Online History Masters Degree

Online History Masters Degree

History is a field that offers profound insights into the human experience, providing context for our present and guiding our future. Earning a Master’s degree in history can open doors to various professional opportunities and deepen your understanding of the world’s past. With the advent of technology, pursuing a Master’s degree in history has become more accessible through online programs. This comprehensive guide will cover everything you need to know about earning an online History Master’s degree, including program structure, benefits, career opportunities, and tips for success.

What is an Online History Master’s Degree?

An online history master’s degree is a graduate-level program offered via the Internet, allowing students to study historical events, periods, and figures without the need to attend classes on a physical campus. These programs are designed to provide advanced knowledge and research skills, preparing students for careers in education, research, public history, and other related fields.

Types of Online History Master’s Degrees

  1. Master of Arts (MA) in History: Focuses on research and theoretical aspects of history, often requiring a thesis or significant research project.
  2. Master of Science (MS) in History: Similar to the MA but may include more emphasis on quantitative analysis and technical skills.
  3. Master of Education (MEd) in History Education: Designed for educators, focusing on teaching methods and curriculum development in history.
  4. Master of Public History (MPH): Prepares students for careers in public history, including museum work, archiving, and historical preservation.

Benefits of Earning an Online History Master’s Degree


One of the main advantages of an online history master’s degree is the flexibility it offers. Online programs allow students to study at their own pace and schedule, making it easier to balance education with work, family, and other commitments.


Online programs provide access to high-quality education regardless of geographical location. This means that students who do not live near a university offering a history master’s program can still pursue their degree without relocating.

Diverse Learning Resources

Online history programs often provide a wealth of digital resources, including online libraries, research databases, video lectures, and interactive forums. These resources can enhance the learning experience and provide various ways to engage with the material.


Online degrees can often be more affordable than traditional on-campus programs. Students can save on costs associated with commuting, housing, and campus fees. Additionally, many online programs offer financial aid and scholarships to help offset tuition costs.

Structure of an Online History Master’s Degree Program


The curriculum for an online History Master’s degree typically includes a mix of core courses, specialized electives, and research components. Here are some key areas of study:

  1. Core History Courses: These foundational courses cover essential topics such as historiography, historical research methods, and key periods or themes in history.
  2. Specialized Electives: Students can choose electives based on their interests and career goals. Options may include courses in ancient history, modern history, military history, cultural history, and more.
  3. Research Components: A significant component of any History Master’s degree is research. This may include a thesis, capstone project, or comprehensive exams.

Research and Writing

A substantial part of a History Master’s degree involves research and writing. Students learn to analyze primary and secondary sources, construct historical arguments, and present their findings in well-written essays, research papers, and thesis projects.

Capstone Projects and Theses

Many online History Master’s programs require students to complete a capstone project or thesis. These projects involve conducting original research on a historical topic and presenting the findings in a comprehensive paper. Capstone projects and theses provide valuable experience in historical research and can serve as a portfolio piece for job applications or further academic pursuits.

Interaction and Collaboration

Despite being delivered online, History Master’s programs often include opportunities for interaction and collaboration. This may be facilitated through:

  • Discussion Boards: Online forums where students can discuss course material, share insights, and engage in debates.
  • Group Projects: Collaborative assignments that allow students to work together on research projects and presentations.
  • Virtual Office Hours: Opportunities to meet with professors and classmates in real-time for discussions, questions, and feedback.

Choosing the Right Online History Master’s Program


Accreditation is a crucial factor to consider when choosing an online history master’s program. Accredited programs meet established standards of quality and are recognized by employers and academic institutions. Look for programs accredited by reputable accrediting bodies, such as:

  • Regional Accrediting Agencies: Ensure the program meets high standards of quality and rigor.
  • Specialized Accrediting Bodies: For example, the American Historical Association (AHA) may provide additional recognition for history programs.

Faculty and Resources

The quality of faculty and resources can significantly impact the learning experience. Consider programs with experienced faculty who have strong academic backgrounds and expertise in various historical fields. Additionally, look for programs that provide access to robust online resources, including digital libraries, research databases, and academic support services.

Flexibility and Schedule

Evaluate the program’s flexibility and how it aligns with your personal and professional commitments. Some programs offer asynchronous courses, allowing students to complete coursework on their schedule, while others may require synchronous sessions with set meeting times.

Cost and Financial Aid

Compare the cost of different programs and explore available financial aid options. Many online programs offer scholarships, grants, and loans to help students finance their education. Be sure to consider the total cost, including tuition, fees, and any additional expenses for materials or residencies.

Student Support Services

Strong student support services can enhance the online learning experience. Look for programs that offer academic advising, career counseling, technical support, and opportunities for networking with peers and professionals.

Notable Online History Master’s Degree Programs

Several universities offer reputable online History Master’s degree programs. Here are a few notable examples:

Arizona State University (ASU) Online

ASU Online offers a Master of Arts in History program that combines rigorous coursework with extensive online resources. The program covers a wide range of historical periods and regions and includes opportunities for research and collaboration.

University of Nebraska at Kearney (UNK) Online

UNK Online offers a Master of Arts in History program designed for flexibility and convenience. The program includes core courses in historical methods and various electives that allow students to tailor their studies to their interests.

Norwich University Online

Norwich University offers an online Master of Arts in History program with a focus on military history. The program provides a comprehensive education in history with an emphasis on military studies and includes opportunities for original research.

Career Opportunities with an Online History Master’s Degree

Earning an online history master’s degree opens up a wide range of career opportunities in various fields. Here are some potential career paths:


Many graduates of online History Master’s programs pursue careers in education. This can include teaching at the secondary or post-secondary level, developing educational content, or working in educational administration. With a Master’s degree, individuals are often qualified to teach Advanced Placement (AP) history courses or become adjunct professors at community colleges.

Secondary School Teacher: High school history teachers educate students about historical events, periods, and concepts. They create lesson plans, assess student performance, and foster critical thinking about historical contexts and sources.

College Instructor: Teaching history at the community college or university level typically requires a Master’s degree. Instructors develop syllabi, lead lectures and discussions, and guide students through advanced historical research and analysis.

Research and Writing

Historians with a Master’s degree often find roles in research institutions, think tanks, and publishing. These positions involve conducting in-depth research, analyzing historical data, and publishing findings in books, articles, or reports.

Research Historian: Employed by universities, museums, government agencies, or private organizations, research historians delve into historical archives and documents to produce detailed studies on various topics.

Author or Editor: Historians with strong writing skills can become authors of history books, articles, or educational materials. They might also work as editors for academic journals or historical publications.

Museums and Public History

Public history careers involve working in museums, historical sites, archives, and cultural institutions. These roles focus on preserving history and making it accessible to the public.

Museum Curator: Curators manage collections of artifacts and works of art. They design and organize exhibits, conduct research on items within the collection, and engage in public outreach and education.

Archivist: Archivists are responsible for preserving historical documents and records. They catalog and manage collections, assist researchers, and ensure the long-term preservation of historical materials.

Historic preservationists: These professionals work to protect and restore historical buildings and sites. They may be employed by government agencies, non-profit organizations, or private firms specializing in conservation and restoration.

Government and Public Service

Historians are also valuable in government roles, contributing to policy development, historical preservation, and public education. They often work in local, state, or federal agencies.

Policy Analyst: Historians with a knack for analysis can work as policy analysts, helping to shape public policy based on historical contexts and precedents.

Historical Consultant: Consultants provide expertise for projects requiring historical accuracy, such as in film, television, legal cases, and public history projects.

Non-Profit and Advocacy

Many non-profit organizations and advocacy groups value the research and analytical skills of historians. These roles often involve using historical knowledge to support causes and inform public understanding.

Grant Writer: Historians can leverage their writing and research skills to secure funding for non-profit organizations, museums, and historical projects.

Public History Advocate: Working for organizations dedicated to preserving history and educating the public, these professionals help raise awareness and advocate for historical preservation and education.

Advancement Opportunities

An online history master’s degree can serve as a stepping stone for further education and career advancement. Graduates may choose to pursue advanced degrees, such as a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in History, to specialize in a particular area and enhance their career prospects. Additionally, obtaining professional certifications, such as in archival studies or museum studies, can open up new opportunities and demonstrate a high level of expertise and commitment to the field.

Ph.D. in History

Pursuing a Ph.D. allows historians to delve deeper into their chosen field of study, conduct original research, and contribute new knowledge to the discipline. It also qualifies individuals for tenure-track faculty positions at universities.

Professional Certifications

Certifications in areas like archival science, museum studies, or public history can provide specialized skills and knowledge, making graduates more competitive for certain roles and enhancing their professional development.

Tips for Success in an Online History Master’s Degree Program

Time Management

Effective time management is crucial for success in an online program. Create a study schedule that includes dedicated time for coursework, research, and projects. Use tools like calendars, planners, and productivity apps to stay organized and on track.

Active Participation

Engage actively in online discussions, forums, and group projects. Participation helps deepen your understanding of the material and fosters connections with peers and instructors.

Utilize Resources

Take full advantage of the resources provided by your program. Access digital libraries, research databases, and technical support services to support your studies and enhance your skills.

Seek Support

Don’t hesitate to seek support when needed. Reach out to academic advisors, professors, and technical support services for assistance with coursework, projects, and any technical issues.

Stay Motivated

Stay motivated by setting clear goals and tracking your progress. Celebrate your achievements, no matter how small, and remind yourself of the long-term benefits of earning your degree.


An online History Master’s degree offers a flexible, accessible, and cost-effective pathway to a rewarding career in a dynamic and intellectually stimulating field. With careful consideration of factors such as accreditation, faculty quality, and student support services, prospective students can find a program that meets their needs and prepares them for success.

As our world continues to evolve, the demand for skilled historians and professionals with a deep understanding of historical contexts will remain strong. Online history programs provide a valuable opportunity for aspiring historians to gain the knowledge and skills necessary to contribute to the study and preservation of our past.

Whether you are just starting your educational journey or looking to advance your career, an online history master’s degree can open doors to a wide range of exciting and impactful opportunities. By leveraging the flexibility and resources of online education, you can achieve your goals and make a meaningful contribution to the field of history.

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