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Degree Overview: Associate of Arts (A.A.) Degree in History

Majors Overview December 17, 2013

Those interested in political science, economics, and geography may want to look into an Associate of Arts (A.A.) two-year program in history at a community college. Students will study civilizations and how they influence each other and evolve.

A.A. Programs in History

Students enrolled in A.A. programs in history are typically expected to complete core coursework in topic areas related to both the study of world civilizations and U.S. history. Students can become adept at analyzing particular historical events from religious, cultural, political and economic perspectives aimed at understanding general historical movements, eras and trends. They are also trained in the performance of basic historical research by employing both secondary and primary sources.

Coursework is devised to discuss specific concepts such as globalization, scientific progress and the Industrial Revolution. There may be a division of coursework corresponding to specific historical periods, such as the U.S. Civil War and Reconstruction, or antiquity. The focus of programs may also be on the history of particular cultural groups including African-Americans or Mexican-Americans or even of France or other particular nations. Completion of a capstone project is required of students enrolled in some programs; such participation would be expected to further refine these skills.

Education Requirements

Admission criteria of these programs typically require applicants to hold a GED certificate or high school diploma. An open admission policy is offered by some schools that admit adults of 17 or 18 years old and over; these schools don’t usually expect such candidates to hold a GED certificate or high school diploma.


A set of general survey courses are required in the majority of history programs, each covering several centuries of global or U.S. history. Coursework may include advanced topics such as specific wars and military history. Additionally, coursework may include general education classes on topic areas such as math, psychology, the natural sciences and communications. The topics covered in the history curriculum may include:

•French history
•World War I and World War II
•Ancient world history
•American military history
•The Vietnam War
•U.S. history before 1865
•U.S. history after the Civil War
•Civilizations before the 16th century

Career Choices

Students who graduate from an A.A. in History course may seek entry-level jobs in education; additionally they may seek employment in fields such as politics, law or publishing. However, professional training or additional degrees may be required by many of these careers. Graduates may choose from various job titles including:

•Foreign Service officer
•Congressional aide

Continuing Education Choices

Students of many A.A. programs are allowed to transition to bachelor’s degree programs in the humanities or history. They may also choose from post baccalaureate study options such as Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) and Master of Arts (M.A.) programs in history.

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