18 January 2007 by Published in: General musings 47 comments

I keep seeing advertisements for Norwich University’s on-line Master of Arts in Military History in all of the Civil War publications. Norwich is very much like VMI or the Citadel–it has a long and glorious history of training citizen-soldiers for the United States Army.

I am keenly aware that I do not have any academic background in history. I have not had a formal history class since the tenth grade, meaning that I am entirely self-taught. As I said, I am keenly aware of my lack of academic training in my chosen field of pursuit, and I often feel inadequate about it. I think it’s because I don’t much care for being described as an amateur historian.

I had a good long look at Norwich’s program tonight, as I’ve been curious about it. All but the last week of the program is done on line, though distance learning technology (which has really come a LONG way). The degree track is 36 credits, to be completed over 18-24 months, with a capstone project to be done at Norwich’s Vermont campus. I wasn’t particularly impressd with the course selections. They’re pretty much all survery courses with no opportunity to really hone in on a particular area of study or pursuit, and that surprised me. There are a lot of theoretical courses that simply don’t hold much interest for me.

It thus becomes a two-fold question: is it worth the investment of (a) time and (b) money? I already have three degrees. I don’t talk about it much, but I already do have a master’s degree, in international affairs, with a concentration in international security studies. I actually did a four-year dual degree program with law school. I therefore don’t feel a compelling need to get another degree just for the sake of getting another degree. It therefore has to be worth my while for me to really consider it. There’s also the fact that come June, it will be 20 years since I got my two advanced degrees, and it would really take a major adjustment to get me back into the swing of being a student again all these many years later.

I took a good look at the curriculum, the expense, and the time investment required and ultimately came to the conclusion that it’s just not worth pursuing for me. I have so little free time as it is that I can’t get too fired up about investing 15-20 hours per week of time that I really don’t have into a degree that ultimately has little utility for me and which won’t really do much to make money for me. In addition, the nature of my job is such that really busy times come in waves and are often impossible to predict. As set forth above, the curriculum really didn’t much excite me, and I can’t really justify the financial investment.

I have, therefore, come to the conclusion that this is not for me. It may very well be worth it for some, but for me, it’s just not. I am glad, though, that I indulged my curiosity and took the time to check it out. At least now I know what’s involved and have satisfied myself it’s not for me. And there is value in that.

Scridb filter


  1. Lanny Thomas Tanton
    Fri 19th Jan 2007 at 1:23 am

    Dear Eric,

    For what it is worth, I believe that you made a good decision. Keep doing what you are doing and they will be assigning your books to be read by those working on the advanced degrees. Who knows, they may even one day ask you to come and be a guest lecturer. As you said, your ego does not need the degree and neither does your effectiveness. I think that investing in your current research and writing is far more beneficial for the rest of us then attaining another degree, as worthy as that goal is.

    Best wishes always,

  2. Stephen Graham
    Fri 19th Jan 2007 at 2:41 am

    So the logical question is whether there are history courses that would benefit you. And whether Ohio State allows non-matriculated students in their classes.

    Would a graduate-level historiography course be of value? Perhaps. Or are there seminar classes that spark your interest?

  3. Art Bergeron
    Fri 19th Jan 2007 at 9:26 am

    What about American Military University? I have seen references to it from time to time but never explored its programs. All done online as I recall.

  4. Jim Epperson
    Fri 19th Jan 2007 at 10:57 am

    At the Joint Mathematics Meeting in New Orleans last week I met a young (and attractive!) math professor from Norwich. The faculty are all enrolled in the Vermont National Guard, I think.


  5. Rick Allen
    Fri 19th Jan 2007 at 11:56 am

    Eric, I too think you made the right decision.

    For geezers like us, “you cant go home again”. It all comes down to the time you have to give it, and as you said, you just dont have enough of it………so its a no-brainer.

    I promise not to think less of you. 🙂

    Yr pal,


  6. Fri 19th Jan 2007 at 2:07 pm


    Having taught graduate-level Civil War courses for AMU, I would feel really strange going back there as a student. The courses on cavalry and on the Gettysburg Campaign offered there were both designed by me, and they still use my syllabi. That would just be bizarre.


  7. Phil
    Fri 19th Jan 2007 at 2:48 pm

    I took the cavalry course. You did a great job laying it out. Just wish you had taught it.


  8. Steve
    Fri 19th Jan 2007 at 3:01 pm


    Other than giving you yet another diploma to hang on the wall, would such a program give you anything you do not have now? The amount and quality of output I have read from you leads me to think that it would just be an excersize in credentialing. A graduate degree should take you into unknown territory and expose you to a breath of knowledge that requires a great deal of research and analysis. I think your there already.

  9. Charles Bowery
    Fri 19th Jan 2007 at 3:48 pm

    A friend of mine from grad school days is a practicing attorney in Raleigh, NC, and for the past few years has been pursuing a PhD (antebellum South) at Duke. He also has a family and is active in politics- amazing guy, actually. I can put you in touch with him if you are still exploring the idea. Personally, I could only see you getting another advanced degree if you wished to leave the legal profession and teach- and then all the way to the doctorate. Another MA by itself would be a waste of time. Otherwise, I agree with everyone else- your body of work speaks for itself.

  10. Fri 19th Jan 2007 at 4:41 pm

    I think you made the right decision, Eric. I too bristle at the “amateur historian” tag – whatever the hell that’s supposed to mean – but I’m not going to pursue a history degree for the sake of others’ labels. You and I, in our chosen history field, invest a lot more time than anyone who would purport to be a “professional” historian in that field.

    It doesn’t surprise me that much of the course study you saw was theoretical. You know, you and I study and write about practical history. Boots on the ground sort of stuff. I’m just guessing that perhaps the study of theoretical history might change your or my focus.

    As Lanny stated, any or all of your books, and mine, may be (or are) used by those in higher learning. That says enough I think.

    My BS degree is from Penn State, and I have two post-graduate degrees in the field of finance. If anything, studying for those taught me how to organize, sift through evidence, and think for myself. If I thought a history degree would advance the way I do it, then I’d go for it. But it would have to be for me – not for how others think of me.


  11. Rob Wick
    Fri 19th Jan 2007 at 10:42 pm


    Agree with all who are posting here. Writing history that is solid, informative and well-written mean more than what letters a person puts after their name. I only have a bachelor’s degree in history and other than the methods class, it was more an exercise in having fun than learning to be a “historian”.

    By the way, I also bristle at amateur historian (along with Civil War “buff”). My good friend Ed Steers made the suggestion one time to call it vocational and avocational historian. Makes sense to me.


  12. VMICadets
    Fri 19th Jan 2007 at 11:17 pm

    I started the MA History program through AMU concentrating on American (specifically Civil War). I dropped it 15 weeks into the 16 week course on Historiography. I just didn’t like the concept and the manner in which the program was implemented. I have a Masters in Space Studies which was partly done through the internet which was a superior program to the AMU program….the MS program had taped class sessions sent to all the students, teacher-led weekly chats, examinations, and book reading.

    Having people read 2000 pages for a 16 week course and have them answer an obscure question every two weeks was not a good use of my time and money. Nearly zero student and instructor interaction. Perhaps it was just my experience and the other courses were different, but I was less than enthused by the time it was “nearly” over.

  13. John B. Lundstrom
    Fri 19th Jan 2007 at 11:32 pm


    I absolutely agree that the quality of the work is what is most important, not the degrees. You have absolutely no worries on that score! Those who are overly concerned with degrees won’t generally read our stuff anyway. I think if you got involved in a degree program you would greatly resent the time you would be taking away from your own research and writing. If you think the additional training might broaden your experiences, then put together your own reading list. I was a museum curator for 31 years with “only” an M.A. but would not hesitate to match my publications on WWII in the Pacific with any of my Ph.D. colleagues. You don’t intend ever to teach at a university (I assume) and you can get your work published whenever you want. You don’t need any other credentials.

    Best wishes,


  14. Fri 19th Jan 2007 at 11:40 pm

    Well, the consensus certainly seems to support me. Thanks for weighing in, everyone. I really appreciate it. Your input has convinced me that my initial reaction to all of this is correct, and it also convinces me to just keep on doing what I’ve been doing.

    John Lundstrom, thanks in particular for weighing in. I’m familiar with your WWII work–I have one of your books–and have been quite impressed by the scope and depth of your research and the quality of the work. Keep up the good work.

    VMI Cadets, actually, I had precisely the same reaction during my time on the faculty at AMU. The system simply does not promote opportunities for students and faculty to interact very much. I’ve been fortunate enough to meet some of my students in person, but it was through a lot of effort and coordination to do so. Phil Muskett, who also posted a comment here, is a former student whom I have had the good fortune to get to know in person.

    Thanks again, everyone. I really appreciate your support.


  15. Steve Basic
    Sat 20th Jan 2007 at 12:25 am


    For what it is worth, you have done and continue to do your homework on the Civil War. The work you have produced dispels any notion that you are an “Amateur Historian” as far as I am concerned.

    Hope all is well.

    Regards from the Garden State,


  16. Dave Powell
    Sat 20th Jan 2007 at 8:10 am

    Interesting. I have, over the years, wrestled with the same thought. In the end, I decided that going back to school for an MS or PhD in history would be 1) a vanity and 2) take up way too much time.

    So I think you made the right decision, as well. There certainly can be value in an advanced milhist degree, but the better question is how do you think it will improve your work? You know it will slow things down a great deal while you are getting one. What advantage offsets that?

    BTW, since you are in Columbus with one of the few MilHist departments around at Ohio State, did you ever look into something there? One consideration is that you are doing what amounts to Thesis work anyway, why not see if there is a way to tailor a program to integrate with your current area of study?

    Dave Powell

  17. Scott Mingus
    Sat 20th Jan 2007 at 9:30 am

    I’m curious as to how the community defines “professional” historian. My oldest son has an undergrad and masters in American history and is a college professor. Does that make him a professional historian? Even though he does not yet write ofr money?

    What exactly is the line between professional and amateur? To me, an amateur is an upaid buff who has a strong interest (or knowledge). A professional gets paid. While you are not a teacher, you do get paid to write and educate (and in a way, teach) people about history. To me, that is a professional. It may not be your single career, but you truly are a pro in my mind!

    Right decision on not wasting your money. I think you would have been disappointed in the end, and your time is worth more than the added education, unless it truly meets an unfulfilled need in your life.

    Scott from sunny York

  18. Sat 20th Jan 2007 at 3:53 pm


    My experience has shown me that to some (usually the academics – they’re the ones who seem to define it anyway, and the only ones to make the distinction) that “professional” means you have a PhD, and “amateur” means you do not. It’s that simple. Nothing else to it – not money, not any other credentials.

    Eric has over a dozen books published, yet he will always be an “amateur.” Now, if he had a PhD, he would immediately be called a “professional.” Without the doctorate, he could have 200 books published yet he’ll always be an “amateur.” Like it’s just a hobby.

    Doesn’t make a whole lot of sense? Join the club. But the distinction seems to be important to some – in many reviews of analyses of Eric’s, my, and many others’ works by academics, it’s time and time again pointed out that we’re amateurs.

    OK. Well, the Stuart’s ride book by Eric and me was one of the best selling CW-related books of 2006, and it only came out in mid-September. Only four months after it’s release, it’s going into a third hardcover printing right now. However, academics will give their awards to more obscure books by fellow academics that only sold a couple thousand copies, I’m sure. That way, the award looks good on their particular university’s resume. Or so I assume.


  19. Sat 20th Jan 2007 at 4:26 pm


    I approached Allan Millett about it once, and he was very discouraging. The gist was, we need those spaces for folks who are going to go on to teach, and you’re not. That was the end of that.


  20. Fri 26th Jan 2007 at 7:26 am

    Re my colleague Allan Millett: He retired a year ago, so strictly speaking, his opinion no longer matters. It does however reflect a common, and not wholly unreasonable, attitude within my department. We are basically in the business of training professors in the same way that law schools are in the business of training lawyers.

    That said, the department is not devoid of flexibility, and we do admit a few applicants who are not necessarily on an academic track — most obviously active duty officers who have been assigned to teach at the service academies for two years, then return to command and staff duties.

    With regard to applicants on an academic track, we admit only those students we can fund, on the theory that to do anything else would be unfair: They would miss out the teaching experience that TA’s get, and if their undergraduate records aren’t strong enough to get funding, it is unlikely that they will compile a strong enough graduate profile to land an academic position.

    For someone in Eric’s position, I would think some arrangement could be made for him to take courses on a part-time basis, possibly through the College of Continuing Education. Whether our curriculum would appeal to Eric is another matter. I certainly know a lot of operational history but I teach — and expect my students to learn — a lot of what is being labeled here (rather inaccurately) as theoretical history. Which basically translates as “history that doesn’t happen to interest me.”

  21. Fri 26th Jan 2007 at 11:37 am

    This is an interesting read, and although I have nothing to add regarding whether you should pursue an advanced degree in History, or not, I do find it interesting that only AMU and Norwich are mention as degree-granting History programs. I received my M.A. from Sam Houston State University, which has an online program focused on Military History, and was around before Norwich’s program was available online.

    Just food for thought.

  22. Chris Serger
    Sat 27th Jan 2007 at 12:00 am

    I’ve just found your blog (courtesy of Blog Them Out of the Stone Age) and I’m going through a similar dilemma myself. However, I’m 25, am a truly “amateur” historian who isn’t even sure what area of history I’d like to become some sort of expert in. However, I know would like to go the route of the PhD because I can’t trick myself into liking any of the jobs I’ve had enough to stay there for 20 more years, just having history as a serious hobby.

    Being that I work full-time National City in Cleveland and am not independently wealthy, I’ve been looking at some of the online history programs. Norwich I can’t afford. AMU looks enticing based on what seem to be quality faculty and several required books that I’ve already read and know are good. I’ve just looked at Sam Houston (thanks to Chris L) and the costs there are in line with AMU, and this program looks nice as well.

    Two questions I hope some here can chime in (further) on:
    1. Do doctoral programs have any resistance to students with online degrees? Or has that stigma completely been overcome?

    2. Those of you who are familiar with AMU and Sam Houston State, is there anything else you can tell me about your experiences there? I’d love to have close relationships with my professors, but I just can’t afford to go full, or even part time with my other commitments. I need to do this from home.

    I’d appreciate any emails with your thoughts: chrisserger@yahoo.com


  23. Mark
    Sun 11th Feb 2007 at 11:57 am

    Thanks for the informative blog. I have a friend who is successfully navigating an online degree in mathematics and computer science so I had some dreamy aspirations of augmenting my mil/hist. passion with a degree. After reading your blog and scanning the info from Norwich, I don’t feel so bad walking away. It’s too bad, but maybe in the near future the options will widen and the formats will be even more approachable. I’m only 40, so there is time to wait. Thanks for the help.

  24. Rene
    Thu 15th Feb 2007 at 10:56 pm

    Interesting debate. I’m in the middle of my first graduate class in Military History at AMU and I have to say that I’m enjoying it a great deal. Let me ask those of you who teach history at the graduate level how graduate history seminars are organized. Do you lecture a great deal or are the students required to read A LOT and discuss together what they’re reading? If it is the latter, then it’s very similar to AMU’s format. The reading list is outstanding and the discussion of very high quality. Most students are or have been active military and so the perspectives they bring add depth and relevance. All are bright and articulate men and women – the majority officers – and all areas of service are represented.

    Interaction with the professor comes from weekly lecture notes and comments on graded papers. I find both of high quality. And he is available for discussion fairly routinely. His credentials are of the highest quality (PhD Duke, Fulbright Scholar, published, holds very high MH position for the Army, on and on).

    Would it be helpful to attend live lectures and sit in a room to discuss our reading? I suppose but since we’re discussing asynchronously, it allows for more thoughtful dialogue. And the variety of discussions we can have going all at once makes the experience better in many ways than a live discussion. We currently have 25 plus discussion threads going along with dialogue on everyone’s assigned questions. If you haven’t tried it, you should!

    When will Ohio State University open up an online Military History MA program? I would suggest that history may be one of the best subjects to study in an online format. Some of us would like to go on to get a PhD in History and don’t plan to teach full time. And the only way we can do it with our schedules is “online.” I enjoy my position in the corporate world but actually find the rigor and discipline of graduate coursework quite fulfilling. Military History teaches many lessons pertinent to the skills needed in my management position. Believe it or not, reading Sun Tzu, Clausewitz, Jomini and Moltke has been very enlightening and relevant.

    So professor G., give some serious thought to an online Military History degree program at OSU – MA and PhD – for the rest of us who have set a personal goal to obtain a PhD but can’t attend the brick and mortar school (even though I am a Buckeye to the core). Like many people, I would really love to get a PhD from a top flight university but don’t want to drop out of corporate America to do it and don’t have a top program in the part of the country I live in. I am quite sure that there are folks in the military with the same perspective. You might find that it opens all kinds of doors for program expansion and thus the PhDs you graduate who want to teach, will have more job opportunities. I work for a Fortune 500 company who is willing to reimburse my tuition for the program which says a lot. It is the only area they will pay for outside of business.

    I hope this was helpful for the other person on the board inquiring about AMU.


  25. Thu 15th Feb 2007 at 11:22 pm

    Anyone interested in what the SHSU program was like when I was there is more than welcome to contact me, and I’ll discuss both the good and bad aspects of it. In terms of interaction with instructors, I think it is like any other program in that it depends entirely on the individual student and instructor. That isn’t meant to downplay the special challenges on online learning, of course.

    In terms of how other programs view online MAs, I can only discuss my brief interaction with the faculty at the University of Colorado when I applied to the program in Boulder – the general attitude is that they would accept the degree, but be hesitant to offer transfer credit for graduate classes. Other than that the pubic reaction has been neutral.

    This topic is one of concern for myself and others in the cohort I graduated with, although several have already gone on to PhD programs at American University, Texas A&M, and Houston. I’m waiting for responses from several PhD programs this spring, and I’m hoping that the online MA will not be held against me.

  26. Mike
    Tue 10th Apr 2007 at 12:38 pm

    Some very interesting reading. I have been looking into an online certificate in military history and haven’t had much luck with the exception of AMU which seems to have a good program. Norwich seems very pricing and it would be difficult to justify the expense for my own validation. Having said that, I am very interested in learning more in military history. Does anyone have any experience with other programs that are a little more cost effective?


  27. Robert Hodgman-Burns
    Sat 18th Aug 2007 at 5:41 pm

    Norwich was very satisfying for me, I just finished my work last week, and am glad I completed the program. It is expensive though, and I would not have been able to do it without the GI Bill. If you love military history, and have a lot of time to write, then I suggest applying to Norwich. Bob Hodgman-Burns MMH Class of 2007

  28. Shawn Hoffman
    Wed 06th Feb 2008 at 3:11 pm


    As someone familiar with both your work, and who is 2/3 finished with the Norwich MMH program, I think I can offer some insight. I would tend to agree that unless you are interested in expanding your areas of interest, the program may not be for you. It covers a HUGE amount of ground very quickly, and the 15-20 hour per week meausre only works if someone is satisfied with merely passing and not excelling.

    On the other hand, the experience has taught me a great deal about history being more than a collection of facts and figures. Norwich challenges you to stop merely memorizing details and instead analyze their meaning. This has been helpful for me in my career.

  29. Alan Ford
    Sat 08th Mar 2008 at 11:37 am

    Well, looks like I’m a bitlate to this discussion. I have recently moved to Kentucky. I am an Army nurse practitioner. I have a Master’s in Nursing and an MBA ,as well as an undergrad degree in Spanish Education. I really, really love history – obviously military history, given my affiliation with the Army. On the practical side I should pursue a PhD in nursing, but I’m going to wait a few years and apply for the Army to send me. Besides, by then the DNP (Doctor of Nursing Practice) will be more widespread. I certainly prefer a clinical track as opposed to nursing theory, which is, quite frankly, silly. Thanks for the info on here. I am one of those people who need the organizing force and enforced discipline of a degree to really help me delve into History the way I need to. AMU sounds promising. Thanks for the info. Any more suggestions? Alan

  30. Miguel Hernandez
    Fri 16th Jan 2009 at 6:05 pm

    Sorry to have joined thiss discussion so late. I have been taking courses for the MA Degree in Military History at AMU and have accumulated 15 credits. Overall my experience has been a good one. All of my porfessors have their PhD’s from prestigeous universities and have been published. The reading lists for each course are in line or even superior to ones that i have seen at brick and mortar schools. Norwich is just too damn pricey and frankly I am not sure that the quality is so superior to that of AMU to make the extra cost worthwhile. I do however like Norwich’s periodic on site seminar concept as It does engender a connection and interaction with the school, its professors and fellow students. that is missing at AMU.

    As to your quandry about getting a History MA degree I say go for it. Even if you never use it you will not regret that you went through the process and got . Education is not ever a waste of time if you are doing it to prove something to yourself and becuase you love to learn.

    Anyway like you I have been a non-credentialed for years and had title qualm, but finnaly decided to bill my self as a military historian. Whether or not academe or anyone else accepts that is their problem.

  31. Jim
    Sat 24th Jan 2009 at 8:29 am

    Can anyone enlighten me on the cost of the MA Degree in Military History at AMU? Thanks!

  32. andrew
    Mon 02nd Feb 2009 at 3:33 pm

    Good thing you didn’t go to Norwich for Military History. From what I hear the professors are “lowest bidder” profs and the course material is all theory and very little actually military history.

    I’m considering U of I-Urbana for an MA in Military History. Military History degrees seem to be drying up as many of the older military history teachers are retiring.

  33. Mon 13th Apr 2009 at 1:32 am

    What do you all think about the online masters program at Austin Peay State University? I’ve been looking into it and it seems like a good program. If any of you have any experience with it (good or bad), please post your thoughts and comments.


  34. FELIX
    Tue 14th Apr 2009 at 6:28 pm

    Is there a definitive list off universities offering M.A. programs with specialization in Military History? Both Thesis and non-thesis.

  35. mike
    Thu 16th Apr 2009 at 8:24 pm

    Have been pursuing an MA in Military History at AMU for the last 18 months and i find that like most any other on-line course of study or even an on-site one, what you get out of it depends on what you put in. In addition to the coursework I have joined several of the various historical societies like the Society for Military History the Organization of American Historian and also joined an “Independent scholars” group. As a result, corerspond with many historians an students around the country and have attended some conferences and even gave a presentation at one. These have been stimulating experiences and keep me connected to what is happening in the field. My eventual goal is to teach military history in a non-academic settiing such as a museum, battlefield or other historic site and in this regard I have served as a volunteer gude at an NPS site and maybe this will turn into a paid job. oint is that in addtion to the MH degree I can show that I have actual experience working in the field and not just a piece of paper that confirms I took some classes.

    My only concern about AMU is that they have a lot of required courses for and there ijust one independent study opportunity and zero for taking classes at other institutions or internships. .

  36. Neil
    Tue 01st Sep 2009 at 5:45 pm

    A very good discussion (which I guess means that it confirmed what I was thinking!). The only issue I have is that “I know what I know” and whenever I talk on my topics I get positive feedback, and from strangers who don’t feel they have to compliment me. I would love to teach a course at a Community College but how do I certify/prove what I know? Like many others on this board I have advance degrees (2), but in engineering.

  37. Thu 29th Oct 2009 at 4:30 pm

    Been looking online at different History degree programs as well. I checked out the Society for Military History site and they list Sam Houston State and Georgia Southern as other options. The History degree will only be my third, but it is the one I am looking forward to the most. Would love to hear anyones experiences with any of the programs mentioned in the discussion..

  38. Lisa D St Valentine
    Wed 04th Nov 2009 at 5:38 pm

    Thank you so much for your summation. I have a similar academic background as you describe yours, and at this point it’ all about time and money. So your write-up is much appreciated as I ponder.

    Thanks again,


  39. Craig
    Wed 10th Feb 2010 at 2:44 pm

    Late to this thread. I took three courses from Sam Houston State University’s on-line MA in Military History. The reason I went with them (rather than Norwich or AMU) was because:

    1 – at the time, AMU was not regionally accredited.
    2 – the cost for Norwich was prohibitive.

    These items have both changed somewhat, because I believe AMU has regional accredidation and the new GI Bill would significantly reduce my out of pocket expenses @ Norwich.

    Having said that, I was extremely pleased w/ Sam Houston State University. Each course was taught by a professor who had also written extensively on the topic. All three professors were easy to contact, and we carried on several spirited discussions via e-mail. While each of these was one-on-one and not in a collaborative forum with other students, I felt I learned a lot about history at the Master’s level as well as how to write book reviews.

    I used SHSU to take three electives to apply with War College credit to get a Masters in National Security and Strategy, because it was the fastest way to get a Masters given my full-time military employment. I plan to re-engage to pursue the MA in Military History in the near future.

  40. Felix C.
    Mon 24th May 2010 at 1:42 pm

    To those who attended the three or four online institutions mentioned above..have you continued onward to a PhD and was your online program accepted by the succeeding university?

    Or, Have you found work as an adjunct professor in your area? Is your degree considered valid by local/state institutions?

  41. Mel
    Sat 16th Oct 2010 at 10:04 pm

    Hello Everyone,

    Would it be possible for me to get a teaching job at a Community College with a MA in History from AMU?


  42. ME
    Mon 06th Jun 2011 at 1:59 pm

    I have spoken to several community colleges in my area about teaching with a degree earned online. In general they said if the school where you earn your degree is reginally accredited.

    University of Nebraska/Kearney also has an online MA in History now. Some schools had suggested I do not need any undergrad courses in history for the grad program, but I am somewhat nervous about that.

  43. Kelly
    Sun 14th Aug 2011 at 9:12 pm

    For what it’s worth, I just completed my MA in Military History at Austin Peay State University in Tennessee. It was all online and I was very satisfied with the program. It was very affordable and I feel that I really got my money’s worth. APSU is located about 5 miles from Fort Campbell, KY and many soldiers take this degree.


  44. Alan
    Fri 10th Feb 2012 at 10:13 am

    Kelly, thanks for the great comment on APSU’s program. I am considering the APSU mil history online as well. My only rub is that I am active duty US Navy, and thus would have detachments that can often interfere. Do you, or anyone else out there, have information on the time commitments or deadlines for classes and participation for those completing the program online? Any gouge/info would be great!

    Thanks so much

  45. Rick
    Wed 21st Nov 2012 at 6:43 pm

    Interested in hearing from anyone about the history online Master’s programs at Sam Houston, Univ of Memphis, and Western Kentucky University. I cannot easily go to a brick and mortar school in my area as they do not offer many evening classes. I am curious about the current thinking of history academia regarding online master’s degrees. I am unsure if I would be interested in teaching at comm college or going on to Ph.D program but would like to keep my options open.

  46. Wes
    Fri 13th Mar 2015 at 11:36 am

    I’m coming to this topic a little late, I stumbled across the conversation as I was looking for some information on another topic, and I thought I might offer some insight. I am a graduate of VMI, with a B.A. in History, and I am completing an M.A. in Military History through Norwich University right now.
    Having experience in both an extremely formal college setting, as well as the online only setting offered by Norwich, I have to say that NU offers just as comprehensive an educational opportunity as any “live” classroom, but it is entirely dependent on the learning style of the student involved. If a student is disciplined, self-motivating, and capable of conducting independent research, the “survey courses” that were mentioned in this article offer a great vehicle for educational improvement. The cons to this system are obvious, if this isn’t the learning environment that works for you then you are destined to fail. That is pretty true for academics in general. If you are a person capable of learning in a distance environment, then there are several pros.
    1. You can work the program on your own schedule. I started my MMH while I was still on active duty in the Army, and I have taken multiple breaks for deployments, ETS, and for starting my civilian career. The survey structure of the courses allows you to come back in and pick up from your last course, and NU has committed to this by ensuring that courses and course requirements aren’t constantly changing. Anyone that has attended any college in the US in the last fifteen years will know what I’m talking about.
    2. The whole program is set up to work online. This includes faculties, libraries, and services. I have had professors from all across the US, and even one in Canada. Many of them are using the MMH program as a second income, to supplement their positions at other institutions, which allows for a broad base of experience to draw from rather than the comparatively small departments at most physical campuses. The NU library has created a massive database of Ebooks, neatly organized into categories for each online Masters program, and provides complete access to WorldCAT, JSTOR, and other research databases through its online access point. The Bursar and Financial Aid offices are set up to deal with 100% distance learning students, as well as helping to organize tuition, GI benefits, etc. online, which is a far cry from the old-school lines I used to stand in for semester registration at VMI.
    3. NU has a full time on-site staff at Norwich dedicated just to administrating the needs of the online campus. The formal department of history at NU also serves as oversight to the program, ensuring that students and instructors are meeting their obligations to one another.
    4. The NU online programs are tailored toward military students, whether active duty, reserve/guard, or veterans. This isn’t to say that it isn’t just as good for the average student, but it has been especially built to work around all of the potential issues that military personnel can encounter, from deployments to unexpected relocation. It also helps that many of the faculty, both of the distance learning and the regular campus, have military experience themselves. To date, 3 out of 4 of my instructors have served.
    5. The student to instructor ratio is fantastic. At VMI I had one class in four years where there was a ratio greater than 20 to 1, and that was a 100 level ROTC class. Classes there are on average 12 to 1 or less, a fact that VMI takes pride in. I have not been in a class at NU yet that had greater than an 8 to 1 ratio, and those classes are taught 100% by a PhD, not a graduate student. I consider that to be a benchmark of quality in education more than anything else.

    I know that this post is pretty late to the game, and that things might have changed greatly since the last time anyone looked at the online program NU offers. I started my coursework in 2010, and I’m just finishing it now. In that time I really haven’t seen a considerable change other than a transition to a newer, and better academic portal. I hope that this helps someone else make an informed decision in the future.

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