Credits and costs
Earn a Bachelor's Degree in History Online
History offers a compelling vision of human activity and capability and a unique analytical perspective on the world in a comprehensive context that social science disciplines can seldom match. To understand history, you must gain a deep knowledge of culture, religion, art, politics, and war.
As a student majoring in history, you can build the strong foundation needed to succeed in today's competitive job market and workplace. You can learn how to conceptualize an issue, research it, weigh evidence, make conclusions, and present your work in a compelling and coherent fashion. As a graduate of this program, you may find yourself with a long-term advantage in a professional landscape that requires a number of job and career shifts.
History Majors Gain Contemporary Skills by Analyzing the Past
Students in this program can develop skills in writing, reading, primary and secondary source analysis, chronological reasoning, and understanding complex causality. These skills are essential to both professional and managerial positions in nearly every field of study and practice, and also serve as the basis for history and many other graduate degrees.
When you complete this degree, you should be able to:
- apply a critical lens to the study of the past, understanding that history is not simply an account of what happened, but the result of a process of interpretation
- analyze the complex causality of events from the past, articulating the how and why of these events
- make sense of the past by tracking patterns of change and continuity over time
- create evidence-based historical arguments
- analyze the written work of others and collaborate with peers to analyze and understand historical contexts and content
- employ digital technologies in the solving of writing, reading, and source analysis problems
The Penn State Difference
This is the Real Penn State — We develop our online programs so that they mirror the same quality you would expect from a Penn State education on campus. You will even study with highly regarded faculty from Penn State's College of the Liberal Arts, one of the premier institutions in the world to study and work in the liberal arts disciplines.
100% Online Course Work — The flexibility of studying when and where you want can give you the opportunity to gain new skills and knowledge while maintaining your current responsibilities.
Top-Ranked — U.S. News & World Report consistently ranks Penn State as one of the nation's top providers of online bachelor's degrees.
Military-Friendly — Our military support team can help you navigate admissions, leverage benefits, manage the impact of deployments, and more.
What Can I Do With a History Degree?
- Education — primary and secondary teaching, higher education
- Business — management, sales, human resources, public relations
- Media — editing, reporting, news
- Law — public and private defense, prosecution, government
- Local and state government — city or town management, community services, law enforcement
National History Honor Society - Phi Alpha Theta
Penn State sponsors the Epilon-Upsilon chapter of the Phi Alpha Theta national honor society in history. Phi Alpha Theta promotes the study of History through the encouragement of good teaching, research, and the exchange of learning among historians. It seeks to bring students and faculty together both intellectually and socially through their common interest in History.
Undergraduates qualify for Phi Alpha Theta by completing 4 History courses and earning at least a 3.1 GPA in History courses and a 3.0 GPA overall. A student does not have to be a History major to become a member. Learn More about joining Phi Alpha Theta.
The Bachelor of Arts in History requires you to complete a minimum of 123 credits.
Prescribed Course (3 credits)
A student enrolled in this course must receive a grade of C or better.
Additional Courses (6 credits)
A student enrolled in these courses must receive a grade of C or better.
Supporting Courses and Related Areas (27 credits)
A student enrolled in these courses must receive a grade of C or better.
100–200 Level History Courses (12 credits)
Select 12 credits at the 100–200 level, one course from each of the following field categories:
- European History
- United States History
- Global History
- Pre-Modern History
Courses that appear in two categories (such as HIST 107) cannot be double-counted to be applied to two field categories. However, the student may choose to which category to apply the course.
European History (select 3 credits)
United States History (select 3 credits)
Global History (select 3 credits)
Pre-Modern History (select 3 credits)
Additional History Courses (select 3 credits)
Select an additional 100–400 level history course from any other category or
400-Level History Courses (select 12 credits)
At least one 400-level course should be in Global History.
General Education Requirements
Some General Education requirements may be satisfied by courses required for the major. Students should work with an adviser to select courses.
- Arts (GA): 6 credits
- Humanities (GH): 6 credits
- Health and Wellness (GHW): 3 credits
- Natural Sciences (GN): 9 credits
- Social and Behavioral Sciences (GS): 6 credits
- Writing and Speaking (GWS): 9 credits
A student must receive a grade of C or better in GWS courses.
- Quantification (GQ): 6 credits
A student must receive a grade of C or better in GQ courses.
- Integrative Studies: 6 credits
This requirement only applies to students starting in summer 2018 or later. Learn more about the Integrative Studies options and consult your academic adviser when choosing courses to fulfill these requirements. Integrative Studies credits may be completed within the thirty Knowledge Domain credits and must be completed with either Inter-domain or Linked courses, not a combination of both.
Bachelor of Arts Degree Requirements
Some Bachelor of Arts requirements may be satisfied by courses required for the major, General Education courses, or electives. Students should work with an adviser to select courses.
- Foreign Language: 0–12 credits
Student must attain 12th credit level of proficiency in one foreign language.
- B.A. Fields: 9 credits
Humanities, Social and Behavioral Sciences, Arts, Foreign Languages, Natural Sciences, Quantification (cannot be taken in the area of the student's primary major; foreign language credits in this category must be in a second foreign language or beyond the 12th credit level of proficiency in the first language)
- Other Cultures: 0–3 credits
Select 3 credits from approved list. Students may count courses in this category in order to meet other major, minor, elective, or General Education requirements, except for the General Education US/IL requirement.
If you're ready to see when your courses will be offered, visit our public LionPATH course search (opens in new window) to start planning ahead.
Costs and Financial Aid
Undergraduate tuition is calculated based on the number of credits for which you register and the number of total credits you have accrued at or transferred to Penn State. Tuition is due shortly after each semester begins and rates are assessed every semester of enrollment.
|How many credits do you plan to take per semester?||If you have 59 or fewer credits||If you have 60 or more credits|
|11 or fewer||$620 per credit||$664 per credit|
|12 or more||$7,527 per semester||$8,125 per semester|
Financial Aid and Military Benefits
Some students may qualify for financial aid. Take the time to research financial aid, scholarships, and payment options as you prepare to apply. Military service members, veterans, and their spouses or dependents should explore these potential military education benefits and financial aid opportunities, as well.
How to Apply
Deadlines and Important Dates
Your degree application, including receipt of all transcripts, must be received by the following deadlines to be considered complete.
- Fall Deadline: Apply by June 30 to start August 21
- Spring Deadline: Apply by October 31 to start January 8
- Summer Deadline: Apply by March 15, 2024, to start May 13, 2024
New students are encouraged to complete the FAFSA by March 1. Please visit the Office of Student Aid website for more information about applying for financial aid and recommended deadlines.
Thank you for your interest in applying to this program. Contact an admissions counselor to discuss your educational goals, financial aid options, and application deadlines.
To apply for this program, you must be a high school graduate or have completed a GED.
What You Need
Applications are submitted electronically and include a nonrefundable application fee. You will need the following items to complete your application:
High school transcripts or GED transcript - First-year applicants are required to submit Self-Reported Academic Records (SRAR). Official high school transcripts will only be required at the time a student accepts an offer of admission to Penn State.
Official college or university transcripts, if you attended another institution, and/or official military transcripts (if applicable). (All college or university transcripts are required regardless of the length of time that has passed, the grades earned, or the accreditation of the institutions attended. Acceptance of transfer credit toward your degree is subject to final approval by the academic department. For detailed information, see the Transfer Students page.)
Transcripts not in English must be accompanied by a certified translation. Please send your transcripts by mail or electronically through Parchment, eScrip-Safe, or the National Student Clearinghouse directly to Penn State from the college/university where coursework was attempted.
Submit official documents by mail to:
Undergraduate Admissions Office
The Pennsylvania State University
201 Shields Building
University Park PA 16802
English Proficiency — The language of instruction at Penn State is English. With some exceptions, international applicants must take and submit scores for the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or International English Language Testing System (IELTS). Minimum test scores and exceptions are found in the English Language Proficiency section on the Undergraduate Admissions International Requirements page. Visit the TOEFL website for testing information. Penn State's institutional code is 2660.
Start Your Application
Former Penn State students may not need to complete the admissions application. Please visit our Returning Students page for instructions.
If this is your first time applying to Penn State, you'll need to complete the following steps:
- Review the application instructions before beginning.
- Complete the online application and submit all official documents.
- Pay the application fee.
Checking Your Status
You can check the status of your application by using the same login information established for the online application form and choosing "MyPennState — Check Application Status." Your decision letter (confirming your acceptance or denial) will be mailed four to six weeks after receipt of all application materials. An admissions counselor will contact you if additional information is required.
Review the technical requirements for this degree program.
Get the resources you need to make informed decisions about your education. Request information on this program and other programs of interest by completing this form.
Ready to take the next step toward your Penn State bachelor's degree?
Start or Advance Your Career
Start or Advance Your Career
You can use the knowledge gained from this program and the support of Penn State career resources to pursue careers in a variety of fields, depending on your goals.
To learn more about the Bachelor of Arts in History, offered in partnership with the Penn State College of the Liberal Arts, please contact:
World Campus Admissions Counselors
Email: [email protected]
DegreePh.D., History, University of California at San Diego
DegreeCPHIL, History, University of California at San Diego
DegreeM.A., History, University of California at San Diego
DegreeB.A., Interdisciplinary Studies, University of San Diego
Dr. Hilary Coulson, a lecturer for the Department of History at Penn State, also teaches courses for Penn State World Campus. She studies the intersections of race, class, and gender in the nineteenth-century penitentiary system. Dr. Coulson teaches both halves of the American History sequence, Pennsylvania History, and World War II.
DegreePh.D., History, Penn State
DegreeM.A., History, McMaster University
DegreeB.A., History, University of British Columbia
Dr. David Greenspoon, an instructor of history for Penn State World Campus, is an historian of childhood, social movements, and the rise of juvenile consumerism in America. He has taught courses in U.S. history, comparative religions, and the history of the Second World War.
Troy D. Harman
DegreePh.D., History, Lehigh University
DegreeM.A., History, Shippensburg University
DegreeB.A., History, University of Lynchburg
Dr. Troy D. Harman teaches courses in U.S. and European history. Previously, he taught one year at Delaware Valley University and 15 years at Harrisburg Area Community College. He is in his 35th year working for the National Park Service, currently stationed as a ranger at Gettysburg National Military Park. Dr. Harman has published two books and numerous articles and presented several televised lectures.
Thomas C. Lawrence
DegreePh.D., History, University of Tennessee, Knoxville
DegreeM.A., History, University of Toronto
DegreeB.A., Classics, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
Dr. Thomas C. Lawrence is the director of online education and an associate teaching professor for the Department of History at Penn State. While his research specialty is the later Roman Empire, he teaches a wide range of both resident and online courses in ancient and medieval history and modern European and American history. He also oversees the development and maintenance of all online history courses for Penn State World Campus.
DegreePh.D., History, University of Houston
DegreeM.A., History, University of Houston
DegreeB.A., History, University of Texas at Austin
Dr. Gregory Peek is an assistant teaching professor of history at Penn State University Park. As a political historian of the antebellum United States, he studies the relationship between state parties and their national umbrella organizations. Dr. Peek teaches a wide variety of courses in U.S. history, world history, and European history.