and Edwin Ferry Johnson, Northern Pacific Railroad chief engineer. There is a one-week residency required at the end of the program.

Degree: MA in History

2. Troy University

Troy University offers a Master of Science in Education with an emphasis in either American and Latin American History, or European, African, and Asian History. The program is designed for teachers who already have a bachelor’s degree in education with a focus on history for the 6th to 12th grades. The program prepares teachers to be strong mentors for their students and help them fulfill their potential. The program consists of 18 hours of core courses plus 18 hours in the history concentration.

Troy University started out in 1887 as Troy State Normal School. It was established specifically for training teachers. The school remained a teacher’s college until after World War II and dropped “Teacher’s” from the school name in 1957. Troy has a strong history with the United States Military. The school offered extension courses on nearby military bases from the 1950s. Troy has a program that makes child care more accessible to students who are parents.

Degree: MA in History – American/Latin American or Europeans/Asian

3. Arizona State University

The Master of Arts in History from Arizona State University Online is one of the best online masters programs in history. The program provides valuable skills that help students in many areas of their lives, such as speaking and writing skills, organizational skills, and learning how to plan and analyze information. Each course lasts just 7.5 weeks, and there are 10 classes in the program. Graduates often work in public service, museums, journalism, law, or education.

Arizona State University has more than 40 programs ranked in the top 25 in the country. The school is known for its work with NASA developing innovations in space exploration. There are Pulitzer Prize winners and Nobel laureates who teach ASU students. ASU graduates are highly sought after by recruiters from more than 50 of the top corporations in the US. The Wall Street Journal listed ASU in the top 5 in the nation for having the best qualified graduates.

Degree: MA in History

4. Western Kentucky University

Western Kentucky University offers a Master of Arts in History that is one of the best online masters programs in history. Graduates of the program are qualified to teach history at the junior and senior level of college or to continue on to doctoral studies in history. The online program is designed to be completed in three years. The study of history reveals the remarkable achievements of mankind while reminding us of the fragility of those achievements.

Western Kentucky University students are called Hilltoppers, a reference to the college’s location on top of a hill. The school transforms students into socially responsible and productive citizens regardless of their backgrounds. WKU provides its students with opportunities for lifelong learning, service, and research. The school seeks to enhance the quality of life of all of its students. The online Master of Arts in History does not require the completion of a thesis.

Degree: MA in History

5. Fitchburg State University

The Master of Arts in History at Fitchburg State University is another of the best online masters programs in history. The program is intended for secondary teachers who want to pursue additional studies in history, as well as students who want to pursue post-secondary teaching or careers in writing or historical research. The use of technology is integrated into the online classes, and students have access to faculty for support when they need it.

Fitchburg State University believes in starting with a strong foundation in science and liberal arts and combining that with strong professional programs that focus on the student’s area of interest. The school has 22 master’s degree programs and over 30 undergraduate programs. The school offers small class sizes that make the faculty accessible to students. The program can be completed 100% online and takes 3-6 years to complete.

Degree: MA in History

6. University of Massachusetts-Boston

The University of Massachusetts Boston College of Liberal Arts has an online Master of Arts in History that is one of the best online masters programs in history. The program is rigorous and involves writing projects and supervised research. It is designed to be flexible enough to accommodate busy working professionals. This program is ideal for secondary teachers who want to expand their knowledge of history and students who plan to pursue further education in history.

The College of Liberal Arts at the University of Massachusetts Boston provides students with the opportunity to study in many fields, from psychology to women’s studies and from fine arts to economics. The school’s graduates have become police officers, sculptors, CEOs, politicians, teachers, architects, TV producers, writers, physicians, and more. The College of Liberal Arts makes up almost of half of the university’s total enrollment. All courses are taught by professors in the history department.

Degree: MA in History

7. Slippery Rock University

The Master of Arts in History offered by Slippery Rock University is another of the best online masters programs in history. The program focuses on historical thinking and trains students for careers in business, consulting, historical societies, journalism, publishing, government, law, and more. Students will also be prepared for further education if they wish to move on to a doctoral program. All courses in the program are taught by full-time professors in the history department.

Slippery Rock University is dedicated to civic responsibility, leadership, and intellectual development. Students receive an educational experience that combines academics with experiential learning that is applicable to real-life situations. The school started as a school for teachers and has been awarding degrees in other programs since 1960. There are over 8,500 students enrolled, and the school has full accreditation through the Middle State Commission on Higher Learning. Employees who have earned a master’s degree in history have a median salary of $61,140.

Degree: MA in History

8. University of North Carolina at Wilmington

The University of North Carolina at Wilmington offers a Master of Arts in History that is one of the best online masters programs in history. The program is highly ranked on many college ranking websites and enrollment is limited, so it fills up quickly. Students develop a deep understanding of historical content, learn current research practices, and study history at an advanced level while pondering questions about historical situations. The program helps instill a love of learning and a love of history.

The Department of History at the University of North Carolina Wilmington is proud to teach students about local and state history as well as history from other parts of the world. The university is dedicated to community engagement, innovation, diversity, student-centered learning, and excellence. Some graduates may qualify for a wage increase upon completion of the master’s program, especially those working as secondary teachers.

Degree: MA in History

9. Southwestern Assemblies of God University

The Master’s in History from Southwestern Assemblies of God University is one of the best online masters in history for students seeking a faith-based education. Students can choose either a non-thesis, thesis, or education track. The program covers military history, religion in America, medieval history, American history, historiography, and biblical backgrounds. Students gain the background they need to be able to explain how the world works to others.

Southwestern Assemblies of God University provides individualized attention through small classes that allow for 1-on-1 interactions between students and faculty. Students at SAGU graduate with an average of 20% less debt than students at other private universities. There is a Career Center that provides job training and helps students who are seeking employment, and a Counseling Center that provides emotional support. There is currently a 20% grant offer available for new history students that is worth $1,000 per semester.

Degree: Master’s in History

10. Indiana State University

Indiana State University offers one of the best online masters programs in history. The program is 100% online and prepares students for careers as writers, history teachers, historians, editors, curators, archivists, and more. Students can choose from three concentrations: history of the wider world, European history, or United States history. This program provides preparation for students who wish to pursue a doctoral degree.

Indiana State University is committed to creating knowledge and teaching its students well. It is dedicated to providing access to higher education, to public service, and to inclusiveness. The school integrates creativity, research, and teaching, and provides a supportive and challenging environment for its students. Indiana State University strives to be known for career readiness, hands-on learning, and community engagement. The school’s core values are excellence, inclusion, equity, scholarship, and diversity. Online students have access to the university’s library, including special collections.

Degree: MA in History

11. Eastern Illinois University

The online Master of Arts in History from Eastern Illinois University is one of the best online masters programs in history for teachers. The program is designed specifically for teachers who teach K-12. Students will experience a challenging curriculum that meets their needs as teachers. The program covers both US and world history and is taught by experts in many areas of history. The study plan is flexible enough to accommodate busy professionals and is designed to be completed in three years.

Eastern Illinois University was founded in 1895 and has an enrollment of more than 7,000 students. The school has more undergrads continue on to earn doctoral degrees than any other school in Illinois. EIU is home to one of the biggest biomass facilities in the US, which makes the school much more environmentally friendly. Best of all, the project will pay for itself through energy cost savings. There is a five-day on-campus residency at the beginning of the program.

Degree: MA in History

12. University of Memphis

The University of Memphis offers an online Master of Arts in History that is one of the best online masters programs in history. The school has more than 20 faculty members in the history department who together cover all major time periods and geographic areas. The history departments biggest strengths are medieval Europe; women, gender, and family history; and US history. Graduate-level courses in history include modern Middle East, world since 1945, history of the Byzantine Empire, and much more.

The University of Memphis’s slogan is “Driven by Doing,” and there is something happening every day at U of M. The school is all about progress: both the students’ and the school’s. A University of Memphis education provides a lifetime of treasured memories. The school cares about what interests its students. U of M students are inspired to go out and change the world. Online students must complete 100% of the program online.

Degree: MA in History

13. University of Nebraska at Kearney

The Master of Arts in History from the University of Nebraska Kearney is another of the best online masters programs in history. The program teaches students to communicate effectively, think critically, make connections between ideas and events, interpret historical evidence, and more. Students receive individualized attention and mentorship from professors who care about their success. There are opportunities for networking, collaboration, and research.

The University of Nebraska Kearney integrates experiential learning with its high-quality academic programs. The people are friendly and welcoming, and the school is affordable. UNK’s mission is to be one of the best undergraduate schools in the United States and to be outstanding in public service, scholarship, and graduate education. UNK has over 5,00 undergraduate and 1,500 graduate students. Over 75% of all full-time faculty members hold a terminal degree in their fields. More than 30% of the students participate in research projects outside of their classes. The program consists of 36 credit hours and is available both online and on campus.

Degree: MA in History

14. Missouri State University

Missouri State University Online offers a Master of Arts in History that is 100% online. The program is known for being one of the best online masters programs in history for middle school and high school history teachers advancing their careers and those wishing to get their doctorate in history. The online degree in history offers three tracks in American Studies, Global Area Studies, or US and World history. Students can choose from a thesis or non-thesis option. Students that take the thesis option must demonstrate ability to finish research projects with the recommendation of an advisor to supervise their thesis in their department. Applicants must have 3 letters of recommendation and 24 hours undergraduate credit hours in history.

Missouri State University Online offers 1,200 online programs. They have a rolling enrollment with about 400 students in their MBA program. Missouri State University ranks as #179 by US News for Best Online MBA Programs.

Degree: MA in History

15. Southern New Hampshire University

Pursuing one of the best online masters programs in history starts at Southern New Hampshire University. SNHU’s MA in History can be completed as quickly as 15 months with 24/7 accessibility and multiple term start dates with a rolling admission. Classes are 2 courses during 10-week terms. What else could an MA student need? How about some of the lowest tuition rates in the nation for online universities coupled with a median salary of $60k for historians? SNHU has three areas of concentration including American History, Military History, and Public History. A project or research paper is required for graduation.

SNHU is a private, nonprofit university. Students seeking acceptance into graduate school must submit a personal statement and apply for provisional acceptance if their GPA is below 2.75. SNHU has over 90,000 online students with approximately 20,000 students in graduate school with a class ratio of 13:1.

Degree: MA in History

16. Wayland Baptist University

Wayland Baptist University offers a Masters of Arts in History. Wayland was one of the first four universities to offer a 100% online history masters. Wayland’s MA in History requires 37 hours of graduate level history courses. Students may take a thesis or non-thesis option. Students that choose a thesis may replace 6 hours of courses with thesis work. Wayland’s MBA program has a total of 39 students enrolled and over 7 Masters of Arts to pursue. Wayland is ranked as one of US News Best Online MBA Programs. Tuition is known for its affordability and value.

Wayland Baptist University is a private Christian institution founded in 1908. Wayland Baptist is in a rural setting and its academic and service mission is to provide a Christian environment where the ultimate source of truth is God

Degree: MA in History

17. Sam Houston State University

Sam Houston State University offers one of the best online masters programs in history that truly enriches professional career goals of the scholars. Student base often aspires to secondary teaching, military, public history, civil service, 2-year college positions and movement onwards to a doctorate. The degree offered is 100% online but students are allowed to complete part of the degree on campus as a hybrid model. Students are required to complete a written portfolio or thesis with 30-36 credit hours in the program. New students are offered $1,000 scholarships if they are 100% online. US News ranks SHSU #95 in Best Online MBA Programs and #63 in Best Online MBA Programs for Veterans.

SHSU was founded in 1879 and currently has over 20,000 students with 59 masters. SHSU is known for considering all credits to be created equal; therefore, students’ degrees never say “online.”

Degree: MA in History

18. Fort Hays State University

Fort Hays State University offers a Master of Arts in History without Thesis available online or on campus. Graduate tuition is considered very affordable whether out-of-state or in-state. A total of 30 credit hours in history are required at the 600 level or higher. Students will take two seminars worth six credit hours where they complete major research papers and must pass with an A or B. One of the papers must be approved by the Graduate Advisor for graduation. Fort Hays State University is one of the best online masters programs in history and is ranked #146 as Best Online MBA Programs by US News.

Fort Hays is a public university founded in 1902 with an online enrollment of about 6500 students. Fort Hays was originally a frontier military outpost that closed and was reopened to serve early settlers educational needs. FHSU was originally an agriculturally based school that was later determined to be a normal school.

Degree: MA in History

19. Grand Canyon University

Grand Canyon University has one of the best online masters programs in history for students seeking an emphasis in an education degree. The online masters program combines history with those seeking a teaching opportunities. Upon completion, students may pursue teaching at two or four-year institutions either online or on campus. The MA in History Education requires 34 credits for completion. Most courses are 8 weeks in length. Graduate candidates must successfully complete a research seminar in history to earn their degree.

GCU is a for-profit nondenominational Christian university that has been seeking to convert back to non-profit status since 2018. It is one of the largest Christian universities with over 100,000 students. Most of the population attends online courses. GCU has decided to take the focus away from ranking the college and focus more on students’ academic achievement and jobs that they get after obtaining their degree. It is estimated that GCU has a 67% acceptance rate into their university.

Degree: MA in History Education

20. Louisiana Tech University

Louisiana Tech University offers one of the best online masters programs in history. Louisiana Tech’s MA in History is one of seven masters that the university offers 100% online. The program is designed for either professional practice or further study in their PhD program. The degree is ideal for a Social Studies teacher on the secondary level. The MA is offered as a thesis or non-thesis program. To be accepted, students must have 21 credit hours in undergraduate history courses. A one-page statement of purpose must state the students intention.

Louisiana Tech is a space grant college with 12,000+ students and 1200+ in the graduate program. Forbest ranked La. Tech as a Best Value College. Business Insider ranked Tech as the 6th Most Underrated University in the US. Payscale for Louisiana Tech graduates is promising and the value to tuition cost is considered one of the best.

Degree: MA in History

21. University of Louisiana Monroe

University of Louisiana Monroe offers a 100% online Masters of Art in History in a non-thesis, 30-hour graduate program. An MA in History at ULM provides valuable education in citizenship, politics, and law. To apply, candidates must have a 3.0 GPA from an accredited university or pass the GRE Test. Applicants should hold a Bachelors with 18 semester hours of social science or humanities. Students take accelerated online courses in 8-week blocks.

ULM has over 80 years of success as a public university. They currently offer over 35 programs that are 100% online. The student population is 8,800+ with 1,500+ students in graduate programs. The acceptance rate at ULM is 72%. The university has come a long way from the former junior college status that it started with and is now known by locals as “The Best in the Bayou!”

Degree: MA in History

22. Pittsburg State University

Pittsburg State University offers one of the best online masters programs in history that is 100% online. The Masters of Art in History focuses on American History and History of the Modern World. Candidates must write a personal essay about their background and reason for pursuing an MA in History. Deadlines for Fall and Summer are March 1. Deadlines for Spring is October 1. Students must choose between a thesis option or applied research option and complete 30-33 hours of coursework.

Pittsburg State University is a public university with over 7,400 students and 1,400 of those are graduate students. The university was originally a brand of Emporia State University. In 1913, it became a four-year institution of its own as a college for teaching. Over the decades, they have broadened their majors past teaching and education degrees.

Degree: MA in History

23. Emporia State University

Emporia State University offers one of the best online masters programs in history because of its long history in offering seamless graduate degrees and including a variety of interests to further students’ careers over a diverse range of careers. Many of ESU’s students have went on to become secondary education teachers, pursue doctorates, museum curators, historical site directors and a variety of other professions. Students must choose between a thesis or non-thesis option. If prospects plan on getting a PhD, the thesis option will be ideal. The non-thesis option also requires written exams and oral defense of the writing.

Emporia State University is one of the best public regions universities in the Midwest. They are ranked high as a place to receive a Masters because of their research department, promotion of public service and social mobility. ESU started in 1863 as a normal school for early settlers that gave birth to several public universities in Kansas now.

Degree: MA in History

24. University of North Alabama

University of North Alabama offers an online MA in History to further intellectual and professional development. UNA is one of the best online masters programs in history if you need an affordable master’s degree. UNA’s MA is designed to have an emphasis on US history that would lead to teaching at a secondary level or moving on to a doctoral degree. Professors at UNA come with high qualifications, including a wide variety of research and publications. Students will choose between a thesis or non-thesis option.Applicants should have 24 hours of undergraduate history coursework with a cumulative GPA of 2.75. Students should fill out three recommendation forms, write an essay, and submit a 4-page sample of past work to apply.

UNA is Alabama’s oldest four-year public university established in 1830 and located in the Florence urban area. The combined student population is 140,000. The UNA campus is considered a historic campus with several Civil Rights landmarks. They also have historic battlegrounds from the Civil War and is a part of the Trail of Tears.

Degree: MA in History

25. Jackson State University

Jackson State University offers one of the best online masters programs in history for students exploring additional education that offers freedom and flexibility to make their own schedule. JSU has a 36-hour program that is thesis or non-thesis, but they highly encourage students to take the thesis route. MA students must pass the Graduate English Competency Exam in the first semester or take English 500 the next semester.

JSU is a Thurgood Marshall College Fund School and one of the largest historically black universities (HBCUs) in the US.JSU’s population is 9,000+ students with 14% of the body exploring master’s options. They are well-known for their supportive and family-like environment.

Degree: MA in History

How Do I Choose a Good Online History Master’s Program?

With options for enrollment with nearly every college or university, the masters in history online programs is easily accessible. The question is more a matter of which online Masters in history programs will best meet the needs of the individual student.

Accreditation. Students should always look for accredited programs from respected schools because there are programs that can be completed strictly for personal pleasure. The best online Masters in History program is typically from Stanford, University of Southern California, and Georgia Institute of Technology. It’s even possible to earn a degree from an online master’s in History program at Harvard Extension School.

Cost. The tuition does not have to be beyond-reach expensive for the online masters in history program to meet the student’s needs. As long as the program will deliver an accredited online master’s degree in history, it may perfectly fulfill the requirements needed.

Flexibility. Since there are so many masters in history online programs to choose from, it’s important to find out which programs meet the student’s flexibility requirements. Some programs, for example, have online classes, but they still require some coursework be completed in the classroom. The student must determine what level of flexibility is allowed to meet the degree requirements.

How Much Can I Make with a Master’s in History?

The masters degree in history salary can range depending on the preferred career options. Regardless of the direction, though, the masters in History salary has even more growth potential for law, politics, or other career directions. So, what is the salary of a historian, teacher, or archivist?

Teaching. As a teacher, a masters in history salary can earn a median of $74,590 for postsecondary History teachers. That range can go up to $134,170, depending on the location, the experience of the teacher, and other qualifications.

Historian. The historian salary is $61,140. The average salary of a historian breaks down to $29,40/hour with a master’s degree. This role conducts research, but may often interpret historical data and study historical sources and documents.

Archivist. The salary for an Archivist or Curator role has a median pay of $48,400, which is lower than the average salary for a historian. The archivist or curator is the person who works in museums. They have oversight of historical items.

Do I Have to Write a Thesis for an Online History Master’s?

Students may prefer a non thesis masters degree, particularly if he/she wants to complete the degree quickly. The decision of whether to pursue a thesis vs non thesis master degree may be more important than first imagined. Some students may want to pursue the thesis vs non thesis master degree to make their career options more open and flexible. Some employers may, for example, want to see the thesis, as a proof of the candidate’s credentials and/or knowledge. Or, the student might relish the idea of having the thesis as proof of their accomplishment. Either way, whether it’s a non thesis masters or thesis masters, it should be something that accounts for whatever path a person’s career might take.

The fact that the no thesis masters is typically faster, with fewer sign-offs, and requirements, makes the no thesis masters a popular option regardless of how great a thesis masters might look. When a student is trying to decide whether to choose the master degree without thesis or with a thesis, he/she should consider why the masters degree is so important, whether it’s an enjoyable course of study, whether it would be fun to work on the project instead of writing, and what the ultimate career goal might be. Ultimately, it could be simply a matter of the flip of a coin of whether to select a masters without thesis or with a thesis.

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