Battlefield History Brought to Life

Norwich University’s Staff Rides are one-month-long study experiences offered by the Norwich Master of Arts in Military History program. Designed to help lifelong learners from varying backgrounds understand and appreciate historical military events, Staff Rides combine an three-week study period of online learning with a weeklong series of tours of the actual battle locations referenced in class. The goal is to explore the course of specific battles and the decisions that commanders made on the field, and then draw conclusions that can be applied in present and future contexts. 

Experiencing the Staff Ride Journey

Staff Rides illustrate Norwich’s longstanding commitment to experiential learning. They have a historical basis in exercises developed by 19th century German generals, who would study past campaigns to glean lessons from them and then explore battlefields on horseback or on foot. To this day, the U.S. Army uses Staff Rides as learning tools.

Recent Norwich Staff Rides covered two critical periods of the Civil War: the Overland Campaign, which included contests at the Wilderness, Fredericksburg, Spotsylvania, Cold Harbor, and Petersburg; and the Battle of Gettysburg. Staff Ride programs are taught by faculty with distinguished military and educational backgrounds. Students may either audit the program or earn one graduate-level credit for successful program completion. To qualify for enrollment, students must have at least a bachelor’s degree.

Special Staff Ride to Normady

Join Norwich University and The National WWII Museum from May 15-21, 2016 on a special staff ride to Normandy, the site of America’s most famous WWII battle. Offering a full week of touring in Normandy, this five day tour will provide exclusive access to sites unseen with other programs, along with superior accommodations in prime locations, all at a great value. If you would like to join us, registration is now open.

Find Out More About Staff Rides

Staff Rides are offered each year, typically in the spring and fall. If you would like us to contact you about future Staff Rides, email us at