Category Archives: Distance Education

MA in History

HIST 500 Historical Research Methods

HIST 501 Historiography


HIST 611 Ancient Warfare

HIST 643 Ottoman Empire

HIST 531 Greek Civilization

HIST 532 Roman Republic & Empire

HIST 533 Late Antiquity & Byzantium

HIST 534 Medieval Europe

HIST 535 Renaissance & Reformation

HIST 597 Graduate Seminar in European History


HIST 691 Writing a Thesis Proposal

HIST 699 Masters of Arts in History — Thesis


An MA in something….

How does one choose what to do a Masters degree in? What your parents did? What your highest GPA was in? Where the market requires more people with Masters degrees? What feels good? What you didn’t spend enough time working on in your Bachelors degree? What your friend thinks you should do? What your counselor or spouse thinks you should do? If you can afford it or not? Just what exactly??


When I was young I wrote stories about climbing trees, playing with a friend, and playing with my dog. All of these stories ended the same with my mother walking in and the narrative would just stop. You’d think someone would have noticed this, but no one cared. I never wrote a book report for school, not even one. I graduated high school with no real plans besides becoming a mechanic. Right after high school I had an epiphany and for about a month I though long and hard about writing for car magazines. I had been reading Road & Track for three years and was also reading Hot Rod magazine. A lot of thought and not one word written down about it. In the service I found myself buying lots and lots of books, but only reading sporadically. When I was 25 I read A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway and was inspired to become a writer. Sporadic reading and writing ensued. I pursued a BA and chose the testing out method for various reasons and almost never wrote a paper until the last class. I took three classes that required writing: College Writing; Research Paper; and the final Capstone. After I retired from working on airplanes I wanted to take a certificate course @ UW in Genealogy, but my wife talked me into pursuing a Certificate in Writing. I didn’t feel like writing anymore. Now I have returned to work and the only thing I want to do is to retire again. So here I am, a writer that doesn’t write.

I don’t think my problem is that I do not want to write, but that I have no ambitions.

Testing Out

Give the BA in 4 weeks website a read to see how this method of education works. I found this website very early on and it is somewhat dated at this point.

I call the best $20 per month in education. I recommend joining ASAP to find out the latest on distance education. Take a good look at the thread called Specific Exam Feedback after you join which discusses what is on the tests, how hard the tests are, what to study and what not to study, etc…in essence this is all about the fastest and cheapest way you can possibly go to get a degree in this day and age.

A good method: Join InstantCert and see what all of the various plans are that people have both worked out and followed. Start by getting your transcripts together and then knocking out both CLEP and DSST tests toward your goal. When you have got about 60-90 semester credits under your belt go ahead and contact a college and throw all of your credits at them because by that point you will be mostly done.

I have way more education websites at home so feel free to send me an email and ask any and all questions.


How To

I “tested out” of college. I “went” to Excelsior College in New York and I graduated with a BA in Liberal Arts; my GPA was 3.7.

The best books for non-traditional education are: Accelerated Distance Learning: The New Way to Earn Your College Degree in the Twenty-First Century by Brad Voeller, Bear’s Guide to Earning Degrees by Distance Learning and Bear’s Guide to College Degrees by Mail & Internet by John Bear, PhD & Mariah Bear, MA. It is possible to get an accredited Bachelors, Masters, or PhD non-traditionally for a fraction of the “brick-and-mortar” cost. So gather up all your old high school and college transcripts, licenses, certifications, military records, any training you have done on the job, any documentable information from life events, and get started. Anybody from 18 to 118 can do this!

Best Distance Schools: Now has life experience credit. Still awards credit for GRE Subject tests. Life experience credit.

Best Tests (there are others): CLEP: 3, 6, or 12 credits in a sitting, all lower level. $77 + proctoring fee. DSST: All are 3 upper or lower level credits. $80 + proctoring fee. ECE: Upper and some lower level credits, now have many online classes as well. $275 or $95.

This is how I started testing: Get a copy of CLEP by Barrons. Circle all the right answers using a medium pen. Read only the question and right answer, do one test at a time: Humanities, Social Science/History, Natural Science, and College Math (this one may take some actual study). Excelsior will award 24 semester credits for these 4 tests. Then start taking the individual CLEP and DANTES (DSST) tests: Use InstantCert and read 1 or 2 books in 2 to 4 weeks (or sooner!!) and take a test. There are over 50 to choose from. The discussion boards on InstantCert are invaluable for non-traditional education.

The Tools: $20/mo CLEP, DSST, and ECE “flash-card” test help and a discussion board with people who have taken these tests! Difficulty comparison of the tests as well as study resources. Free schooling. great overview! books for individual test subjects. Lectures from the best professors on tape/CD/DVD; wait for frequent sales!! Buy these used at ½ Price or from Amazon. Amazing…really amazing. explains the gist of all of this stuff. best for looking up academic papers. the online encyclopedia is much better than it used to be. is my newest find and you can rent textbooks there!
I also use Encyclopaedia Britannica: Ultimate Reference Suite DVD

ANY questions, just ask!

My Tests

BA in Liberal Arts @ Excelsior in 2014

I completed 25 tests: CLEP: Humanities/600, Natural Sciences/530, Social Sciences/History/570, American Literature/65, American Government/59, Intro Educational Psychology/59, English Literature/64, US History I & II/70 & 69, Human Growth and Development/57, Intro Psychology/66, Intro Sociology/59, and Western Civilization I & II/67 & 60; DSST: Business Ethics and Society/432, Civil War and Reconstruction/71, Criminal Justice/434, Intro Modern Middle East/65, Organizational Behavior/65, Rise and Fall of the Soviet Union/65, and Intro World Religions/475; and ECE: Abnormal Psychology/A, Psychology of Adulthood and Aging/B, Research Methods in Psychology/B, and Social Psychology/C.

Capstone in Liberal Studies/A

AA in 2010 from Excelsior.