Interpret the past and illuminate the future in the online Master of Arts in History degree program from Southern New Hampshire University. Advanced degrees in history are among the fastest growing graduate programs – and not just because they’re critical to obtaining a PhD. A master’s is more relevant than ever to today’s careers in teaching, research, government, publishing and preservation, just to name a few.
While you don’t need an undergraduate degree in history to qualify, nearly all of our master's in history online candidates have a passion for history – as collectors, war buffs or historical fiction fans.
The master’s in history online degree program will deepen your knowledge of the process of "making" history through analyzing historical scholarship, crafting written communications and defending the relevance of the past as it pertains to making informed decisions about the future. You'll emerge not only with up-to-date knowledge, but also with the research, writing and critical-thinking skills to work in a variety of fields where today’s real world meets meaningful interpretations of the past.
As a private, nonprofit university, SNHU has one mission – to help you see yourself succeed. The benefits of earning your MA in History online at SNHU include:
Acceptance decisions are made on a rolling basis throughout the year for our five graduate terms. You can apply at any time and get a decision within days of submitting all required materials. To apply, simply contact an admission counselor, who can help you explore financial options. Your counselor can also walk you through the application process, which involves completing a graduate application ($40 fee) and providing undergraduate transcripts.
Candidates must also submit a statement of purpose and a writing sample. Students with an undergraduate GPA below 2.75 are eligible for provisional acceptance. Based on your educational background, some Master of Arts provisional students may be required to take SNHU 501 – Introduction to Graduate Studies – which will provide students with the scholarly tools to be successful in their Master of Arts program of study.
Without historians, there would be no history. Writing it, preserving it and applying it are integral to a surprising number of professions. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that most historians work in government agencies, while others work in museums, archives, historical societies, publishing houses, research organizations and consulting firms.
Careers for master’s degree-holders include archivists, editors, educators, information managers, journalists, records managers, researchers and historians for corporations and nonprofits.
The curriculum for the online MA in History advances the applications and relevancy of history while strengthening research and writing skills. After completing the master's in history core courses, you'll choose from among three concentrations – American history, military history or public history – or take five history electives, and fulfill a capstone experience that results in a project or research paper.
This course provides a deep-level exploration into the study of history and historical writing, focusing on the craft and profession of history and its relationship to society. The course contends with the changing nature of historical interpretations and arguments, and the role of historical meta-narratives in shaping one's understanding and experience of history. Students are asked to position and evaluate their own thinking in relation to various historical analyses, defending a preferred approach to a relevant area of interest.
Historians use a wide variety of methods and approaches to the study, analysis, and evaluation of historical accounts and sources. This course offers students an opportunity to investigate various methodological approaches and the relationships between method, theory, and interpretation in historical research. Students will design an initial research proposal and articulate how a chosen methodology positions them appropriately to address the central issues and problems of their research.
Comparative research is a valuable tool for historians to be able to discover possible historical and social connections across separate historical settings. This course introduces students to best practices, issues, and challenges of comparative history approaches. Central to the course is the development of effective research practices in comparative history: identifying appropriate sources, articulating the context and focus of a research project, and making an informed and supported argument. This course will use the topic of democratic revolutions to model comparative research.
What does it mean to focus on the economic issues of an historical event? What considerations of race, gender, class, or other lenses of difference can be made to illuminate the social and cultural experiences of people throughout history? The central focus of this course is to provide students with an exploration into various lenses of historical research and analysis and how these lenses can structure the types of questions an historian asks. The course uses the topic of transatlantic slavery to introduce several lenses that can be applied to future topics of interest to students. Students will integrate best practices for the production and writing of historical scholarship using a chosen lens (or lenses) of analysis.
The capstone experience integrates knowledge and skills developed in previous coursework with a focus on developing scholarship in a student's chosen area of specialization. This course focuses on helping students propose a topic for research, conduct preliminary research on primary and secondary sources, and develop a capstone research proposal. This course prepares students for the formal capstone submission in the subsequent capstone course. Students must have completed 24 credits in their program to enroll in this course.
The capstone experience integrates knowledge and skills developed in previous coursework with a focus on developing scholarship in a student's chosen area of specialization. This course extends students' research proposals into a formal capstone project. Students will workshop and submit their final capstone projects in this course.
Select five of the following:
The modern nation of the United States of America was born out of European colonization. The themes that arise from these early encounters between colonists from different European countries, Native Americans, and displaced Africans as they created the "New World" continue to shape America's social, political, economic, and cultural landscape to this day. In this course, students investigate how historian understand the different facets of the creation of this New World, including armed conflict, cultural cooperation, gender roles, environmental issues, and the role of religion in conquest.
America has held many titles as a result of its political inception, including "the birthplace of democracy" and "the first nation based on an idea." Does the historical evidence substantiate those claims? Was the American Revolution truly "revolutionary"? In this course, the separation of the American colonies from England and the political, cultural, social, and economic realities that resulted are critically examined. Students will challenge and refine previously held or popular notions of the period encompassing Revolutionary-era America through the early nineteenth century.
The era of the American Civil War is one of the most studied periods in American history. Despite the robust and well-established scholarship on the topic, vibrant debates and competing schools of thought still exist. In this course, students will add to this rich tradition with their own interpretations of the social, economic, cultural, and political roots of the conflict and its relevant impacts on the American narrative. Emphasis is placed on applying different methodologies and lenses to the vast historical body of knowledge surrounding the antebellum period through the Reconstruction era. Students evaluate the implications of methodology and lens on interpretations of the Civil War.
This course examines the period between Reconstruction and the first World War, paying particular attention to the emergence of industrial capitalism, the rise of the modern American city, the shifting nature of rural life in America and the rise of Populism, immigration, racial tensions, Progressivism, the conquest of the West, and the rise of the United States as a global power militarily, economically, and politically.
As America emerged on the stage as a world power, it is not surprising that increased involvement in international affairs followed. America's participation in the world wars of the twentieth century brought about profound changes related to international diplomatic relations, the expanding role of the state in economic and military policy, cultural and ideological shifts domestically and globally, and technological innovations in weaponry, transportation, and manufacturing. While the consequences of warfare on the greater world stage are central to this course, students also will examine the myriad ways in which social, political, and cultural life transformed in the United States during this era. Students contend with how historians have, both implicitly and explicitly, inserted value judgments into their interpretations of the methods of war, political regimes, human rights issues, and geopolitical reorganizations of the era.
The Cold War period has been defined by America's ideological conflict and proxy warfare with the Soviet Union. The tremendous cultural, social, economic, and political turmoil that resulted from this era, including such events as the Vietnam War and the civil rights movement, can still be felt throughout the globe today. In this course, students draw connections among contemporary issues and their foundations in the period between the end of World War II and the fall of the Soviet Union. Students explore how the essential nature of this conflict compares and contrasts to traditional conceptions of "war," examine to what extent the Cold War was representative of a paradigm shift in terms of foreign policy and military engagements, and investigate the general relationship between war and society in this period.
This course examines the development of military theory and practice throughout history, exploring prominent military figures and major campaigns. This subject matter is global in scope, including topics from both the Eastern and Western worlds. Students will investigate how different societies influence and are influenced by military affairs, including war and social changes, diplomatic efforts, and cultural differences in military theory.
The Russian revolutions of 1917 rank among the most monumental events of the modern era. The collapse of the tsarist regime and the triumph of communism placed Russia on a tumultuous and often painful path toward modernization and forever changed the course of world history. Beginning with the 1890s and continuing until the early 1920s, this course will analyze the background, the unfolding, and the aftermath of the twin upheavals of 1917: the February Revolution that destroyed the Russian monarchy and the October Revolution that brought the Soviet government to power. Students will investigate the political, socio-economic, cultural, and ideological factors that shaped this transformation, and will also explore the interactions among revolutionary processes and military events such as World War I and the Russian Civil War. They will utilize recent scholarship on these topics to develop their own understanding of the historiography of the subject.
This course provides an overview of major military campaigns, strategies, and tactics in Chinese history. Students will explore the cultural aspects of military campaigns and warfare in China and be introduced to the latest scholarship on the topics explored. Students will also engage with the historiography of a topic of interest and define their own interpretations based on scholarly research.
Unlike many other areas of history, public history distinguishes itself in its application focus and community orientation. Public historians are charged with protecting our historically significant artifacts, cataloging our historical wisdom, and communicating our cultural narratives. In this course, the foundational principles and mission of public history are investigated and evaluated. Students assess the landscape of public history, including the major thinkers, controversies, emerging trends, and ethical demands. Finally, students must articulate a distinct identity for public history and situate themselves within that context.
A public historian can expect to be responsible for a myriad of projects and tasks that require a marriage of historical knowledge and business acumen. In this course, students will augment their existing framework to include the skill sets of project management, budgeting and finance, legal competencies, and other pragmatic considerations that are essential for the public historian. Attention will be given to issues of intellectual property, fundraising and donations, interpersonal skills and people management, artifact care, and motivating volunteer organizations.
The potential and possibilities for preserving historical artifacts have been fundamentally transformed by digitization. The ability to design, plan, execute, and maintain digitization projects and repositories has become essential for public historians. In this course, students apply information system theories and utilize relevant technologies and tools to engage in the digitization process. An emphasis is placed on the need for public historians to take an adaptive and open-minded approach to technology, due to its capabilities for furthering the missions of public history.
This course is one of three specialized offerings in public history collections management. The focus of this course is documentary editing, or the assembling of comprehensive document collections. Documentary editors must scrutinize, verify, and organize the resources upon which historical scholarship rests. This includes making the difficult, and potentially controversial, decisions about what is included and what is not. In this course, students engage in research, evaluation, transcription, annotation, and compilation of historical artifacts. The implications of documentary editorial decisions on future understandings of the past are assessed.
This course is one of three specialized offerings in public history collections management. The focus of this course is archives, or the accumulation of historical records that have been set aside for future reference. Archivists must store, catalog, preserve, and retrieve archival materials that are considered to be of significance to a group. In this course, students apply the major theories of archival science to determine the authenticity, reliability, integrity, and usability of various records. Best practices for developing and maintaining archives are investigated. Additionally, the ethical considerations surrounding the care of records of social value are evaluated.
This course is one of three specialized offerings in public history collections management; the focus is museum curation. Today's museums are being challenged to alter their approach and redefine the museum experience to meet the intellectual curiosity of 21st-century patrons who crave contribution and participation over passive observation. In this course, students will evaluate the impact of these social dynamics on the field of museum science. Additionally, students will propose creative solutions to address new expectations without sacrificing the enduring principles at the core of a museum's mission.
Tuition rates for SNHU's online degree programs are among the lowest in the nation. We offer a 25 percent tuition discount for active-duty service members and their spouses.
*Tuition Rates are subject to change and are reviewed Annually.
$40 Application Fee, $150 Graduation Fee, Course Materials ($ varies by course)
Southern New Hampshire University is a private, nonprofit institution accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges as well as several other accrediting bodies. More...