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The 12 Best Online History Courses (2023 Reviews & Rankings)

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By My eLearning World

best online history courses

Learning about the past is always fantastic, and the best online history courses can help you understand the world around you today.

History is arguably the most important subject because, without it, we would have no context for understanding the present.

It can teach you about different cultures, religions, political systems, and ways of life.

Studying history can also help you develop critical thinking skills that are essential for making informed decisions.

Fortunately, there are lots of great history courses online in every imaginable specialty.

Whether you’re interested in ancient civilizations, the American Revolution, or modern European history, you can find a course to suit your needs.

With that in mind, we’ve reviewed and ranked the best online history courses based on a variety of factors, including instructor credentials, curriculum quality, student reviews, enrollment price, and more.


What are the Best Online History Courses?

Here are our picks for the top history classes you can take online…

1. A History of India (The Great Courses)

A History of India (The Great Courses) A History of India (The Great Courses)

This in-depth course will allow you to explore the fascinating, vast scope of India's rich history.

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  • Instant Video: $54.95
  • DVD: $84.95
  • Subscribe & Stream 500+ Great Courses Starting At $7.50/month (Free 14-Day Trial)


36 lectures, each of 31 minutes

“A History of India” is an extensive course about the cultural findings of India. Some of the world’s greatest, oldest, and most prosperous civilizations can be found in India.

20% of the world’s population lives on the South Asian subcontinent, a thriving hub for international trade. India alone is anticipated to outnumber China in population during the coming ten years, making this area one of the world’s major economic powerhouses.

Beyond the globalization of the 21st century, the area has long been influential on the international stage. The subcontinent has been the home to a diverse range of cultures and individuals over the last 5,000 years.

The 36 comprehensive lectures by Professor Michael H. Fisher help you comprehend the intricacies subcontinent’s history. The region’s true diversity is maybe this history’s most significant aspect.

What You Will Learn

  • Observe how climate and geography influenced the evolution of civilizations
  • Learn how the migration of many people from Europe, Asia, and across the mountains resulted in areas of dynamic cultural interaction
  • Observe the struggle for independence from European forces and the 20th-century division of the region into the nations of India, Bangladesh, and Pakistan
  • Examine the effects of the Mughal Empire, the Mauryan Empire, and British colonialism


2. The Rise of Communism from Marx to Lenin (The Great Courses)

The Rise of Communism: From Marx to Lenin (The Great Courses) The Rise of Communism: From Marx to Lenin (The Great Courses)

This intriguing course lets you go deep inside communism's journey from a collection of political and economic theories to a movement that shook up the world.

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  • Instant Video: $169.95
  • DVD: $199.95
  • Subscribe & Stream 500+ Great Courses Starting At $7.50/month (Free 14-Day Trial)


12 lectures, 28 minutes each

The modern world has been significantly shaped by communism. About one-third of the world’s citizens lived under a Marxist government after World War II. Even now, years after the collapse of the Soviet Union, East Asia, and Eastern Europe are still dominated by communist ideologies.

In this course, Professor Vejas Gabriel claims you must go back to the crucial beginnings of communism to comprehend the inner dynamics of communist thought and rule (and the reasons they continue to exist in places like North Korea, Cuba, and China).

In this course, you are invited to explore the development of communism from a political and economic perspective to a world-shattering revolutionary movement.

These 12 lectures focus on the “how” and “why” of the Bolsheviks’ rise to power as well as how communist principles operated in practice and theory. You’ll learn one of the most important—and difficult—economic and political theories of the modern era after taking this course.

What You Will Learn

  • The individual’s position in communism
  • The connections between communism and nationalism
  • Communism’s geographic spread
  • The assumption that communism is a political religion and how it has developed into a tradition


3. Story of Medieval England: From King Arthur to the Tudor Conquest (The Great Courses)

Story of Medieval England: From King Arthur to the Tudor Conquest (The Great Courses) Story of Medieval England: From King Arthur to the Tudor Conquest (The Great Courses)

Explore the story of one of England's most hectic eras dominated by war, conquest, and instability.

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  • Instant Video: $54.95
  • DVD: $84.95
  • Subscribe & Stream 500+ Great Courses Starting At $7.50/month (Free 14-Day Trial)


36 lectures, 32 minutes each

This story of Medieval England explores the amazing tale of a turbulent thousand-year period. It was a time dominated by battle, conquest, and the fight to strike a balance between the stability provided by royal power and the liberties of the governed, thus laying the groundwork for most of the modern world.

The Story of Medieval England’s 36 lectures is taught by a renowned academic, professor Jennifer Paxton. They are distinguished from other courses by their degree of depth and attention to important personalities.

Even if you are well-versed in medieval history overall, knowing the lessons of medieval England is crucial to understanding the complexities induced during the period. Furthermore, by comprehending these lessons, one can better assess much of the Western world that came after, including the political, social, and cultural legacies that contributed to the advancement of civilization.

What You Will Learn

  • The legal framework and justice system serve as moral benchmarks
  • The ideological underpinnings of our elected governments
  • The characteristics of those regimes and how they interact with the governed
  • From England’s most profound musings to its most potent vulgarities


4. Women Making History: Ten Objects, Many Stories (edX)


Get started free (optional upgrades available)


16-24 hours

Women making history is focused on how women have historically been marginalized. In the past, education was not accessible to women. They were prohibited from working, purchasing property, and operating businesses. This made it certain that no matter what success or innovation a woman made, she would not receive credit for it. Some even quip that the term “history” rather than “herstory” is more fitting.

The situation has radically changed; for instance, women are no longer typically associated with being the home cook. There are several nations where women are still prohibited from voting as of 2023. According to United Nations data, under half of the women were working in 2020.

During this course, you will learn about how women overcame obstacles, confronted discrimination, and forged new routes for themselves.

What You Will Learn

  • How important women were to the development of America
  • How common individual can bring a significant change
  • How previous events and stories affect our view of the past


5.  The Modern World, Part One: Global History from 1760 to 1910 (Coursera)


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15 hours

The Modern World, Part One focuses on the Age of Revolution between the late 18th and mid-19th centuries. It was during a time when there were numerous revolutionary movements in both the Americas and Europe.

The Age of Revolution and subsequent years up until 1910 are covered in this course. It seeks to explain both what occurred within that time and why.

The professor of this course, Philip Zelikow, scheduled this course to last about 15 hours. The course will help you to put your knowledge to the test by giving a practice task or quiz after each week to assess your understanding.

What You Will Learn

  • Conflicts that broke out between the latter half of the 18th century and the middle of the 19th century
  • A new industrial revolution
  • A national industrial empire


6. US / United States History – Prehistory to Reconstruction (Udemy)




11 hours, 3 minutes.

Udemy offers US / United States History. The first Americans to the end of the Civil War era in 1876 are all covered in this US history online course. The course was initially designed so parents could assist their children in learning about history. Additionally, prospective citizens and amateur historians have found it useful.

F. Parcher serves as a mentor for this course. His background includes a degree in history and 17 years of teaching experience, 10 of which have been spent instructing the US government and history. He is now working on a podcast about the national parks in California. He works as a guide for a business that specializes in turning national parks into science labs.

The course comprises 11 themed divisions which discuss individuals and occasions that occurred throughout several decades. Images, historical documents, music, and outline notes are all included in the lessons. A quiz is also used to conclude each lesson.

What You Will Learn

  • Developments in politics, economics, and society helped to mold the US into what it is now
  • How the federal government was established
  • Characteristics of the nation as shaped by the military


7. Art History Renaissance to 20th Century (Udemy)




35 hours, 45 minutes

If you are interested in history, taking this online art history course can help you better comprehend art. This course covers the period between 1300 and 1950 in terms of art history. It’s intended to indicate fundamental college-level familiarity with art history.

Kenney Mencher, the course instructor, has a long list of exhibitions, publications, and talks to his credit. He is a professor of art and art history who is now working as a part-time artist and teacher. Instead of utilizing industry jargon, he prefers to use a common language to describe things which is the best part of this course.

What You Will Learn

  • Possess knowledge of numerous historical art periods
  • When viewing art, take the time to comprehend what you see
  • The meanings behind notable works of art and how they were made.


8. Rome: A Virtual Tour of the Ancient City (FutureLearn)


FutureLearn pricing starts at $27.99 a month


5 weeks or 3 hours per day

Anyone interested in learning about ancient Rome should enroll in this virtual tour of Rome. You might be considering studying classics, archaeology, or history at the university level, planning a trip to the Italian city, or being a voracious viewer of films on Roman history.

Use Professor Matthew Nicholls’ in-depth, acclaimed 3D computer model of ancient Rome to join him on a guided tour of the city. Learn more about Rome’s architectural style and how it was utilized by the Romans to meet their political leaders and worship their gods.

You’ll investigate these issues and many more as you effortlessly transition between footage of Rome in modern times and the computer model (which includes interactive features). You can use this understanding to guide your interactions with the everlasting city and your overall research into ancient history.

What You Will Learn

  • Examine a variety of evidence, such as literary works, coins, inscriptions, and archaeological relics, to learn how we may comprehend and interpret the distant past
  • Discover the various types of structures in the city and the purposes they serve
  • Examine the use of architecture by Rome’s kings to beautify and maintain the city
  • Explore models on screen and in films, and talk about what they may reveal to
  • Experience digital modeling work as a method of portraying the ancient past.


9. From Ancient Origins to The 19th Century (edX)


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1 year and 7 months, with 1-3 hours of weekly study.

The rise of this magnificent civilization from the last dynasty to the Neolithic is examined in “History of China: Bronze Age to the Last Dynasties.” We learn to appreciate the sophisticated, refined artistic, and literary traditions that persisted into the present. We also ponder religious and philosophical legacies and their relevance to our lives.

With the help of this excess data on the culture, history, and geography of China, learn more about the evolution of Chinese civilization. This course will assist you in developing a critical understanding of China’s intellectual, literary, cultural, and political resources, from the Neolithic to the development of the world’s largest economy in human history.

This series will demonstrate how China’s culture evolved and how it came to rule the biggest human population around the globe as the first centralized bureaucratic state in history.

What You Will Learn

  • The history of China and the relevance of early Chinese cultural ideas today
  • Chinese poetry from the past and calligraphy are both old arts
  • How the growth of Buddhist thought and aristocratic society affected the development of one’s sense
  • How China unified as a result of a shifting political and social elite, ushering in an era of global empire
  • How the region’s economic and political conditions gave rise to the realities of modern-day China decades ago


10. Introduction to Ancient Egypt and Its Civilization (Coursera)


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Approximately 8 hours

Introduction to Ancient Egypt and Its Civilization is a free course offered by Coursera in collaboration with the University of Pennsylvania. This course helps you to discover information on several pyramids, pharaohs, mummies, and other features of this great civilization.

The 19th century and burgeoning interest in Egypt among the general public are covered in-depth in this course. Included is the interpretation of hieroglyphs, which illuminated the complexity of this culture. Additionally, a discussion is included on Ancient Egypt’s impact on the cultures of other parts of the world.

What You Will Learn

  • Egyptian writing systems
  • King Tutankhamun
  • Individuals that made the fields of mathematics and science


11. World War II: A Military and Social History (The Great Courses)


  • Instant Video: $334.95
  • Instant Audio: $219.95
  • DVD: $384.95
  • Subscribe & Stream 500+ Great Courses Starting At $7.50/month (Free 14-Day Trial)


30 lectures, 30 minutes each.

This course, “World War II,” is offered by GreatCourses and covers the Second World War, which was the deadliest conflict in human history, and claimed the lives of fifty-five million people.

After half a century, these lectures continue to explore and answer significant concerns concerning this war:

  • Was it necessary for Truman to drop the atomic bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki?
  • Should Roosevelt have been more prepared for the attack on Pearl Harbor?
  • If more people had known about the Holocaust, more lives could have been saved.
  • Could the Allies have won World War II with a greater margin of victory than we prefer to believe they had?

The beginnings of the conflict and its spread across the Pacific and Europe are investigated here. The successes and failures of various military and political initiatives are examined. An analysis is done of the war’s consequences on society and the economy.

What You Will Learn

  • Insights into the terrifying events of World War II
  • How people managed to escape the loophole
  • How political conflicts affected people’s lives


12. The Ancient Greeks (Coursera)


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Approximately 20 hours

This introductory class to Ancient Greece is brought to you by Wesleyan University and Coursera through seven lectures. Given that it is a comprehensive course, you can expect to investigate a diverse range of subjects:

  • The Age of Bronze
  • The prehistoric era as well as the early civilizations
  • Wars fought in Persia

You won’t just focus on the critical events in Greek history; you’ll also learn about the significant personalities such as Socrates, Lycurgus, Homer, Herodotus, and Solon.

Overall, the course comprehensively studies Ancient Greece’s cultural and political values, such as democracy.

What You Will Learn

  • Ancient Greek history began in the stone age and ended with Socrates
  • Significant historical figures and events
  • Political and cultural ideas of the period
  • Different approaches to interpreting historical events


A Final Word on the Best Online History Courses

Taking history courses can provide you with important knowledge and perspective.

History isn’t just about memorizing key dates and events, it’s about understanding the interconnectedness of people and events throughout time.

While there are countless history courses available online, the ones listed above are some of the best.

Each course offers a different perspective on key historical events, helps you to understand different methods for interpreting history, and provides valuable insight into how the past has shaped the present.

Have any questions about our guide to the best online history courses? Leave a comment below.

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