Go back

West Point grad 1st to earn M.A. in Military History

When U.S. Army Capt. Joseph Harrison returned to the U.S. from his second tour of duty in Iraq in 2005, he arrived after the fall semester at Austin Peay State University had started.

But with the help of then President Sherry Hoppe and Dr. Dewey Browder, professor of history and chair of the APSU Department of History and Philosophy, Harrison enrolled in APSUs Master of Arts in Military History program.
When U.S. Army Capt. Joseph Harrison returned to the U.S. from his second tour of duty in Iraq in 2005, he arrived after the fall semester at Austin Peay State University had started.

But with the help of then President Sherry Hoppe and Dr. Dewey Browder, professor of history and chair of the APSU Department of History and Philosophy, Harrison enrolled in APSU's Master of Arts in Military History program.

“I greatly appreciate those two in making this happen for me,” said Harrison, a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, N.Y. “They bent over backwards to get me enrolled.”

During the Winter 2007 Commencement on Friday, Dec. 14, Harrison, 29, will be the first APSU graduate awarded the Master of Arts in Military History, launched in 2006. APSU is the only university in Tennessee with a master's in military history.

Harrison, a native of Medford, Ore., was sent to APSU to work on the degree from the Student Detachment unit at Fort Jackson, S.C. He will be among 515 students participating in Winter Commencement in the Dunn Center on APSU's main campus. There are 537 students who are candidates for degrees, University officials are reporting.

APSU's 12-course M.A. in Military History is designed to appeal to students with varied interests. It is open to any student, regardless of major, who has a bachelor's degree, a grade-point average of 2.5 or greater and a composite score of 600 or better on the Graduate Record Exam.

To earn the M.A. in Military History, students complete 36 course hours, choosing from among 24 courses. Harrison chose courses tailored to his interests in the post-Cold War era, nation-building and unconventional warfare.

“The courses helped to shape the context of what I wanted to study,” he said. “That's what I liked most about this degree, the ability to cater it toward my interests.”

To show the range and depth of courses offered within the military history graduate program, examples include Warfare in the Classical World, Cold War Political-Diplomatic Issues, War and Ethics, The Battle for God: Jihad, Herem and Other Theologies of War and Peace, Special-Operations Perspectives and Islam as a World View.

The program also offers a Certificate in Security Studies for students who complete four national security-oriented courses. Harrison also will be receiving this credential.

“Both the degree and the certificate will help me to develop professionally as an officer in the military,” Harrison said. “I believe fervently in my profession and the people I work with. My motivations always have been oriented toward giving back to the profession and the nation that has given so much to me.”

Following graduation, Harrison will be sent to Fort Knox, Ky., where he will complete additional coursework related to his duties as captain.
He and his wife, Elizabeth Harrison, currently reside in Adams with their two sons, Joe, 4, and Garrett, 7 months. -- Melony A. Jones