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PhD in Military History: Online and Campus-Based Programs

A few universities offer a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Military History. Here you can find information about the degree requirements and classes offered, and learn about career options for those with this qualification.

What Should I Expect From a Military History Program?

Some universities offer a specific Ph.D. in military history, while others offer a Ph.D. in History with a specialization in military history. Although it depends somewhat on your academic background, you can generally expect to spend at least 3-4 full-time years studying for the Ph.D. Writing and defending a dissertation is typically required by the school. In addition to learning about American military history, students will be exposed to the military history of other countries. European warfare, in particular, is often emphasized in the curriculum. Students who choose to specialize in the military history of a country or region that speaks a language other than English may have a foreign language proficiency requirement.

Program Structure Generally at least 3-4 years full-time, including writing and defending a dissertation
Common Topics American military policy, military thought and strategy, the Civil War, World War II
Prerequisites Relevant master's degree, though some schools only require a relevant bachelor's degree
Careers Teaching and research; less commonly, employment in the public or private sectors
Online Options Only available on-campus at Ph.D level
Median Salary (2018) $74,590 (for all postsecondary history teachers)*
Job Outlook (2016-2026) 10% growth (for all postsecondary history teachers)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Common Courses Offered as Part of a Ph.D in Military History

Course topics may include:

  • History of war
  • American military policy
  • World War II
  • Military thought and strategy
  • The Vietnam War
  • History of European warfare
  • Modern intelligence history
  • The Civil War and reconstruction

Are There Prerequisites?

Many Ph.D. programs require a master's degree in general history or a specific historical field like American history; some schools may accept qualified students with a relevant bachelor's degree. Some schools simply require students to have minored in history at the undergraduate level, while others might admit students who majored in a non-history subject and have taken some graduate-level history coursework. Acceptance to a military history program may depend on your relationship with faculty who are responsible for nominating candidates for admission.

In some cases, admission to the history department is limited to students who are eligible to receive full funding, though some military history programs receive an exception for applicants who are military officers.

What Can I Do After Graduation?

As with many Ph.D. programs, most graduates go on to either teach or perform research in the field, according to statistics provided by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). Some individuals may find employment with the government or private companies, although NCES data indicates that this path is much less common. You may want to consider discussing career options with your academic advisor.

Can I Earn it Online?

There are no known online degree programs that allow you to earn a Ph.D. in Military History. To pursue this degree, you would have to attend classes on campus. If you are interested in obtaining graduate coursework prior to progressing to the Ph.D. program, some schools do offer master's degrees in history that may be completed fully online.