Free Online History Courses

Students who decide to enter college to pursue history might feel overwhelmed by the broadness of it all, as there is so much potential time and information to digest. Luckily, most programs require students to choose a specialty, so they can focus on a particular era, region or group of people during their studies.

History majors can explore a number of exciting careers in research or education; careers that will take them to environments as distinct as schools, art galleries, museums, historical tourist destinations, government offices and research facilities. They play a significant role in our communities, as students, politicians and researchers, guiding us through our own history to clarify, or sometimes complicate, our understanding of various forms of ancestry and the underpinnings of present day living.

Possible Specializations

History majors enjoy flexibility when it comes to choosing a field specialization. Students can dive into the history of certain locations, such as East Asia, the United States, Ireland or, for forward-thinking students, even the history of digital spaces. Scholars can choose from a specific time period, as they would when examining the Srivijaya period in Indonesia, the Zhou Dynasty in China or the European Renaissance . History majors can also choose to examine the history of specific demographics of people, delving into the African American or Jewish experience through the lens of history. It’s worth noting that specializations tend to become more definite as students progress into their studies at the graduate level.

Degree Types

Students can apply to history programs starting at the associate level and ending at the doctoral level. The career opportunities graduates qualify for will depend on the type of degree they hold.

Associate

This two-year degree gives students interested in history a cursory look at U.S. and world events. Generally, there is very little opportunity for period, location or demographic specialization at this degree level. The career opportunities for associate degree holders in history will be limited, and include assistant roles with history researchers or museum curators. Most colleges allow students to apply associate degree credits toward a bachelor’s.

Bachelor’s

This degree level takes approximately four years to complete. Undergraduate history majors can often select a specialty upon enrollment, such as a focus on a particular region, historical period or demographic. Those who graduate with a bachelor’s degree in history have numerous professional routes open to them in schools, newsrooms, museums and government offices.

Master’s

This graduate program generally takes one to two years to complete. Students studying history at this level will most likely delve further into their chosen specialties, gaining expertise on a particular historical period, location or group of people. Professionals holding a master’s degree in history can explore careers as researchers or guides for museums, tourist centers and art galleries. Master’s students who wish to teach history at the collegiate level can continue their studies and research with a Ph.D. program.

Ph.D.

People who obtain a doctorate in history will be considered experts within their specialty. Students might be expected to publish their research within a journal and defend their work in front of a dissertation panel. Those who hold a Ph.D. in history can continue teaching at the collegiate level, or work with museums, historical centers, art galleries and government offices as a historical expert.

History students pursuing any of the aforementioned degree types should strongly consider joining a national honors society such as Phi Alpha Theta. Professional organizations provide merit-based scholarships and grants, which can help history students fund their academic journey. History graduates entering the workforce should look into memberships with the American Historical Association and other professional organizations, since they can provide networking opportunities, job listings and industry publications.

Ideal Candidates for History

While many researchers fixate on discoveries that impact the future, historians are continually uncovering new facts about our past, including texts, tools and artwork that help us learn more about our ancestors. Social and communication skills are a must-have for historians who wish to teach as professors, museum guides or art curators. Historians might even be called upon to appear on television or in court as a history expert. Individuals who are comfortable sharing their passion and expertise with others will excel in community education roles.

Career Pathways

Bachelor’s degree holders can often find work as historical research assistants, a career that pays an average of $38,120 a year or $18.33 hourly. The locations with the highest research assistant hiring rates include Washington DC, Maryland, Washington State, Oregon and Massachusetts.

Those who are interested in becoming historians usually have to earn a master’s degree to find an entry-level position. Unfortunately, the job outlook for this position is not favorable, with a 6% projected growth rate before the year 2022. Professionals who work as historians earn an average of $52,480 a year.

History degree holders can also find roles within museums and galleries as curators or archivists. These roles tend to pay an average of $44,410 a year, with an average job outlook growth rate of 11%. These professionals spend their time appraising items acquired by museums and galleries, and they sometimes play a role in the protection and conservation of these items.

26 Courses

1 2 3

Get More Out of Your Online History Courses

Featured Article

"Nine Unopened Dead Sea Scrolls Found"

2014-03-13

Nine newly found penny-sized pieces of parchment belonging to the Dead Sea Scrolls laid unopened for nearly six decades before they were rediscovered in Israel.

The scrolls went unnoticed for years until one scholar came across them while searching through the Israel Antiquities Authority's (IAA) storerooms, the Times of Israel reported.

Either they didn't realize that these were also scrolls, or they didn't know how to open them," the IAA's head of artifact treatment and conservation Pnina Shor explained.

The tiny scrolls were found inside three phylacteries, small leather boxes with Biblical versus written on them (called tefillin) that are worn by Jews during their morning prayers. Their discoverer, Yonatan Adler, had the boxes scanned by CT at a hospital in Israel in hopes there would be parchment inside.

FoxNews.com, Discovery News
Read More

History in the News

Source: History Today

Our Favorite History Blogs

History Journals & Trade Magazines

  • Journals

    • African Journal of History and Culture

      An open access reviewed monthly journal publishes articles on all areas of African history and culture, including ancient world history, arts, artifacts, landmarks, and politics.

    • European History Quarterly

      The European History Quarterly has been publishing the work of the world's most esteemed historians since 1971. Content covers a range of historical subjects and dialogues concerned with any period ...

    • History Magazine

      Produced six times a year, the magazine covers all periods and aspects of history in a reader friendly style. Subscribers have full access to an index of past articles in addition to current ...

    • History Today

      A venerable history magazine first published in London in 1951, History Today has since become an international mainstay for anyone interested in popular history with a mix of styles and genres.

    • Journal of American History

      Published by Oxford University Press for the Organization of American Historians, this journal features a diverse array of top notch scholarship for teachers, students and U.S. history enthusiasts.

    • Journal of Contemporary History

      A quarterly peer reviewed journal highlights recent and noteworthy scholarship from all corners of the world for the period beginning with the end of the first world war.

    • Journal of Interdisciplinary History

      This journal features unique articles, research notes, essays and book reviews that examine history through new lens and fields, including focuses on social history, demographics, psychohistory ...

    • Journal of Modern History

      This is an American journal dedicated to studying the development of European thought since the beginning of the Renaissance. It is widely considered to be one of the most preeminent journals on the ...

    • Minerva

      Named for the Etruscan and Roman goddess of wisdom, this magazine is published by the Royal Institution of South Wales to advance the study of ancient history.

    • The OAH Magazine of History

      Each edition of this official magazine of the Organization of American Historians is dedicated to a certain theme or trend from U.S. history. It tackles these themes in a cross disciplinary approach ...

History Grants & Scholarships

  • Grants

  • Scholarships

    • DAR Centennial Scholarship

      Deadline: February 15th Annually

      Award Amount: $2,000

      Eligibility for this scholarship is based on U.S. citizenship, and applicants must be enrolled in or planning to attend an accredited college or university in ...

    • Ed Hirsh Scholarship

      Deadline: N/A

      Award Amount: $2,000

      Undergraduate students at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln may apply for this scholarship if juniors with at least a concentration in history who require ...

    • Gilder Lehrman History Scholar Award

      Deadline: March 1st

      Award Amount: $600

      This scholarship is presented to up to fifteen college seniors majoring in American History. Winners get to spend a weekend in NYC, June 6-9th, taking ...

    • Graydon A. Tunstall Undergraduate Student Scholarship

      Deadline: March 1st

      Award Amount: $1,000

      This award is available to honors society members who will be entering the fall semester of their senior year and are majoring in Modern European History from ...

    • Harvey Kantor Memorial Scholarship

      Deadline: N/A

      Award Amount: $1,000

      University of Missouri undergraduate students must be enrolled and declared as history majors who will be taking at least 33 hours of history courses ...

    • Hedley Donovan Scholarship

      Deadline: March 5th

      Award Amount: $8,000

      This scholarship was bequeathed to the University of Minnesota by the family of Hedley Donovan who graduated from the university in 1934. Applicants must ...

    • History Channel Save Our History National Honors Contest

      Deadline: April 7th

      Award Amount: $5,000

      This program from the History Channel is open to public high school students who study American History or perform a history themed service learning project.

    • The O'Leary Scholarship

      Deadline: N/A

      Award Amount: $1,000

      University of Massachusetts-Lowell offers the Daniel O'Leary scholarship, which is named after former school President, to all full-time history undergraduates ...

History Internships

  • American Museum of Natural History

    Deadline: N/A

    This highly regarded museum provides unpaid and supervised internships for students, teachers and the public throughout the year. They also offer paid summer internships to college-aged students.

  • Dusable Museum of African American History

    Deadline: N/A

    This is a volunteer position where interns will work closely with the development director to sustain and increase funding from government orgs and private entities.

  • Historical Society of Pennsylvania

    Deadline: N/A

    The Historical Society of Pennsylvania offers internships in archival, conservation and visitor services. Interested applicants should send a cover letter and resume to the appropriate contact ...

  • John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum

    Deadline: N/A

    The museum has internships available in several of its units, including the archives processing unit, the Hemingway Collection, declassification and museum collections.

  • National Museum of American History

    Deadline: March 1st, July 1st, October 15th

    This internship program is open to a diverse group of individuals with varied interests who will have an opportunity to work with professionals and scholars in their area of concentration.

  • New York Historical Society

    Deadline: N/A

    Undergraduate and graduate internships are open for both the spring and fall semesters (part-time and full-time respectively) in a number of areas, from modeling exhibition layouts to research.

  • Woodrow Wilson Center

    Deadline: N/A

    The center has research internships available as part of the Cold War International History Project. They accept applications on a rolling basis between March and November.

History Student & Professional Organizations

  • Student Organizations

    • International Students of History Association

      This independent student-run organization was founded in 1990 with the aim of making it easier for students the world over to meet each other and exchange ...

    • Phi Alpha Theta

      This is an American honor society for undergraduate and graduate students of history. Boasting over 350,000 members from over 860 different chapters, it's ...

  • Professional Organizations

    • American Association for State and Local History

      This collection of state and local associations works to meet the needs of history teachers, enthusiasts and scholars. The group organizes conferences, publishes periodicals and offers a networking ...

    • American Historical Association

      AHA is the largest professional organization committed to the study and promotion of historical thinking in the world. This subscription-based network formally brings historians, curators, archivists ...

    • Association of Ancient Historians

      AAH is the premier organization of Ancient History professional in the United States. The organization advocates for excellence in the scholarship of Ancient History and works to provide its members ...

    • National Council for History Education

      This council is dedicated to improving the opportunities of people passionate about historical education, giving members access to intensive research tools and relevant historical organizations.

    • Oral History Association

      Established in 1966, this association brings together people who are passionate about protecting and expanding the study of oral history and its contributions.

    • Organization of American Historians

      This is the largest professional history and teaching society in the U.S. Ever since its founding in 1907, the OAH has dedicated itself to promoting excellence in U.S. history teaching and ...

    • World History Association

      The WHA is well-known for its annual conferences. Topics and regions vary widely; this year's WHA conference will be held in Barcelona, Spain and will feature presentations from historians from all ...