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Online Masters Degree in Military History: Program Overviews

Get info about online master's degree programs in military history. Read about program requirements, course topics and degree levels, and check out career and continuing education options.

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Essential Information

Master's degree programs in military history are commonly offered online with all aspects of their programs available through distance education. Students are allowed access to lectures and course materials on their own schedules, within certain deadlines. Some programs call for students to visit the campus for exams.

In most online master's programs, students take a few general courses that cover research methods and the history of military conflict. They often can specialize in certain aspects of military history such as warfare in the classical world, European military history, the U.S. Civil War or World War II.

Master's degree programs in military history often stress the development of research and writing skills. A thesis or final research project may be required, or students may be allowed to take extra courses in lieu of a thesis. It generally takes about two years of full-time study to complete a master's degree program. Applicants typically need a bachelor's degree for admission.

Master's Degree in Military History

Many educational institutions offer master's degrees in military history entirely through distance learning. Some schools offer a number of concentrations in such fields as American Military History, The Civil War and World War II.

Students enrolled in this program study the causes, effects, details and philosophies of the most important wars and the cultures that waged them. Becoming a historian takes strategic thinking, research skills and article composition abilities, which these programs offer to students. Regardless of the area of undergraduate study, a bachelor's degree is considered a sufficient prerequisite to a master's degree.

Program Information and Requirements

Master's degree programs in military history typically consist of 30-36 credit hours. Although some schools offer the program entirely online, other schools may require some exams to be taken in person. Most schools feature an asynchronous online delivery format, so students can watch archived lectures and work on assignments at any time as long as deadlines are met. Students may contact their instructors and colleagues through online discussion boards as well as reaching them through e-mail and telephone.

Course Topics

Depending on the school, individual courses may focus on specific wars, military philosophies, the military history of certain regions or all of the above. A thesis or capstone project is required by most schools, though some schools have non-thesis options in which extra courses replace the final project.

U.S. Military History

This course provides a summary of the major American wars, including the Revolutionary War, the Civil War and the World Wars. The important people, organizations and moments that weaved the fabric of the American military history are reviewed in depth. Students also examine the details and relationships between the different branches of the U.S. military, such as the Army, Navy, and Air Force.

Cold War

Important events involving the Cold War, such as the rise and fall of the Berlin Wall, the Korean War and the Cubin Missile Crisis, are studied in this course. The shaky relationship between the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. is highlighted along with the ensuing problems in the Middle East. Wars and battles to liberate certain parts of Asia, Africa and Latin America are also discussed.

Military Ethics, Thought, Theory and Philosophy

Questions involving what morally justifies going to war and what is morally right to do during times of war are asked. Students also learn to identify the most important military thinkers, such as Sun Tsu, Clausewitz, Mahan, Jomini and Galula, and to understand their points and ideas on ancient and modern warfare. The ethical dilemmas involving nuclear war are also discussed.


Career Information

The most commonly held occupations by someone with a Master of Arts in Military History are secondary and postsecondary history teachers, history museum curators and writers. The broad nature of this degree can allow for jobs in fields as diverse as business, government and even the military itself.

Holders of an M.A. in Military History can generally find employment teaching history at a high school or a junior college, though additional educational training and licensing may also be required. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that in May of 2015, there were 23,680 people employed as postsecondary history teachers, and their average yearly salary was $76,670. The BLS also predicted a 6% occupational growth for all secondary school teachers and a 10% occupational growth for postsecondary school history teachers between the years 2014-2024.

The BLS also reported in May of 2015 that there were 6,500 people employed as museum and historical site curators, and they made $54,600 a year, on average. An 8% occupational growth is predicted between the years 2014-2024 for all curators.

Continuing Education Information

The Master of Arts in Military History acts as a prerequisite for students who are interested in furthering their education with Ph.D.s in Military History. These advanced degrees are readily available on campus, but their prevalence online is scarce.

Master's degree programs in military history are offered fully online and allow students to specialize in different wars or aspects of warfare, such as World War II, the Cold War and more. Graduates could enroll in doctorate programs or seek work as high school history teachers and museum curators.

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