Graduate Certificate in Maritime History

The Graduate Certificate in Maritime History is a specialized track for students who are looking to deepen their expertise in maritime history and naval warfare. During the academic year, students will develop and produce a professional, publishable quality paper on maritime history. Paper topics and research will draw from unique resources of the Naval Historical Collections under scholarly supervision of the Hattendorf Historical Center (HHC) and affiliated historians at the U.S. Naval War College (NWC).
USS Constitution is tugged through Boston Harbor to Fort Independence on Castle Island during ‘Old Ironsides' underway commemorating Independence Day.

General Information


This graduate certificate program gives enrollment priority to U.S. Military resident students. As resources permit, applications will also be considered from locally-based military spouses, civilian federal employees (GS13, or equivalent), and international students who have been selected for the International Master of Arts Program.

Location & Duration

This 10-month specialized elective track is completed in conjunction with the Naval Staff College curriculum. Students are taught at NWC in Newport, Rhode Island.

Learning Format

Courses are conducted in seminar format. Students also complete a faculty-mentored professional paper during the academic year.


Students in this specialized program are awarded a certificate, along with four additional graduate credits. Also completed is a professional paper that may be submitted for publication and for the Chief of Naval Operations Naval History Essay Contest. This work may also serve as the basis for applications to complete additional graduate studies with other academic institutions affiliated with the HHC.

Program Structure


Professional Paper or Article

Required | Core Course
A professionally-written paper or article of publishable quality based on archival research on a selected topic of maritime history. Students will work in consultation with an HHC faculty supervisor.

Student Selected Electives

Course Selection

Required | Elective
Students are required to choose between the "War at Sea in the Age of Sail" or "War at Sea in the Age of Steam” courses.

Elective in Maritime History Concentration

Required | Elective
Students must enroll in two electives pertaining to a maritime history concentration.

Incoming Students

Contact Information

Professor Evan Wilson

Professor J. Ross Dancy

More Information

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An elective in Maritime History Concentration broadens your understanding of war and maritime history and offers the opportunity to conduct advanced research that contributes to our enhanced maritime understanding.

A color guard from USS Constitution in Boston, Mass., parades the colors during an evening lecture, “Recreating Our Maritime Heritage,” at U.S. Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island.
A color guard from USS Constitution in Boston, Mass., parades the colors during an evening lecture, “Recreating Our Maritime Heritage,” at U.S. Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island. The lecture focused on the importance of our nation’s maritime heritage by studying the completed construction of two fully-rigged sailing ships, Hermione and Oliver Hazard Perry. The evening lecture series brings speakers of national or international prominence or unique perspectives to the college and community and provide students a broad range of views on a variety of topics of national or international importance. (U.S. Navy photo by Chief Mass Communication Specialist James E. Foehl/Released)
Maritime Research, Exploration, Preserving our Institutional History

John B. Hattendorf Center for Maritime Historical Research

The John B. Hattendorf Center for Maritime Historical Research serves as a central resource for naval history matters, from exploration and theory to strategy and operations. In addition to contributing to the curriculum and publishing original research, our faculty helps preserve our institutional history.

Explore Center
Bench and building in the background.
Core Teachings at U.S. Naval War College

Core Curriculum

The core teachings at U.S. Naval War College provide a framework for military and civilian leaders to gain an understanding of strategy and operations, the ability to think critically, deal with uncertainty and surprise, be proficient in joint matters, and comprehend the security environment and all elements of national power