Thank you for your interest in the military history program at The Ohio State University.
The program is a field within the Department of History. Thus, your first stop should be the Prospective Graduate Students Page on the OSU History Department web site; the FAQ is particularly helpful. Please note that we do not offer an online degree program.
Historians in the program nominate applicants for admission. Actual admission decisions are made by the Graduate Studies Committee in accordance with the criteria set forth in the Graduate Handbook. With very few exceptions -- usually military officers who come here to prepare for teaching assignments at the service academies -- the history department admits only students to whom it can extend funding (fellowships or teaching associateships).
Students who enter the program with a fellowship or Graduate Associateship can expect under normal circumstances to receive funding for four or five years. Depending on budgetary constraints and the department's teaching requirements, students may be eligible to apply for an additional year of support.
While a strong academic record is vital, applicants should 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 member 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 his or her own.
We prepare students 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 has published an influential 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 janissaries. The list could easily be extended.
The program has about twenty-five graduate students in residence at any given time, and the students themselves constitute a great asset to the military history program. They form a "critical mass" of 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.
The OSU military history program has a very good record of placing its Ph.D graduates. Alumni have been hired by Yale University, the U.S. Military Academy, Kansas State University, James Madison University, Texas A&M University, Tennessee Tech University, Radford University, and Hawaii Pacific 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 several universities and museums.