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2021 Best Colleges for History

Approximately 32,625 history degrees were granted to students last year in the United States. With so many choices it can be a daunting task finding the best choice. This year's Best Colleges for History ranking analyzed 309 colleges and universities that offer a bachelor's degree in history. We look at over 20 factors to determine the top 15% of colleges for History students.

Choosing a Great History School

Best Colleges for History The history program you select can have a big impact on your future. This section explores some of the factors we include in our ranking and how much they vary depending on the school you select. To make it into this list a school must excel in the following areas.

Overall Quality is a Must

The overall quality of a school is important to ensure a good education, not just how well they do in a particular major. To take this into account we consider a college's overall Best Colleges ranking which itself looks at a combination of different factors like degree completion, educational resources, student body caliber and post-graduation earnings for the school as a whole.

Over 80% of the schools in this list are in the top 7% of our overall quality ranking while the lowest ranked school on the list is still in the top 14%.

Overall Best Colleges Rank  ( 96 to 1 )
Lowest Ranked Overall
Top Ranked Overall

Better Early and Mid Career Salaries

History graduates from colleges on this list tend to earn more after college than those from other schools. A history bachelors degree from a college in the United States helped students who graduated in 2015-2017 make $28,971 a couple years later.

Other Factors We Consider

In addition to the above, you should consider some of the following factors:

  • Major Focus - How much a school focuses on History students vs. other majors.
  • Major Popularity - How many other history students choose this school.
  • Accreditation - Whether a school is regionally accredited and/or a recognized history related accrediting body.

Our full ranking methodology documents in more detail how we consider these factors to identify the best colleges for History students.

Best Schools to Study History in the United States

Explore the top ranked colleges and universities for history majors. Only those schools that rank in the top 15% of all the schools we analyze get awarded with a place on this list.

Top 25 Best History Colleges

#1

Harvard University

Cambridge, MA

Harvard University is among your best bets if you're planning on studying history. Harvard is a very large private not-for-profit school located in the medium-sized city of Cambridge. A Best Colleges rank of 3 out of 1,715 schools nationwide means Harvard is a great school overall.

There are approximately 245 history undergrads studying this program at Harvard.

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#2

Yale University

New Haven, CT

Yale University is one of the best schools in the country for history. Located in the midsize city New Haven, Yale is a private not-for-profit college with a large student population. A Best Colleges rank of 10 out of 1,715 colleges nationwide means Yale is a great school overall.

There are roughly 196 history undergraduates enrolled in this program at Yale.

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Columbia University in the City of New York is a great choice for students interested in a History degree. Located in the city New York, Columbia is a private not-for-profit school with a very large student population. This college ranks 32nd out of 1,715 schools for overall quality in the state of New York.

For those interested in something more advanced, Columbia also offers 2 different higher degree levels in history, the most popular of which is a Master's Degree.

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#4

University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, PA

University of Pennsylvania is a good choice for students interested in a History major. UPenn is a very large private not-for-profit school located in the city of Philadelphia. A Best Colleges rank of 9 out of 1,715 schools nationwide means UPenn is a great school overall.

There are approximately 95 history undergraduates studying this degree at UPenn.

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#5

Duke University

Durham, NC

Duke is a fairly large private not-for-profit school located in the large city of Durham. A Best Colleges rank of 2 out of 1,715 colleges nationwide means Duke is a great college overall.

Duke University is one of the most popular college to study history in United States with more than 65 graduations last year.

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#6

Brown University

Providence, RI

Brown is a fairly large private not-for-profit school located in the city of Providence. A Best Colleges rank of 13 out of 1,715 schools nationwide means Brown is a great college overall.

For those interested in something more advanced, Brown also offers 2 different higher degree levels in history, the most popular of which is a Master's Degree.

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#7

Williams College

Williamstown, MA

Williams is a small private not-for-profit school located in the fringe town of Williamstown. A Best Colleges rank of 7 out of 1,715 colleges nationwide means Williams is a great college overall.

With 49 undergraduates, Williams College is one of most popular colleges to study history in United States.

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University of Virginia is a very large public school located in the small suburb of Charlottesville. This school ranks 42nd out of 1,715 schools for overall quality in the state of Virginia.

For those interested in something more advanced, University of Virginia also offers 2 different higher degree levels in history, the most popular of which is a Master's Degree.

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#9

Rice University

Houston, TX

Located in the large city Houston, Rice is a private not-for-profit college with a medium-sized student population. A Best Colleges rank of 11 out of 1,715 colleges nationwide means Rice is a great school overall.

A popular choice for history undergraduates, there are roughly 36 individuals enrolled in this degree at Rice.

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#10

Dartmouth College

Hanover, NH

Located in the remote town Hanover, Dartmouth is a private not-for-profit school with a medium-sized student population. A Best Colleges rank of 15 out of 1,715 schools nationwide means Dartmouth is a great school overall.

There are approximately 54 history undergraduates enrolled in this degree at Dartmouth.

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#11

College of the Holy Cross

Worcester, MA

Holy Cross is a small private not-for-profit school located in the midsize city of Worcester. A Best Colleges rank of 31 out of 1,715 colleges nationwide means Holy Cross is a great college overall.

A popular choice for history undergraduates, there are roughly 44 students studying this program at Holy Cross.

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#12

College of William and Mary

Williamsburg, VA

William & Mary is a medium-sized public school located in the suburb of Williamsburg. This school ranks 73rd out of 1,715 colleges for overall quality in the state of Virginia.

College of William and Mary is a fairly popular school to study history in United States exceeding 117 graduations last year.

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#13

University of Chicago

Chicago, IL

Located in the city Chicago, UChicago is a private not-for-profit school with a fairly large student population. A Best Colleges rank of 19 out of 1,715 colleges nationwide means UChicago is a great college overall.

There are roughly 104 history undergrads enrolled in this program at UChicago.

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#14

Northwestern University

Evanston, IL

Located in the city Evanston, Northwestern U is a private not-for-profit school with a fairly large student population. A Best Colleges rank of 12 out of 1,715 colleges nationwide means Northwestern U is a great school overall.

For those interested in something more advanced, Northwestern U also offers 2 different higher degree levels in history, the most popular of which is a Doctor's Degree (Research / Scholarship).

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#15

Bates College

Lewiston, ME

Located in the city Lewiston, Bates is a private not-for-profit college with a small student population. This school ranks 47th out of 1,715 colleges for overall quality in the state of Maine.

Bates College is a fairly popular school to study history in United States with more than 18 graduates last year.

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#16

Boston College

Chestnut Hill, MA

Boston College is a large private not-for-profit school located in the small city of Chestnut Hill. This school ranks 61st out of 1,715 schools for overall quality in the state of Massachusetts.

A favorite choice for history undergraduates, there are about 90 students enrolled in this degree at Boston College.

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#17

New York University

New York, NY

NYU is a very large private not-for-profit school located in the city of New York. This school ranks 130th out of 1,715 schools for overall quality in the state of New York.

For those interested in something more advanced, NYU also offers 2 different higher degree levels in history, the most popular of which is a Master's Degree.

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#18

Wabash College

Crawfordsville, IN

Located in the distant town Crawfordsville, Wabash is a private not-for-profit college with a fairly small student population. This college ranks 199th out of 1,715 colleges for overall quality in the state of Indiana.

A preferred major for history undergrads, there are approximately 19 students enrolled in this degree at Wabash.

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UCLA is a very large public school located in the large city of Los Angeles. This school ranks 65th out of 1,715 schools for overall quality in the state of California.

There are roughly 358 history undergrads studying this program at UCLA.

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#20

University of Notre Dame

Notre Dame, IN

Located in the large suburb Notre Dame, Notre Dame is a private not-for-profit college with a large student population. A Best Colleges rank of 14 out of 1,715 schools nationwide means Notre Dame is a great college overall.

For those interested in something more advanced, Notre Dame also offers 2 different higher degree levels in history, the most popular of which is a Doctor's Degree (Research / Scholarship).

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#21

Brandeis University

Waltham, MA

Located in the city Waltham, Brandeis is a private not-for-profit college with a moderately-sized student population. This school ranks 75th out of 1,715 colleges for overall quality in the state of Massachusetts.

For those interested in something more advanced, Brandeis also offers 2 different higher degree levels in history, the most popular of which is a Master's Degree.

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UNC Chapel Hill is a very large public school located in the small city of Chapel Hill. This college ranks 60th out of 1,715 colleges for overall quality in the state of North Carolina.

There are about 176 history undergraduates enrolled in this program at UNC Chapel Hill.

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Wisconsin is a very large public school located in the large city of Madison. This school ranks 76th out of 1,715 schools for overall quality in the state of Wisconsin.

For those interested in something more advanced, Wisconsin also offers 2 different higher degree levels in history, the most popular of which is a Doctor's Degree (Research / Scholarship).

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#24

Fordham University

Bronx, NY

Located in the city Bronx, Fordham U is a private not-for-profit school with a large student population. This school ranks 244th out of 1,715 schools for overall quality in the state of New York.

With 56 undergraduates, Fordham University is one of most popular schools to study history in United States.

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#25

American University

Washington, DC

The American University is a fairly large private not-for-profit school located in the large city of Washington. This school ranks 164th out of 1,715 schools for overall quality in the state of District of Columbia.

A favorite major for history undergrads, there are approximately 63 individuals studying this degree at The American University.

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Rest of the Top Best Colleges for History

#26

Providence College

Providence, RI
#27

George Washington University

Washington, DC
#28

Colgate University

Hamilton, NY
#29

Emory University

Atlanta, GA
#30

Vanderbilt University

Nashville, TN
#32

Marquette University

Milwaukee, WI
#34

St Lawrence University

Canton, NY
#35

Wake Forest University

Winston-Salem, NC
#38

Virginia Military Institute

Lexington, VA
#42

George Mason University

Fairfax, VA
#44

Connecticut College

New London, CT
#46

Christopher Newport University

Newport News, VA

Honorable Mentions

Here are some additional great schools for History students that almost earned our Best Colleges for History award.

Rank College Location
47 University of Florida Gainesville, FL
48 Texas A&M University - College Station College Station, TX
49 Florida State University Tallahassee, FL
50 Louisiana State University and Agricultural & Mechanical College Baton Rouge, LA
51 Binghamton University Vestal, NY
52 University of Maryland - College Park College Park, MD
53 Rutgers University - New Brunswick New Brunswick, NJ
54 University of California - Irvine Irvine, CA
55 University at Albany Albany, NY
56 University of Iowa Iowa City, IA
57 Loyola University Chicago Chicago, IL
58 Tulane University of Louisiana New Orleans, LA
59 University of South Carolina - Columbia Columbia, SC
60 Ohio State University - Main Campus Columbus, OH
61 The College of New Jersey Ewing, NJ

History by Region

View the Best Colleges for History for a specific region near you.

Region
Southeast
New England
Rocky Mountains
Plains States
Middle Atlantic
Far Western US
Southwest
Great Lakes

History Majors to Study

Major Annual Graduates
History 32,806

View All History Related Majors >

Majors Similar to History

Related Major Annual Graduates
Education 306,739
Social Sciences 203,399
Psychology 177,655
Communication & Journalism 122,154
Family, Consumer & Human Sciences 59,281

View All History Related Majors >

Notes and References

  • The bars on the spread charts above show the distribution of the schools on this list +/- one standard deviation from the mean.
  • The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), a branch of the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) serves as the core of the rest of our data about colleges.
  • Some other college data, including much of the graduate earnings data, comes from the U.S. Department of Education’s (College Scorecard).
  • Credit for the banner image above goes to Abraham Ortelius. More about our data sources and methodologies.

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