It can be extremely useful to hold a degree in history as having an understanding of the past leads to being able to interpret the present - and even sometimes predict the future - and this can be of great assistance in fields such as journalism, education, politics, law and research. History also lends itself to being studied online rather than on-campus as, given that most historical sources are word-based, it is easy to research and complete assignments online. In general, it is also more cost-effective to study at home and a student can also proceed at his or her own pace and possibly complete a degree program is less time than they would if they were studying on-campus.
Online History Associate Degrees
A degree at the associate level is an undergraduate degree and is usually completed in two on-campus years of study. Online degree programs are described in terms of hours of study, though, and it is therefore easy for a student to accelerate the rate of study. The scope of an associate degree is traditionally very broad as its aim is to provide only an overview of the chosen field of study.
Associate of Arts in History: Regent University
This degree has been developed to give students an introduction to both history as a subject and the set of skills that they will need to read, review and analyze primary source historical documents. Here students will also learn to express themselves correctly in the world of historical study and to interpret history in the light of changing current conditions. Examples of the courses that are included in this degree are:
- Research and academic writing;
- Mathematics for liberal arts;
- Introduction to the study of government; and
- Literature of the United States: Beginnings to Civil War.
Students wanting further information about this degree program can contact Regent University at 1000 Regent University Drive SC 218, Virginia Beach, VA 23464 (tel: 888-718-1222).
Online History Bachelor Degrees
Most history degrees that are available online fall into this category of undergraduate degree. Bachelor degrees usually take four years to complete but this does not have to be the case for an online student. Although they are not as broad in scope as the associate degree, they also do not show as much course specialization as the master's degrees and the doctorates.
Bachelor of Arts in History: Grand Canyon University
This degree's main objectives are historical reflection and research and, here, GCU tries to equip students with the correct educational framework to enable them to interpret, analyse and review current events. The degree consists of core courses, history majors and history electives, examples of which are as follows:
- Introduction to human communication (core course);
- History of the modern Middle East (history major);
- China in the 20th century (history major); and
- Western ideas and aesthetics (history elective).
Bachelor of Arts in History - Political Science and Government Specialization: Ashford University
This is a course that helps students become comfortable in diverse places and different cultures. Here, students have a choice between taking the basic BA History or adding specialized courses to it, like those in Political Science, which concentrates on the workings of the American government and how it operates within the global environment. Major course requirements for this degree program include:
- American women's history;
- The American constitution;
- Historiography and historical methodologies; and
- Asia in the age of decolonization and globalization.
Ashford University is available both online and off should any student wish to obtain further information.
Bachelor of Arts in History: University of Maryland University College
This course prepares the student to read, analyze and review historical works in an insightful and intelligent way. Students are also encouraged to hone their investigative skills through the utilization of online sources, archives and libraries and to develop exceptional writing skills. A sample of the courses included in this degree would be:
- Contemporary moral issues;
- Europe in the 19th century;
- Ethics in the information age; and
- Expository and research writing.
Students can contact UMUC directly should they require further information regarding this degree program. The university administration office is located at 3501 University Boulevard, East Adelphi, MD 20783 (tel: 800-888-8682) and their web address is http://www.umuc.edu/index.shtml.
Online History Master's Degrees
Several of the online history master's degrees only became available recently and this reflects the growing trend to introduce distance learning for master's degrees that were previously available only on-campus. A master's degree usually takes about two years to complete but, again, students can take advantage of the flexibility of online learning to complete the degree quicker. Master's degrees usually also involve the completion of a capstone project, or thesis, at the end of the course.
Master of Arts in Military History: Norwich University
This is a relatively new degree and it has a unique approach to military history in that it sees the subject as vital to obtaining an understanding of overall human behavior in terms of concepts like group dynamics, social issues and international relations. Examples of the concepts that this degree program would investigate are:
- Race and gender in military history;
- Examination of theoretical concepts;
- Non-western and non-traditional ways of war; and
- Military thought and strategy.
Norwich University can be contacted directly should students wish to obtain any further information about this fascinating new degree.
Master of Arts - Historical, Social and Cultural Studies: Union Institute and University
This degree is a basic Master of Arts consisting of three core courses that all students take as well as an elective course concentration in historical, cultural and social studies. This university's teaching style emphasizes guided reading, learner initiative and online consultations with advisors as major teaching aides and individual courses would include:
- Elements of scholarship (core course);
- Disciplinary foundations (core course);
- Research methods (core course); and
- Advanced research methods (advanced course).
Union Institute and University can be contacted should prospective students wish to obtain further information and documentation about this degree program. Their address is 440 East McMillan, Cincinnati, OH 46206. Tel: 800-486-3116.
Online History Doctoral Degrees
At present, it appears that, although there are several doctoral degree programs with course concentrations in history, none of them are as yet available online. As new online history degrees at the master's level are becoming available at regular intervals, however, it is only a matter of time before a online PhD in history is also a possibility.
Career Opportunities and Salary Scales
History is a liberal arts major and liberal arts courses and programs consist of subjects that will support and enhance further study in almost any field including those falling into the social sciences, arts and humanities, and education. Those holding qualifications in history can transition into several different fields and, in our society, historians function as educators, advocates, communicators and researchers and they even have a place in business in fields like contract research. The annual average salaries for those with history-based qualifications are extremely varied given the large number of fields a historian can work in but do include:
- High school teacher with a history specialization: $42,500
- Reference librarian: between $37,000 and $47,000 with 5 years of experience
- Journalist: between $30,000 and $50,000 with 5 years of experience
- Paralegal: between $32,000 and $45,000 with 5 years experience.
If students are on the fence about whether or not a degree in history will be of help to them, they only have to take a look at the skills they would acquire from learning to analyze and review historical happenings and sources to see how it could benefit them.