Master’s in History Definition
A Masters of Arts Degree in history prepares students for a career teaching history or working in archives or at a museum. A master’s degree in history is usually sought by those who want to work in education or the academic realm in research. Students can attend school full or part time. Subjects include geography, historical events and areas of focus such as ethnic groups or the history of a particular religion. Students can also focus on global history if they wish to have a more broad knowledge of the subject. Overall, a master’s of history degree can lead to a wide variety of careers.
Who Need a Master’s in History?
For those who plan on teaching history at the college level, a master’s in history is an essential step. Those working in museums, galleries, or in auction houses will also benefit from a master’s degree in history. While the degree does not train you for one particular position, it provides you with a solid base for teaching others about history and educating people on objects from that era. Educators who want a master’s degree, but aren’t sure what subject they want to explore should consider history. It is a degree that can be used for many teaching positions and can be utilized for a post-teaching career as well.
What Do I Need to Get Into a Master’s in History Degree Program?
Any master’s in history degree program requires students to have a bachelor’s degree. Most programs require any type of bachelor’s degree, though some may require a history-related degree such as art history or global history. Some programs require a certain grade point average, which is usually 2.5 or higher. Nearly all master’s programs also require a student to submit Graduate Records Exam (GRE) scores along with a letter of recommendation. Some may also request an essay from the student. Top master’s programs for history also require a student to be proficient in a second language. Students with a master’s in history degree can go on to work in many capacities and additional languages are useful for working in a museum or gallery setting and educating people on historical pieces.
What is the GRE?
The GRE is required by nearly all master’s programs. Online master’s programs are less likely to require the GRE, but many of them do ask for GRE scores. The GRE is taken prior to applying for a program and scores are sent directly from the test to the potential schools. You can take the GRE multiple times if you do not score high enough, but there are many free resources to help students prepare for the exam. Applications for master’s programs are usually due in the winter, so it’s best to take the GRE starting in the early summer to allow ample time in case you want to retest. The GRE is only given on designated dates throughout the year and costs $160 and additional fees apply for things like late registration or rescheduling the test.
Are There Online Master’s in History Degree Programs?
Online degree programs have grown in every subject, and now there are many history programs, even at the master’s level. The priority when researching online schools for your master’s is to make sure the school is accredited by a regional source. Because there are so many programs to choose from, many of these are accredited by the same organizations that accredit traditional schools. This means your degree will be taken seriously once you enter the work force. This also means the time and money spent on the degree are well worth it. Take your time exploring master’s in history degree programs for online schools. Most students apply to multiple programs when seeking a master’s degree. It’s important to find the program that’s right for you. Talk to past professors and academic advisors to determine what type of program is best for you. For students who work full time, an online program is ideal because it allows you to continue working while participating in classes.
How Does an Online Master’s Degree Work?
Overall studying for a master’s degree is an independent experience, which makes the online experience not very different. At the beginning of the program, students may meet for an orientation if the school has a campus. This allows students to meet each other and some of the instructors, as well as a department head or panel that oversees the history department. Students are given a syllabus that carefully outlines the objectives of the master’s program and breaks down a schedule. Some students may attend school part time, which is common for all master’s programs, both online and traditional.
The first portion of the program includes course work which is completed at home, on a student’s own schedule. There are deadlines and test dates during this time, which makes time management essential regardless of work or family obligations. The latter part of the program is independent study and a student writes their thesis, periodically presenting it to a panel. This portion of the master’s degree is very similar whether you’re attending a traditional school or an online program. The latter portion of the master’s degree works according to a student’s schedule, which means time for completing a master’s degree can vary.
How Long Does it Take to Complete a Master’s Degree in History?
Most master’s programs take about two years to complete. For students studying part time, it can take as long as three years to complete, but this depends on a student’s own schedule. As discussed, the thesis process of a master’s program varies based on a student’s progress writing the paper. A program may also be extended if a student has multiple areas of concentration. For a master’s in history, a student may concentrate on African American history or women’s history, or on a specific time period such as the Gilded Age or World War II. Sports are also an area of concentration. Multiple areas of concentration are not available through all programs. Most schools only allow multiple areas of concentration if the areas are closely related.
Where Can I Work with a Master’s in History Degree?
If you plan on going on to complete your PhD, you will be able to work as a professor at the college level, teaching history. Some community colleges and private schools allow teachers with a master’s to teach at this level, but more often college instructors are required to have a doctoral degree. With a teaching certificate, you will be able to teach history at the high school level for the public school system. Other career paths for a student with a master’s in history degree are working at a museum, gallery or government building preserving historical artifacts and educating the public on these pieces. These positions can be hard to come by, as most people stay at these jobs for the majority of their careers. It’s important to intern and network within your field for an opportunity at one of these fascinating jobs working with historical documents or objects. Historians can also work as consultants for various projects from books to films, and work on a contract basis assessing items for private collectors. The area with the most opportunity for historians is art. With the baby boomer generation in the midst of retiring, there will be more spots for those with an art history background to take over positions at museums and galleries in cities of all sizes.
How Much Do Historians Earn?
This varies depending on the position you have and how long you’ve worked there. Working at a major museum or gallery, historians can earn about $65,000 per year. This is among the top positions. Salaries go down from there, if you are working in a smaller market or for a government-funded establishment which usually abide by a strict budget.
How Do I Start Working at Museum or Gallery?
The best way to find an opportunity is to intern and network as much as you can. Because there are so few positions for working at museums and galleries, it’s imperative to get your name out there and get to know people in the industry. Internships are sometimes required as part of undergraduate history degree programs, but most museums and galleries accept any student who is currently enrolled in school for internships. Learn everything you can on the job and make it a point to visit other museums and galleries in your area. When you are traveling do the same, and introduce yourself to the museum or gallery director if they are on site when you are visiting. Historians should expect to follow the job, as limited opportunities are available in most markets. Unless you are in a historically rich area like New York City or Paris, you can expect to travel for work and possibly relocate in order to appropriately utilize your history degree.