Private military schools offer many online programs related to military history, but some public universities also have online degrees in this field. These programs are designed to provide students with a strong foundation of historical knowledge related to military warfare, and they're typically offered at the master's degree level. Most military history master's programs can be completed totally online, but a few may require a short campus-based residency as part of blended courses.
To apply to a distance learning master's program in military history, applicants must have a bachelor's degree and often must supply graduate test scores and recommendation letters. Schools don't necessarily require prospective students to have a background in history, but they usually have to submit a writing sample detailing their career goals. Students can expect to earn their master's degree in around two years, depending on their enrollment status.
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Students who complete a distance-learning program should gain not only a solid understanding of military actions throughout history, but also an understanding of how to think critically and sort through research like a historian. Each school has its own culminating experience. Some programs require students to complete a thesis, while others may offer a capstone course.
Some specific course topics include the following:
- Introductory military history
- Western war
- Military thought and theory
- Non-Western war
- U.S. military history
- Gender and race in military history
- Research methods
- Military historiography
- Warfare in the classical world
How Learning Works
Online tutorials and virtual classrooms allow students to boost their historical knowledge and research skills without the regular constraints of a physical classroom. Schools use content management systems to present lectures, learning aids, and assignments to distance learners. Online classrooms also feature discussion forums and class chat rooms to allow for interaction.
The most common career field for graduates of a degree program in military history is academia. Individuals who earn such a master's degree can go on to teach military history at community colleges and vocational schools; many 4-year colleges and universities expect teachers to hold a doctoral degree. Some graduates may become military researchers, historians, librarians, or library technicians.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, archivists, curators, and museum technicians in general held about 31,300 jobs in the United States in 2014 (www.bls.gov). About 37% of them worked for historical sites, museums and other similar settings. In government, some federal departments that might hire graduates of an online program in military history include the U.S. Department of Defense, the Smithsonian Institution, the National Archives and Records Administration or individual military museums.
Fully online and blended master's programs in military history are available from a number of schools. Students learn important research and communication skills through a combination of lectures, assignments, and discussion forums.