Online Colleges with Degrees in Humanities: How to Choose

Colleges and universities offer humanities degrees online ranging from the associate through the master's level. Choosing an online humanities program will depend upon the degree level desired and ultimate educational goals.

There are many factors to consider when selecting where to attend to earn an online humanities education, such as different award levels available at a particular school and transfer opportunities for continuing your education at another learning institution.

How to Select an Online Humanities School

Degree programs in the humanities explore human culture from many angles. These broad, interdisciplinary degree programs encompass areas ranging from philosophy, women's studies, archaeology, and literature to law, art, music, and modern languages. While a humanities degree doesn't prepare graduates for any one specific career, programs do provide extensive coursework in writing and critical thinking. Students then should mainly consider the award level with the opportunities for transfer.

Award Level

When selecting an online humanities program, students should first think about what level of degree will fulfill their personal and career goals. Associate's degree programs in this area generally prepare graduates for transfer to a 4-year college or university. Bachelor's degree programs provide a well-rounded education, and master's programs can prepare individuals for graduate study or for teaching positions at some community colleges.

Transfer Opportunities

Depending on the degree being sought, students should also investigate the transfer opportunities at their school. For example, students who know they want to go to a particular 4-year university after earning their associate's degree may want to search for community colleges that have a transfer agreement with that university.

List of Online Humanities Degrees

Online Associate of Arts in Humanities and Social Sciences

An online associate's degree in humanities usually includes general education requirements in addition to the social sciences. Many programs allow for students to choose from a wide array of electives as they work through their general education requirements and discover areas of career and personal interest. Numerous schools have partnerships with 4-year universities that make fulfilling admission requirements and transferring credits easier. Programs at this level offer coursework in philosophy, science, anthropology, and political science. Other common coursework includes:

  • English literature and composition
  • Mathematics
  • History
  • Sociology
  • Natural sciences

Online Bachelor of Arts in Humanities

A distance learning bachelor's degree in humanities is a 4-year interdisciplinary program that, in addition to general education requirements may include coursework in art, literature, music, philosophy, world history, Western civilization, and ethics. Students explore existential social and cultural beliefs and how they affect individuals, groups, and history. Many online Bachelor of Arts in Humanities programs offer areas of concentration as well, such as:

  • World history
  • Philosophy
  • Contemporary social justice issues
  • Religions of the West

Online Master of Arts in Humanities

A Master of Arts in Humanities contemplates fundamental human topics through the study of natural sciences, social sciences, and the ideas and thinkers that have helped shape civilization. Students explore the humanities through history, literature, music, art, philosophy, and by studying key individuals and periods throughout history. Curriculum includes topics such as:

  • The ancient world
  • Philosophical inquiries
  • War and the human experience
  • Literary analysis of religion
  • History and popular culture

Schools with Online Programs in Humanities

The University of Maryland University College offers an online bachelor's in humanities, though some classes may specifically be offered in hybrid format. This degree provides a strong foundation in liberal arts education, applicable to numerous career fields like journalism, education, law, and more.

The Dominguez Hill campus of California State University provides a master's in humanities fully online. This program is designed to be completed quicker than a typical master's degree, usually within 18 to 20 months rather than two full years. Students enter the program as a single cohort, collaborating and working together throughout the length of their education. The program culminates in a 2-day symposium held on campus in place of a traditional final exam or thesis paper.

There are many factors to keep in mind when selecting an online school to earn a humanities degree from, two major considerations being the levels of education offered through this method and the ability to transfer earned credits to other schools if desired.

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