Why This Matters


    A growing number of college students, along with a general appreciation of history, has increased the need for historians with advanced degrees. Three percent job growth in the field is expected through 2029.


    There were 37,500 archivists in 2019, and the field is rapidly expanding. Another 4,200 archivist positions are expected by 2029.


    The average annual salary for historians is $63,680, and some make much more. Positions with the federal government can pay over $87,000 each year.

Our Research

We surveyed many Master’s in History programs, including those that offer online, on-campus, and dual-mode courses. The vast majority of these programs award Master of Arts (MA) degrees.

All of the programs included on the list are regionally accredited, and many have received national accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). Attending an accredited program ensures the quality of the coursework and a wide acceptance of the degree from other schools and employers.

We evaluated each program on the basis of flexibility, faculty, course strength, cost, and reputation. Then we calculated the Intelligent Score for each program on a scale from 0 to 100. For a more extensive explanation, check out Our Ranking Methodology.

  • 53 hours to write this article
  • 194 universities and colleges we assessed
  • 366 education programs we compared

The Top 49 Master’s in History Degree Programs

Best Master's in History Degree Programs
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What You Should Know About This Degree

Master’s in history programs teach more than what happened in the past. Through a program’s courses, you’ll learn critical-thinking, problem-solving, researching, and writing skills, which many jobs require.

The number of proper historian and archivist jobs available is somewhat limited even though both fields are growing. For this reason, many graduates end up taking their developed skills into other fields, such as law, communications, government, and education. A master’s in history can lead in many career directions, and it’s best pursued by those who are somewhat flexible in their long-term goals.

Most of these options offer a non-thesis track and a thesis track, and you can choose whichever best suits your interests and goals. If you’re hoping to go on to obtain a doctoral degree, a thesis is recommended, because most PhD programs require one for admission. Some schools give students extra time to write a thesis.

Online programs can normally be completed remotely, but check for any in-person requirements. Programs may require brief visits to campus for seminars or orientation, and you’ll want to make sure any such requirement works with your schedule and obligations.

What’s Next?

Here are some questions to think about as you research master’s in history programs:

  • How long does it take to complete this online degree? Most master’s in history degrees take two years to complete for full-time students, although some might take longer if a thesis is included. Ultimately, the time it takes to complete your program will depend on the number of credits you earn each semester.
  • Are courses offered synchronously or asynchronously? These degree programs may offer synchronous or asynchronous courses, and many programs include both. Synchronous courses have set times to attend classes, while asynchronous courses are mostly done according to your own schedule. Make sure the course format of a program will work for you.

When you’ve identified potential degree programs, find out what their application process is like. You’ll need to know of any required materials and deadlines for submission. Find this information on a program’s website or by contacting the program directly.

Also give thought to how you’ll pay for your master’s degree. Speak with school staff about the financial aid and scholarships offered, and check whether you can get tuition reimbursement through your employer.