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Why Study Military History? Understanding Career Options

Military History

The past, present, and future are inextricably tied—common threads throughout the history of humankind that includes both the idealistic pursuit of peace and the reality of war. The inclination toward conflict is part of the human condition, but the opportunity to help prevent wars in the future lies in our understanding of past and current global conflicts.

Individuals passionate about military history should consider pursuing Norwich University’s online Master of Arts in Military History (MMH) degree, which gives students a well-rounded worldview and opens the path to a wide range of career options. Graduates of the program have successfully pursued careers in education, government, intelligence agencies, military, academia, and publishing.

Defining Military History

Why study military history? Individuals who learn about historical military events gain insights on how centuries-old conflicts relate to today’s unfolding events. An examination of military conflicts, including the analysis of winners and losers, participating nations, technological advancements, and tactics used in battle, helps us learn why they took place and provides lessons to help prevent them from happening again. Investigating the political, economic, social, and geographic factors of participating countries provides a deeper understanding of the causes of history’s key conflicts, adding a deeper context to current international affairs. Aside from the lessons learned from global conflicts, those who study military history gain an appreciation of the history of the country and the rest of the world.

Norwich University’s Role in Teaching Military History

The curriculum of Norwich’s online Master of Arts in Military History program (MMH) offers classes that prepare students with critical thinking, analytical, research, and writing competencies. For those interested in studying military history to advance their careers, the program cultivates skills commonly associated with professions such as historian, teacher, writer, and archivist. Below is a sampling of courses in Norwich’s MMH program.

  • Global Military History to 1800: covers major events and military strategies of warfare in the West from ancient Greece to the 19th century, with a focus on the military history of Europe. Students examine the socioeconomic and cultural impact of these conflicts.
  • Military Thought and Theory: takes a look into history’s most renowned military tacticians. Students examine influential military theoreticians and strategists from the 17th century to modern times.
  • Amphibious Warfare: focuses on amphibious operations throughout military history. The class provides insights into the political, economic, and diplomatic impact of conflicts that happen on land and sea.
  • Race and Gender in Military History: examines racial integration in military institutions, questions around citizenship and ethnicity, and the role of gender in wartime conflicts.

Military History Career Opportunities

Why study military history from a career perspective? Those who study the history of war, including the underlying chronology, politics, geographies, and economies, develop critical thinking, research, and analytical skills that are demanded by both the public and private sectors. Through scholarly research, military history graduates acquire writing skills that help support professional writing careers or prepare them for doctoral studies.

Those who earn an advanced military history degree—like the one offered by Norwich—are well prepared to pursue careers in numerous fields.


Teachers with a firm grasp of military history can create dynamic teaching plans that go beyond traditional history lessons. By teaching students about the historical circumstances that shaped nations, they introduce students to new points of view.  They also offer students opportunities to cultivate their research and writing skills, inspiring the next generation of leaders who understand how the past can impact the future.


Military history graduates often are employed by government agencies to research specific events such as past military and space missions. They also research international entities. For example, military history graduates hired by the U.S. Department of State’s Office of the Historian provide research and context on U.S. foreign policy. Other government agencies that hire historians include the Library of Congress, NASA, the National Park Service, and the Smithsonian Institution.

Intelligence Agencies             

The CIA and the U.S. Department of Justice employ people with backgrounds in military history. For example, MMH graduates can work as military analysts for the CIA, applying their knowledge of global military history to inform leaders on important issues such as security and diplomacy. With professional experience, MMH graduates can move into senior positions.

Military Leadership Roles            

Military leadership roles require critical thinking and communication skills, which the study of military history can strengthen. MMH graduates learn about leadership amid conflict, drawing from a compendium of examples throughout history. By understanding the decisions of the past, they can apply lessons learned to achieve success in their current and future missions.

Academic, Article, and Book Writing             

Military historians may agree with others on the facts of past events but may have different views on their interpretation. To construct a factual explanation of their interpretation, they need critical thinking, research, and writing skills, all of which are honed in the Master of Arts in Military History program. Military history experts typically write academic books and articles for journals. They also write and publish books and articles for the masses by translating the scholarly concepts behind military histories and breaking them down into understandable ideas applicable to contemporary society.

Your Passion for Military History Can Help You Advance in Your Career

Graduates of Norwich University’s online Master of Arts in Military History program gain knowledge of leadership and strategy from a military perspective, which can support an array of careers. The curriculum, which is informed by the American Historical Association, prepares graduates with a solid foundation of military history knowledge. Through rigorous academic work, graduates learn essential research, writing, analysis, and presentation skills. The program’s faculty comprises renowned authors and editors, speakers, and experts. And based on recent survey results, 100% of graduates were successful in advancing in their fields or careers.

Explore how Norwich’s online Master of Arts in Military History program can help you advance in your career.

Recommended Readings

Different Types of Historians and Their Careers
Five Major African Wars and Conflicts of the Twentieth Century
History Teacher Job Outlook: Obtain Your Masters To Become a Tenured Teacher


Writing History for a Popular Audience: A Round Table Discussion, The American Historian
For the Love of Teaching, American Historical Association
Historical Thinking Skills, American Historical Association
Why Study Military History?, Army University Press
Master of Arts in Military History, Norwich University
What Is Military History?, Norwich University
About Us, Office of the Historian
Historians (Outside the Academy), Organization of American Historians
High School Teachers, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Historians, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Military Careers, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

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