Seems like everywhere you turn these days, there’s someone talking about the poor quality of America’s workforce. And, unfortunately, recent college grads are the target of many of these conversations.

Employers are saying time and time again that recent grads are lazy and entitled, and research backs this up with reports showcasing how these new employees can “hardly crack a book.” Even recent grads themselves are saying they are greatly distracted in the workplace by their digital devices and social media.

A history degree is the equivalent of a Swiss army knife for a future career: it demonstrates to employers that you have a number of skills including critical thinking, determining biases, research and analysis, persuasive argumentation, use of statistics, and professional writing.  

Job opportunities with a history degree can range from analyzing or preserving the past (at a museum or library) to applying your analytical ability with a Fortune 500 company.  What’s more, many people have a passion for history or even a personal connection to the past, making them much more enthusiastic about their studies.

Pursuing a history degree online gives a student great flexibility with their coursework and their degree timeline, making it possible to attend classes on your own schedule.  There are a total of 75 different online schools that provide an associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s, or even a doctoral degree in history. Which online schools are the best investment for your future?

Regardless of the career path you follow with your degree in history, it is essential that you start sharpening your employment skills early on. In fact, your college years are the perfect time to prepare yourself to be a good employee. As you review the 20 best online schools for earning a history degree, make sure to check out our six helpful tips for using your college years as preparation for a successful career.

1.) Drury University

Located in rural Missouri, Drury University (formerly Springfield University) has the combination of excellent academics and low costs that make it the clear favorite for an online history degree.  The history department is relatively small, with only four full-time faculty members, but its bachelor’s program punches well above its weight class.

Drury has the highest academic reputation of any online history degree because of its strong admissions standards and its rigorous curriculum that encapsulates a number of different historical periods and concepts.  

Based out of the university’s College of Continuing Professional Studies (CCPS), Drury charges just over $9k in tuition per year.  While this isn’t the cheapest option on the list, it’s less expensive than many others, and the combination of good academics with a smart price tag makes it the favorite for the top seed.

Tip: Take Note of the Process, Not the End Result

Sure, the end result of your college years is the earning of a degree. But your degree is of no value if you don’t know how to evolve it into skills. This is why students need to take note of the process of learning rather than what the learning actually leads to.

Take for example the learning process of completing a project; this requires creating an outline and schedule for the project, gathering research, communicating with project members, and then completing the project in its entirety. This process can be used in your employment to complete work projects.

And while much of your school learning takes place using a trial and revision process, this is not something you want to carry over into your occupation. In fact, too many revisions on projects can lead to losing your job. This is why you must perfect the process and develop skills that allow you to get things right the first time around.

2.) University of Central Florida

US News and World Reports put UCF near the top of their list for the best online schools in the country, and for good reason.  They’ve tailored their online courses to be available for non-traditional learners and won awards for their curriculum. UCF’s online history course is bolstered by their large and diverse faculty pool, featuring over fifty different instructors who lecture on subjects ranging from Florida history to the history of piracy.  Their online bachelor’s program in history is moderately expensive, at under $11k per year. Students can also pursue an online minor in history if they’d like to pursue studies in other fields.

3.)  Southeast Missouri State University

An ongoing trend in online higher education involves a disparity between the size of the physical school and the size of their online programs.  SMSU is one example: with only 5000 registered undergraduates attending classes on campus, you might think they’ve got small online classes as well.  SMSU has realized the value of investing in higher education, however, and their online history degree program benefits tremendously from it. What’s more, they have very affordable tuition rates at about $8k per year.

Tip: Clicking With Your Fellow Students

Many people believe socializing in the workplace puts a damper on productivity. After all, if everyone’s talking about last night’s party, there’s probably not going to be much work going on. The truth is, though, research shows that socialization in the workplace is vital to office morale and high productivity levels.

When coworkers feel comfortable with one another, they tend to work better together. More importantly, communication among employees is essential to de-stressing, and when the office is less stressful, productivity levels tend to soar through the roof. With this in mind, you can use your college years to freshen up on your socialization skills. Looking for a reason to go to that party on Friday night? Well, now you have one.

4.) Liberty University

The first religious school to show up on the list, Liberty University is a private, Christian school that has a heavy online student base.  Their curriculum incorporates social media into their education platform in a much larger way than most other online schools. A smaller faculty team, furthermore, makes it possible to take several classes from one professor during the course of a degree, improving relationships in comparison to other schools that use revolving adjunct professors for most online courses.  Liberty’s private, religious setting means they’re one of the most expensive degrees on the list despite their strong reputation, with tuition coming in at nearly $12k per year.

5.) Baptist College of Florida

One of the biggest decisions that any student has to make is the financial commitment about studying.  If the cost of college is a concern to any student, Baptist College of Florida comes in ahead of the competition by offering much lower tuition rates.  At just $6.3k per year, it’s nearly half as expensive as some other schools on the list. Cheaper doesn’t mean worse, however, since BCF is one of the few colleges on the list with faculty devoted purely to teaching history online.

6.) Nicholls State University

In general, online universities don’t have much in the way of perks, other than their convenience and lower price tags.  Nicholls State bucks this trend by offering a variety of exciting opportunities for studying abroad, including a grant to study World War II history for undergraduate students.  This is a rarity for any online university and, combined with Nicholls’ low tuition ($8250 per year) and high academic reputation, makes for a fantastic chance to experience one of the greatest aspects of student life while still learning online and remotely.

7.) Westfield State University

A simple degree in history may be enough for most students looking for online universities, but Westfield State has a lot more to offer.  Their curriculum includes a teaching licensure degree in history, making it possible for any student who is interested in becoming a history teacher to take the classes needed to give them the best chance in front of a classroom of their own.  

Westfield State also has a part-time history degree for non-traditional students who anticipate taking more time to complete their degree.  At just under $9k per year in tuition, they’re fairly affordable to boot.

Tip: It’s All About Networking

Employers love it when their employees bring cost-saving ideas to the table. Take for example you use your history degree to work as a librarian. Using your networking skills, you learn a fellow student you graduated with can help you secure a $10,000 grant for the library you’re employed through. Or perhaps you’re a history professor and your networking skills bring you into contact with a research institute that wants to give you access to their new leading research technologies.

Your college years are the best time to expand your networking capabilities and they are vital to the networking foundation that you build for the entirety of your career. The more you get out and network, the better. So once again, you have another reason to go to upcoming events and parties.

8.) Troy University

The only school on the list that offers a degree from a Department of History and Philosophy suggests the focus of Troy University’s academics.  Troy’s robust curriculum includes many types of classes you might not get at other schools, including a History Education major. One particularly valuable part of the degree program is the number of extra-curricular activities that online students can participate in, including their History Club.  Their Wiregrass Archives are also a fantastic resource for the history of the southeastern United States. Troy has a moderately expensive tuition at $10k per year.

9.) Eastern Oregon University

Small size and intimacy make EOU a wise choice for students looking to foster relationships and get a deeper understanding of their coursework once the lessons wrap up.  The average class size for upper-level history courses is just 12 students, making it possible to get to know instructors and their areas of knowledge. Given that their department has just five faculty members, furthermore, students at EOU will become very familiar with their professors over the course of a four-year degree.  EOU charges just under $10,5k in tuition per year.

Tip: Go To All Of Your Classes

At many colleges, going to your classes isn’t mandatory as long as you keep your grades up. Once you enter the workforce, though, you don’t get this luxury of flexibility. You must show up on time every day. Because of this, you need to learn self-discipline early on, and it starts with showing up to your classes each day. Even on days when you don’t feel like going, you need to. No matter the occupation you enter into with your degree in history, you are going to have days you don’t feel like going to work but you have to in order to keep your job.

10.) Arizona State University

One of the great pioneers of online education, ASU offers more types of online degrees than any other school in the United States, making it an attractive option for a student who may want to pursue a specialized degree — or even double-major.  They’ve got an exploratory studies program for students who want to do broader studies across a wider range of topics. However, with increased size comes drawbacks, most notably the difficulty to develop relationships with a professor when there are tens of thousands of other online students taking classes.  Even so, ASU remains near the top of the list because of their innovation and versatility, and the options for advanced degrees as well as bachelor’s degrees. Due to the size of their program, a degree is fairly affordable at about $9.6k per year.

11.) King University

With just four faculty members, the King University Department of History is the smallest of any school on this list.  For some students, this presents a drawback, as the major areas of study (British, Greek, and African history) may be outside their scope of interest.  For others, however, the smaller department is perfect for focusing on a specialty and developing a close working relationship with one or more professors at the school.  King’s small student body nevertheless has produced notable graduates, including a Nobel Institute Fellowship award winner and a consultant to the US Department of State. To become a future alumnus, students pay an average of $11k per year in tuition.

12.) University of Minnesota — Twin Cities

The University of Minnesota is already one of the largest schools in the nation, with highly-respected professors and researchers leading their fields.  Their Department of History, unlike some of the smaller schools listed here, has a faculty and staff roster so large that they can accommodate almost any type of student with any academic interests.  Their Twin Cities online degree program is one of the biggest in the nation as well, and one of the most well-known. One major concern, however, that drops UM a bit down the list is the cost: at $13.8k per year, it’s one of the most expensive online history degrees of this list.

13.) Sterling College, Kansas

Just 736 students in total attended classes at Sterling University’s main campus last year, but the number of students they’re attracting to their online degree programs is more than making up for smaller numbers in any classroom.  

Sterling’s Department of History provides an online degree specifically focused on US History, making it ideal for students interested in topics between the Revolution and today’s government.  It also has some of the lowest qualifications for entry of any school on this list, so if your SAT and high school GPA aren’t terribly impressive, Sterling might be a great option for a college education.  They charge $10.5k per year for tuition.

Tip: Sharpen Your Delegation Skills

Employers want workers who can delegate and share tasks according to methods that boost productivity. This is why you need to sharpen your delegation skills in college. How? It starts with delegating tasks to yourself.

Let’s say you have 10 homework assignments and two exams for one of your classes. You need to sit down at the beginning of the semester and create a schedule in which you delegate appropriate amounts of time to yourself to study and complete these assignments and study for the exams. The better you get at delegating to yourself, the better you’ll be at delegating and sharing tasks once you enter the workforce.

14.) Northeastern University Global Network

As the name suggests, Northeastern University Global Network is a solution for any student to learn any course at any time.  They’ve built an online school that not only caters to a variety of educational interests but also has one of the highest graduation rates of any school on this list, clocking in at a fantastic 79% of all students receiving a diploma within four years.  They bill themselves as an “experiential” learning system that is moving away from the lectures and grades of yesteryear to provide students with a richer and more dynamic degree program. They’re more selective, however, and at $11k per year in tuition might not be affordable for some students.

15.) Washington State University

An online BA in Humanities with an emphasis in history makes the WSU online degree a helpful foundation for a career in history that has lots of capabilities to branch out into other social studies like geography and political science. They also make the point of emphasizing the usefulness of their degree for advanced studies, especially law school.  

WSU’s online platform is unique in that it helps students assist professors with their ongoing research projects; due to the difficulty of providing assistance across space and time, few other universities even contemplate such a concept.  WSU is more expensive than the average, with annual tuition running at $11.8k per year.

16.) Colorado State University

Another medium-sized school that has devoted lots of time and attention to becoming a major online player, CSU has managed to attract a healthy student body by emphasizing the career value of their diploma.  

CSU features a lot of job-placement programs for their online grads, including an internship placement program to get in on the ground floor with major companies, that other schools simply can’t match.  Their tuition rates might be too steep for some students, however, since CSU charges nearly $14k per year for a four-year degree, nearly as much as their on-campus tuition.

17.) Regent University

Regent University is one of a few religious schools on the list that has decided to expand their student body by building online courses.  Their Department of Government, History, and Criminal Justice suggests that a degree from their university gives you a lot of options pursuing a career (or, in their own words, “discerning Christian thinkers and ardent defenders of truth and justice”).  Regent is similar to other religious schools on the list in that standards are usually higher than public schools; at nearly $12k per year, the tuition is higher as well.

18.) Kennesaw State University

While many schools on this list have pivoted towards online education, none have done so as forcefully or with such commitment as Georgia’s KSU.  Kennesaw State now offers 95% of their classes online, with a “mixed model” system of courses that allows students to attend physical courses (if they’re in the area) as a complement to their online coursework.  

KSU’s list of online minors is also quite impressive, including African-American diaspora studies and even sports marketing.  One area of concern is that their graduation rate isn’t very impressive at only 42%. The price is right, however: tuition runs just $9.5k per year.

Tip: Get Acquainted With Authority Figures

There’s nothing better than having a job where you get along with your managers and supervisors. Many people fail to foster good relationships with their supervisors because they have a bit of rebellion against those who tell them what to do.

If you absolutely can’t stand being in a position with a manager who supervises you, then you need to pursue the career of an entrepreneur, such as owning your own history research company. Otherwise, you need to learn how to foster relationships with those working above you. The best way to get good at this is by establishing relationships with your professors and higher-level school personnel during your college years.

19.) University of Illinois at Springfield

Satellite campuses may not get all the attention and respect of larger universities, especially for a well-known school like the University of Illinois, but students shouldn’t skip over UI at Springfield just because it’s 100 miles away from the main campus.  UI at Springfield’s online coursework is impressive not in the least because it gives students access to valuable resources, including one of the most impressive university libraries in the nation.

With programs like teacher certification and internship placement, you’ll get a lot of bang for your buck at UI.  You will, however, have to spend a lot of bucks: they charge over $12k per year for tuition, one of the highest rates on this list.

20.) Eastern Carolina University

ECU was one of the very first universities to offer graduate programs online; their MBA program was the very first in the nation to go entirely online.  Today, ECU boasts thirty professors with a wide variety of teaching experience, from Middle Eastern history to maritime history, that you can’t find at smaller schools.  With 26 different master’s programs, students might want to stay for the next round of schooling. ECU is relatively affordable at $9.8k per year in tuition.

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