Study History: Bachelor's, Associate & Online Degree Info

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What will you learn in a history degree program? Read about degree requirements, the pros and cons of an associate's and bachelor's degree and potential careers.
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Study History: Associate's, Bachelor's, and Online Degree Info

Many undergraduate history programs integrate subjects such as philosophy, political science, sociology, and economics into their set of courses. Earning an associate's or bachelor's degree in history can also expose you to multicultural and multidisciplinary topics, programs, projects, ideas, and careers.

Undergraduate programs often allow history majors the opportunity to minor in areas such as black studies, law studies, or philosophy. Some associate and bachelor degree programs in history are moving towards offering a broad range of perspectives and interpretations of history as told by slaves, women, immigrants, and other cultural minorities.

Associate's Bachelor's
Who is this degree for? Individuals with an interest in history, politics, economics, or cultural studies Individuals who desire more in-depth knowledge of history, politics, economics, or cultural studies and who would like to work in areas such as education, law, government, historical writing and research
Common Career Paths (with approximate mean annual salary) - Teaching assistant ($23,000)*
- Library aide ($26,000)*
- Archivist ($53,000)*
- High school teacher ($53,000)*
- Museum technician ($42,000)*
Time to Completion 2 years, full-time 4 years, full-time
Common Graduation Requirements - Approximately 60 units of course work including core classes, electives, and major courses
- Approximately 120 units of course work
- Senior Seminar Project
- Areas of specialization
Prerequisites - High school diploma - High school diploma
- Satisfactory scores on college entrance exams
Online Availability Yes Yes

Source:*U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (May 2011 and 2012 figures).

Associate's Degree in History

Associate degree programs in history teach students critical thinking skills regarding cultural heritage, social and economic processes, and national and international affairs. Completion of an Associate of Arts in History program prepares students for more diverse and advanced curriculum at four-year institutions. Associate degree programs will require core classes such as English and electives in topics like political science, in addition to history courses. Courses within the history major may include pre-colonial world civilizations, American Civil War-era history as well as women in history.

Pros and Cons


  • Pursuing a 2-year degree allows you to figure out if you're truly interested in the teaching, law, and political science career areas, without making a 4-year commitment.*
  • Many associate degree programs in history provide a well-rounded education, since programs integrate subjects such as economics, law, philosophy, and education.***
  • Studying history can help students understand people and societies.**


  • Many jobs that require a degree in history - such as museum curator - require at least a bachelor's degree.*
  • The products of studying history are less concrete - and sometimes less immediate - than those that result from more technical disciplines, like engineering.**
  • The multidisciplinary approach of history degree programs can be overwhelming for certain students.

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **, ***Delaware State University.

Courses and Requirements

In order to succeed in an associate-level program in history, students will need to critically analyze and examine documents, comprehensive data, and historical events. Furthermore, students will learn how to effectively evaluate hypotheses, develop rational models, and understand opposing viewpoints. Students in history degree programs are also required to develop communication skills through writing exercises and develop public speaking skills through discussion of critical historical events. Associate history degree programs require courses in the areas of world civilizations, cultural developments, domestic studies, and economic development.

Online Degree Options

Depending on the college of choice, some associate degree programs in history will take place 100% online or some will be in a hybrid format where you may be required to attend campus for orientation, some courses, or testing. Earning an online associate's degree in history may be an option for students who need a schedule that will allow them to remain fully employed, while advancing their careers.

Getting Ahead with this Degree

Completing an associate degree program in history can be a stepping stone to a baccalaureate degree and eventually into careers in libraries or museums, journalism, teaching, international organizations, archival work, international relations, and business. Because career options are so diverse and spread across many types of professions, there are multiple ways to get ahead with this degree such as interning at a government agency or working entry-level jobs at a library or museum.

Bachelor's Degree in History

Students enrolled in bachelor's degree programs in history may gain the skills and tools needed to become proficient writers, critical thinkers, and exceptional researchers. Through their courses of study, history majors are guided to develop the ability to synthesize multiple perspectives and insights into a distinct, balanced point-of-view. In addition to learning about history itself, bachelor degree programs are designed to show you the methods and techniques that go into researching and writing history.

Pros and Cons


  • Students in history degree programs have many opportunities to study abroad.*
  • Studying history can help us understand how the society we live in came to be.*
  • Historical study is an asset for a variety of work and professional situations.*


  • For most students, a history degree does not lead to a specific job slot like degrees in technical fields do.*
  • If you would like to become a secondary school history teacher - depending on where you choose to teach - you may still need to earn a Master's in secondary education.***
  • In certain fields that history majors qualify for, such as an archivist, workers will likely face strong competition for jobs because qualified applicants generally outnumber job openings.**

Source: *, **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, ***Roberts Wesleyan College

Courses and Requirements

In order to succeed in a bachelor's degree in history program, you will need a variety of attributes including effective writing skills, critical analysis skills, interdisciplinary thinking and training, inquisitiveness, and research skills. Bachelor degree programs in history will require you to effectively conceptualize, investigate, and present key issues on historical and other topics. You will be required to take courses from a variety of disciplines including English, math, geography, economics, and foreign language. You may also be required to complete a senior seminar research project.

Online Degree Options

Accredited, online bachelor's degree programs in history offer a variety of courses, electives, training opportunities, requirements, quality instructors, and projects on the same level of on campus programs. Many schools will offer all lectures, assignments, and other coursework via the Internet. Some schools may require students to come to campus for certain projects.

Stand out with this Degree

Bachelor's degree programs in history provide students with the foundation, tools, experiences, and skills that can make them marketable in a wide array of careers. In order to stand out, you should consider what career path you would like to take, and come up with ways to gain valuable experience in that field. For instance, if you would like to work in international relations, you should consider studying abroad while earning your degree. Freelance writing, working in the teaching field, interning, and volunteering are also some options to consider that can make you a stronger candidate in many fields.

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