Associate Degree in History: Program Overview and Information

An Associate of Arts (A.A.) in History degree is available at many community colleges and universities as both online and on campus programs. These 2-year programs typically include courses that cover multiple periods in history.

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Essential Information

A.A. programs in history cover core topics relating to both U.S. history and the study of world civilizations. Students are taught how to analyze particular historical events from economic, political, cultural and religious perspectives in order to understand general historical trends, eras and movements. They also learn how to perform basic historical research using primary and secondary sources. Some schools have developed this degree specifically as a transfer program, where the credits are designed to transfer towards a 4-year bachelor's program. Some programs are available online.

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  • American History
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  • Classical Mediterranean and Near Eastern Studies
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  • Historic Preservation
  • History of Science and Technology
  • Holocaust Studies
  • Medieval and Renaissance Studies
  • Museum Studies
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Associate of Arts in History

Specific concepts in a history associate's program include the Industrial Revolution, scientific progress and globalization. Accordingly, coursework may be divided up to correspond to particular historical periods, such as antiquity or the U.S. Civil War and Reconstruction. Programs also focus on the history of specific cultural groups such as Mexican-Americans or African-Americans, or specific nations like France. Some programs require students to complete a capstone project to further refine these skills. Most history programs require a set of general survey courses, each of which covers several centuries of U.S. or global history. The history curriculum consists of topics such as:

  • American military history
  • Ancient world history
  • French history
  • U.S. history before 1865
  • U.S. history after the Civil War
  • World War I and World War II

Popular Career Options

Students with an A.A. in History may pursue careers in education or in industries such as publishing, law or politics. However, many of these careers require additional degrees or professional training. Possible job titles include:

  • Historian
  • Teacher
  • Archivist
  • Journalist
  • Congressional aide
  • Foreign service officer

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistic (BLS) expects slower-than-average job growth for historians at 2% from 2014-2024. During the same time, archivists will see an increase of 7%, and high school history teachers will have a fast-as-average jump in employment at 6%. In addition, the BLS reports an annual median salary of $55,800 for historians, $50,250 for archivists, and $57,200 for high school history teachers in May 2015.

Continuing Education Information

Many A.A. programs are designed so that students can transition to bachelor's degree programs in history or the humanities. Postbaccalaureate study options include Master of Arts (M.A.) and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) programs in history.

An Associate of Arts in History program covers different historical periods, such as the Industrial Revolution and Reconstruction. Graduates of these programs may go on to enroll in bachelor's programs and eventually pursue master's or doctoral degrees.

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