By Tracy Eisenberg
For those who consider themselves history buffs, earning a degree in the field will open doors in journalism, writing, education, arts administration, research, and many more professions. In compiling this list of the 20 best colleges for history buffs, we researched small liberal arts colleges with a net price relatively lower than other schools of this size and academic availability. We awarded points based on the existence of history curriculum spanning global cultures, student gatherings or history-related events on campus, multiple financial aid and scholarship opportunities, scholar-level faculty who are active history professionals outside the classroom, and any additional features that add value to the history student experience. The 20 colleges profiled here scored the highest among schools with maximum enrollment of 7,000 students and a net price (per College Navigator) of $30,000 USD or less.
The schools profiled below are ranked in order of points earned; in the event of a tie in points, the schools with the lower net price are ranked higher. The following serves as a guide for history enthusiasts looking for great deal for higher education in the field.
#20 – Drew University
Madison, New Jersey
Net Price/Tuition: $27,102
Located in a rustic small town in Madison, New Jersey, Drew University is a thriving academic community with just over 2,000 students enrolled. Drew encourages a personalized, mentor-based learning model between its students and faculty. 94% of the college’s current professors hold the highest degree possible in their field. The history major at this college is ideal for students seeking a well-rounded education in American, European, and global history. Drew’s challenging curriculum is designed to turn students into thorough, critical thinkers with competitive research skills.
#19 – Williams College
Net Price/Tuition: $20,315
Settled in the Berkshires of Massachusetts, Williams College is a small liberal arts community with a student-to-faculty ratio of 7:1. History buffs will find a great opportunity to study at Williams, as this major is one of the main attractions of the school’s academic offerings. The history department molds its students into intellectual, informed, and critical thinkers with a strong understanding of how the past has informed the present. The courses of the history track span European, American, African, and Latin American culture, as well as the timeline of various societal issues facing the world.
#18 – Georgia College and State University
Net Price/Tuition: $17,015
Georgia College and State University is a well-respected liberal arts institution with an impressive range of academics. This college has proven popular with incoming history buffs, with its unique blend of history and geography curriculum. The department of history is home to scholar-level professors whom have made sizable research contributions to the field. Graduates of Georgia College with a BA or MA in history often go on to successful careers in education, law, historical site administration, library work, and various other paths.
#17 – Winona State University
Net Price/Tuition: $16,773
Established in 1858 in a small Minnesota city, Winona State University is a diverse, close-knit academic community with an average class size of 24 students. Incoming historians will be certain to take interest in the history major; this degree consists of challenging courses in historical methods that lead up to a senior research seminar. WSU additionally offers a minor in history, which serves as a beneficial complement to almost any other course of study. This institution offers academic scholarships, grants, and need-based financial aid to qualifying students.
#16 – Mississippi College
Net Price/Tuition: $16,418
Mississippi College, a selective liberal arts college in the deep south, has much to offer its diverse body of incoming students. History degree-seekers take part in a challenging series of courses based in western civilization, research and methodology, U.S. history, American constitutional development, and related field topics. Students have a choice to earn a BA or BS in History, History Education, or History / Pre-Law. One of the primary focuses of the history curriculum is to relay the tools to think critically, write clearly, and develop a solid understanding of multiple historical narratives.
#15 – Madonna University
Net Price/Tuition: $13,738
Madonna University, a midwestern liberal arts college in rural Michigan, has long been respected for its competitive academic offerings. The Department of History draws student history buffs from a wide range of backgrounds. On this degree track, students engage in courses covering social studies, geography, international studies, world history, and political science. Madonna University is committed to preparing its graduates with comprehensive knowledge of ancient and modern human experiences over time. This college offers flexible scheduling options, making it more possible for students of all walks of life to earn their degree.
#14 – College of the Holy Cross
Net Price/Tuition: $26,172
College of the Holy Cross of Worcester, Massachusetts is private Jesuit liberal arts institution and among one of the oldest Catholic colleges in the nation. For students who consider themselves history buffs, this college offers a major that engages students in a rich curriculum of economics, political science, sociology, the arts, and literature. Holy Cross believes that to study the past is to be on the path to understanding the present. Graduates with a degree in history from Holy Cross have gone on to pursue career paths including law, government service, medicine, teaching, and other vocations.
#13 – Dowling College
Oakdale, New York
Net Price/Tuition: $20,306
Long Island’s Dowling College is a small-town liberal arts environment just outside New York City. This institution offers a BA in history through the School of Arts and Sciences degree programs. History buffs at Dowling receive a broadly ranged education in European, American, Asian, and Latin American civilizations. In addition, this college provides frequent opportunities to visit historic sites for hands-on learning. Dowling offers history-related scholarship opportunities to students who demonstrate excellence in academics.
#12 – Saint Joseph's College-New York
Brooklyn, New York
Net Price/Tuition: $15,635
Saint Joseph’s College, located in Brooklyn, New York, is a liberal arts college affiliated with Catholicism. History buffs will find an expansive history major that encompasses curriculum dealing with American, European, and global topics in the field. History majors from St. Joseph’s frequently use their degree to seek careers in law, education, journalism, business, law enforcement, local government, and other promising vocations. This college has been listed among U.S. News & World Report's "America's Best Colleges" for over ten consecutive years.
#11 – State University of New York at Plattsburgh
Plattsburgh, New York
Net Price/Tuition: $13,975
Settled in a scenic, quaint town in the Adirondacks, State University of New York in Plattsburgh is a prestigious institution in the SUNY network. History students at Plattsburgh are known to form communities and engage in discussion both in and outside the classroom. The research component of the history curriculum is especially recognized, and the faculty is known to bring new discoveries to students on a regular basis. SUNY Plattsburgh encourages all history majors to join the “History Association,” which organizes special events and programming on and off campus.
#10 – Midwestern State University
Wichita Falls, Texas
Net Price/Tuition: $10,172
Founded in 1922, Midwestern State University of Wichita Falls holds the distinction of being the only public liberal arts college in the state of Texas. The history department is a main academic attraction, with a broad-range curriculum in U.S., Latin American and European studies. The small class sizes at MSU offers the opportunity for a more personalized learning experience. In order to keep tuition affordable, this college offers both scholarship and fellowship programs, some of which are related to academic achievement in history.
#9 – Carlow University
Net Price/Tuition: $18,099
Founded in 1929 by the Sisters of Mercy, Carlow University of Pittsburgh remains a diverse liberal arts institution rooted in Catholic values. One of the strongest academic programs at Carlow is the BA in history, where students build an understanding of the economics, legal systems, religions, politics, and many other aspects of global cultures. The history department faculty focus on providing students the tools to become successful, thoughtful contributors to the field. Alumni of Carlow University with a BA in history often excel in journalism, media, education, or advanced degree paths.
#8 – University of Mary Washington
Net Price/Tuition: $16,780
The University of Mary Washington, of Fredericksburg, Virginia, is a prestigious southern school that draws students from a diverse range of academic interests. History students at UMW may select from two department majors: History or American Studies. Both degree paths involve a rigorous course load in the education, research, and analysis of ancient to modern timelines. The University of Mary Washington also offers history-related internships at prestigious organizations including the Smithsonian.
#7 – Dominican University
River Forest, Illinois
Net Price/Tuition: $16,505
Dominican University, a Catholic liberal arts school in suburban Illinois, offers over 40 undergraduate and 20 graduate-level degrees. Students who consider themselves history buffs can advance their studies on a BA degree track or a less intensive history minor. Dominican’s history majors must select an area of concentration, either in African, European, Global, Latin American, or U.S. history. In addition to world history, Dominican has a program dedicated to art history, exposing students to the evolution of visual expression over a wide range of time periods and cultures.
#6 – Clark University
Net Price/Tuition: $24,394
Clark University of Worcester, Massachusetts, is a private liberal arts college with a strong academic reputation. Students who consider themselves history buffs will discover a small but highly active department specializing in United States, Global, and European history. History majors are given the option to create an interdisciplinary degree track, adding concentrations in subjects including Asian, Women’s, or Holocaust studies. CU has connections with nearby organizations such as the American Antiquarian Society and Old Sturbridge Village, both of which offer valuable resources in history research.
#5 – Fresno Pacific University
Net Price/Tuition: $16,325
California’s Fresno Pacific University is an accredited Christian school with an impressive range of educational offerings. The small, highly diverse student body creates an environment of multicultural perspectives and engaging discussion. In addition to classroom learning, history majors at FPU take part in events, symposiums, and study abroad opportunities based in historical research. Fresno Pacific also sponsors “History Day,” which brings elementary school students to the college campus for fun activities intended to generate interest in historic events. 98% of Fresno’s incoming students receive financial aid in the form of scholarships, grants, and loans.
#4 – State University of New York at Geneseo
Geneseo, New York
Net Price/Tuition: $15,850
State University of New York (SUNY) at Geneseo is a rural liberal arts college that is part of the affordable SUNY education network. History students will find multiple opportunities to study both in the classroom and extracurricularly. The “History Club” is a student-run group that organizes lectures, panel discussions, presentations, trips, social mixers, and other types of events based in the study of history. 90% of the faculty at Geneseo hold a Ph.D. or equivalent degree in their respective field.
#3 – Brandeis University
Net Price/Tuition: $26,367
The prestigious Brandeis University of Waltham, Massachusetts is an academic institution known for its competitive standards and esteemed alumni. The department of history allows budding historians to build their educational background from undergraduate to P.h.D. History buffs meet scholars in the field during the “Speaker Series,” which is active throughout the academic year. Brandeis distinguishes itself in that it allows each student to personalize their degree to reflect individual career goals and special interests. This institution has state-of-the-art research facilities, and history-related partnerships with organizations in the greater Boston region.
#2 – Alfred University
Alfred, New York
Net Price/Tuition: $20,306
Upstate New York’s Alfred University is a selective higher education institution with over 40 available academic majors. History is one of the most popular majors at Alfred, and students in this department take courses in American, ancient, medieval, African, urban, Middle Eastern and other areas of history. The small class sizes allow for a mentor-based learning experience that is tailored to each student’s goals. Alfred’s history degree holders go on to thriving careers in education, law, government, archiving, historic preservation, and more.
#1 – University of Minnesota - Morris
Net Price/Tuition: $14,397
Founded in 1960, University of Minnesota is a public liberal arts school with a student body just under 2,000. UNM is proud to offer a history degree that explores human history from a vast range of cultures and perspectives. The curriculum for this BA covers Asian, American, American Indian, Latin American and other world regions. One of the campus highlights of the University of Minnesota is the West Central Historical Research Center, which is home to a unique collection of artifacts, documents, and other items of historical significance.