Online History Master’s Degree

Overview

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Historians are tasked with shaping society’s cultural and historical narratives – a controversial but important role. Many influential leaders have majored in history. Former U.S. Presidents Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson studied history in college, for example, and each served as president of the American Historical Association.

Students in an online history master’s degree program can learn about many different eras in history, from the Stone Age to the Civil War.

In an online history master’s degree program, students specialize in a field of interest such as American or military history. Participants gain additional perspectives on past events and can study approaches to teaching the public about history. The program provides students with critical, analytical thinking, writing and comprehensive skills that can be used in a variety of careers.

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Course Work

Potential specializations
American history
Military history
World history
Public history

Students in an online history master’s degree program will complete core course work in historiography, historical methods, and comparative history and research. Generally students need to complete additional course work in a specialization.

In a world history specialization, for example, students complete courses such as studies in medieval and Renaissance history, hunter-gatherer and agrarian eras to 1500, world history from 1800 to 1991, and studies in warfare and culture.

Most online history master’s degree programs require students to choose a non-thesis or thesis option, the latter being for those who wish to pursue a doctorate.

Job Outlook

Median salaries*
Museum educator $34,000
Archivist $42,000
High school teacher $45,000
Editor $46,000
Historian $46,500
Postsecondary instructor $46,700
Museum curator $47,000

*per PayScale.com

Graduates with a master’s in history work in business, government, education, nonprofits and communications, among other industries. Job growth for history-related occupations is stable. Employment of archivists and historians is expected to grow about as fast as the national average of 14 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Professional organizations such as the American Historical Association and the National Council on Public History work to promote history and to provide professional development and career services to members.

Graduates with a master’s in history can make a median salary of about $34,000 as a museum educator to about $47,000 as a museum curator, according to PayScale, an online salary database.

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