Online BA in History CurriculumOnline BA in History CurriculumOnline BA in History Curriculum

When you earn your history degree, you get the chance to build a fuller understanding of where we came from as a species, how our cultures developed, and how we got where we are. You also have the opportunity to build in-demand career skills like research, analysis, critical thinking, collaboration, communication, and contextualization.

When you earn your online bachelor’s degree, you can prepare yourself to enter the workforce with skills that employers respect and value. These abilities are helpful to those who are pursuing careers in fields such as journalism, politics, education, law, government, libraries and museums, nonprofits, and more.

Maryville University Online BA in History Curriculum

Maryville’s online Bachelor of Arts in History comprises 128 credit hours and includes coursework in general education, general elective requirements, and the history major. Learn to take a critical approach to information through courses in world history, foreign policy, American government, and your choice from a wide range of multicultural studies.

Survey Courses

  • This course explores significant people, movements, events, and ideas in the major civilizations of the world to about 1500. Our class will permit students to compare civilizations, empires, religions, epistemologies, and cultures on a planetary scale. From the Epic of Gilgamesh to Machiavelli’s The Prince, students will analyze primary sources to better understand human societies in their own words and works. This class will also incorporate the use of games, the sampling of global cuisines, and the analysis of art and music to achieve an in-depth, yet broad survey of human history to the Early Modern period.

  • What does it means to live in a truly globalized world? How have human societies, and the identities of their members, changed in response to human migration on a planetary scale? This course investigates these and other questions about human cultural and civilizational encounters following the Colombian Exchange. Students will explore the most recent five hundred years of human history, interrogating the global impact of such phenomena as the Atlantic slave trade; the Reformation; the emergence of nation-states and European empires; the industrialization of nations and the embrace of capitalism; political revolutions and the unraveling of empires; the two world wars and the Cold War; climate change, and extremist terrorism.

  • Lincoln once said that America was founded on a proposition that was written by Jefferson in 1776. We are really founded on an argument about what that proposition means. Joseph Ellis’ quotes encapsulates the driving questions of this course: what are the many meanings of America, and how can we understand the historical development of the United States? This course investigates the “creation” of America, and the development of American identities, from the pre-colonial period to the end of Reconstruction in 1877. Topics will include: the peoples and cultures of North America circa 1491; encounters between indigenous peoples and early European colonizers; the political and religious tenor of the early British colonies; American independence and westward expansion; slavery and the Atlantic world; and the legacies of the Civil War and Reconstruction.

  • In this course students continue to investigate the many meanings of America from the end of Reconstruction to the present day. Using diverse primary sources materials from newspapers articles, to private diaries, to film, students will explore key controversies and debates in American history. Topics and themes include, but are not limited to: Reconstruction, lynching, and the Jim Crow era; Native American persecution and resistance in the face of Manifest Destiny; successive waves of immigration from Europe and Asia; the Gilded Age, the roaring 20s and Great Depression, the world wars, Cold War, and culture wars; recent American wars from Vietnam to Iraq; and current debates about American identity in an age of global immigration.

  • This course explores the impact of historical events on the lives of American women and, in turn, the many roles women played in shaping American history. Topics include native American women’s lives; gender and family life under slavery; the impact of industrialization on women of different classes; the ideology of separate spheres; women’s political activities including the anti-slavery movement, the suffrage movement, the 19th Amendment, and the resurgence of feminism in the 1960s; and transformations in the lives of modern women including work, politics, sexuality, consumption patterns, and leisure activities.

  • This class offers an overview of the American Politics sub-field of political science. This course examines the origins, development, structure, and functions of the political system of the United States of America. Topics include the constitutional framework; federalism; the three branches of government, the bureaucracy; civil rights and liberties; political participation and policy formation. Note: Fulfills the Missouri state requirement. General Education Area: Social Science

  • This course will integrate social, economic, political, and cultural history to explore the dramatic changes that occurred in the United States from the end of WWII. We will study a variety of events and people, but we will focus particular attention to three major themes of the period: conflicts (the Cold War, Iraq War, & Afghanistan War, for example), social and economic domestic policies, and the social/cultural changes we see in the U.S. across this roughly 70 year period. We will examine primary sources, such as newspapers and music, to understand Americans’ concerns and reactions to major events in this era.

Experiential Courses

  • This course introduces history majors to the many skills sets required to pursue their careers in history and related fields. Students will develop an individual research project in their stated career trajectory (post-graduate study, public history, or alternative academic) which will be the first step in building their job market portfolio. The course will introduce students to traditional archival and digital research methods; reading and writing like an historian; academic publishing; and networking in academia. In this class, students will also begin to develop their public, professional personas as they build personal websites, craft their social media presence, and professionalize their CVs.

  • Your own backyard has a history, and this class will teach you to uncover it. Whether in St. Louis or Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, students will explore the history of their region through local archives, site visits, and original research projects. This class will incorporate an oral history component, in which students will interview members of their community in an attempt to understand how the unique social fabric of their village, town, or city came to be woven together. The on-campus St. Louis version of this course will feature visits to museums and notable sites in St. Louis history, while the online version will encourage students around the country to explore places in their own hometown, either by visiting historical sites, or through an exploration of local newspapers, online archives, or historical websites. In the online version, students will complete a series of short research projects on certain aspects of St. Louis history (Cahokia/Dredd Scott/Ferguson etc.) as well as create a short vlog about their own “local” history, whether they live in north STL or Belleville or NYC. This course will have a discussion forum component, allowing STL natives to compare their history with students from other parts of the region/country.

  • The History Portfolio Project represents the culmination of the student’s undergraduate career, and is the final step in their professionalization before the job market. Students will present a research paper and oral presentation of an individual project which corresponds with their chosen career trajectory (graduate school, public history, or alternative academic). Successful completion of this course will also entail practice interviews and the students’ application to job openings or graduate school, depending on their stated career trajectory.

History Electives

  • What has it meant to be “sick” throughout history? Who were physicians and nurses, how were they trained, and what roles did they have in western society? When did we as a species turn away from magical understandings of illness, toward a modern scientific understanding of disease and infection? This class seeks to answer these questions by examining an array of first-hand stories, anatomical designs, medical case studies, and cultural histories of medicine. We will explore such themes as: changes in our understanding of sexual difference from the Greeks to the present, the emergence of the modern hospital, the development of germ theory, and the evolution of the physician’s, the nurse’s, and the midwife’s role in western society from the middle ages to the twentieth century.

  • What do we mean by the middle east? How can we understand the history of a region that fostered humanity’s first written laws and urban settlements, yet now according to some is the epicenter of a clash of civilizations? This class will explore these and other questions about the history and governments of the Middle East, from Hammurabi to Mehmed the Conqueror to the rise of Daesh (ISIS). The course is divided into three broad chronological units. The first explores the middle east before Islam, the subsequent expansion of Muslim societies under the Umayyad and Abbasid Caliphates, and the changes wrought by Mongol invasions in the 13th century. The second unit examines the rise and dominance of the Ottoman Empire and the kinds of cross-cultural exchanges which occurred between the peoples of the Middle East and other regions during the early modern period. The final section interrogates the legacy of European incursions in the region, beginning with the French and British in Egypt, through both world wars and the present conflicts in Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Mediterranean.

  • If you watched the grand scope of human history unfold from a seat on the moon, East Asia’s enduring contributions, and the longevity of its institutions, would be strikingly ap-parent. From China’s “5,000” years of civilization to the rise and fall of Japan’s empires, this course investigates the development of East Asian peoples, politics, and cultures from approximately 1500 to the modern period. While the course primarily centers on Japan and China, students will spend some time exploring the relationships these re-gions fostered with Korea, Vietnam, and Central Asia from the early modern era through the 21st century.

  • This course will introduce students to the central debates about Latin American history, politics and culture from 1491 to the present. Beginning in the pre-colonial period, the course explores the rich social, religious, and political traditions of Latin America before the arrival of Europeans. Students will then assess the impact of European conquistadores and immigrants on native popu-lations and their institutions. Students will investigate indigenous resistance to, or in certain cases hybridization with, Old World peoples and their cultures through the colonial period. The course will then explore attempts at national self-determination and independence among the peoples of Latin America. Finally, students will investigate the legacies of colonialism, capitalism, and immi-gration in modern Latin America using a diverse array of primary sources such as personal ac-counts, newsprint and film to gauge the many meanings of Latin America in our increasingly globalized world.

  • This course will explore the history of Russia from the early imperial expansion to Putin’s government today. Students will explore such themes and topics as: the modernization of Russia under imperial control & the Great Reforms, the 1917 revolution, Stalin’s “Revolution from Above,” soviet socialism, the experience of minority groups in imperial Russia, the USSR, and modern Russia. Students will consider the long-term, global effects of Russia’s many revolutions, as well as assess it’s power and influence on other governments today.

  • What does it mean, and has it meant, to be queer in America? This course examines the histories of gay, lesbian, bi, transgender, and non-binary identifying people in the United States. Students will examine how our understanding of sex, gender, and sexuality has changed over the last century, and the impact that capitalism and nationalism have had on these definitions, and on the lives of queer-identifying people. This course takes an intersectional approach, asking how age, class, (dis)ability, gender, ethnicity, and race all effect our understandings of queer identity. It places particular emphasis on the struggles of queer people to obtain equal rights, from the Stonewall riots to the landmark 2016 Obergefell v. Hodges Supreme Court ruling, which declared that a ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional.

To ensure the best possible educational experience for our students, we may update our curriculum to reflect emerging and changing employer and industry trends. Undergraduate programs and certificates are designed to be taken at a part-time pace. Please speak to your advisor for more details.

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What skills and competencies are associated with a B.A. in History?

A bachelor’s degree in history can equip you with a wide range of skills that are applicable to a number of fields. Some examples include:

  • Deep understanding of cultural and historical context. When you earn your online history degree, you can learn about a wide variety of cultures throughout the United States and around the world. The ability to cultivate an empathetic, culturally aware perspective is invaluable to many employers, especially as our society grows more and more global and connected.
  • Networking and collaboration. Both written and oral communication skills are applicable to a number of different career paths. As a history major, you’ll have the chance to practice both throughout your degree program. These skills are particularly useful if you want to pursue a career where you’re in constant communication with internal and external stakeholders.
  • Research and analysis. By conducting research into past events and their consequences, you’ll have the opportunity to learn how to find information, examine sources for accuracy, and synthesize your findings in a way that allows you to draw relevant conclusions. The critical thinking skills typically exercised in a history curriculum are valuable in many contexts, and are applicable to a broad range of fields, from academia to business.
  • Knowledge of the past to inform the future. Throughout your coursework as a history student, you can learn to recognize significant events, political structures, and recurring patterns. This knowledge can help you make well-informed hypotheses and give contextual analysis about trends and forecasts. This is valuable in a variety of roles, and it can lead to better decision-making for your business or organization.
  • Discussion and debate. When you earn your bachelor’s degree in history, you can build skills in persuasive communication techniques. Learn to express your ideas clearly and with supporting evidence. This set of skills is especially valuable if you want to pursue a career in any field that requires logic, debate, and persuasive argument. Such fields include marketing, politics, education, journalism, and more.

What history courses can I expect when pursuing my online bachelor’s degree?

History programs vary in their precise content from university to university, but they tend to cover similar topics universally.

At Maryville University, we designed our online degree program to cover a standard set of fundamental concepts important to the field, as well as a number of more nuanced subjects. Some examples of our core classes include:

  • World History. Covering a broad range of civilizations, movements, events, and ideas, our world history course aims to provide you with an understanding of the major events that have impacted humanity around the world.
  • American History. Explore events specific to the development and growth of the United States. These include major conflicts such as the American Revolution and Civil War, important events and eras like the roaring 20s and the Great Depression, and concepts that helped shape American culture over time, such as Southern Reconstruction and Industrialism.
  • American Foreign Policy Since World War II. World War II was an important turning point in world history, so we devote coursework in our history curriculum to discussing its formidable impact. In this course, you can study how Americans saw themselves on the global stage at the time, how world leaders forged laws and alliances during the war, and how American culture evolved from the post-war era to the present.
  • Historical Methods and Digital Humanities. An in-depth look at the role of a historian in the modern world, this course provides you the chance to build your understanding of research methods, persuasive writing techniques, historical interpretation, and the general approaches and values shared by historians today. This course also features an individual research project intended to help you build a portfolio that you can use during your job search after you graduate.

Learn more about pursuing your online bachelor’s degree in history.

At Maryville, we designed our online bachelor’s in history curriculum to help prepare you to enter the workforce as a capable researcher, logical thinker, and effective communicator. Here, you can take courses that can help you develop skills that are applicable across a wide array of careers and industries.

Want to learn more about how you can turn your love of history into a rewarding career? Check out our online Bachelor of Arts in History program page, and see how you can start working toward your goals.

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