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Dale Center for the Study of War and Society

War and Society Graduate Programs

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Dale Center Faculty and Graduate Students 2016The Dale Center for the Study of War & Society and History program of the School of Humanities at the University of Southern Mississippi allows students to concentrate in a wide variety of research areas related to the study of conflict.  War and Society scholars ordinarily examine the links between the social, cultural, and political values of societies and the wars they wage. Several historians at Southern Miss have specialties that complement this approach.  Our graduate program can also support more traditional Military History topics such as operations, strategy, and tactics. Thus our program allows for a great deal of flexibility and creativity in combining War and Society and traditional Military History approaches to the study of the history of conflict.

We hope to produce students who can speak to wide literatures and enter the job market as well-defined and broadly-trained scholars. As home to a faculty with a unique concentration of interests related to the study of war, the Dale Center is an ideal place to train graduate students for careers in college and university teaching, research, Professional Military Education, governmental or non-profit work, or Public History.  We are proud that the U. S. military has trusted the Dale Center to educate a number of officers who will go on to teach the leaders of tomorrow’s U.S. armed forces.  The Dale Center is also gratified to be able to offer our advance PhD students the opportunity to work as research fellows with the U.S. Army's Center for Military History.  

A listing of our current graduate students offers a glimpse into the research and scholarship being pursued in the Dale Center.  Our record of graduate placement highlights the success of our graduates in finding great jobs in many different fields.

For more information on History graduate programs, please click here.

For more information on the application process, please click here.

If you have any further questions about the graduate programs in War and Society at Southern Miss, please contact the History program's Director of Graduate Studies, Dr.%20Heather%20Stur.

Masters Programs
Master of Arts students with an interest in War and Society topics can pursue a degree in American History, European History, or War and Society. The programs in American or European are more general degrees that allow students to pursue a minor field in War & Society and write their MA thesis on a War and Society topic. Students thinking about pursuing the Ph.D. degree in the future are encouraged to enroll in these programs. Students take a number of core classes in the methods and practices of history as well as specific historiographical courses in either American or European History. In addition, students in these programs take a comprehensive exam, prepare one foreign language or research tool, and write a Master’s thesis.  

For more information on specific requirements for these programs, see the Graduate Bulletin or the History Graduate Handbook.

Doctoral Program 

All Ph.D. students must concentrate first and foremost on American or European history, but can do so with a War and Society focus. Most Ph.D. students interested in the field will choose War & Society as one of their minor fields and write a dissertation with a War & Society emphasis. However, students must be prepared to teach the entirety of their dissertation major and minor fields. 

A minimum of fifty-four (54) semester hours of course credit beyond the Masters degree is required, which includes historiography courses relevant to the student’s major and minor fields, additional 600/700-level courses in the student’s major and minor areas, passing vigorous comprehensive exams (written and oral) in the major and two minor fields, and writing an original and persuasive dissertation.  Ph.D. students must also have reading knowledge of two (2) foreign languages (or, for Americanists, one foreign language and an alternative “research tool”).

For the list of required War and Society field readings for the PhD comprehensive exam, click here.

For more information on degree requirements, please see the Graduate Bulletin or the History Graduate Handbook.
Assistantships and Other Funding

We offer several competitive assistantships for both MA and Ph.D. students.  The deadline to apply is February 15.  First time applicants should indicate on their application that they wish to be considered for an assistantship.  Students on assistantships who are working on their MAs usually serve as a grader, tutor in the History Lab, or an assistant to a faculty member.  At the Ph.D. level, students may serve as a grader, a faculty assistant, or teach their own sections of History 101 or 102. Other types of assistantship may also be assigned.  Assistants work no more than twenty (20) hours a week; they receive a stipend, tuition waiver (in-state or out-of-state) and basic health insurance (with a student co-pay each pay period).

In addition to the normal graduate assistantships, the Dale Center offers several fellowships and scholarships, on a competitive basis, to augment or replace assistantship funding:


Resources for Graduate Study

World War I Camp Library PosterThe University Libraries at Southern Miss have a growing collection to support our concentration areas in War and Society studies. Of special interest to military historians is the 103d Infantry Division Archive, which holds numerous documents and artifacts from the World War II era.  Special Collections at University Libraries offers a variety of historical resources ranging from fifteenth-century illuminated manuscripts to Civil War letters, Civil Rights documents and current Mississippiana. Special Collections are located in the William David McCain building, erected in 1976. Nearly 24,000 square feet are dedicated to Special Collections, comprised of four units: University Archives; Rare Books and Mississippiana; Historical Manuscripts; and the de Grummond Children’s Literature Collection. 

In addition to these special resources, USM's award-winning Center for Oral History and Cultural Heritage (COHCH) houses a collection of hundreds of interviews focused on the American experience of war.  These interviews are available for student use and graduate students can also pursue a research tool in Oral History techniques with the staff of the COHCH.  

The War and Society program at USM also boasts an active study abroad component, in conjunction with the university’s Center for International Education.  Enrolled students can conduct primary research abroad and have the opportunity to study the history of war in places such as France, Britain, and Vietnam.

Two ongoing Dale Center projects, War Stories: Preserving National Guard Voices and War Stories: Civil War Governors of Mississippi should also be of great interest to graduate researchers at Southern Miss.

This is just a sample of the classes taught in the War and Society curriculum at Southern Miss:

  • War in Pre-modern Europe
  • Early American War & Society
  • American Revolution
  • U.S. Civil War
  • World War I
  • World War II
  • World War II--British Studies (Study Abroad)
  • The Vietnam War
  • The Vietnam War--Vietnam Studies (Study Abroad)
  • U.S. Foreign Relations
  • Woman and War
  • Topics in the History of War & Society (various topics)
    • Asian Military History Through Films
    • U.S. Conflicts since Vietnam
    • War and American Communities
    • Native American Warfare
  • War & Society Historiography
  • Graduate Seminar in War and Society (various topics)
    • Women and Gender in War
    • The Cultural History of 20th Century European Warfare
    • The American Civil War: The Latest Historiography

Dale Center Graduate Students 2017

 For more information on History graduate programs, please click here.

For more information on the application process, click here.

If you have any further questions about the graduate programs in War and Society at Southern Miss, please contact the History program's Director of Graduate Studies, Dr.%20Heather%20Stur.