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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. Learn more »
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. 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 program director, associate program director for academics, and capstone 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 Military History program.
Prerequisites: Approval of program director, associate program director for academics, and capstone director; 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.
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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.
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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
My interest in 18th-century military affairs began as a graduate student at Temple University where I studied under the late, great Russell F. Weigley. There I attempted to connect two seemingly disparate historical threads: military philosophy and the Enlightenment. I earned my doctorate with distinction in 2000 and published my revised dissertation as Henry Lloyd and the Military Inheritance of the Enlightenment. The effect of Enlightenment discourse on military thinking in the second half of the 18th century is its primary focus. As an extension of that monograph I edited and annotated the writings of General Lloyd as War, Society and Enlightenment: The Works of General Lloyd. I found the expansion of military history into the realm of intellectual studies a rewarding one.
Since that time my attention has focused upon the Seven Years’ War. One of the challenges of anyone engaging in the history of war in the 18th century is the traditional restriction of the field. The literature is dominated by great commanders, battles, and the campaigns that have interested military thinkers over the past 200 years. With that utilitarian slant, the historiography tends toward repetition of already over-studied topics. Mark H. Danley of the University of Memphis (also a senior lecturer in the Master of Arts in Military History program) and I set out to examine the Seven Years’ War as a larger comparative study of global military history. The result is the forthcoming co-edited volume The Seven Years’ War: Global Views. It consists of 18 chapters on topics not generally dealt with in the existing literature. For instance, I contributed a chapter on the Anglo-Portuguese War with Spain of 1762. By studying the more remote, less dramatic episodes we believe the military history of the 18th century will be enriched and broadened.
For those interested in 18th-century topics my suggestion is to study neglected and/or obscure campaigns, persons, or areas of Europe. How many biographies of Frederick the Great do we really need? In this effort I have a few suggestions on where to find quality (and yes accessible) primary sources to help you along the way. One of the most valuable, yet underused, resources is the 46-volume Yale edition of Horace Walpole’s Correspondence, which not only provides a rich amount of primary source letters, but also includes impressive annotations, bibliography, and a six-volume index that serves as my basic research guide to people, places, and things of the 18th century. For military affairs, Walpole’s correspondence with General Henry Seymour Conway (his cousin) is particularly instructive. This collection has recently come alive as a searchable online full-text, free database. In the realm of printed sources the Navy Records Society and the Army Records Society continue to publish manuscript collections of great interest to 18th-century scholars.
Another starting point is to access extensive bibliographic resources. The electronic databases available in the Norwich University Kreitzberg Library will help current students immensely. The Oxford Bibliographies should be your first stop. Incidentally, I contributed the article on the Seven Years’ War.
While I enjoy traditional drum-and-trumpet military history full of battles and commanders, I urge students to broaden their concept of military history to incorporate larger facets of society, and welcome contact with any like-minded individuals. For the military history program I teach the second course, Global History to 1789 (formerly Western Way of War), usually 1-2 cohorts per year.
- Patrick Speelman is a faculty member in the military history program and at the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy.