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About Cold War Graduate Studies and How to Begin

written by: Shane Burley•edited by: Noreen Gunnell•updated: 6/27/2011

Here are some of the options available to you if you want to approach Cold War graduate studies.

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    Studying the Cold War

    There are a lot of interdisciplinary degrees being offered these days, often times so that people can focus academically on an issue or topic that has a broad connection with several traditional disciplines. These may be involved in the study of certain ethnic or gender issues, historical periods of time, international topics, planning and policy, or a range of other types of integrated issues. These graduate programs are often a stepping stone to academic work and publishing, consultation, or work in another field that may well utilize their understanding of certain contemporary issues. Cold war graduate studies seems to be a focus that some students are now looking towards, yet it does not have a firm hold as a specific degree option at most universities. Here is a look at some of the best options out there for students who do want to step into cold war graduate studies to some degree.

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    George Washington University

    The Institute for European, Russian, and Eurasian Studies at George Washington University offers a very serious, and career oriented course of study that brings these issues to a head. It houses the George Washington Cold War Group which holds student conferences around Cold War issues, summer training in archival research regarding the Cold War, and a general focus on this period of time in international relations. The core curriculum of the program splits the focus between Western, Central, and Eastern Europe and Russia and Eurasia, though there is a lot of cross over to get the full spectrum of a Cold War focus. From here you select your Core Field classes with courses like Politics of European Integration, History of the Russian and Soviet Empires, and Comparative Politics of Post-Soviet Systems. From here you can focus in on Professional Specialization, which ranges from purely academic study in preparation for a doctoral program or areas in international work such as healthcare or security. This integrated program is one of the perfect places to approach cold war graduate studies, especially since you can retain a practical focus.

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    Military History Graduate Programs

    Master's of Arts degrees in Military History have begun to pop up more recently offering students an opportunity to teach history from this perspective, possibly even working in research or the military itself. Through several of these degrees you can pursue cold war graduate studies by centralizing the focus of military research around these international issues. The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has a Military History graduate program that has been developed and you can shift your studies toward the direction of the U.S.S.R., Korean War, Soviet Collapse, and Eastern Block issues. Norwich University has a long history of educating military leaders and their Military History M.A. program is one of the best in the country. The curriculum is much more based on issues of war on a broader scale, but this is also going to be a great place to shift your degree research in the direction of Cold War studies.

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    East China Normal University

    Out of the international education market there are a few academic programs that will help in dealing with cold war issues, but almost none that will be built specifically around this period in history. One that stands out is from the East China Normal University, and the language of instruction remains in Chinese. This Master's degree program in Cold War International History is a full three year program that intends to look at the issues of the cold war on the international stage rather than one country in particular, yet China's role in the cold war events is likely to be presented differently than in a European or U.S. university. If someone is trying to extend their research work exclusively into this field, targeting to later teach this topic and develop academic programs around it, then East China Normal University may be a good degree program to consider.