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Department of History : Summer FAQs

Summer Seminars: FAQ's

Who can participate?
The West Point Summer Seminar in Military History is open to faculty and advanced graduate students in the field of history who wish to enhance their ability to study and to teach military history. At a minimum, applicants must have completed all requirements for the doctorate other than submission of the dissertation (ABD). Applicants should also be capable of undertaking a moderate level of physical activity. We welcome applications from American citizens, as well as English-speaking foreign students and faculty. Last year's Seminar included participants from Australia, Britain, Lithuania, and Turkey.
How are participants selected?
We select applicants based upon their potential contributions to the field of military history and the contribution the program can make to their future study and teaching. A selection committee will consider each applicant's packet on its own merits.
Are there any special rules or requirements if I am a US government employee?
If selected, any employee of the US government—military or civilian—must attend the 2012 Summer Seminar in a temporary duty (TDY) or other official status; attendance in an unofficial or leave status will prevent Summer Seminar funds from paying for your lodging, per-diem, and travel. Department of Defense employees selected to attend must have a valid DD1610 and an account with the Defense Travel System (DTS). Employees of the US government will not receive a stipend. All employees of the US government considering applying should contact the 2012 seminar director, MAJ Joseph Scott, for further information.
What are my chances of being selected?
Historically, we receive between 70-80 applications for the Seminar each year. We anticipate selecting 20 Fellows for the 2012 Summer Seminar in Military History.
When will I be notified of the selection results?
We anticipate notifying all applicants of the selection decisions during the first week in March.
Who are the guest lecturers?
The guest lecture program brings a variety of noted military historians to speak to the Fellows. Lecturers over the past several years have included Andrew Bacevich, Andrew Birtle, David Chandler, Mark Clodfelter, Brigadier General (Retired) Robert A. Doughty, Charles Esdaile, General (Retired) Frederick Franks, Gary Gallagher, Mark Grimsley, Ira Gruber, John Guilmartin, George Herring, Donald Horward, Richard Kohn, Wayne Lee, Brian Linn, Richard Overy, Douglas Porch, John Shy, William Skelton, and Ron Spector.
What is a staff ride?
A staff ride consists of preliminary study of a battle followed by a visit to the battlefield. While on the battlefield, structured discussions at various points on the ground allow participants to gain an understanding of the effects of terrain on the battle and analyze the course of the battle in context. It also provides an appreciation of the scale of the battles they are studying. During the 2011 Summer Seminar, Fellows visited Ft. Ticonderoga, Saratoga, Fort Montgomery, and Gettysburg.
How long have you been conducting the West Point Summer Seminar in Military History?
The West Point Department of History has conducted a summer program in military history since the 1960s. It originally took the form of a fellowship for instructors who taught military history courses for Army ROTC programs around the country. After the summer of 1996, however, reductions in the Army's budget made it impossible for the Army to continue funding the program. Through the generosity of a private donor and with a shift in focus and target audience, however, the Department has continued to offer the West Point Summer Seminar in Military History to a broader academic community.