Our aim with this ranking is to give you information on the most affordable online history master’s degrees.
At first glance, it may seem as if a master’s degree in history would have incredibly limited job potential. After all, it belongs in a category with similar social science and humanities degrees – like sociology, anthropology, and creative writing – that many judge as having little use in a science- and tech-oriented world. But history graduate programs are surprisingly versatile and can pave the way for you to pursue a career in education, research, museum curation, archival work, politics, law, criminal justice, religion…the list goes on! If you are interested in the lives of our ancestors and how past events shape current behaviors, a history master’s degree might be for you.
Of course, college isn’t free, and unfortunately the cost of tuition continues to escalate. But there are ways to earn your education without breaking the bank. Going to school online can save you money because you’ll avoid fees associated with room and board, travel, parking, meal plans, and other expenses. Plus, many online colleges are cheaper than traditional schools because they don’t have to worry about housing thousands of students. Not only that, but distance education learners are at a distinct advantage because of their ability to study from home, create their own schedule, and work full-time even while taking classes.
If any of this sounds of interest to you, take a look at our ranking below of the 10 most affordable online history master’s degree programs.
To start, we first collected a comprehensive list of all the universities in the country that offer history master’s degrees through distance education (all or the vast majority of classes must meet online). We then determined the approximate cost of attendance at each school by looking at both their annual tuition for graduate programs and the associated fees (all data obtained from College Navigator) and included the 10 cheapest below. The most expensive of these schools still clocks in at less than $12,000 a year, meaning no matter which of the following colleges you choose, you can enjoy your education without stressing over a mountain of debt.
Ranking the Most Affordable Master’s in History Online Degrees 2016
10. Pittsburg State University
Online History, M.A.
Students who choose Pittsburg State University for their online history master’s degree program do so because of a profound appreciation of and passion for the historical past. Experienced advisors help online learners select courses from a wide list of classes, catering their curriculum specifically to the student’s individual interests. A thesis option (30 credit hours) requires the completion of a written manuscript and is meant for students who plan to continue on to a PhD program. Alternatively, a seminar option (32 credit hours) is more versatile and includes several different tracks for students who seek a job in industry after graduation.
Tuition and Fees: $11,694/yr
For more information: Pittsburgh State University
9. Southwestern Assemblies of God University
Online Master’s Degree in History (Thesis, Non-thesis, and Education Tracks)
Whether you want to take classes online, on campus, or both, Southwestern Assemblies of God University has you covered. Seeking the ultimate in flexibility, SAGU’s online history master’s degree offers traditional tracks that include both a thesis and non-thesis option, as well as one for students aspiring to a career in education. No matter what track you choose, you’ll get a solid background in topics such as the American South, Medieval Europe, and Military History, as well as subjects appropriate to SAGU’s religious leanings – including Biblical Backgrounds and Ages of Faith.
Tuition and Fees: $10,960/yr
For more information: Southwestern Assemblies of God University
8. National University
Online Master of Arts in History
National University supports a broad program in history that is ideal for both future researchers and educators. Students who are more interested in research can take courses that will hone their writing and analytical skills; help them articulate original ideas; and prepare them for work as archivists, museum curators, writers, and for other scholarly pursuits. On the other hand, the education track within this online history master’s degree will expose students to all the exciting details of American, European, and Global History and will prepare them to teach at secondary school or community college. Regardless, all students complete a thesis project and portfolio related to either their research or instructional interests that will challenge them to think critically about their field.
Tuition and Fees: $10,638/yr
For more information: National University
7. Indiana State University
Online History M.A./M.S.
Indiana State University’s online master’s degree in history acts as a perfect bridge for students ultimately seeking a PhD and conveniently allows learners to study at home. The M.A. degree is a 33-credit, comprehensive program covering historical events from all over the world and allows students to specialize in United States, European, or Worldwide History. The M.S. version of the program is better for professional students who see themselves in law, journalism, business, social work, or government careers in the future. Depending on how you choose to study, you could have your diploma in hand in just three years or as many as five (if you opt for a part-time schedule).
Tuition and Fees: $10,343/yr
For more information: Indiana State University
6. Wayland Baptist University
Online Master of Arts in History
Another affordable degree option comes in the form of Wayland Baptist University, a religious institution with a versatile history program that can open the door to a long list of careers. Despite costing less than $10,000 a year, WBU is big on opportunities, from the litany of topics on offer for study to the useful array of online resources for distance learners. Students can take face-to-face classes, online classes, or both, as all courses follow an identical 11-week format. Conveniently, face-to-face classes typically meet evenings and weekends in order to appeal to busy professionals and adult learners. The 37-credit hour curriculum is uniquely flexible and mandates only a handful of core courses; the rest are free for passionate historians to select for themselves, from American history to warfare to the Bible.
Tuition and Fees: $9,930/yr
For more information: Wayland Baptist University
5. Sam Houston State University
Online Master of Arts in History
Sam Houston State University’s master’s degree in history online advertises itself as “a truly unique learning experience” with professors who employ an “innovative curriculum.” Students who choose to take all their courses won’t miss out on any of the experience, as SHSU’s distance education program is both engaging and award winning. You can take classes such as Topics in Pre-Modern History, Recent African American History, Colonial America, and the American West. You can also sample a unique selection of seminar courses, including the History of the American South and Environmental History. SHSU also provides an optional thesis track, which requires students to do extensive research with a faculty advisor and present a written manuscript prior to graduation.
Tuition and Fees: $9,814/yr
For more information: Sam Houston State University
4. Adams State University
Online M.A. in Humanities with an American History Emphasis
At Adams State University, grad students can pursue a more general degree in Humanities, choosing an emphasis in American History if it suits their career goals. The 30-credit, interdisciplinary program includes classes in Civil War and Reconstruction, Topics in Political Theory, Early Modern Europe, Cultural Geography, and much more. Students who do well can meet the requirements for “highly qualified” teaching status and make a smooth transition into a reputable PhD program. But regardless of whether or not you plan to pursue a terminal degree, ASU will push you to deepen your understanding of history in the United States, engage with like-minded students, and identify your favorite areas of study. Advisors can even provide guidance on how to find a job in the public school system.
Tuition and Fees: $9,564/yr
For more information: Adams State University
3. University of Nebraska Kearney
Online Master of Arts Degree in History
Despite being located in the relatively low-population state of Nebraska, U of N at Kearney is able to reach out to a large band of learners via its distance education program. In this way, UNK can keep costs low while offering a graduate program that rivals some of the nation’s best. The online history master’s degree program includes a thesis and non-thesis option, both of which require completion of an essential pair of core courses in Historical Methods and America Interpreted. However, thesis students spend the majority of their time learning about both U.S. and global history topics – and of course preparing to write their final manuscript! The non-thesis option, on the other hand, lets students choose a specific specialization and explore more elective classes.
Tuition and Fees: $9,449/yr
For more information: University of Nebraska Kearney
2. Fort Hays State University
Online Master of Arts in History or Public History (without thesis)
FHSU is another great option for busy adults, offering both history and public history concentrations online – but only the non-thesis tracks. The structured program requires all students to take a class in Historical Methods (if they have not previously taken the course), two research-based seminar classes, and 21 credit hours in electives. The traditional history option prepares students for careers in schools, museums, editing and publishing houses, as well as archival and preservation work. If you’re more interested in public history, the FHSU curriculum is ideal for more hands-on work – such as with the government or a consulting firm.
Tuition and Fees: $6,564/yr
For more information: Fort Hays State University
1. American Public University
Online Master’s Degree for History Professionals
The program for History Professionals at American Public University is one of the school’s most popular degree options. Versatile enough to appeal to working professionals, historical novices, and enthusiasts alike, the online curriculum covers an impressively broad range of topics. You can study ancient and classical history, contemporary Europe, war and culture, globalization, and public history, among other critical subjects. Students going for an online history master’s degree also enjoy access to all of APU’s best resources, including an outstanding virtual library that provides a wealth of academic texts to support even the most in-depth historical research.
Tuition and Fees: $6,150/yr
For more information: American Public University
This concludes our ranking of the most affordable online history master’s degrees.