Students interested in more advanced history study and learning tools in archival management and historical preservation might be drawn to an online history masters degree. Graduate students have the opportunity to study anything and everything from medieval Europe to the relationship between war and film. The degree is research intensive and usually requires students to write a thesis paper. After graduating, students are prepared for work as historians, educators, and more, or they might go on to pursue a Ph.D. to become an expert in their area.

Why a Master’s Degree?

There are several reasons why someone might consider applying to online history masters degree programs. For one, they might be pursuing a history career that demands more than a bachelor’s degree. For example, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), most historian positions require a master’s degree in history or public history. Others may be looking to teach and are using a master’s as a stepping stone towards a Ph.D.

Getting Into a Master’s Degree Program

Requirements vary from one school to the next for master’s degree programs. But here are some credentials and application documents typically requested:

  • Bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution of higher education
  • At least 18 semester hours of history
  • Minimum GPA
  • GRE score
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Official transcripts from all previously attended colleges and universities

Inside a History Master’s Degree Program

Master’s degree programs in history take about two years to complete. They offer students the opportunity to study a particular area of history in depth. This might include medieval Europe, the American frontier, the modern civil rights movement, U.S. military history, and U.S. and Latin American relations. Like most liberal studies degrees, courses are typically research- and writing-heavy.

Master’s degrees may give students the option of a thesis or non-thesis track. The thesis track would require that students complete a thesis on an approved topic. Programs range from fully online to hybrid courses, where students have a mix of on-campus and online lectures. Some online programs may also require that students meet on-campus throughout the year.

What’s Next for History Master’s Degree Holders?

Graduates of history master’s degree programs would be prepared for jobs that require highly trained professionals, such as historians. Historians research and analyze historical documents and sources for governments, nonprofits, historical associations, and businesses, and, according to the BLS, they need a master’s degree or Ph.D. for most positions. The profession is expected to grow by 18% from 2010 to 2020, according to the BLS.

Continued education may be another path for graduates of master’s degree programs, especially for those considering teaching at a college or university. As noted by the BLS, most postsecondary teachers need a doctorate to teach. Modest growth is expected for the profession. According to the BLS, employment of postsecondary teachers is expected to grow by 17% from 2010 to 2020.