Online Masters Degree in American History: Program Info

Get info about online master's degree programs in American history. Learn about program requirements, course topics and degree levels, as well as career and continuing education options.

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Essential Information

A small number of schools offer online master's degree programs in American history. This may involve taking American history courses as part of a general history program. In addition to online courses, students must complete independent research. Thesis and non-thesis programs are available. Students can complete this program fully online without any on-campus visits.

A master's degree is typically the educational level required for historians. High school history teachers are not necessarily required to hold a master's degree, but some states require teachers to earn a master's degree after earning teaching certification. Important prerequisites for master's programs include a bachelor's degree and GRE scores.

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Master's Degree in History - American History

Online master's degree programs in history are offered by a handful of schools and typically allow students to tailor their studies to their personal interests; American history is a common concentration offered for this degree. Although subject matter will vary, most program courses cover the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, domestic and international politics and a variety of cultural developments and changes that have occurred up through the modern period.

Since teachers often pursue master's degrees to increase their salaries, the online degree programs are often designed with history teachers in mind. However, they are also appropriate for students intending to move on to doctoral programs. Most programs require students to have a bachelor's degree and submit GRE scores.

Program Details and Information

In order to complete an online master's degree program in American history, most schools require students to conduct independent research and write a master's thesis; however, there are also non-thesis online programs available. Non-thesis programs typically require students to complete 36 credits of coursework, and many students are able to finish their degree within three years. Most programs can be completed entirely online, and schools rarely require students to attend classes on-campus.

Students interested in an online master's degree program in American history should make sure their computers are running a current operating system and an updated Internet browser. Some schools will require students to familiarize themselves with Web-based course management software like Blackboard; this program is used to deliver online course materials to students, including recorded lectures, exams and assignments.

Course Topics

Online master's degree programs in American history allow students to focus on the periods and aspects of the U.S. timeline in which they have the greatest interest. Most schools also have a core curriculum of classes that all students must take.

American Revolution

This course covers the cultural and sociological context of the Revolutionary War. Students also discuss the importance of social and cultural factors in relation to military action of all types.

Constitutional History

In this class, students examine the origin, content and legacy of the United States Constitution. The course also covers both contemporary and historical debates over topics such as State's rights, amendments and Due Process.

African-American History

This course focuses on the social and cultural development of the African-American community in the United States. Students discuss the transportation of Africans to the New World, the civil rights movement and contemporary African-American issues.

Teaching American History

This class is designed for high school and college American history instructors. It teaches students how to approach curriculum development, create assessments and craft lesson plans.


Career Information

Graduates of online master's degree programs in American history often pursue careers in education. Students who weren't already professional history teachers upon enrollment will need to apply for teaching licensure in their state if they wish to teach at the K-12 level. The licensure process typically involves passing both a general teacher certification exam and a subject-specific exam in history.

Graduates who already held teacher licensure before entering the master's degree program may continue in their history teaching careers, often with increased salary prospects. A master's degree in history is also a beginning qualification for teaching at the college level.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, certified secondary school teachers (in all areas, not just history) earned a median annual salary of around $57,200 as of May 2015. Meanwhile, postsecondary history teachers earned a median salary of $69,400 that same year (www.bls.gov).

Continuing Education Information

Once a student completes an online master's degree program in American history, he or she is eligible to move into a Ph.D. program. Many schools offer both online and on-campus Ph.D. programs in American history, allowing students to conduct independent research and work towards completing a dissertation.

Individuals who have an interest in American history and are interested in become high school or postsecondary teachers have several online options to choose from at the master's degree level. These degrees can also be good preparation for doctoral degrees.

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