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U.S. History Courses

Take free online courses in American history and American government from Harvard and other top universities and institutions.

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What is U.S. History?

U.S. History is the complex story of the founding of the United States of America and the civic society, art, political culture, and violence that defines it. U.S. History includes African American History, Native American History, U.S. Flag history and all other aspects of American history that lie in between and uniquely shape the United States.

The college study of U.S. History doesn’t stop at the Boston Tea Party, George Washington, or addressing the question, “when was America founded?” A post-secondary History degree requires reaching beyond the American history timeline in a U.S. History textbook and developing the skills historians use to interpret primary documents, write a well-argued thesis, and bring together science and storytelling to better understand the past.

Part of the appeal of U.S. History is its vast scope. Today, the discussion of U.S. History usually begins with the study of the native societies and cultures that called the Americas home prior to European contact. Whether you are interested in learning more about Colonial America, Abraham Lincoln, the institution of American slavery, or the arts and crafts movement, there’s a class in U.S. History for you.

Dramatic, often tumultuous, and sometimes divided, the study of U.S. History lays the groundwork for careers in journalism, politics, and the law. It can also lead to a career as a college-level professor or a secondary school teacher.

Online Courses in U.S. History

Interested in learning how America went from a series of 13 backwater colonies to a global power? Consider taking the Cornell University course, American Capitalism: A History. In this introductory course, you will not only learn the development of American capitalism, but also how government policies contribute to market success and failure.

Interested in a more nuanced gender lens? Try a Columbia’s Women Have Always Worked, which explores how women's labor has changed the home, the workplace, and the nation in the 20th century through the present. A more intermediate-level course, you’ll learn women’s participation in, exclusion from, and impact on American economic, political, and social life, how key figures and events have challenged the role of women in the home and workplace, and how ideas, such as democracy, citizenship, liberty, patriotism, and equality have differently shaped the lives of women and men.

All U.S. History courses teach reading, writing, and analytical skills vital to historical interpretation and transferable to many different fields.

Jobs in U.S. History

Like any history degree, a U.S. History degree opens up many career opportunities.

Students of U.S. History make great educators taking roles at elementary, secondary, and post-secondary schools, in addition to roles at historic sites and museums.

As communicators, U.S. History majors often find work as writers and journalists. As information managers, they work as archivists and librarians.

Currently, on, a search of U.S. History jobs yields over 900 job opportunities, including roles as Oral History Editors and Transcriptionists, as well as Professorships. Of the jobs listed, more than 400 come with salaries of $60,000 or more a year.

Pursue a Career in History

In his novel entitled Requiem for a Nun, American writer Williams Faulkner once said, “The past is never dead. It's not even past.” Take a U.S. History course and prepare for a wide range of exciting career opportunities – or simply learn more about this vibrant, diverse, and living history today!