The military history program at The Ohio State University currently has just under thirty graduate students pursuing a major field in the subject. Several others are taking, or have taken, the field as a minor. These are supervised by six faculty members (follow links for more detailed information concerning their academic records):
Mark Grimsley's research interests include the American Civil War, race and war in the American experience, and the ethics of war. He coordinates the program's Graduate Student Workshop on the History of Armed Coercion, which brings in outside historians three times a year, and maintains WarHistorian.org, a web site and blog devoted to the field of military history.
John F. Guilmartin, Jr. has published on military and naval developments in early modern Europe, the Vietnam War, and war and technology.
Allan R. Millett, Maj. Gen. Raymond E. Mason, Jr. Professor of Military History, retired on December 31, 2005. His research interests have included military professionalism and twentieth century U.S. military history, especially in recent years the Korean War. A search is currently underway to fill the Mason Chair. The position description is here.
Geoffrey Parker, Andreas Dorpalen Professor of History, has a wide-ranging interest in military affairs in the early modern world.
Nathan Rosenstein, a specialist in Roman history, offers an upper division course in ancient military history.
Jennifer Siegel's research interests focus on military intelligence and the European imperial struggle in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century.
In addition to these six, John A. Lynn, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, holds adjunct status in our department and is a frequent visitor to the campus. He is a specialist in the armies of grand siecle and revolutionary France whose current interests focus on the history of combat and culture. His adjunct status permits him to sit on candidacy examination and thesis/dissertation committees.
We have a very good record of placing our Ph.D graduates; our students have been hired by Yale University, the U.S. Military Academy, Kansas State University, James Madison University, Texas A&M, Tennessee Tech, Radford University, Hawaii Pacific University, and the Air University, to name a few. We have also placed students in the armed forces war colleges and historical divisions as well as historical services posts at the University of Tennessee and the University of North Carolina.
As the names of these institutions suggest, we give students credible preparation for both academic and policy analysis positions. We emphasize breadth and discourage students from taking a purely utilitarian or operational approach. Our expectation is that students will engage fully with all varieties of history, and that they will produce work of interest not only to military historians, but also to specialists in other fields. We stress comparative international analysis, too.
In this respect we receive enormous assistance from our colleagues in the department, most of whom have energetically assisted in advising our students, and many of whom have a significant interest in military affairs. Alan Beyerchen published an article in International Security on the connections between chaos theory and the Clausewitzian concept in "friction" in war. Ahmad Sikainga has written on the Sudanese Civil War and Jane Hathaway on the jannissaries. The list could easily be extended.
Our graduate students themselves constitute a great asset to the military history program. Those within the program itself form a "critical mass" of about 20-25 new historians engaged by common intellectual issues. And the larger graduate student culture here at Ohio State is unusually supportive--no mean consideration when one contemplates a challenge as formidable as the completion of a Ph.D.
As the above perhaps implies, we receive dozens of applications to the program each year, and admission is highly competitive. With very few exceptions (e.g., military officers who come here to prepare for teaching assignments at the service academies), we admit only students we can fund. Please note that the historians in the military program simply nominate applicants for admission; the actual admission decisions are made by the Graduate Studies Committee in accordance with the criteria set forth in the Graduate Handbook.
While a strong academic record is vital, it is highly desirable that applicants make clear in their statement of purpose their anticipated research interests (please be reasonably specific) and the faculty member with whom they plan to work most closely. Needless to say, it is also appropriate and helpful to make contact with that individual directly (email is the preferred mode). In order to go forward, each application requires a faculty member willing to serve as the applicant's advisor, and a faculty member's decision is based in part on the degree of intellectual "fit" between the applicant's interests and her own.
Only occasionally are students without an M.A. admitted directly to the Ph.D. For students matriculating with a B.A. or B.S., the normal timetable is two years to complete a master's and an additional four to six years to complete a Ph.D. Since graduate stipends usually expire after five years (and technically must be renewed each year), we recommend that students seek external grants and fellowship as soon as possible. Not only do outside grants assist with the completion of graduate work, they are important additions to one's curriculum vitae.
We hope this information is helpful. For graduate applications and instructions, go to the department's Prospective Graduate Students page.
For further information about the OSU history department, please consult the OSU History Dept. Home Page. Thanks for your interest.
Check out Getting In: A Applicant's Guide to Graduate School Admissions, by Dave Burrell, a former grad student here at Ohio State. It's the most savvy, helpful and (all things considered) upbeat essay on the subject I have ever seen.
And check out this cautionary note as well: Should You Go to Graduate School?
Return to the OSU Military History Home Page