Skip to main content
BS in History graduates discussing a paper

Bachelor of Science in History

Transfer up to
113 Credits
A median of 68 credits accepted
Receive credit for previous coursework

Learn About the Past with an Online BS in History

Graduates with a BS in History degree study change over time—understanding how and why events occurred, interpreting historical evidence about those events, and synthesizing evidence into written arguments. History is also about passion, beauty, and the search for truth, a search that creates engaged, empathetic, and informed citizens who seek to understand and better human society.

What Will I Learn in a BS in History Degree Program?

This fully online Bachelor of Science in History program emphasizes critical thinking, written analysis, and an understanding of diverse perspectives on the past. You’ll learn how to interpret the past in the context of various cultures and perspectives and to apply that knowledge to current social and political issues. History is a broad and rewarding discipline: graduates go on to work in government or military positions, act on their political ambitions, apply their well-rounded knowledge to advance in their current careers, or continue their education.

Fast Facts:

Top industries for bachelor’s degree holders include the library sciences, the arts, education, and the legal industry (Source:

Employment of archivists, curators, museum technicians, and conservators is projected to grow 13 percent from 2016 to 2026 (Source: BLS)

The unemployment rate is 3 times lower for those with a bachelor’s degree than for those without (Source: BLS)


credit hours

Online BS in History Program Details

120 credits are required for the Bachelor of Science in History. As part of these credits, for the core component of this degree, a minimum of 33 credits must be earned in the field of history, of which 18 must be at the upper level. A minimum GPA of 2.0 is required in the core component.

  • Cornerstone Course
  • INL 102 Information Literacy
  • Written English Requirements
  • Humanities
    • One ethics course
    • Two elective courses
  • Social Sciences and History
    • Any combination of three social sciences and/or history courses
  • Natural Sciences and Mathematics
    • One mathematics course (minimum 2 credits)
    • One natural science course (minimum 2 credits)
    • Additional courses
  • Arts and Science Electives
  • Applied Professional Credits
  • Additional Arts and Sciences Courses

History Course Requirements

  • Foundational
    • One course in each area:
      • U.S. History I or II
      • World History I
    • U.S. History
    • European History
    • Non-Western/Global History
    • Electives in History
    • History Capstone Course

Core History Courses

United States History I

An introductory course on the early history of the United States, from pre-European-contact Native American societies to the end of the Reconstruction era after the Civil War. The course examines the major political, social, and economic trends in the American colonies and new nations from the 15th through the mid-19th centuries. Students examine history through multiple perspectives and focus on diversity and cross-cultural encounters that contributed to the creation of the United States.

World History I

This course examines the rise of the major world civilizations in Asia, Africa, Europe, and the Americas from their earliest beginnings through to the early modern era. It focuses on economic, social, political, and cultural factors that contributed to their birth and sustained growth and development. Students explore the political institutions, social systems, gender roles, religious systems, and cultures of these civilizations, as well as the contributions of individual men and women to their communities. The course highlights the interconnectedness of many societies that shared ideas, technologies, people, and goods.

African American History

A survey of the history of the African American people from their origins in Africa, through slavery and emancipation, the migration from countryside to city and South to North, wars and depression, the recent Civil Rights and Black Power Movements to the present. Students focus on questions of social development, political struggle, culture, and identity.

World War I

The Great War changed how wars were fought and introduced new technology to the battlefield. Students in this course will examine the origins and consequences of the war, the major strategic decisions, as well as the intertwining history on the home-front of the combatant nations. Students will engage with the historical material through innovative games and simulations, designed to allow students to experience the major decision points and strategy during World War I as if they were really there. Along with the simulations, students will read primary source accounts of the war to understand the war’s significance, its toll on the Lost Generation, and its ramifications today as we commemorate the war’s one hundredth anniversary.

Global Cold War

Examines the period in world history from the Yalta Conference in 1945 to the end of the Soviet Union in 1991, which is generally called the Cold War. The course includes a detailed study of the political, economic, and militaristic motivations behind superpower behavior and the role of these actions in laying the foundations for global circumstances today, including the War on Terror. In exploring the relationship between the First, Second, and Third Worlds in this period, students will better understand the complex mix of individuals and ideology that shaped the events of the Cold War and dramatically continue to dramatically shape global affairs today.

United States Civil War

The Lincoln presidency. Antietam. The Emancipation Proclamation. Gettysburg. Draft Riots. Sherman’s March. Appomattox. The Civil War was a pivotal turning point in American history and its legacies are still with us today. From its antecedents in Antebellum America to its legacies in the Reconstruction era through today, this course will investigate the causes and consequences of the war. The course will cover the major battles and the military and political circumstances that led to the Union’s victory and Confederacy’s defeat. It also covers the social, cultural, and economic histories of the war and its impact on the people who lived through it on the battlefields and the home front.

History Capstone Course

The capstone course is a culminating experience for students. It provides a different learning experience than the courses that preceded it—it is designed to bring together the knowledge and skills that demonstrate your learning as applicable to the educational outcomes for the history program. By probing assumptions, hypotheses, and arguments, the course will introduce you to debates concerning evidence, historical questions, and research methods within the discipline.

Objectively evaluate a variety of historical sources (primary and secondary) for their credibility, position, and perspective.

Interpret the past in context, showing an understanding of diverse cultures and perspectives.

Utilize the tools, methods, and ethical standards of the discipline to integrate evidence and craft narratives about the past.

Demonstrate a methodical practice of gathering, sifting, analyzing, ordering, synthesizing, and interpreting evidence.

Construct a historical argument that is reasoned and based on historical evidence which describes and analyzes the past for its use in the present.

Apply historical knowledge and analysis to a current social, cultural, or political issue.

View additional details about programs and courses:

Download the Undergraduate Studies Catalog

Common Careers with an
Online BS in History

  • Business
  • Education
  • Government
  • Historic Sites
  • Law
  • Museums
  • Archives

Lauren Harlow
AS in Liberal Arts, 2017

“Excelsior gave me skills in critical analysis, writing, problem solving, and communicating, which all helped me perform my job well.”

Recognitions & Accreditations

Middle States Commission on Higher Education logo

Institutional Accreditation

Excelsior College is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, 1007 North Orange Street, 4th Floor, MB #166, Wilmington, DE 19801 (267-284-5011) The MSCHE is an institutional accrediting agency recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).

Phase: Accredited
Status: Accreditation Reaffirmed
Accreditation Granted: 1977
Last Reaffirmation: 2017
Next Self-Study Evaluation: 2021-2022

All of Excelsior College’s academic programs are registered (i.e., approved) by the New York State Education Department.