Online Ancient History Degree Program Information

Dec 04, 2019

Find out about online ancient history courses and in which programs they're most commonly offered. Get course descriptions, program info and online requirements to make an informed decision.

Essential Information

Students seeking online degree programs related to ancient history can enroll in bachelor's and master's degree programs in history and then choose electives in ancient history. Many schools offer these programs fully online. However, some bachelor's degree programs require for-credit, site-based internships.

Prior college credits are required for some courses of study at the bachelor's level. Applications to master's level programs require relevant or related bachelor's degree, undergraduate history courses, GRE scores, letters of recommendation, and writing samples. Online students at the master's level should also be familiar with video conferencing and digital library software.

Bachelor's Degree - History

The study of ancient history begins with recorded and written history, or the fourth millennium B.C., and typically concludes with the Early Middle Ages. An on-campus major in history can include courses in pre-modern, Greek and Roman history or classical languages, and similar topics may be found through online bachelor's degree programs in history. These are interdisciplinary courses of study that address the cultural, political and social factors associated with the ancient world and usually culminate in a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science in History.

Program Information and Requirements

An online bachelor's degree in history usually requires 120 credits, or about four years, to complete. Some courses of study are only available as degree-completion programs, and students must have at least 60 prior college credits to enroll. Additional degree requirements can include seminars and projects. Individual programs may offer for-credit, site-based internships.

Online students use computers with high-speed Internet access and a current Web browser to view lectures and presentations online and communicate with their teachers and peers by way of email, chat rooms and threaded discussions. Assignments and exams are also submitted and reviewed electronically.

List of Common Courses

In addition to a general education core, an online history program can include survey courses in African, Asian, European and Latin American studies. It may also cover specific cultural and political periods in United States history, including those related to the Constitution, immigration and the role of women.

Survey courses in global history, such as those that begin with early humans and end in 1500, typically cover ancient Mediterranean civilizations. Students will also find courses devoted specifically to ancient Greece and Rome, through which they can learn how empires and societies developed over time. Below are descriptions of three ancient history courses.

Ancient Greece

This course introduces students to classical Greek culture and covers the period from 650 B.C. to 320 B.C. and the death of Alexander the Great. Topics may include those in philosophy and the influence of Greek civilization on the Roman Empire.

Ancient Rome

Students learn about the rise and fall of the Roman Empire, including how it developed into one of the largest ruling powers in the ancient world. Aspiring historians study the beginning of the Republic and the factors that contributed to its decline.

Ancient Greek, Hellenistic and Roman Culture

In this survey course, students learn about the Ancient Near East, a geographical area now referred to as the Middle East. Course content covers the development of ancient civilization on the Fertile Crescent in Africa and Western Asia and culminates with the end of the Roman Empire.

Master's Degree - History

Online master's degree programs in history can provide students with the opportunity to pursue a more in-depth study of world history or concentrate on a particular area of interest, such as ancient Egyptian civilization. The programs usually culminate in a Master of Arts, and curricular objectives can include the ability to use primary and secondary sources to conduct research and make evidence-based arguments. Students also learn how to think critically and write publication-worthy content about historical issues. They can also acquire the academic and professional training they need to work as educators, librarians and researchers.

Admission requirements may include a bachelor's degree in a relevant field of study, undergraduate courses in history, GRE (Graduate Record Examination) scores, letters of recommendation and writing samples.

Program Information and Requirements

In general, an online master's program in history requires approximately 33 credits of coursework and takes 18 months to three years to complete. Some master's programs allow students to choose between thesis and non-thesis options. Completion of a thesis can help students qualify for further study in a doctoral program; graduates of non-thesis programs may qualify for teaching positions at community colleges or secondary schools.

Both undergraduate and graduate programs utilize the same types of online communication and learning management systems. Students may also communicate through telephone and video conferences, use CDs and DVDs to watch lectures and conduct research in digital libraries.

List of Common Courses

Graduate programs in history include advanced-level studies of the same topics found in the undergraduate programs, such as ancient Greece and Rome. Students may also be able to pursue self-directed studies in ancient history. Below are descriptions of sample courses related to ancient history.

Ancient Near East

Students learn how the Bronze Age of Mesopotamia developed in the 'cradle of civilization', or what is now known as the modern Middle East. Particular attention is paid to the Assyrian, Babylonian and Persian empires.

Ancient Historiography

This course introduces students to the historical methods used to reconstruct ancient history. Course emphasis is usually on ancient Egypt and includes a study of the controversies and scholarship associated with the field.

Egypt of the Pharaohs

As a historical survey, this study of ancient Egyptian culture includes topics in literature, politics, religion and sociology. Ancient Egypt's relationships with the rest of the African continent will be examined. Students will also learn how Egyptologists research and reconstruct the past.

Career Information

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the number of students applying to college history programs is greater than the number of jobs available in this highly competitive field. A master's or doctoral degree in history is the usual requirement for a historian, and candidates with relevant hands-on or professional experiences will enjoy the best opportunities (

Graduates of a bachelor's degree program in history may have the research and writing skills necessary for entry-level work in education, journalism or law, among other professional fields. According to the BLS, while 22% of historians were employed in local, state or federal government in 2018, completion of a graduate program in history may also help students find jobs as high school teachers or college professors.

As reported by the BLS, employment opportunities for historians were projected to increase by only 6% between 2018 and 2028, which is about as fast as average when compared to all other occupations. As of May 2018, the BLS estimates the median annual salary of historians to be $61,140.

Continuing Education Information

In addition to history, graduate students may also pursue related programs in archival work, historic preservation, museum studies or public history. Those who are accepted into a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) program may have the chance to specialize in a cultural, political or social aspect of history, geographical area or historical period.

Online programs in ancient history are available at the bachelor's and master's level from a number of schools. Graduates with history degrees often go on to pursue careers in local, state, or federal government.

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