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Online History Degree - Pursuing an Online History Degree

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The past is always a rebuke to the present.
—Robert Penn Warren

Archivist. Teacher. Lawyer-to-be. Whatever their ambitions, distance learners now have more opportunities than ever before to seek online history degrees. With options running the spectrum of higher education, the Internet provides a wealth of options for future historians.

Though initially received with skepticism, online degrees have earned the respect of employers and academics, so long as they come from accredited institutions. Today, most major schools offer some form of distance learning, while a few institutions allow for a 100% online experience that, if completed satisfactorily, will translate into a college degree.

As with any field in the humanities, history degrees involve a great deal of reading, writing, and other research. Online history degrees are particularly reading and writing intensive, as these form not only the academic work but also the primary form of interface with the instructor. Depending on the course, multimedia may also be a form of coursework, with documentaries used to supplement readings and class discussion.

As mentioned, many schools offer online courses. Post-secondary education has grown more and more excited about distance learning, as it provides opportunities to non-traditional students—that is, students whose lives do not afford them the option of on-campus learning—to get comparable opportunities to traditional ones. Stay-at-home parents, part-time students, and the disabled are just a few of the many non-traditional students for whom distance learning may be preferable.

Beyond local schools, a seeker of an online history degree can also turn to accredited online universities. As accredited universities, these institutions have been confirmed by their governments’ departments of education, a statement of trust in their academic integrity and an assurance that the degrees they provide should carry weight with employers. That one word, accredited, is a requirement for any degree from any institution. An unaccredited diploma, on the other hand, will be scoffed at by any serious employer.

At present, several purely online institutions offer a B.A. in History, including:

  • American Public University
  • Ashford University
  • Grand Canyon University
  • Canadian Virtual University (available in French or English.)
  • New Jersey Virtual Community College Consortium
  • Southern New Hampshire University
  • University of Illinois
  • University of Maryland

Additionally, a few institutions offer online Master’s Degrees, such as:

  • Norwich University (military history)
  • Savannah College of Art and Design (architectural history, art history)
  • University of Nebraska at Kearney (general history)

Despite its sturdy infrastructure, an online history degree may not be the best choice for learners. It requires moderate computer skills, self discipline, and a willingness to do without the learning environment provided by a brick-and-mortar institution. Nonetheless, an online history degree represents a unique, modern opportunity for learning that bypasses many of the obstacles which keep people from pursuing their educations.

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