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Veterans Studies students Heath Wilson (Criminal Justice) and Kasey Morris (Fine Arts) present research at the EKU Undergraduate Research Symposium

Veterans Studies students Heath Wilson (criminal justice) and Kasey Morris (fine arts) present research at the EKU Undergraduate Research Symposium

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What is Veterans Studies?

Veterans Studies (VTS) is a new and growing academic discipline that examines the identities, cultures and experiences of members of the U.S. Armed Forces. The discipline was founded upon the belief that military veterans have cultures of their own. They are cultures shaped by the shared experiences of military training and indoctrination, peacetime and wartime service and the reintegration into civilian life. In other words, military veterans share languages, traditions, social hierarchies, histories, belief systems, psychological conditions, physiological ailments, social problems and strengths that are worthy of academic study.

VTS students pursuing the Veterans Studies Minor or Certificate supplement the work they do in their major areas of study, learning an interdisciplinary approach that helps them understand representations of veterans, world events impacting the military experience, as well as the psychological and sociological forces that influence veterans’ lives before, during and after military service.

Who Can Take Veterans Studies Courses?

Anyone! VTS 200 Introduction to Veterans Studies, the first course in the VTS curriculum, fulfills EKU’s General Education Element VI requirement for “Diversity of Perspectives and Experiences.” Our students come from a variety of backgrounds and take VTS courses for a variety of reasons.

Examples of VTS students include those who:

  • Work in careers that provide services to veterans, such as medical or mental health care professionals with the Department of Veterans Affairs
  • Work alongside or on behalf of veterans as DoD Civilians, non-profit leaders, first responders or other government employees
  • Want to understand the perspectives and experiences of spouses, family members, friends or other loved ones who’ve served in the military
  • Have served in the military and want to contextualize and develop a deeper understanding of their experiences in uniform through academic inquiry

VTS 200, and to a greater extent, the Veterans Studies Minor and Certificate, complements any major field of study. EKU’s Veterans Studies curriculum provides students with a level of cultural competency in veterans’ identities, cultures and experiences that can’t be learned anywhere else.

Help Me Plan My Program

Here are four approaches to help you earn a VTS credential without adding too much time to your planned program of study:

  1. Long-term Planning – VTS courses often fulfill Major or General Education requirements. For example, students are required to take two classes in the Gen Ed VI category for Diversity. All of the courses listed under the “intersectionality Requirement” for the University-level Certificate fall in that category.
  2. Program-approved Electives – Any requirement that lists “program-approved electives” as an option allows for substitutions of courses not listed. Course offerings are always changing. Have you taken or do you plan to take a course not listed that meets the objectives of a particular category? If so, contact us and about a possible substitution. It never hurts to ask!
  3. Major Capstones – A core requirement of both VTS credentials is a capstone course dealing with veterans’ identities, cultures and experiences. Are you doing a capstone in your major? If so, consider applying your disciplinary knowledge to the study of veterans and we will substitute it for the VTS requirement. Be sure to let us know!
  4. Internships / Cooperative Learning – The Kentucky Center for Veterans Studies can provide you with a valuable service-learning experience to list on your resume. We can help you earn both VTS credits and credits in your major if the work meets the needs of your program. You can apply up to six hours of internship credit toward VTS credentials.

Help Me Choose Which Courses to Take

Look through the courses needed for the Minor or University-level Certificate. Then, make a list of the required and elective courses you are interested in taking using the list below. Be sure to check the University Catalog for any needed prerequisites. Work with your primary advisor or the Veterans Studies Faculty Advisor to determine if you will be taking any of these classes for your degree requirements. Finally, keep an eye on myEKU to see what classes are offered each semester.

  • AFA 202 The African American Experience – An overview of the historical, social, political, economic and cultural factors that have helped shape the experiences of African Americans in the United States.
  • ANT 330 American Indians – Explores the cultural diversity of American Indians by examining their historical and contemporary lives. Focus on cultural similarities and differences of American Indian groups living in ecologically diverse areas.
  • CDF 424 Diversity Awareness for Professional Practice – Professionals working with individuals and families today must develop cultural competency. With a focus on sensitivity and respect, this course provides an overview of diversity in society, including race, gender, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, religion and other forms of diversity.
  • CMS 205W Advocacy and Opposition – The study of the techniques and principles of formal argumentative discourse including developing, presenting, defending, opposing and analyzing positions on controversial questions through research, writing and oral communication. Emphasis on the use of online mediums for promoting and opposing ideas.
  • ENG 386W War & Peace in Lit Since 1900 – An exploration of themes of war and peace in literature since 1900, structured chronologically, beginning with World War I and moving into the contemporary world.
  • HLS 400 Evolution of the U.S. Intelligence Community – Evolution of the US intelligence community from the American Revolution to today.
  • HUM 300 Humanity in the Postmodern Age – Comparative and interdisciplinary approaches to the study of culture since 1945, including study of Western and non-Western works of literature, visual art, music, film and religion/philosophy; focus on integrative thinking as a means toward affirming values for living meaningfully in the contemporary world.
  • MGT 300/301 Principles of Management – Management principles with emphasis on organization theory and behavior; human resources and diversity; communications; production/operations management and quality issues; business ethics, development of management thought, management in the global arena, and management careers.
  • MSL 303 – American Military History – Examines U.S. Military History from pre-revolutionary times to Global War on Terrorism. Applies the Threads of Continuity model, defines the (9) principles of war; (5) forms of maneuver, analyzes the political-economic-technological-social impacts on the military. Develops leadership through individual/group contribution participation in case studies, classroom presentations, book report, battle analysis and battlefield staff ride/museum tour.
  • NSC 442 Complex Health Systems – Synthesis of professional nursing care competencies to address human diversity and manage care in today’s complex health systems.
  • PHI 130 Beginning Ethics – Survey of theories concerning the nature of right and wrong, emphasizing how these theories can be applied to personal moral choices.
  • PLS 375 Terrorism/Counterterrorism – A study of domestic, foreign, transnational and state terrorism. This course examines issues related to defining, preventing and combating terrorism. Various social and historical forces and events will be considered in order to contextualize specific key individuals, organizations and actions.
  • POL 325 American Political Thought – Study of the political philosophy and values that have shaped the American political system. Emphasis given to problems in democratic theory and to competing ideologies within the American political system.
  • POL 357 American Political Thought – Study of the political philosophy and values that have shaped the American political system. Emphasis given to problems in democratic theory and to competing ideologies within the American political system.
  • PSY 258 Career Development in Psychology – Will acquaint psychology majors with career opportunities, and help students recognize and build the skills needed for their desired career field.
  • PSY 300 Social Psychology – A study of the power of situations and the social environment to affect human behavior. Topics include: attitudes, persuasion, prejudice, discrimination, group behavior, interpersonal attraction, aggression and prosocial behavior.
  • PSY 308 Abnormal Psychology – Descriptive study of the nature, course, classification and prevalence of abnormal behavior, with attention to intellectual, personality, cognitive, sensory and motor functions.
  • PSY 314 Adolescent and Adult Development – Survey of biological, psychological, social, cognitive, and historical influences on adolescent and adult development.
  • PSY 405 Intro to Interviewing/Therapy – Introduction to the basic concepts and skills of interviewing and therapeutic communication in the mental health field.
  • PSY 476 Psychology of Trauma – Topics include trauma and trauma-related assessment and interventions from diverse clinical perspectives. Emphasis will be on the applications of theoretical viewpoints to a variety of post-traumatic situations with a trans-theoretical approach to clinical scholarship on trauma.
  • SOC 131 Introductory Sociology – Basic principles in sociology, including socialization, groups and interaction, culture, social structure and institutions (family, education, religion, politics, economics), crime/deviance, social inequalities (race, class, gender), and sociological research methods and theories.
  • SWK 210 Introduction to Social Work – Introduces philosophy, values, ethics, and processes of the social work profession; emphasizes the bases of Generalist practice theory; areas of practice; social justice and the role of violence in society.
  • SWK 310 Social Welfare Policy History – History of social welfare policy; its role and relationship with other social institutions; structure and function of U.S. system compared to other national systems; inequitable distribution of resources; and its contribution to an oppressive environment.
  • SWK 335 Human Behavior/ Social Environment – Examination and application of theories of community, organizational and group behavior. Critical analysis of the social, economic and political forces and institutions that impact human behavior.
  • VTS 200 Intro to Veterans Studies – Multidisciplinary study of military/veteran issues and perceptions of veterans. Explores impact of training/service on reintegration into civilian life and relationships. First course in VTS minor. Designed for non-veterans and veterans.
  • VTS 300 Veterans in Society – Concentrated study of veteran subgroups, veterans’ contributions to society, and the ways societal perceptions of military service influence homecoming experiences.
  • VTS 349 Applied Learning – Work or volunteer in an area related to Veterans Studies.
  • VTS 350 Special Topics: ____________ – Exploration of topics not covered in the existing VTS curriculum.
  • VTS 400 Veterans Studies Capstone Seminar – Mentored seminar incorporating previous gained knowledge concomitantly with course research to produce material presentable for publication and/or conference presentation. Class will organize a capstone symposium.
  • VTS 401 Veterans Studies Capstone Project – Mentored research project exploring veterans’ identities, cultures and experiences. Combines theories and perspectives learned in VTS with those found in the student’s major.
  • VTS 500/700 Veteran Identity Theory – Advanced study and application of interdisciplinary theories and perspectives to the topic of veteran identity.
  • WGS 201 Intro to Women & Gender Studies – Introduction to interdisciplinary field of women and gender studies and feminist scholarship. Provides overview of the diversity of women’s experiences, images and issues from a wide variety of disciplinary perspectives.

The great thing about earning a Minor or University-level Certificate is the ability to take classes you otherwise wouldn’t be able to take within your planned program of study. These interdisciplinary perspectives will make you more agile and able to cope with changing dynamics in the real world and future career.

Get Outside Your Comfort Zone

Always consult the University Catalog and familiarize yourself with any pre-requisites needed. For example, NSC 442 is an advanced Nursing class (chosen for this program because many nurses want to work with veterans) and may not be reasonable for someone without any of the required prerequisites. That said, overrides can often be given in unique circumstances if a student is capable of succeeding. It never hurts to ask!

Many courses require basic competencies such as ENG 102 (or the equivalent) so that you are prepared for research. Some classes are more appropriate for freshmen and sophomores, others for juniors and seniors, and some for students in particular majors. Always talk to your advisor.

Experiencing Veterans Studies Courses


Because of its interdisciplinary nature, VTS students can expect to interact with students they might not  encounter in their major disciplines. In any given course you might find a psychology major debating an English major about the meaning of a war memoir. You might hear an occupational therapy major having a conversation with a history major about the differences between returning to civilian life after World War II and the Iraq War.

Some of the most rewarding experiences, in both in-person and online VTS classes, come from discussions between veteran and non-veteran students. VTS courses provide a safe space to discuss ideas, share experiences, and breakdown misconceptions and stereotypes.

Take this trove of skills, knowledge and experience with you out into the real world when you graduate. You may be closer to earning a Veterans Studies Minor or University-level Certificate than you think!