Best Online History Degree Programs


Unless we glean valuable lessons from history, we are destined to relive its mistakes. This fundamental verity serves as the cornerstone of all historical inquiries, highlighting that a degree in history entails more than mere exploration; it encompasses the practical utilization of historical knowledge in our contemporary world.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics historians can expect a projected employment growth of around 3% between 2019 and 2029 which is in line with the average expansion observed across diverse occupations within the economy. A history degree is a pretty flexible degree. Majoring in history does not pigeonhole you into a career working in a museum. Numerous graduates have skillfully transformed their passion for history into prosperous careers spanning various domains such as business, law, and numerous other fields.

In the United States, the majority of history degree programs prioritize the study of both U.S. history and world history, granting students the chance to delve into specialized areas of their choosing. Generally speaking, online history degree curriculums offer similar courses based in the humanities, but different schools may have specialty classes such as Chinese, Meditteranean, or African history. On top of that, not all history programs are the same. Some schools are well known for specializing in the history of specific themes, places, cultures, and races. When selecting a suitable school for your educational journey, it is crucial to examine the institution's areas of expertise. It is prudent to avoid a situation where you end up enrolling in numerous classes that do not align with your interests.

At the graduate level Master's programs in history also often require proficiency in at least one modern foreign language.

Featured Programs in History

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

EDsmart has put together a list of the 20 best online history degrees according to academic quality, student satisfaction, and return on investment.

All data points were gathered from the National Center for Education Statistics, Payscale, and school websites.

The factors we considered in compiling this list include:

  1. Proportion of students receiving financial assistance - This metric gauges the accessibility of financial aid for students enrolled at the respective school.
  2. Student to faculty ratio - This number indicates the number of students to the number of teachers there is on average in the school. Smaller ratios are better (more one on one teacher time)
  3. Retention Rate- This figure signifies the percentage of students who choose to remain enrolled at the university beyond their first year. A lower rate may indicate a more competitive or demanding academic environment.
    Graduation Rate- This metric reflects the percentage of students who successfully complete their entire course of study, from initiation to graduation. A higher percentage is better.
  4. 20-year Net ROI according to's College ROI Report (In-state)

Without further ado, here are the 20 best online history degrees.

The 20 Best Online History Degree Programs


1. Northwestern University

  • Average Net Price: $24,840
  • Retention rate: 98%
  • Graduation rate: 94%
  • Salary After Attending: $88,500

Northwestern University finds its home on the shore of Lake Michigan 12 miles north of Chicago. It transcends being merely a geographical marker offering a comprehensive range of academic opportunities, including a bachelor's degree program and a Ph.D. program in history. It does not offer a separate master's program. U.S., Latin America, Europe, Asia, Africa and the Middle East are all concentrations included in the Global History undergraduate major. This program also offers thematic minors in fields like economics and labor.

2. the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

  • Average Net Price: $17,302
  • Retention rate: 93%
  • Graduation rate: 86%
  • Salary After Attending: $92,200

Dedicated to igniting worldwide change, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign establishes a dynamic collective. Established in 1867, it remains a distinguished public university, renowned for its exceptional professors and prestigious achievements. The university proudly boasts Nobel Laureates and Pulitzer Prize winners among its renowned educators, who call this institution their academic home. Providing an extensive range of educational paths, encompassing undergraduate programs, graduate degrees, and doctoral studies, it is crucial to acknowledge the limited availability of terminal master's degree programs, underscoring the commitment required for embarking on a graduate program, leading to a substantial and enduring educational undertaking. U of I offers graduate concentrations in African American Studies and Medieval studies.

3. University of Oklahoma-Norman Campus

  • Average Net Price: $20,780
  • Retention rate: 91%
  • Graduation rate: 64%
  • Salary After Attending: $78,800

At the University of Oklahoma, being a Sooner means being a part of a complex history that embraces the spirit and trials of settling the west. It means being part of a strong academic pedigree and cheering for sports teams that compete at the highest level of collegiate sports. Unsurprisingly, a university boasting a profound heritage would naturally possess an esteemed department dedicated to the study of history. Within the University of Oklahoma's curriculum, an assortment of undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral programs are available, catering to diverse facets of historical exploration. These programs encompass an array of captivating subjects such as the American West, Native American History, Latin American history, and environmental history. At OU, students have the privilege of receiving guidance from accomplished professors in a personalized and intimate learning environment, ensuring they learn from the foremost experts in the field.

4. University of Delaware

  • Average Net Price: $16,127
  • Retention rate: 91%
  • Graduation rate: 79%
  • Salary After Attending: $68,200

The roots of the University of Delaware are intimately intertwined with the birth of the nation. Since its founding in 1743 as a venerable establishment the university has nurtured exceptional wordsmiths, illustrious scientists and accomplished creatives. Notable graduates include three individuals who signed the Declaration of Independence, signatories of the Constitution, a laureate of the Nobel Prize, as well as choreographers who have received the esteemed Tony Award. The University of Delaware is a school recognized for its value. Students attending this school can rest assured knowing that they are not just doing busywork but are doing coursework from a nationally recognized faculty.

5. Oregon State University

  • Average Net Price: $19,969
  • Retention rate: 85%
  • Graduation rate: 64%
  • Salary After Attending: $69,600

Oregon State University stands as a magnet for accomplished individuals, renowned for its groundbreaking approach to education. Serving as the state's land grant institution and one of only two such schools in the United States to have the sea-grant, space grant, and sun grant, it epitomizes innovation and academic excellence. That's a lot of grants! It's due to this reputation as being an elite, innovative school that massive amounts of research (and funding) are being used to change the world. OSU's history program is no different. The school offers a bachelor's degree in history online and on campus. Under the guidance of exceptional professors within a top-tier liberal arts institution, students in this program are encouraged to engage in critical analysis of the surrounding world.

6. Valparaiso University

  • Average Net Price: $21,635
  • Retention rate: 81%
  • Graduation rate: 67%
  • Salary After Attending: $67,200

Valparaiso University is an independent Lutheran Institution located about an hours drive away from the bustling city of Chicago. Founded in 1859 the school is home to about 4000 students from all demographic backgrounds and religious faiths. The school is most well known for its elite education in the liberal arts and its challenging, and influential law school. Valparaiso University presents a comprehensive undergraduate curriculum in history, which places significant emphasis on exploring the intricate dynamics of societies and cultures that have exerted a profound influence on the world in which we currently reside. Although the university does not offer a postgraduate degree specifically in history, it does present a specialized Master of Arts in Liberal Studies program, comprising 36 credits with a concentration in history.

7. University of Saint Joseph

  • Average Net Price: $25,508
  • Retention rate: 80%
  • Graduation rate: 61%
  • Salary After Attending: $68,600

Established in 1932 by the Sisters of Mercy of Connecticut, the University of Saint Joseph has flourished as a highly regarded cornerstone of the local community. A standout characteristic of the university is its remarkably low student-faculty ratio fostering a close knit and interconnected environment that the institution is renowned for. An assortment of bachelors degree programs in history is available at the university with each program offering its own distinct focus. As history majors at the University of Saint Joseph students have the opportunity to tailor their studies towards areas such as public policy and advocacy, guardianship, economics, political science, public administration, sociology, and law. Through its curriculum this program exemplifies how an exploration of history can shape the future.

8. University of Massachusetts - Lowell

  • Average Net Price: $18,882
  • Retention rate: 86%
  • Graduation rate: 56%
  • Salary After Attending: $71,400

UMass Lowell is part of the University of Massachusetts school system and is a national research university. More than 17000 students at both the undergraduate and graduate levels call this school home. It's easy to see why. UMass Lowell is known in the region for helping students prepare for the real world-solving real problems of real people-and not just theory. The educational institution extends offerings in history to encompass both undergraduate and graduate programs, providing students with opportunities at both academic levels. Additionally, the school offers a bachelor's to master's option where students can waive the GRE requirement and transition their studies into the graduate level.

9. University of Arizona

  • Average Net Price: $14,553
  • Retention rate: 82%
  • Graduation rate: 61%
  • Salary After Attending: $74,000

The University of Arizona is not just a party school. Prior to gaining its popular status as a trendy and fashionable destination, the University of Arizona established its reputation based on its academic prowess. In fact it stands among the nations leading public universities, renowned for its educational excellence. This esteemed institution provides a comprehensive range of degree programs in history, spanning from the undergraduate level to the doctoral level. The University of Arizona notably ranks among the top 10 institutions in the United States renowned for its expertise in Latin American history. All degree programs challenge their students to become rigorous and careful thinkers, as well as active and well informed public citizens.

10. University of North Carolina Wilmington

  • Average Net Price: $18,910
  • Retention rate: 85%
  • Graduation rate: 73%
  • Salary After Attending: $61,300

The University of North Carolina Wilmington was founded in 1946 with a vision to be a top secondary educational institution that builds strong community leaders. The U.S. News and World Report gave the school rankings in #96 for Top Public Schools, #121 in Best Colleges for Veterans, and #187 in National Universities. The university only offers one online history degree in the Master of Arts in History Educators program. Enroll in this graduate level program and experience a fresh perspective on history that will ignite a passion for the subject within you empowering you to invigorate your classroom as an educator. Earning this degree from the University of North Carolina Wilmington gives the potential of a salary increase for you but it's guaranteed to make you a more qualified teacher within the subject of history.

11. Washington State University

  • Average Net Price: $15,768
  • Retention rate: 80%
  • Graduation rate: 68%
  • Salary After Attending: $68,400

Washington State University is one of the cornerstones of education in the state of Washington. With campuses in Spokane, Tri-cities, Vancouver, Everett, and more, the school is more accessible now than it has ever been before. The history program at Washington State University is designed to help students understand the diverse people, institutions, and cultures that have shaped the world that we live in today. But beyond understanding, the program fosters the ability to use knowledge of the past to make informed decisions for the future. The school offers undergraduate bachelor's degrees as well as graduate master's and doctorate degrees.

12. Arizona State University - Tempe

  • Average Net Price: $11,644
  • Retention rate: 87%
  • Graduation rate: 66%
  • Salary After Attending: $72,700

Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona is a prestigious university thats received numerous high rankings and awards. U.S. News and World Report have ranked ASU #10 in Best Undergraduate Teaching, #54 in Top Public Schools, and #1 in Most Innovative Schools putting them ahead of MIT and Stanford in innovation. The institution offers two online history programs an Online Bachelor of Arts in History and a MA in History degree. Both of these programs will encourage you to excel in your way of thinking by problem solving, drawing conclusions, and doing intensive research. At the graduate level you'll be obtaining research as well as working with peers and professionals within the field of history, and gain the necessary experience to grow further into your profession.

13. Indiana Wesleyan University Online

  • Average Net Price: $19,818
  • Retention rate: 79%
  • Graduation rate: 67%
  • Salary After Attending: $62,100

Situated in Marion, Indiana, Indiana Wesleyan University has exerted a profound impact on the neighboring community for nearly a century. The university boasts a student body of over 3000 enrolled in its traditional programs. However one of the standout features of IWU is its array of online courses tailored to optimize the learning journey for nontraditional students. IWU offers a BA in history program that helps students understand their place in the rapidly changing world. The program strongly believes that a study of the past should enable students to become citizens of the world in the 21st century.

14. University of Idaho

  • Average Net Price: $14,502
  • Retention rate: 81%
  • Graduation rate: 58%
  • Salary After Attending: $70,600

Despite being situated in Moscow, Idaho, the University of Idaho caters to a diverse student body exceeding 12000 individuals throughout the state. Renowned for its commitment to student centered education and fostering a spirit of public service, the university stands as a leader in this domain. A UI education prepares students for careers by immersing students in critical thinking environments that encourage students to think about the big picture and how they fit into it. This is especially true in the history program available at the school, which explores the scope of human experience over the entire world. UI offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in history and offers M.A. and Ph.D. programs. UI offers specialized history programs in film and television studies, Latin American studies, and historical archaeology.

15. Westfield State University

  • Average Net Price: $18,131
  • Retention rate: 77%
  • Graduation rate: 67%
  • Salary After Attending: $64,800

Westfield State University was built upon values of diversity, community, excellence, integrity, engagement, and accessibility. The university works to instill these values into each of their graduates and with this distinction they've earned rankings as #24 in Top Public Schools, and #85 in Regional Universities South. Westfield State University has one exclusively online history degree, Bachelor of Arts in History. You'll be required to take courses in western experience, modern world history, the historian, United States history/government, and world history. This degree will launch you into your history career through immersive learning, hands-on attention, and intrinsic research.

16. Norwich University

  • Average Net Price: $25,581
  • Retention rate: 79%
  • Graduation rate: 58%
  • Salary After Attending: $61,600

Norwich University is proud of the military heritage that has shaped it. Since its establishment in 1819 as the nations inaugural private military college, this institution has played a significant role in shaping the intellects of military personnel. In fact, it was some of Norwich's programs that helped create the ROTC program. The school is not exclusive to military personnel. Norwich is one of the pioneers of online education. Since 1998, Norwich Online has provided flexibility in online education to its students. Norwich University offers master's degrees in history as well as highly regarded masters in military history.

17. University of North Dakota

  • Average Net Price: $15,970
  • Retention rate: 80%
  • Graduation rate: 50%
  • Salary After Attending: $73,300

Established in 1883, the University of North Dakota currently accommodates a student body exceeding 13000 individuals. UND prioritizes student success by keeping smaller class sizes and creating a vibrant community atmosphere with over 250 clubs and organizations for individuals to participate in. Any one of the degrees offered at UND will help you excel further into a history profession, with each degree level having more intense work and knowledge taught. You'll find your love of history grow as you immersive yourself in history from around the globe focusing on government, cultures, societies, economies, and so much more. Engaging in these programs will enhance your intellectual capacity as you delve deeper into subjects, pushing the limits of your preconceived knowledge.

18. University of Northern Iowa

  • Average Net Price: $16,244
  • Retention rate: 83%
  • Graduation rate: 66%
  • Salary After Attending: $61,000

The University of Northern Iowa was founded in 1876 since its founding it’s made it a goal to build up leaders who can create a better tomorrow. The university has received numerous rankings from the U.S. News and World Report, including #2 in Top Public Schools, #9 in Best Colleges for Veterans, #19 in Regional Universities Midwest, and #56 in Best Value Schools. These are great degrees for individuals interested in gaining a deeper understanding of different cultures, governments, world history, and the impacts of different world events. Graduates from these degrees have gone into careers in law, government, journalism, archival or museum work, and teaching in all sorts of grades.

19. Liberty University

  • Average Net Price: $27,883
  • Retention rate: 83%
  • Graduation rate: 40%
  • Salary After Attending: $67,200

Situated in the picturesque city of Lynchburg, Virginia, Liberty University stands as a hub for over 100,000 students, with a significant portion representing military students. With a steadfast Christian foundation and the mission to "Train Champions for Christ," LU offers a diverse range of online history degree programs. Each of the programs recognizes the potential for leveraging insights from the past to shape a brighter future. These degrees necessitate individuals with strong analytical skills, interpersonal abilities, research acumen, and a patient disposition to comprehend a myriad of subjects, ideas, cultures, and events. As a Ph.D. candidate in History, you will receive comprehensive training to become a professional historian. Meanwhile, with a bachelor's or master's degree in history, you will unearth numerous career opportunities awaiting your exploration. A profession in history never becomes dull, you'll always be learning, researching, and analyzing making it an exciting career choice for many graduates.

20. Mercyhurst University

  • Average Net Price: $24,592
  • Retention rate: 80%
  • Graduation rate: 65%
  • Salary After Attending: $50,000

Founded in 1926 under the guidance of the Sisters of Mercy from the Erie Catholic Diocese this esteemed educational institution has continually been at the forefront of promoting and advancing womens education. Though the school is now co-ed and home to students from all cultural and religious backgrounds it still remains a school that fosters the hope that faith and reason can flourish together. In the Mercyhurst history program students have the opportunity to learn traditional history, public history and museum studies, documentary filmmaking and more. The school only offers bachelors degree program.

Honorable Mention:

Calvary University

Built upon the foundational principles of the Bible, Calvary University serves as a Christian educational institution. This commitment to Christian morality can be found in every class the school teaches and in all the community services the university provides. In the vibrant city of Kansas City, Missouri this educational institution caters to a wide ranging student populace hailing from diverse corners of the nation. Calvary University presents an enriching bachelors degree program in history, encompassing a comprehensive array of courses.

 Chaminade University of Honolulu

Chaminade is the only Catholic University in Hawai'i and is home to a close community that understands the complexity and diversity of America. It is this understanding that helps the school fuel its mission of creating a more just society. With a low student-faculty ratio students are able to receive personalized education and develop into well rounded individuals. Chaminade offers a bachelor's degree through its history and political studies school. This program places particular emphasis on exploring the diverse cultural viewpoints of Pacific and Asian communities, alongside minority groups within the United States. Moreover, this program prioritizes the cultivation of civic and ethical growth among its students.

 Southwestern Adventist University

Southwestern Adventist University is known for its tightly knit community that brings students, faculty, and the outside community together. For more than 125 years the school has inspired students to achieve more. Recently the school has worked hard to create an environment where students can succeed and the school now boasts a 100% placement rate in grad schools or employment in a wide variety of fields.  Southwesterns history program goes beyond merely teaching history, instead encouraging students to actively shape and define it. The school offers a number of bachelor's degrees in history with differing specializations.

Drury University

Drury University is a school that stands out from its peers. It is known as a school that believes in authentic connections between students, faculty, and the community. It is a school that believes in quality academics for all students. Above all, Drury believes in its students, that they will develop into ethical and moral people. This commitment to its ideals is reflected in the school's history program. Drury University offers an undergraduate degree in history that has different areas of emphasis. Students are able to focus their studies on different themes as well as regional studies.

Ottawa University-Ottawa

Nestled in Ottawa, Kansas with additional campuses in Arizona, Wisconsin, and Indiana, Ottawa University has remained a reliable source of quality education for more than 150 years. The university places great importance on its student centered approach and fosters an open and inclusive community. Among its offerings is a BA degree in History which encompasses a diverse range of captivating subjects. Students of this program will explore the relationship between society and the environment, war and peace, and social movements of political change.

Louisiana Tech University

Louisiana Tech University is about seizing the opportunities that life places in front of us.  Students of the school are part of the "Tech Family" and the family embraces challenges and creates innovative solutions for them. The Tech Family is a diverse one, with students from 47 states and 64 different countries. The comprehensive programs cultivate essential skills in research, analysis, and communication, which are vital for success in various fields, including history-related occupations, government service, law, and numerous other professional paths.

Featured Programs in History

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

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