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About the Minor

The war studies minor focuses on the key human challenges of war and conflict. In the study of the history of warfare, you will be challenged to think critically about a range of disciplines, which transcend military history to include engagement with the subject of war from the viewpoint of combatants, societies, economies and cultures across history. You will explore topics from a range of disciplinary angles, including history, politics, international relations, sociology, philosophy and strategic studies. 

The Minor Will Allow You To ...
  • Analyze and understand the causes of armed conflict.
  • Gain an understanding of the conduct of war.
  • Apply arguments to real case studies, both historical and current.
  • Appreciate the changing role of technology in warfare.
  • Explore and gain an understanding of the varied experiences of war.
  • Engage with a wide variety of sources to understand war, including memoirs, biographies, personal testimony, battle studies, literature, poetry, painting and film.
  • Develop skills that are valued by employers in a range of fields, including the armed forces, the defense industry, foreign policy, humanitarian aid, journalism and finance.
  • Develop and improve communication skills.
Career Opportunities

A war studies minor will give you skills and knowledge that are valued by a wide variety of potential employers, from governments, supranational bodies and security agencies to charities, NGOs, news and media organisations and international corporations.

Your detailed knowledge of specific topics and your proven capacity to investigate and analyse new or emerging issues will enable you to contribute to policy and decision-making in a variety of relevant sectors and businesses. The analytical, research and communication skills you will develop are widely recognized by businesses and public-sector employers alike.  

Related Programs

This is a particularly useful minor for students enrolled in Clarkson’s Army ROTC or Air Force ROTC programs or who plan on doing graduate work in history or various sub-fields of political science, including public policy, security studies, or international relations. It is also a useful minor for any student who expects to work in the defense industry or government.

Since war really is one of the constants in human history, it stands to reason that we can learn a lot about human nature and about how cultures work and evolve from studying it. 

Sarah Melville, professor of ancient history

warfare illustration
Drone warfare
guns at 9-11 memorial


Students who minor in war studies take one foundation course, HIST240 War and Society, and choose four additional classes from a list of designated war courses. Each minor also produces a culminating Minor Portfolio

Current course offerings include:

  • War in Ancient Greece
  • War in Ancient Rome
  • War in the Middle Ages
  • War Stories (ancient and medieval)
  • World War I
  • World War II
  • The Soviet Union at War
  • The Cold War