• Oxbridge Researchers
Military and Naval Studies

The military is the designation for a country's official armed forces organization --consisting of either voluntary or professional individuals-- that concerns itself with warfare, weaponry, and defending the nation from attack. The military is primarily focused on combat against perceived or actual threats to its country. The navy is an extension of the military but concentrates on marine and amphibious combat, i.e. warfare occurring in oceans, rivers, and lakes. Military and naval force is a deciding factor in global politics, and the three largest militaries via highest declared expenditures are the United States of America, the United Kingdom, and the People's Republic of China. Often a country's military and/or navy become a society within itself different from civilian communities, having different customs, economies, and education. 

Typically, studies about military and naval science or administration require its own specialized and specific schools, like the Britannia Royal Naval College and Royal Military Academy Sandhurst in Britain, and the Royal Military College of Canada. The United States have the Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC) and Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps (NROTC), programs which work in conjunction with the various Departments of Military Science in American universities and education institutions such as UC-Davis, UC-Berkeley, UW-La Crosse, Seton Hall, James Madison, and the Worcester Polytechnic Institute. The ROTC and NROTC offer scholarships for a student's education as long as they enlist in the United States Army or Navy after their studies. There are some universities which offer courses or degrees in military and/or naval science that is purely academic and do not require a commission in the army-these, of course, are not financially funded by the American Army.

In general, military and naval studies have courses that combine hands-on weaponry and combat training, physical fitness, and a range of strategy or technologically related subjects depending on one's career focus. The first stage requires passing medical and physical tests, which are then followed by a basic training that tests and prepares the recruit psychologically, technically, and physically through drills. The military and naval studies beyond this basic training can include engineering, chemistry, aeronautics, history, administration, psychology, politics, economics, communications, mathematics, physics, and computer science.

Entrance into military and naval studies programs that are equivalent to undergraduate and graduate courses require the completion of high school for the former and an undergraduate degree for the latter. For example, the Royal Military College of Canada offers a Bachelors of Arts, Science, Engineering, and the unique Bachelor of Military Arts and Science. The Royal Military Academy Sandhurst has a large portion of their entrants as either university graduates or students who have at least completed A-levels. The American ROTC program usually does not have university degrees specifically given in military and naval studies, though Departments of Military Science offer courses that can be accepted as credits in Bachelors of Arts and Science. Some programs take anywhere from 42 weeks to four years to complete, depending on what specific academic stream or specialty the student is pursuing.

Though it is assumed that there will be vast amounts of physical training involved in military and naval studies, there is also a fair amount of mental aptitude required in the more academic courses. Beyond the standard fare of class participation, group discussion, pop quizzes, oral presentations, and exams, students of military and naval studies also must submit written assignments. For example, one military science course required a 1500 word book report on Steven Pressfield's Gates of Fire, describing its theories on leadership and how they pertain to Army values. Handouts with practical exercises requiring students to solve problems in military administration and leadership are not uncommon. These exercises usually prepare the student for 2-paged essays on leadership, tactics, or a hero/role model of theirs. Action reports are another typical written assignment, usually follow-ups of a specific hands-on course that a student completed on leadership. Students may also have to write 3-paged memorandums concerning their future choices in the military or navy or single page autobiographical essays. One course that leaned heavily on political science asked students to maintain a field journal that recorded their political observations concerning military global politics.

Many military and naval science courses, as can be discerned by the above examples, focus largely on leadership. Those that are not specifically military science courses, but are also taken by recruits or officers to further their military education, appear like standard courses of physics or history, but perhaps with a more martial bent. Graduate programs offered by Military Colleges, such as the one in Canada, have strict academic requirements like any other advanced university degrees. Theses and dissertations perhaps 40 pages in length will have to be written and defended if a student wished to awarded their Master of Defence Studies or PhD in Nuclear Engineering.