Master of Arts in Military History - Online

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  • Objectives
    * Produce historians.
    * Provide students with the critical thinking, research, writing, and analytical skills necessary for work in the field of teaching at the secondary or post-secondary level, work in public history venues, careers as professional writers, and to prepare students for Ph.D. level work in history.
    * Prepare military professionals with the skills necessary for success at staff and war colleges.
  • Course description
    The military history program is comprised of six, six-credit seminars for a total of 36 credits. There are four start dates per year; March, June, September or December. The program culminates with a one-week residency and graduation ceremony at Norwich University in June.

    The seminars in the program are structured in a required sequence to build context for future topics and to expand on issues from previous seminars.

    Semester 1:

    Introduction to Military History

    Seminar 1 - MH 510
    The first seminar examines how military history developed as a distinct discipline, and will train you in the "tools of the trade": historiography and methodology. Historiography, or the art of practicing history as a distinct discipline, is an examination of the history of historical thought, from the first works of history in the classical world to the present time. The seminar will cover some of the varied historiographical schools and concepts that have evolved. Historical methodology — changes in the methods of "doing" history — will also be studied. How do historians gather information and formulate hypotheses? The development of research methods, including the use of primary and secondary sources, are discussed. History involves interpretation; the role of objectivity, selectivity, and bias are examined. All readings and case studies are drawn from the field of military history. (6 credit hours)

    The Western Way of War

    Seminar 2 - MH 520
    This seminar explores the military history of the United States and Europe from classical Greece to the 20th century. The emphasis is on the "Western Way of War" as defined by historians Geoffrey Parker and Victor Davis Hanson. In virtually every conflict between Western states and non-Western powers, from the Persian Wars through the colonial era, the west has emerged victorious. Are there experiences and characteristics that have distinguished warfare in the West from the rest of the world? Other prominent military historians, including John Lynn, have challenged the notion that a distinct, continuous Western Way of War exists. The seminar consists of an in-depth examination of these conflicting interpretations of military history. (6 credit hours)

    Semester 2:

    Military Thought and Theory

    Seminar 3 - MH 530
    This seminar studies the most influential military theoreticians and strategists from the period of the Thirty Years War to the present day. You will examine the theories of Clausewitz, Jomini, Douhet, Mahan, Corbett, and Mao Tse-Tung. This seminar also examines theories of deterrence and nuclear war as well as post-Maoist revolutionary warfare. (6 credit hours)

    The Non-Western Way of War

    Seminar 4 - MH 540
    This seminar presents an introduction to non-Western military history, covering a wide range of topics including military thought, strategy and tactics, technologies, and cultural factors as they pertain to the waging of war. This seminar also introduces you to the latest scholarship and interpretations, which both challenge and complement aspects of the debates concerning Western superiority. This seminar devotes more attention to East Asia than to other parts of the non-Western world. Specific historical cases in non-Western military history will be examined to determine the military effectiveness of non-Western cultures and the efficacy of the "Western Way of War" thesis. (6 credit hours)

    Semester 3:

    U.S. Military History

    Seminar 5 - MH 550
    You will examine America's unique experience of warfare and the development of military institutions and military policy in the United States. This seminar examines the military history of the United States from the colonial era to the present day with special emphasis on the Revolutionary War, Civil War, Frontier Wars, America's rise to Great Power status, the First and Second World Wars, and the conflicts of the Cold War era. Throughout this seminar, you examine the efficacy of the "American Way of War" thesis as well as American civil-military relations. (6 credit hours)

    – OR –

    Race and Gender in Military History

    Seminar 5 - MH 551
    This seminar covers the complex issues surrounding racial integration in military institutions, including intriguing questions around citizenship and ethnicity. You also examine the history of women's participation in warfare and issues of gender integration in the military. (6 credit hours)

    Capstone Seminar

    Seminar 6 - MH 562
    Instead of a master's "thesis", Norwich requires a "Capstone Paper" that must be written and submitted to complete your degree. The Capstone has many elements of a traditional thesis, including the following:

        * a program-approved topic of the student's own choosing to be explored in depth
        * the use of appropriate academic sources
        * an expected length of 45-50 pages
        * defense of the Capstone during the student's Residency

    (6 credit hours)

    Textbooks, articles, and library research

    Many of your books will be automatically sent to you before the start of each seminar. Other readings will be available in the Norwich library's extensive online databases. You will also conduct additional library research, usually accomplished online. If you have a good physical library nearby, you could supplement your research there, but seminars are designed to accommodate students, even in remote locations.

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