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Founded as the nation’s first private military college just four decades after the United States was established, Norwich University is an important part of America’s own proud military history. Our graduates have served in every American conflict since the Mexican-American War, and nearly 200 have served as general officers in the U.S. and foreign armed forces including Admiral of the Navy George Dewey, General Isaac D. White, and General Gordon R. Sullivan.
Our Master of Arts in Military History program reflects, honors, and extends Norwich’s proud military heritage. Attracting highly motivated and passionate students from across the country, our rigorous military history graduate program provides an in-depth exploration of the role of the military and war throughout history. Informed by the American Historical Society’s guidelines for master’s programs in history, our curriculum teaches students to navigate differing historical interpretations, synthesize diverse types of historical knowledge, and develop strong analytical abilities through intensive research and writing assignments.
At the heart of our program is our second-to-none military history faculty. They include prolific book authors and editors, sought-after speakers, and nationally recognized experts who regularly present their work at the annual Society for Military History conference. In addition to cultivating a highly interactive learning environment, faculty members serve as mentors to students throughout their program of study.
The military history degree program culminates in the writing of a capstone paper demonstrating mastery of research and analysis. While developing their capstone papers, throughout the online military history degree program students have access to our highly capable reference staff members, who provide research assistance via email, phone, and chat, as well as our dedicated distance-learning librarian.
Norwich University’s Master of Arts in Military History program gives you the foundation to teach at the high school and community college level or to pursue a PhD for teaching at the university level. Your degree can also serve as a stepping stone to advancement in a variety of careers. Examples of positions held by our alumni include curator of the Eldred World War II Museum, senior manager of communications at The Boeing Company, archivist at the National Archives and Records Administration, and special agent in the Naval Criminal Investigative Service. If you are currently in the military, the knowledge and credentials gained through our online military history degree program may help you advance within the military or transition to a new career.
We are here to help you achieve your goals. From information on how to apply to the Master of Arts in Military History program to tips on how to manage your time, we will guide and support you throughout your Norwich experience.
Norwich’s Master of Arts in Military History (MMH) program is a 36-credit degree program comprising of six courses. Students master one course at a time, with each course building on the next to create a strong foundation of knowledge and context for future topics. The program culminates in a one-week residency and graduation ceremony at Norwich University in June.
More information about program requirements is available in our course catalog.
This introductory course examines the development of military history as a topic of study and trains you in the key disciplines of historiography and methodology. Historiography examines historical thought and research from the first works of history in the classical world to those of the present. You will explore historical methodology and informational literacy, the ways historians gather information and formulate hypotheses, the development of research methods including the use of primary and secondary sources, and the challenges of objectivity, selectivity, and bias in historical interpretation.
This course examines the global patterns of warfare, on land and at sea, from the ancient world to the eve of the Industrial Revolution. Special emphasis is placed on continuity and change in warfare, as well as the impact of socioeconomic and cultural factors.
This course examines the most influential military theoreticians and strategists from the period of the Thirty Years’ War to the present. You will examine the theories of Clausewitz, Jomini, Douhet, Mahan, Corbett, and Mao Tse-Tung, as well as the theories of deterrence and nuclear war and post-Maoist revolutionary warfare.
This course examines some of the major historical factors that have shaped the military trajectory of the modern extra-European (and North American) world, comprising China, Israel, Middle East, Africa, India/South Asia, Ethiopia, Latin America/South America, and Turkey/Ottoman, with particular focus on the 19th and 20th centuries.
This course provides an introduction to Chinese military history and covers topics including military thought, strategy and tactics, technologies, and cultural factors as they pertain to the waging of war. You will be introduced to the latest scholarship and interpretations and will be encouraged to engage in comparative thinking throughout the class. In the process, you will attempt to determine if any society approaches warfare uniquely or if universal approaches outweigh the specific.
This course examines amphibious operations from antiquity to the present. It also sketches broader contexts for amphibious warfare as it has affected political, diplomatic, and economic change by determining to what degree, if at all, various amphibious actions figured in what has been labeled as an early-modern “military revolution” that contributed to the “Rise of the West.”
This course examines America’s unique experience of warfare and the development of military institutions and military policy in the United States. You will explore the country’s military history from the Colonial era to the present, with an emphasis on the Revolutionary War, Civil War, frontier wars, America’s rise to great power status, World War I and World War II, and the conflicts of the Cold War era. Throughout the course, you will also examine the efficacy of the “American Way of War,” as well as America’s civil-military relations.
This course covers the complex issues surrounding racial integration in military institutions, including questions about citizenship and ethnicity. You will also examine the history of women’s participation in warfare and issues of gender integration in the military.
This course examines the origins of the concept and practice of “total war” in the period from the French Revolution to the end of the Cold War. The French Revolution, Napoleonic Wars, American Civil War, World War I, and World War II will be studied. You will also examine the evolution of modern war, the characteristics of “total war,” and the usefulness of the concept in describing such massive conflicts.
As a degree requirement, you will write and submit a capstone paper that explores in depth a program-approved topic of your own choosing that demonstrates effective use of appropriate academic sources. The expected length of the capstone paper is 45 to 50 pages.
The optional master’s thesis is an original research project demonstrating your ability to conduct primary-source research and demonstrate mastery of the historiography germane to the research question. This option is recommended for those interested in continuing their studies in history at the doctoral level. The thesis must reflect graduate-level analysis, synthesis, and argument and make a compelling case for the argument's historical and historiographic significance. Students interested in this degree completion option must petition the Capstone/Thesis Director during the second semester. The petition must be accompanied by a thesis proposal and letters of recommendation from two faculty members of the Master of Arts in History or Master of Arts in Military History program.
The thesis option is, at minimum, a semester-long (22-week) project with accompanying sustaining and thesis fees.
Prerequisites: Approval of thesis petition and successful completion of the five previous core courses.
The final academic requirement for the military history program is a week-long residency at the beautiful and historic Norwich University campus in Vermont. Students have the opportunity to meet with fellow students, faculty, and program staff in both formal classroom and informal settings. Norwich covers the cost of all meals and accommodation on campus. Academic recognition ceremonies and commencement cap off the week, and family and friends are encouraged to attend.
Dr. James Ehrman is the program director for the Master of Arts in Military History program and the Master of Arts in History program. He earned his BA in history and political science from Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska and his MA in history from Kansas State University in 1997. Professor Ehrman continued his studies in history at Kansas State University and completed his PhD in history in 2006. Dr. Ehrman has worked at Norwich University since 2004, when he accepted a visiting instructor position with the Norwich University undergraduate Department of History and Political Science. In 2006, Professor Ehrman served as the associate program director for the military history program at Norwich University. In 2007, he was appointed to the position of program director.
Lars Nielsen is the associate program director (academic) for both the Master of Arts in Military History as well as the Master of Arts in History programs. His primary duty is to work with the program director to make sure that classroom content corresponds to the director’s vision as closely as possible. Lars has been with the military history program since its inception in 2005 and along the way earned an MA in its sister program, Master of Arts in Diplomacy. He also teaches political science and history as an adjunct to Norwich undergraduates and writes plays, poetry, and fiction in his spare time.
Dr. John "Doc" Broom served for many years as a scout and tank platoon sergeant in the US Army as well as a history instructor at the Armor School and the Command and General Staff College. Since 1991 he has taught at the undergraduate and graduate levels for several colleges and universities. Broom specializes in military change and transformation especially in the US, Great Britain, and Germany in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. He has been the associate program director of the Norwich University Master in Military History program since 2007 and has been with the program as an instructor since its inception. He lives in rural southwest Missouri with his wife Lisa. Broom holds a BA from the University of Minnesota, an MA from Norwich University, and a PhD from Union Graduate School in Cincinnati.
Dr. John Grenier is a prize-winning author and historian of early America. Grenier is the author of The First Way of War: American War Making on the Frontier, 1607-1814 (published by Cambridge University Press in 2005), which won the Society of Military History’s Outstanding Book Award in American History in 2007. He is also the author of The Far Reaches of Empire: War in Nova Scotia, 1710-1760 (Volume 16 of the Campaign & Commanders Series from the University of Oklahoma Press, published in 2008), which won the Wilson Award as the Outstanding Contribution to National Defense in the Field of Arts and Letters. His current project is a biography of Major Robert Rogers, which he hopes to finish in 2015. Grenier retired from the US Air Force with an honorable discharge in 2009, after a 20-year career in which he attained the rank of lieutenant colonel and served two tours as a professor at the Air Force Academy. Grenier currently both teaches in the online Master of Arts in Military History program, where he is the senior professor in American history, and serves as the capstone director. As capstone director, Grenier is responsible for the administration and management of students’ end-of-program capstone papers. He lives in Colorado with his family. Grenier earned his PhD from the University of Colorado in 1999.
As an undergraduate student at Norwich University, Benjamin Sipe was a member of the Corps of Cadets and graduated in 2005 with a BA in history. He went on to receive his master's degree in public administration from Norwich in 2010. He currently serves the Norwich University Online community as the student services manager. His role is to support the entire student services advisor team and their students. Ben also serves as the student services advisor for the Master of Arts in History and Military History programs. He looks forward to residency each year when he can meet all the students in person and share in their experience.
A widely recognized expert in medieval studies, Kelly DeVries has written more than 100 articles and authored or co-authored dozens of books, including Medieval Military Technology, Joan of Arc: A Military Leader, and Battles that Changed Warfare: 1457 BC-AD 1991. For more than a decade, he has served as editor of the Journal of Medieval Military History and as co-editor of the History of Warfare series from Brill Publishers. He is a frequent historical consultant and guest on TV shows produced by the History Channel and National Geographic. He received his doctoral and master’s degrees in medieval studies from the University of Toronto and his bachelor’s degree in medieval studies from Brigham Young University.
A specialist in Japanese history and a visiting researcher at Sophia University and International Christian University in Japan, John M. Jennings has written numerous books, articles, and reviews on Asian and military history. His publications include The Opium Empire: Japanese Imperialism and Narcotics Trafficking in Asia, 1895-1945 and the forthcoming Encountering Barbarians: Essays in the History of East Asian International Relations, 1428-1967. He is currently completing Taxed in Blood: A History of the Military, State, and Society in Japan, a new book for Reaktion Books. In addition to teaching in Norwich University’s world history and military history programs, Jennings teaches Asian, military, and world history for the United States Air Force Academy. A Philadelphia native, he earned his doctoral and master’s degrees from the University of Hawaii at Manoa and his bachelor’s degree from Penn State University.
Stephen Morillo specializes in medieval, military, and world history, combining the three in various ways in his teaching and research. He is the author of numerous books and articles on these topics, including Frameworks of World History, a world history textbook being released by Oxford University Press in 2013. Current and past course topics include introductory world history, historiography, world military history, maritime history, and medieval Japan. When he isn’t teaching or writing, Morillo enjoys painting, cartooning, acting, and playing music. A native of New Orleans, he also cooks creole cuisine, Indian curries, and other scrumptious specialties of his own invention. He earned his doctoral degree in philosophy at Oxford University and his bachelor’s degree at Harvard University.
Dr. John Votaw is the executive director emeritus of the Cantigny First Division Foundation, Wheaton, Illinois. He is a retired Lieutenant Colonel with the U.S. Army. A graduate of the U.S. Military Academy (1961), he commanded U.S. Army cavalry and armored units through the battalion level and served in Vietnam in 1966-67. Votaw directed the First Division Museum at Cantigny and the collocated Colonel Robert R. McCormick Research Center from 1986 to 2005. He was the general editor of the Cantigny Military History Series of books dealing with American military history and events related to the history of the 1st Infantry Division of the US Army. As the historian for the Society of the 1st Infantry Division, Votaw supervised the publication of the Society newspaper, The Bridgehead Sentinel, and advised the historical activities of the Society. Votaw completed his master's degree in history at the University of California, Davis, and his PhD at Temple University. He and his wife live in Illinois.
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When applying for the Master of Arts in Military History program at Norwich University, there are two essential factors to consider: What does it cost, and how can you pay for it? There are many ways to get financial assistance and several financial strategies that can help you achieve your academic and professional goals. We are here to help you identify and pursue the options that are best for you.
Our admissions advisors are ready to help you plan your education at Norwich University.
Mon - Thurs: 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. EST
Friday: 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. EST
Extended hours available by appointment
There is probably not a single program at Norwich University that attracts such a broad range of talented individuals as the online Master of Arts in Military History program. The program's students are at varied points in their lives and are situated in numerous disparate professions. Their academic and professional goals, too, are especially far reaching.
Whether seeking to sharpen their writing and research skills, develop a nuanced perspective on the past, or garner subject matter-expertise that could aid in a teaching, writing, or other career, numerous Norwich alumni have proved that the pursuit of an online master's degree in military history is a fruitful endeavor.
With knowledge comes the possibility and privilege of influence. Whether it’s inspiring a class of middle school students to learn from the lessons of history, convincing your organization’s leadership to pursue a new strategy to promote an old idea, or delivering a written or oral account to an audience of a few dozen, tens of thousands, or, in this digital age, maybe even millions - knowledge offers such possibilities.
Although few will ever receive the critical acclaim of Norwich alum Carlo D’Este, the Pritzker Military History Library prize-winning Norwich history graduate whose books are read by millions across the globe, a considerable number of our graduates impact the way in which history is interpreted every day. Norwich history students and alumni write articles that appear in popular and academic history periodicals, complete and publish book manuscripts, and lecture or teach in community colleges, cultural organizations, or the schools and communities where they live.
According to 2012 graduate Heather Salazar, Regional Coordinator for the Pennsylvania House of Representatives,
"I have a better understanding of the importance and impact historical writing can have on both public and governmental entities. The extensive writing requirements improved my own writing style to be more succinct and descriptive. Sometimes less is more."
Norwich military history program graduates are employed by organizations such as the United States Naval War College, American Military University, and The Boeing Company, and in positions such as history instructor, collections manager, and reporter. Noted employers of our online Master of Arts in Military History program graduates include: