Masters Degree in History Online: Distance Learning Overview

Get info about online programs in history. Read about program requirements, course topics and degree levels, and check out career and continuing education options.

Essential Information

Online master's degree programs in history can provide students with in-depth knowledge of influential people, places and periods. Students will need to meet the same admissions requirements as on-campus programs, which includes having an undergraduate degree from an accredited institution. Some programs require completion of a specified number of undergraduate credits in history. To finish the program, students may need to complete and defend a thesis or pass a comprehensive exam prior to graduation.

Master's Degree in History

Graduate programs in history are usually more specialized than general history programs at the undergraduate level, and students typically concentrate their study on a specific period or geography. Areas of specialization might include American, Middle Eastern, classical or ancient history. Students can gain skills that might be relevant when pursuing a doctoral degree or that can be applied in the workplace, such as research, critical analysis and communicative skills.

Program Information and Requirements

Programs typically provide students with online access to library resources, faculty, advisers and peer discussion groups. Distance learning students should have a reliable high-speed Internet connection to access available resources. Programs commonly require students to complete 30-37 units. While some programs require students to pass comprehensive examinations for graduation, others allow students to write and verbally defend a thesis.

Course Topics

Students typically are required to participate in discussions with faculty and peers, do extensive reading and complete research projects. Courses might include:

  • Roman history
  • Post-World War II history
  • Historiography
  • Oral history
  • Military history
  • Colonialism
  • Diplomatic history
  • Cultural and religious history
  • Race, class and gender history

Career Information

Online history master's degree programs can equip graduates with skills sought after by such employers as colleges, libraries and government agencies. Possible careers include the following:

  • Teacher
  • Academic librarian
  • Museum administrator
  • Archivist

Continuing Education Information

Some programs specifically prepare graduates for doctoral studies in history. Doctoral graduates often go on to work in academia and/or research in the area of history they choose to concentrate in.

Students seeking a more advanced historical understanding of certain locations or time periods may pursue a history master's degree online. Although generally open to any undergraduates, some programs may necessitate completed undergraduate credit hours in history for admission. Once admitted, students can expect involved online discussions, readings, and examinations relevant to the course material.

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