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Holocaust Studies MA

UCAS code
Year of entry 2018
Course Length
1 year full time
2 years part time
Department History »


The Royal Holloway MA in Holocaust Studies is unique; not only are we the only university in the UK to run an MA course solely dedicated to the field of Holocaust Studies but the Royal Holloway Holocaust Research Institute  is the leading academic centre of its kind in Europe. We are internationally recognised for our research, teaching, public advocacy and creative work. This is an ideal MA if you are pursuing an advanced interest in the Holocaust, it will provide you with a further set of skills and a qualification, it also has a highly successful track record as a springboard to doctoral research.

The Research Instiutues’s mission is to promote research into the Holocaust, its origins and aftermath, and to examine the extent to which genocide, war and dictatorship can be understood as defining elements in the history of the twentieth century. It is an international forum bringing together researchers working on different aspects of the Holocaust in a range of disciplines, including history, literary and language studies, film and media studies, philosophy and sociology. 

You have the opportunity to approach the subject from a variety of perspectives with a choice of topics, ranging from the more traditional, historical focus and others which examine the cultural, social, political and religious afterlife of the Holocaust. This degree brings together expert academics from across Royal Holloway, including English, Modern Languages and History and is taught at the Wiener Library in central London and at our Egham campus.

Our distinctive features include:

Core modules

History of the Holocaust

In this module you will develop an understanding of the basic issues with regard to historical debate about the Holocaust. You will look at the nature of the roles of ideological, structural and other factors in the emergence and implementation of the Holocaust. You will examine the history of the Jews from the emancipation period onwards, considering the emergence of political antisemitism in Germany and Austria, the rise to power of Nazism, the Euthanasia Programme and its relationship with the persecution of the Jews, and Nazi policy vis-à-vis the Jews and other victims, including Afro-Germans, homosexuals, and Soviet prisoners of war. You will evaluate the Holocaust from the point of view of Nazi persecution and the responses of its victims.

Interpreting the Holocaust

In this module you will develop an understanding of the theoretical approaches to the Holocaust. You will look at the ways in which historians' positions and use of sources are influenced by their theoretical and methodological assumptions. You will examine the ways in which sociological and anthropological texts, testimony and memoir, film, art, photography, comics, museums and monuments relating to the Holocaust are handled. You will consider the key theoretical explanations for the Holocaust, suchas modernity and genocide, the politics of Holocaust memory, and contemporary discussions about memorialisation.

Dissertation

You will carry out an extended piece of research. You will be appointed a member of academic staff who will act as your supervsior, providing you with support and guidance. You will produce a written report of between 10,400 and 16,000 words in length.

Optional modules

In addition to these mandatory course units there are a number of optional course units available during your degree studies. The following is a selection of optional course units that are likely to be available. Please note that although the College will keep changes to a minimum, new units may be offered or existing units may be withdrawn, for example, in response to a change in staff. Applicants will be informed if any significant changes need to be made.

Representing the Holocaust in British and American Literature

In this module you will develop an understanding of how the Holocaust is represented in British and American Literature. You will look at significant translated works, and examine issues such as form, the ethics of representation, the role of testimony, the construction of Jewish identity after the Holocaust, and the relationship between literature and history.

Film,Television and The Holocaust

In this module you will develop an understanding of how the destruction of European Jewry by the Nazis between 1933 and 1945 has been represented and responded to across a range of both fictional and non-fictional media. You will looks at the specific theoretical debates surrounding how the Holocaust can or should (or should not) be represented in art and popular culture. You will consider the role of mass media in constructing both popular and elite relationships to historical experience, and in documenting history.

A Transnational Holocaust

In this module you will develop an understanding of the history, impact and memory of forced movement of Jewish victims of the Nazi regime outside of the familiar places of ghettos and camps. You will look at the transnational and translocal history of the Holocaust, beginning in the mid-1920s and concluding in the early 1950s, including the founding of Israel, the esetablishment of the Displaced Persons Act in the USA, the division of Germany, and the UN refugee convention. You will examine the journeys and experiences of victims of forced movement and their emerging spatial agency in new locations, and also focus on the geo-political contexts of the locations they moved through and stayed in. You will consider emerging research in Holocaust studies on refugee diasporas, transnationalism, and landscapes of the Holocaust, and analyse literature on postwar Europe, humanitarian relief organizations, and histories of asylum seeking pertinent to Jewish, European and as relevant, refugee diasporas in regional locations of Africa, the Caribbean and South America.

Genocide - Comparative Approaches

In this module you will develop an understanding of the comparative approaches to the study of genocide. You will examine comparative themes central to modern scholarship, such as modernity, state violence, and gender, and others arising from the phenomenon itself, such as child transfers and the use of memories of past violence to justify genocide in the present. You will consider the complex causes and dynamics of genocide, with case studies analysing colonial genocide in North America and Australia, and the mass killings in Darfur at the beginning of the 21st century.

Assessment is carried out by coursework and a dissertation. 

The dissertation must be between 14,000 - 16,000 words and is mainly written in the third term and the summer (with a deadline in early September). Students are expected to develop a topic together with their supervisor(s) during the Spring Term. Topics can be taken from various areas, such as the history and representation of the Holocaust or its impact on literatures in different countries, public and visual culture, mass media and digital narratives, and film.

On completion of the course, graduates will have advanced knowledge and understanding of:

  • the most important aspects of the history and historiography of the Holocaust
  • significant intellectual trends in cultural though, philosophy, and representation arising from the Holocaust
  • methods and concepts of various disciplines (historical, literary, philosophical and others)

Entry criteria:

UK Upper Second Class Honours degree (2:1), or equivalent.

Relevant research experience will also be considered

  • An interview may be required if we would like more information upon which to base a decision. Applicants unable to attend, such as overseas students, will usually be interviewed by telephone.

English language requirements:

IELTS 6.5 overall with 7.0 in writing and a minimum of 5.5 in all other subscores. For equivalencies please see here


If you require Royal Holloway to sponsor you study in the UK, your IELTS must be a UK government-approved Secure English Language Test (SELT).

International and EU entry requirements

Please select your country from the drop-down list below




Students from overseas should visit the International pages for information on the entry requirements from their country and further information on English language requirements. Royal Holloway offers a Pre-Master’s Diploma for International Students and English language pre-sessional courses, allowing students the opportunity to develop their study skills and English language before starting their postgraduate degree.

Additional information:

  • An interview and sample essay may be required if we would like more information upon which to base a decision. Applicants unable to attend an interview, such as overseas students, will be interviewed by telephone.

On completion of your MA in Holocaust Studies at Royal Holloway you will have developed and finessed skills, such as research, analysis and presenting, which will appeal to future employers. Your degree also demonstrates that you enjoy being challenged and that you understand complex issues. On graduation you will be ideally placed to develop your career in areas relating to the Holocaust and have a solid foundation for PhD studies.

  • Our Careers team will work with you to enhance your employability and prepare you for the choices ahead. Their support doesn’t end when you graduate; you can access the service for up to two years after graduation.
  • Our graduates are highly employable and, in recent years, have entered many different areas, including careers in academia, charities (such as the Holocaust Educational Trust), museums and the media.

Home and EU students tuition fee per year 2018/19*: £7,200

International students tuition fee per year 2018/19*: £14,900

Other essential costs**: Many of the optional modules are taught in Central London, and therefore if you are resident on the Egham Campus you will need to travel once or twice a week to London to attend these classes. Each Egham resident will be reimbursed a maximum of £130 towards these travel expenses (Southwest Trains Travelcard). There are no other single associated costs greater than £50 per item on this course.

How do I pay for it? Find out more about funding options, including loans, grants, scholarships and bursaries.

* These tuition fees apply to students enrolled on a full-time basis. Students studying part-time are charged a pro-rata tuition fee, usually equivalent to approximately half the full-time fee. Please email student-fees@royalholloway.ac.uk for further information on part-time fees. All postgraduate fees are subject to inflationary increases. Royal Holloway's policy is that any increases in fees will not exceed 5% for continuing students. For further information see tuition fees and our terms and conditions.

** These estimated costs relate to studying this particular degree programme at Royal Holloway. Costs, such as accommodation, food, books and other learning materials and printing, have not been included.

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