best military history phd programs

Last Updated on January 31, 2022 by

On this page we explore all you need to know on Best Military History Phd Programs, best graduate schools for civil war history, master of military history, military history studies and phd in military and strategic studies.

Both master’s and doctoral degrees are available in military history. Some schools provide the subject as a concentration within a broader history program. Three of the top schools to offer military history programs in the U.S. have been ranked by U.S. News and World Report as among the best universities in the nation. Admission to Duke University’s military history program is highly competitive, and students should prepare appropriately. Some students attending the University of North Carolina’s program may participate in a specialized consortium on security issues related to their field. Ohio State University’s program emphasizes broad training in the field. Read on for more details on Best Military History Phd Programs, best graduate schools for civil war history, master of military history, military history studies and phd in military and strategic studies.

Best Military History Phd Programs

We begin with Best Military History Phd Programs, then best graduate schools for civil war history, master of military history, military history studies and phd in military and strategic studies.

University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill

At the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill, students have access to the Military History Seminar Series. The University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill (UNC) was ranked by U.S. News & World Report in 2020 as the 29th best national university and tied at eleventh best among top schools to offer history programs at the graduate level in 2017. UNC’s history department awards both an M.A. and a Ph.D. in military history. The department is able to offer students extensive resources in military history due in part to its collaboration with the Duke University history department.

Graduate students may take courses and work closely with military historians at both UNC and Duke. Additionally, through UNC, graduate students have the opportunity to participate in the Triangle Institute for Security Studies, a university consortium focused on issues of national and international security, which includes students and faculty from various related fields.

Duke University in Durham, North Carolina

Duke University‘s resources include one of the top scholarly libraries in the nation, which houses over six million volumes. Duke University was ranked tied for tenth in U.S. News and World Report’s Best National College survey in 2020. Its well-regarded history department awards both doctoral and master’s degrees in various historical fields.

Military history is a popular choice among Duke graduate students, and the extremely competitive program prepares graduates for an academic career at top universities. Due to a recent partnership with the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, students who earn a Ph.D. in history must complete a teaching portfolio and an oral defense portfolio, better preparing them for professor positions.

Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio

In 2020, Ohio State University was ranked tied at #17 among top public schools by U.S. News and World Report. The Department of History offers graduate students a military history program within the human conflict, peace, and diplomacy constellation. Students get an interdisciplinary degree that combines study in history with topics such as geography, economics, psychology, and political science. They may choose to focus their studies on a particular historical period, such as modern Europe or pre-20th-century United States. The graduate history program at OSU was ranked 27th by U.S. News and World Report for 2017.

Top Military History Graduate Programs

Let’s explore the military history programs available at a few of the country’s other top schools.

School NameDistinctionLocation
George Mason UniversityU.S. News & World Report ranked GMU tied at #44 among schools offering the best graduate history programs in 2017.Fairfax, VA
Temple UniversityUniversity research centers include the Center for the Study of Force and Diplomacy and the Center for Public History.Philadelphia, PA
Texas A&M UniversityTexas A&M was ranked tied at #27 among Top Public Schools by U.S. News & World Report in 2020.College Station, TX
Texas Tech UniversityU.S. News & World Report ranked Texas Tech tied for #105 among Top Public Schools in 2020.Lubbock, TX
University of HoustonThe school offers four plans to earn an M.A. in history, including a thesis track, a non-thesis track, a public history thesis track, and a public history non-thesis track.Houston, TX
University of KansasStudents in the history department can take advantage of the school’s close association with the U.S. Army Command located nearby at Fort Leavenworth.Lawrence, KS
University of North TexasThrough the Military History Center, students have access to military history seminars, military history discussion series, and an Annual Air Power Symposium.Denton, TX

Prospective students who want to focus their studies on military history can find relevant graduate programs at well-regarded universities across the country.

best graduate schools for civil war history

Next, we consider best graduate schools for civil war history, master of military history, military history studies and phd in military and strategic studies.

10. Harvard University

Founded in 1636, it’s the oldest institute for higher education in the U.S. by over 50 years. It was built by the puritans of Massachusetts Bay Colony. Remember them from middle school history? Not many schools have been through so much, from the Puritans to the American Revolution, to the enlightenment in the 1800s to the turmoil of the 20th century. And as a history buff, you’ve got the dream alumni. Eight signers of the Declaration of Independence graduated from Harvard, plus eight U.S. presidents. And when you walk through Harvard Yard, the imposing John Harvard statue will give you a regal reminder of Harvard’s colonial past. At Harvard you can even serve as a delegate to Model United Nations or participate in Model Congress. Just think—you might next see the student sitting next you running for real Congress. No better bragging rights than that.

9. Talladega College

Is your passion African American history? Go somewhere with African American history built into its founding. Six months after the end of the Civil War, a group of former slaves came together in Alabama to create a school for their newly freed children, making Talladega one of the first colleges created by African Americans. They saw higher education as vital to the preservation of their new liberties. Talladega has served that purpose ever since.

As you step onto campus, you can literally feel the long history behind the place. Offering a BA in African American Studies, you’ll never run out of eye-opening history courses to take. Beyond that, in the library you’ll find a mural called La Amistad embedded in the floor. It tells of a mutiny of slaves who took control of a slave ship and won their freedom. Be careful—school tradition says it should never be stepped on. The mural will remind you of Talladega’s history of taking initiative and doing everything for freedom.

8. Princeton University

Princeton is a no-brainer for lovers of colonial history. Founded in 1746, it’s one of only nine colleges to see their way through the Revolutionary War. Not only that, but Nassau Hall, the oldest building on campus, stands as a National Historic Landmark. During the war it was occupied by both British and American forces. And in 1783 when Princeton served a brief stint as the United States Capitol, Nassau Hall hosted the entire U.S. government. Talk about historic buildings. That’ll certainly help up your Insta-game.

It gets better—you can take a stroll through iconic Canon Green. There you can stand above a canon, now buried in the ground, that the American army fired at the British-occupied Nassau Hall during the Battle of Princeton in 1777. In case you history buffs were wondering, the rebels won and got Nassau back. At Princeton you’ll follow in the footsteps of U.S. presidents James Madison and Woodrow Wilson, and a whopping 12 Supreme Court justices. Three of them are serving right now. Bet they’d nerd out over Princeton’s canon with you.

7. University of Minnesota, Morris

Free tuition, anyone? Once a Native American boarding school, the state created a public college in 1960 under the agreement that Native Americans would always get free of tuition. Today, 18 percent of students are of Native American descent. “The prevalence of native culture lends itself to the more general college experience of accepting other cultures, opening eyes to differences and realizing injustices towards others,” sophomore Erin Wilaby said. UMM offers a variety of native-focused clubs and native language courses. And the annual powwow is a campus favorite. All of that means students are exposed to a big piece of American history and culture the rest of us don’t know nearly enough about. Sophomore Shafiul Umam said, “As a Bangladeshi international student, I came into U of M, Morris without knowing much about of Native Americans. When I learned more, I was quite intrigued by the fundamental similarities—past and present—of oppression between Native Americans in the United States and indigenous groups in South Asia that share a common root of British imperialism.”

6. Oberlin College

Name a social change movement and you can bet Oberlin students played a big role. With their background as the first liberal arts college to admit students of all races/genders, it isn’t surprising that Oberlin students and faculty formed a strong biracial effort to help fugitive slaves on the Underground Railroad. Today on campus you can find the Underground Railroad Monument: a sculpture of a railroad track rising from the ground. Oberlin’s high level of activism continued in the Civil Rights and Anti-War Movements. In 1970 it made the cover of Life for being one of the first colleges with co-ed dormitories.

Sophomore Sarah Nathanson said, “The largest way Oberlin’s history of progressive social norms and political activism impacts campus life is in the people it draws to it. The demographic it attracts represents Oberlin’s history far more than the college itself does on any given day. At our core, we are a student body who cares very very deeply about how we treat others, especially marginalized groups of people, and works hard to level the playing field among students of all different backgrounds. Whether or not we are succeeding is another matter – but I can promise you that we try.” You’ll be hard-pressed to find a better place to study the trials and tribulations of social change.

5. University of California, Berkeley

Imagine eating lunch in Sproul plaza means sitting where the Free Speech Movement began after students tried to table for civil rights. In a huge protest spanning 1964 to 1965, students insisted the university administration lift the ban on on-campus political activities and acknowledge students’ right to free speech and academic freedom. After a whole lot of drama, school officials finally backed down and designated the Sproul Hall steps as an open discussion area. The Free Speech Movement served as a pivotal moment for the civil liberties movement as a whole. It also began a trend of student activism Berkeley students still take pride in today. Along with that, the Mario Savio Free Speech Movement Café commemorates that history on campus.

Even cooler? UC Berkeley offers Democratic Education at Cal, known fondly as DeCal. The program arose out of the Free Speech Movement. It offers courses taught by students on a vast range of subjects, from 3D animation to Israeli folk dancing to meditation. “Because DeCals are sponsored by the university and students can take DeCals for units and for a grade, it shows that students’ ideas and creativity are supported and legitimized by the university faculty,” junior Desiree Diaz said. Junior Danielle Zhou added, “I have been able to initiate my own projects, meet great people and contribute to the campus community.”

4. Kent State University

What Kent State went on to do with its tragedy is nothing short of genius. Kent State is famous for the 1970 Kent State shootings where the Ohio National Guard killed four unarmed college students and wounded nine during a Vietnam War protest. Today you can join the May 4 Task Force, which organizes an annual commemoration. Walking across campus you’ll pass the four monuments planted where each student fell. Looking for something more impressive? A year later, the university opened the Center for Peaceful Change as a living memorial to the events of May 4, 1970. Now known as the Center for Applied Conflict Management, it offers undergrad degrees in conflict resolution. “[May 4, 1970 and its Aftermath is] probably the most impactful class I’ve taken. We had several guest speakers who were there that fateful day, including the sister of a wounded student, a professor at the time who witnessed the shootings and Dean Kahler who was paralyzed by the guardsmen. It has helped me have a more open mindset and makes me aware that I need to be less judgmental,” senior Robin Burkhardt said.

3. University of Virginia

Who wouldn’t find UVa’s founding super cool? UVa made history as the first to separate education from religious doctrine. Jefferson himself even designed the original courses. The former president stayed involved in the school until his death, hosting dinners at his nearby home for students and faculty. Don’t you wish you could’ve gone to those? Students still call campus “the grounds” as a throwback to Jeffersonian times. And instead of being built around a church like all the others at the time, campus centers around the Rotunda, basically a smaller Roman Pantheon.

Law student Thomas Howard said, “For those of us, like me, who studied early American history, in very real sense we have the opportunity to learn history where many of the events took place. Thomas Jefferson’s university is an embodiment of the kind of civic engagement he felt was crucial for a successful republic.” Not just colonial experts, UVa professors have pioneered scholarship on the Civil War, legal history and WWII. It comes as no surprise that history is one of the most popular majors at UVa.

2. Gettysburg College

Gettysburg College, founded in 1832, is one of those schools that didn’t exactly try to become famous. But in 1863 a certain battle and a certain speech by a certain president happened right on top of it. The rest is history. The college evolved plenty since that time, but Pennsylvania Hall, once the central building for all activities on campus, stands as an iconic reminder of Gettysburg’s Civil War past. During the Battle of Gettysburg, both union and confederate armies used it as a field hospital. Not to mention, the historic battlefield surrounds the campus. “I enjoy going for runs on the battlefields because it is a peaceful break from campus. I’ve become more interested in history from stopping and reading the monuments and signs during my runs,” senior Mary Westermann said.

Each year students honor their college’s history with the First Year Walk. When Abraham Lincoln gave the Gettysburg Address in town, the students attending Gettysburg College walked to hear him speak. Now the first-year class traces the steps of the former students and a notable community figure recites the Gettysburg Address. It’s a big town event and an evening students never forget, history nerd or not. Can’t get enough of living where the Battle of Gettysburg unfolded? You can even minor in Civil War Era Studies.

1. The College of William and Mary

Out of all the earliest colleges founded in America, the College of William and Mary stands apart. With a patent from King William III and Queen Mary II, Virginia colonists founded their own school in 1693 after relocating from Jamestown. Everyone’s heard of Williamsburg. It stood as the capital of the Virginia Colony and its historic section doubles as a living history museum today. Talk about an awesome place to live. William and Mary students also have serious bragging rights when it comes to alums: 16 members of the Continental Congress, four signers of the Declaration of Independence and three presidents, including Thomas Jefferson and James Monroe.

Every year the university celebrates its history with Charter Day festivities. Students, faculty, alumni and even the local community all get involved. When it comes to academics, undergrad history offers courses like “Hamilton’s America” and “Williamsburg Colonial and Revolutionary Era.” You can even earn a graduate degree in colonial history—a history buff’s dream come true.

master of military history

Next, we review master of military history, military history studies and phd in military and strategic studies.

Modern military history does more than re-fight old battles, however. It can, for example, teach us much about the cultures and societies that find themselves at war, and indeed about the souls of the men and women who do the fighting.

Our two-year MA in Military History by distance learning programme offers you the opportunity to explore military history, drawing in particular on Birmingham’s expertise in the history of the two World Wars and air power. Subjects to be studied include command and leadership; tactics, operations and the use of technology; ethics and war; and the individual’s experience of war.

This course will stimulate and challenge you to think about the history of warfare in all its aspects, building a skill set over two years of part-time study which will equip you for further research in the field and/or broaden and deepen your understanding of the cruel, complex but endlessly fascinating phenomenon that is war.

Birmingham’s Department of History is ranked the best in the country*, with 87% of its research rated as world leading or internationally excellent in terms of its quality.

This research expertise is evident within our teaching within our programmes drawing on the diverse regional and chronological expertise available in the Department of History.

Why study this course?

  • Research expertise – Times Higher Education ranked the Department of History first in the country for its performance in the latest Research Excellence Framework exercise. The programme is also delivered through a dedicated research centre, the Centre for War Studies.
  • Join an active online community – Studying by distance learning is not a lonely experience within the Department of History. You will get to meet interact with students from all over the world – virtually – which will benefit your learning experience.
  • Flexibility – you will have an exciting opportunity to explore your chosen area of study in depth through your choice of dissertation topic. 
  • Career changing – a qualification from the University of Birmingham can be the springboard to promotion with your current employer, the platform from which to launch a new career or simply a way to become more effective in your current role.
  • Ongoing support – you will be assigned a personal tutor who will guide you through the programme.


You will study six core modules before completing your 15,000 word dissertation.

Core modules

You will study six core modules: 

Research Skills: Methodology and Sources

The module will introduce you to the historiography of warfare as well as to a variety of different research methodologies and research sources. A series of case-studies will focus on key research sources (published and unpublished) for the experience of war, including: official histories; the diaries, memoirs, letters and autobiographies of contemporary actors; archival sources, including the National Archives of the United Kingdom; as well as non-documentary kinds of evidence.
Assessment: 4,000-word essay

Tactics and Operational Art

The module will introduce you to how technological and conceptual change has driven the development of tactics and operational art since the 1500s, examining how armies from different cultural backgrounds have managed these issues and the relationship between innovation and military success. A series of case studies will focus on key examples of tactics and operational art in warfare.
Assessment: 4,000-word essay

Command and Leadership in War

Questions of command and leadership are central to the history of warfare. The module will introduce you to the evolution of command styles and the role of the leader over time, assessing the importance of the individual’s contribution to military history and placing this in the context of broader structural change. A series of case-studies will focus on key debates about command and leadership in wartime.
Assessment: 4,000-word essay

Ethics of War

The module will introduce you to concepts of Ius ad Bellum and Ius in Bello (“justice of war” and “justice in war”) and explore how they have been applied in various conflicts over time, addressing issues such as proportionality and the status of non-combatants. It will analyse attempts to impose legal, ethical and moral constraints on warfare and the successes and failures of these attempts. 
Assessment: 4,000-word essay

Experience of War

The module will introduce you to ‘war from the bottom up’: how individuals have experienced warfare. It will analyse coping strategies, the construction and maintenance of morale both military and civilian and explore why these have sometimes broken down. Finally, it will introduce you to individuals’ response to war as expressed in art, from poetry to moving pictures.
Assessment: 4,000-word essay

Dissertation Preparation

This module will also equip you with the skills necessary to both plan and undertake a specialist piece of research at Masters level. It will provide detailed guidance on the techniques necessary for the location of primary and secondary sources relevant to your dissertation research.  You will become familiar with advanced bibliographical aids and with how to search in relevant libraries, archives and data sources. You will also undertake a detailed analytical survey of the secondary literature relevant to your dissertation topic.
Assessment: 4,000-word essay


In addition to your taught modules, you will conduct a piece of independent research with the support of a supervisor, culminating in a 15,000-word dissertation.

Please note that the optional module information listed on the website for this programme is intended to be indicative, and the availability of optional modules may vary from year to year. Where a module is no longer available we will let you know as soon as we can and help you to make other choices.


We charge an annual tuition fee. Fees for 2022 are as follows: £4,905 part-time.

As this is a part-time programme, the above fee is for year one only and tuition fees will also be payable in year two of your programme.

Paying your fees

Tuition fees can either be paid in full or by instalments. Learn more about postgraduate tuition fees and funding.

Scholarships and studentships

Scholarships to cover fees and/or maintenance costs may be available. To discover whether you are eligible for any award across the University, and to start your funding application, please visit the University’s Postgraduate Funding Database.

Application deadlines

The deadline for all students applying to our distance learning courses is Wednesday 31 August 2022.

Late applicants are encouraged to contact the Admissions Tutor for advice.

Making your application

When clicking on the Apply Now button you will be directed to an application specifically designed for the programme you wish to apply for where you will create an account with the University application system and submit your application and supporting documents online. Further information regarding how to apply online can be found on the How to apply pages

military history studies

More details to be unveiled on military history studies and phd in military and strategic studies.

Masters degree in Military History offer advanced study of the development of armed forces across the globe, and their deployment in warfare, particularly during significant wartime events. Related subjects include World History and Social History.

Discover how conflict has shaped states, societies and economies across history. Explore what drives people to go to war, understand how technology and propaganda has changed warfare, and discover Kent’s role as ‘Britain’s frontline’.


Study war and its effects in the inspiring location of historic Canterbury, with Roman forts and Cold War nuclear bunkers on your doorstep, as well as the battlefields of the First and Second World Wars.

Explore hundreds of years of history, or focus on particular themes that fascinate you. Military History is so much more than just battle tactics; you’ll take a journey through time from the fifth century to present day, and develop an understanding of the wider social, ethical and political contexts of warfare.

Why study Military History at Kent?

  • History at Kent is ranked 1st for research intensity in The Complete University Guide 2022.
  • Learn from world-leading academics and become a historian: work alongside academics recognised as experts in their fields.
  • Study in historic Canterbury: our campus overlooks the medieval city, home to UNESCO heritage sites of Canterbury Cathedral, St Augustine’s Abbey and St Martins Church
  • Tailor your degree to your own interests: few core modules means you’re free to choose from our wide range of options
  • Access rare items at Canterbury Cathedral Library and Archives: our own Special Collections archive contains over 150 items, as well as Canterbury Cathedral’s dedicated Library and Archives with materials dating to the 8th century
  • Get career-ready with a course that opens doors to a wide range of opportunities. Meet our graduates and find out more

What our students say

“It’s quite a small group compared to some other courses – there are only about 50 of us – which is one of the reasons I chose it; I love history and knew classes would be smaller doing this subject so you’d get more one-to-one teaching.”

Jenny Kent, BA Military History

What you’ll study

A wide range of choice and only a few compulsory modules means you’ll tailor your degree to your interests.

In your first year, you’ll be introduced to historiography, equipping you with the skills you need to study the subject at a higher level. You’ll also explore the British army since its formation.

A range of modules allows you to explore worldwide history from the fifth century to present day, from American civil war to the Wars of the Roses, and the Cold War to the Norman Conquest. In your second and third years you can delve into more specialist areas such from Communism to how the British media reports on war. You might also study abroad; a great opportunity to discover a new culture, showing future employers that can adapt to a new environment. Or you might do a placement year in industry.

In your final year, you complete a dissertation or extended essay in a subject of your choice, supported by a supervisor.

Entry requirements

  • A level: BBB including a Humanities based essay writing subject including a humanities based essay writing subject which includes History, English, Philosophy, Religious Studies or Classical Civilisation.
  •  Access to HE Diploma: The University will not necessarily make conditional offers to all Access candidates but will continue to assess them on an individual basis. If we make you an offer, you will need to obtain/pass the overall Access to Higher Education Diploma and may also be required to obtain a proportion of the total level 3 credits and/or credits in particular subjects at merit grade or above.
  •  BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma (formerly BTEC National Diploma)The University will consider applicants holding BTEC National Diploma and Extended National Diploma Qualifications (QCF; NQF; OCR) on a case-by-case basis. Please contact us for further advice on your individual circumstances. A typical offer would be to achieve DMM plus A-level in History or a related humanities based essay writing subject at grade B, which includes English, Philosophy, Religious Studies or Classical Civilisation. Students applying without History will need to make a case in their personal statement.
  •  International Baccalaureate30 points overall or 15 points at HL including History 5 at HL or 6 at SL
  •  International Foundation Programme: Pass all components of the University of Kent International Foundation Programme with a 60% overall average including 60% in the History module.
  •  T level: The University will consider applicants holding T Level qualifications in subjects which are closely aligned to the programme applied for. This will be assessed on a case-by-case basis.

The University will consider applications from students offering a wide range of qualifications. Some typical requirements are listed above. Students offering alternative qualifications should contact us for further advice. Please also see our general entry requirements.

If you are an international student, visit our International Student website for further information about entry requirements for your country, including details of the International Foundation Programmes. Please note that international fee-paying students who require a Student visa cannot undertake a part-time programme due to visa restrictions.

Please note that meeting the typical offer/minimum requirement does not guarantee that you will receive an offer.

English Language Requirements

Please note that if you do not meet our English language requirements, we offer a number of ‘pre-sessional’ courses in English for Academic Purposes. You attend these courses before starting your degree programme.

Course structure

Duration: 3 years full-time (4 with a year abroad/placement year), 6 years part-time (7 with a year abroad/placement year)


The following modules are indicative of those offered on this programme. This listing is based on the current curriculum and may change year to year in response to new curriculum developments and innovation.  

On most programmes, you study a combination of compulsory and optional modules. You may also be able to take ‘elective’ modules from other programmes so you can customise your programme and explore other subjects that interest you.


University funding

Kent offers generous financial support schemes to assist eligible undergraduate students during their studies. See our funding page for more details. 

Government funding

You may be eligible for government finance to help pay for the costs of studying. See the Government’s student finance website.


General scholarships

Scholarships are available for excellence in academic performance, sport and music and are awarded on merit. For further information on the range of awards available and to make an application see our scholarships website.

The Kent Scholarship for Academic Excellence

At Kent we recognise, encourage and reward excellence. We have created the Kent Scholarship for Academic Excellence. 

The scholarship will be awarded to any applicant who achieves a minimum of A*AA over three A levels, or the equivalent qualifications (including BTEC and IB) as specified on our scholarships pages.

We have a range of subject-specific awards and scholarships for academic, sporting and musical achievement.Search scholarships

Teaching and assessment

Teaching is through a combination of lectures and seminars. Lectures are often used to provide the broad overview, while seminars focus on particular issues and are led by student presentations. Lectures and seminars use a variety of materials, including original documents, films and documentaries, illuminated manuscripts, and slide and PowerPoint demonstrations. Lectures usually last one hour and seminars are one or two hours, depending on the module.

The School of History uses a mixture of assessment patterns. The standard formats are 100% coursework or 60% examination and 40% coursework.

The School also has excellent student support arrangements. Alongside our Student Support Officer, each student is assigned an academic tutor. All module convenors keep regular office hours, and the School has a policy of returning at least one essay on each module in a one-to-one personal meeting, allowing for additional verbal feedback and discussion.

Contact hours

For a student studying full time, each academic year of the programme will comprise 1200 learning hours which include both direct contact hours and private study hours.  The precise breakdown of hours will be subject dependent and will vary according to modules.  Please refer to the individual module details under Course Structure.

Methods of assessment will vary according to subject specialism and individual modules.  Please refer to the individual module details under Course Structure.

Programme aims

The programme aims to:

  • place the study of war, in its historical and political contexts, at the centre of student learning and analysis
  • ensure that students understand modes of theory and analysis used in history and politics/IR and are aware of the differing and contested aspects of these disciplines
  • develop students’ capacities to think critically about war in all its forms and interpretations
  • encourage students to relate the academic study of war to questions of public debate and concern
  • provide a curriculum supported by scholarship and research that promotes the breadth and depth of intellectual enquiry and debate
  • assist students to develop cognitive and transferable skills relevant to their vocational and personal development.

Learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding

You gain knowledge and understanding of:

  • how people have reacted to and conceived of war in differing contexts, past and present
  • the origins and development of warfare in human societies, the justifications for war and its outcomes
  • the structure, nature and operation of institutions and states in differing contexts, through the medium of warfare
  • the contestable nature of many interpretations of war, both from original sources and from contemporary academics and commentators
  • questions of genre, content, perspective and purpose within a range of historical and contemporary texts and materials
  • the problems inherent in the historical and contemporary record; awareness of a range of viewpoints, the limitations of knowledge, and the dangers of simplistic explanations
  • war from different perspectives within the disciplines of history and politics/IR
  • the social, political, cultural and military aspects of warfare
  • the power structures and impulses to use war as a form of human interaction.

Intellectual skills

You gain intellectual skills in the following areas:

  • how to gather, organise and deploy evidence, data and information from a variety of primary and secondary sources
  • the ability to identify, investigate and analyse primary and secondary information
  • how to develop reasoned arguments based on reflection, study and critical judgement
  • how to differentiate between arguments
  • the ability to reflect on and manage your own learning and make use of constructive feedback from peers and staff to enhance your own performance.

Subject-specific skills

You gain subject-specific skills in the following:

  • the understanding of the nature of war and its significance as a global and historical human activity
  • the application of methods, concepts and theories used in the studies of history and politics/IR
  • the evaluation of different interpretations and sources
  • the ability to marshal an argument, and to summarise and defend a particular interpretation or analysis of events.

Transferable skills

You gain transferable skills in the following:

  • communication – the ability to organise information clearly; respond to written sources; present information orally; adapt style for different audiences; use images as a communications tool
  • numeracy – the ability to read graphs and tables; integrate numerical and non-numerical information; understand the limits and potentialities of arguments based on quantitative information
  • information technology – the ability to produce written documents; undertake online research; process information using databases and spreadsheets (where necessary)
  • independence of mind and initiative
  • self-discipline and self-motivation

phd in military and strategic studies

Program overview

Our PhD program addresses a critical need for analysts who can study and assess the multitude of security threats that exist around the world, emphasizing the importance of both a theoretical and policy perspective. This thesis-based degree is focused on interdisciplinary work and is designed to help students interact with military officers, government personnel, security-focused NGOs, and military scholars. With flexible programs, leading scholars in a variety of disciplines, and highly competitive funding packages, we strive to ensure our PhD students achieve success in their strategic studies.

PLEASE NOTE: Admissions to this program are currently suspended.

Completing this program

  • Core Courses: Classics of Strategy, Advanced Analysis of International Relations and Strategic Studies.
  • Block Week Course: Students will complete Military and Strategic Studies: Questions and Methods in the week preceding their first term.
  • Additional Courses: May include arctic security, Canadian military studies, U.S. security, ethics and morality, intelligence, and other topics.
  • Candidacy: Students will complete both oral and written candidacy exams.
  • Thesis: Students are required to submit and defend an original research thesis.


Banking, Police Service, Government, Military Procurement, Oil and Gas, NATO, Advocacy Groups.

A PhD in military and strategic studies is usually considered a final degree.

Thesis-based program

Students are required to prepare a thesis and successfully defend in an open oral defense.


Three core courses and three electives

Learn more about program requirements in the Academic Calendar

Classroom delivery

Time commitment

Four years full-time; six years maximum


A supervisor is required, and must agree to oversee the student’s research before admission will be granted

Fees and funding

See the Graduate Calendar for information on fees and fee regulations, and for information on awards and financial assistance.

Admission Requirements

PLEASE NOTE: Admissions to this program are currently suspended.


A minimum of 3.7 GPA on a 4.0 point system, over the past two years of full-time study (a minimum of 10 full-course equivalents or 60 units) of the undergraduate degree.

Minimum education

A completed Master’s degree.

Work samples

A representative piece of written work, normally a master’s thesis chapter or major research paper.


  • A detailed statement of the proposed thesis research
  • A completed application to the Centre, along with supporting documentation
  • All post-secondary transcripts

Reference letters


Test scores


English language proficiency

An applicant whose primary language is not English may fulfill the English language proficiency requirement in one of the following ways:

  • Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL ibt) score of 97.
  • International English Language Testing System (IELTS) score of 7.0.
  • Pearson Test of English (PTE)  score of 68, or higher (Academic version).
  • Canadian Academic English Language test (CAEL) score of 70 in each section.
  • Academic Communication Certificate (ACC) score of A- in each course.

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