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EKU Veterans Studies

What is Veterans Studies?

VTS is an academic minor/certificate program that prepares students to identify and understand the unique experiences and challenges faced by veterans of military service.

EKU Veterans Studies (VTS) offers a unique, multi-disciplinary program of study that provides veteran and non-veteran students a foundation of understanding regarding military structure, culture, combat, and the psychological and physiological changes resulting from military service. This first-of-its-kind program is dedicated to educating non-veterans and veterans alike about veteran issues. In this program, students will:

  • be introduced to social, political, and economic issues that influence perceptions and potential marginalization of veterans;
  • experience various perspectives of different types of veterans;
  • identify the historical, perceived, and current roles of the branches of military service;
  • analyze both the positive and negative effects of military training, service, separation during combat, and reintegration issues that reflect in relationships with family members and others.

Veterans Studies at EKU facilitates an environment of inquiry about the transformative nature of military service and provides students the knowledge necessary to improve services for veterans and their interaction with individuals and institutions that may or may not be connected to the military.


VTS at EKU: The First of Its Kind! 

In 2011, Eastern Kentucky University launched Veterans Studies, the first academic program of its kind in the country. At the time, Lt. Col. Brett Morris and Graduate Assistant Travis Martin decided that the discipline should provide "an academic minor/certificate program that prepares students to identify and understand the often unique experiences and challenges faced by veterans of military service." Martin's goal for the program involved "exploring the cultural, institutional, and relational dimensions of the military/veteran culture through the study of war literature, history, and psycho/social experiences" (Craig 102).  

As an academic discipline, Veterans Studies is applicable not only to the military/veteran community but also to students who are not part of that population. One goal of Veterans Studies' formation at EKU was to "[introduce] non-veterans to military service, [allow] veterans to contextualize their experience, and bring both groups together in scholarly analysis of those issues relevant to veterans of different generations" (Coleman). 

Since its origins, Veterans Studies at EKU has conferred many minors, certificates, and focused Associate of General Studies degrees. Veterans Studies faculty members are active scholar-professors with strong records of publications and conference presentations that complement the VTS curriculum. Using Martin's original definitions as a starting point, Virginia Tech Professor Jim Craig offers this definition of the field: "Veterans Studies is an emerging, inherently multidisciplinary academic field devoted to developing a clearer understanding of veterans and the veteran experience in the past, the present, and the future."

The formation of Veterans Studies at EKU has brought many distinguished visitors to campus, including a 2010 invited visit by Gen. Eric Shinseki, U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs, and a 2013 requested visit by then-First Lady Michelle Obama, who was greatly impressed with EKU's commitment to helping student veterans.  

Join the conversation about veterans. Declare a minor or certificate in Veterans Studies at EKU. 



To read more about the foundation of Veterans Studies at EKU, check out these resources: 

Coleman, Penny. “Veterans Studies: Expanding Notions of ‘Vet Friendly’ to Include the Curriculum.” Military Experience and the Arts, 20 May 2014.

Craig, Jim. “Bounding Veterans Studies: A Review of the Field.” Proceedings of the Third Conference on Veterans Studies, Roanoke, VA, 12-14 Nov. 2015.

Dao, James. “A Million Strong: Helping Them Through.” New York Times, 1 Feb. 2013.

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