Hello! I was on the war studies tag and noticed that you study it. I was thinking of doing it myself, and so, I was wondering if it would be possible for you to tell me why you enjoy it. It would be helpful for me in making a decision. Thanks!

Hello! Sorry I didn’t see this when you sent it – Tumblr’s ask system is, like the rest of the site, an absolute goddamn shambles.

Just for clarity’s sake, I did the three-year BA War Studies degree at the University of Birmingham, and I can only speak for that course. Birmingham’s War Studies course is part of the History department and quite history-focused, unlike the more politics- and IR-focused approach of other War Studies departments like Hull and King’s.

Disclaimer over – that’s a hell of an open-ended question. Very simply put, I enjoyed War Studies because the act and apparatus of conflict interest me a lot and the degree was about that. Studying war at university level put me in contact with various experts in the field, forced me to think about a lot of military and international issues in a new and critical light (which has changed my approach to quite a few things, let me tell you), gave me the resources to follow up on questions raised, and taught me how to conduct original research into topics which interested me and which nobody had really studied or written on before. I think caring a great deal about your subject is essential to enjoying and succeeding in any academic discipline, but especially so in humanities, where your love of the subject is usually the only thing motivating you (there is not much academic contact and, for all the whiny nonsense you may hear, very little pressure; this is true of all arts degrees, sadly).

I also enjoyed and did very well at the degree because it played a lot to my personal strengths (writing, arguing the toss with tutors, staying up all night reading about some minor military-technical trivia, bullshitting under extreme pressure). If any of those sound like things you’d hate or have trouble with you should take that as a minor alarm, but as long as you’re literate it is, in truth, not a particularly difficult subject.

That’s all appallingly vague and prospectus-propaganda sounding stuff, but in my defence it was a very vague question! I’d be happy to answer any more specific followups if you have them, or if you’d rather actually discuss things give me your Skype or something in an ask and I can tell you more there.


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