History of War, Service and the American Experience

History of War, Service and the American Experience Certificate

About History of War, Service and the American Experience

Gain a fresh perspective on your military service.

Whether you served stateside or overseas, recently or decades ago, your military service changed the course of your life and your view of the world. Explore your experience with other veterans – and place your military service within a historical context – with the American Experience certificate program at PennWest California.

This unique certificate program is open to all men and women associated with the American military experience, including veterans, military spouses and children, and those who provided military support services. Although PennWest California students in all majors are welcome, the 12-credit certificate also is available to visiting students who are not seeking a college degree, including older adults who enroll through the 60+ College Advantage Program (60+ CAP).

Discuss the history you’ve witnessed with veterans of all ages.

No matter where or when you served, you have been a firsthand participant in American history. This program allows those with insight into military life to earn a university certificate.

Professors from PennWest California’s Department of History, Politics, Society and Law create an encouraging environment for both traditional and non-traditional students. Together, you’ll explore topics such as the history of the Cold War, the United States at war in the 20th century, and U.S. social history.

For degree-seeking students, courses in the certificate program can be applied as core or elective courses in the history, political science or international studies majors.

Questions? Email  program coordinator Dr. Sean Madden (madden@pennwest.edu) or Robert Prah, director of the Office of Military and Veterans Affairs (prah@pennwest.edu), to learn more about this certificate program.


Meet Fellow Veterans: The American Experience certificate program is a unique opportunity to reflect on personal experiences with others who also have been associated with military life. Class discussions are informed by the viewpoints of students of all ages, who may have served during the Korean or Vietnam war eras, spent time in Iraq or Afghanistan, deployed elsewhere overseas or completed their service stateside. 

Earn a University Credential: Visiting students are welcome – including those who have never before taken a college course and aren’t looking to earn a PennWest California degree. Complete four, 3-credit courses and you’ll be awarded a sub-baccalaureate certificate signifying your completion of the 12-credit program. Whether you apply as a visiting student or add the American Experience certificate to a PennWest California degree program, you’ll expand your knowledge base, gain insights and earn a credential you can point to with pride.

Learn more about applying

Number of full-time professors teaching in the History of War, Service and the American Experience certificate program.
Founded in 1852, PennWest California has been offering high-quality education for more than 165 years.


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Certificate Benefits

Earn a University credential that recognizes and acknowledges your military experiences, whether or not you choose to earn a college degree. See how your military experience fits within the social, political and historical context of the times in which you and your classmates served.

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Graduate Outcomes

Gain a deeper understanding of American history and the role of those who serve in all branches of the U.S. armed forces. Take pride in earning a certificate that acknowledges your unique perspective as both an observer and a participant in our nation’s history.

History of War, Service and the American Experience – Certificate
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Faculty Expertise

Through this 12-credit certificate program, you’ll meet PennWest California faculty members with expertise in various facets of history and sociology. Each is also an expert teacher, able to guide the class through lively, thought-provoking discussions that inform and engage.

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Study Your Way

The American Experience certificate program takes a blended approach: some courses are offered on campus and others are delivered online. Many students appreciate the convenience and flexibility of Internet-based learning, but live sessions will be available for those students who prefer face-to-face instruction.

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Personal Focus

Your individual military experience is an important component of this certificate program. Age is no barrier – in fact, the program is enhanced by the active participation of students with a variety of backgrounds and experiences. Whether you apply as a visiting student, through the 60+ CAP program for older adults or as a current PennWest California undergraduate, you’ll come to view your past as part of the larger American story.


History of War, Service and the American Experience - Certificate Courses

Example Courses
  • Special Topics in International Studies
  • History of the Cold War
  • Contemporary U.S. History, Afghanistan to Present
  • Social History of the United States
  • Special Topics in Sociology
  • The U.S. at War in the 20th Century
  • Military History Through Wargaming
Admission Requirements