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Best Online Master’s Degrees in: American History

Explore a Master’s Degree in American History

If gaining highly developed skills in an effort to advance your history-related career is something you’ve been considering, then an online master’s in American history might be the right educational path for you. Students in such programs gain a deeper understanding of American history by learning and improving existing research, critical analysis, writing, and presentation skills. This master’s degree program usually takes students one and a half years to complete, though part-time students and those entering the program with transferable master’s credits can expect degree attainment time to differ.

Class Curriculum

In this master’s curriculum, students can anticipate courses that specifically concentrate on the many aspects of American history in an open-discussion platform. In doing this, students will also learn and apply the assortment of methodologies and techniques historians use to gain information about past events. Classes will require that students understand the critical historical events in U.S. history and the methods used to record them. Though courses vary among different universities, normal courses many institutions offer are:

  • Historiography Methodology . Engrossing students in the methodical pursuit of sources and resources for confirming, realizing new, or challenging historical knowledge, this course is one of the most important a master’s history student can take as it essentially teaches them how to be historians. Such a course also takes students through the process by which history came to be a singular subject and practice, and how methods for exploring and understanding history have been developed throughout the ages.
  • Early American History. A course of this nature will direct students deep into America’s history, both before and after establishment. It will start with America’s pre-discovery history, and continue into the colonial days through to the American Revolution.
  • America’s Military History. Students will learn America’s military history from colonial days to present times. They will also examine the progression of America’s military in terms of policy, hierarchy, and branch institutions; and specific significant wars and the military strategies employed during them will be studied concurrently.

Vast amounts of reading will be assigned in this program. Students will be expected to understand, analyze, and form views on said readings, which will be examined during open-discussion activities. Writing is also a huge component, as students will engage in extensive research projects and must report their findings in coherent and complete papers. Oral communication assignments are another component in courses that students may be required complete; this can include interviewing primary and/or secondary historical sources or presenting a project to an online audience.

Building a Career

A master’s in American history offers students the opportunity to seek, or make progress in, their careers as teachers, museum curators, or historians with their newly expanded communication, writing, and critical reasoning skills. Salaries are fully-dependent on a variety of factors, making a guaranteed projected salary impossible; however, below are salary estimates for, as well as descriptions of, the careers many degree recipients may seek.

Teaching is one career avenue many take when pursuing this degree, which can range from the primary to the postsecondary levels of education. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) stated in 2011 that primary or secondary educators made a median salary of $56,790. Those who utilized their master’s degree to teach in university settings, on the other hand, earned a median salary of $72,200, according to the BLS. The job outlook for those seeking teaching positions is good; the BLS expects the industry’s employment demand to continue positive growth over the next decade.

A career as a curator is another popular career choice for master’s degree earners. Curators work in museums and sites of historical importance, conducting research, managing collections of historical significance, and educating the public about those collections. The BLS data indicates that curators’ median salary is $43,210, and that the industry’s employment needs will grow in the next eight years by an estimated 16%.

Being that earning a master’s degree in history is a minimum requirement, becoming a historian is a logical choice for many degree recipients. Historians spend their time discovering, studying, and analyzing historical events, people, and recordings. Their career’s goal is to uncover and explain historical mysteries to gain a comprehensive understanding of history. The BLS notes that the median salary for historians is $52,370.

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