Military Schools

This data set provides school-level observations on states’ military schools, including years of operation and level of education. For state membership information, it employs the Correlates of War (COW) State System Membership List. Please cite this data set as follows, including the current version number: 

Upton Institute. 2022. Military Schools Data Set, version 2022.

The complete data set is available to members. See the membership page for more details.

Principal Sources

Sources for this data set are documented in the data itself, but are generally academic works. The following five sources are cited most often in the data: 



This data focuses on national military schools, so the cataloging of private or local military schools is not exhaustive. A national military school is one that is funded and controlled by national government authorities. Military schools focus on educating future and serving officers in the skills and knowledge they will need to perform their duties. In addition, they instill in the officer corps a sense of duty and loyalty to the state or to society. Attendance at a pre-commissioining academy is typically regarded as necessary for gaining an officer’s commission, and is often beneficial for advancement in the higher ranks, making it a marker of exclusiveness.

The source of student matriculation and the type of curriculum are the main discriminators of the different levels of military schools. Education at a pre-commissioining academy almost always follows secondary education and often results in a tertiary educational degree (most exceptions follow the British model, where courses can range from six months to two years). Academies also prepare cadets to lead at the squad and company level. A junior-level staff course generally occurs in the first few years of an officer’s career and introduces the officer to staff functions and decision-making. Education at a staff college often occurs about halfway through an officer’s career and usually results in a postgraduate degree, in preparation of responsibilities on large military staffs. A war college usually matriculates senior officers and often grants a postgraduate degree in strategic studies, in preparation of leadership roles at the large staff or military strategic level.

For country-specific notes and other details, see the codebook.