Duration: 1 year full time or 2 years part time
Institution code: R72
Campus: Central London
UK fees*: £10,600
International/EU fees**: £21,700
Holocaust Studies (MA)
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 Institute'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 in central London at the Wiener Library and at the University of London's Senate House.
We offer a wide range of postgraduate scholarships to help with funding your studies. We especially encourage eligible applicants to apply for one of the following:
David Cesarani, Kobler scholarship – £10,000 to cover tuition fees and a contribution towards living costs for Home/EU students with, or expected to achieve, a First Class degree or equivalent.
Willoughby Losner scholarship – tuition fee reduction of £7,300 for Home/EU students with, or expected to achieve, a First Class degree or equivalent
Dinah and Jessica Nichols scholarship – £12,000 scholarship for Home/EU or international students with, or expected to achieve, a First Class degree or equivalent.
From time to time, we make changes to our courses to improve the student and learning experience. If we make a significant change to your chosen course, we’ll let you know as soon as possible.
This module provides students with a deep understanding of the genocide of the Jews of Europe by the Nazis and their collaborators during the Second World War, the events that have come to be known as ‘the Holocaust’. From the rise of Nazism to the aftermath of liberation, the module proceeds chronologically. With a focus on Nazi ideology and the ‘racial state’, it examines Nazi thinking, pre-war antisemitic policies, the war in Poland and the creation of ghettos, the war in the Soviet Union and the ‘Holocaust by bullets’, and the creation of the death camps in occupied Poland. It then looks at how the murder of the Jews was carried out across Europe, with particular focus on Western Europe, the Balkans, Romania and Hungary, and considers the idea of Nazi imperialism and the Holocaust as a pan-European crime in which widespread collaboration occurred. It concludes by looking at resistance, the genocide of the Roma and Sinti, the ‘death marches’ and the liberation of the camps, the DP camps and the collection of the first postwar testimonies. Finally, it explores ‘the quest for explanation’ by examining competing ways of situating the events of the Holocaust in history.
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, such as modernity and genocide, the politics of Holocaust memory, and contemporary discussions about memorialisation.
You will carry out an extended piece of research. You will be appointed a member of academic staff who will act as your supervisor, providing you with support and guidance. You will produce a written report of approximately 12,000 words in length.
This module will describe the key principles of academic integrity, focusing on university assignments. Plagiarism, collusion and commissioning will be described as activities that undermine academic integrity, and the possible consequences of engaging in such activities will be described. Activities, with feedback, will provide you with opportunities to reflect and develop your understanding of academic integrity principles.
There are a number of optional course modules available during your degree studies. The following is a selection of optional course modules that are likely to be available. Please note that although the College will keep changes to a minimum, new modules may be offered or existing modules may be withdrawn, for example, in response to a change in staff. Applicants will be informed if any significant changes need to be made.
Optional modules may include:
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.
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 look 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.
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 establishment 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 geopolitical 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.
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.
This module offers a historical and conceptual approach to Jewish, Muslim, and Christian diasporas, refugees and minorities in the imperial and post-imperial lands of Europe and the Mediterranean of the late 19th and 20th centuries. It maps the complex transformation of ethno-religious diasporas into refugees and minorities amidst war, genocide and forced relocation and considers their enduring legacy in Europe and beyond. Diasporas, refugees and minorities are often treated separately, but this module points to significant overlaps and interchangeable positions in their histories as Jewish minorities interacted with Christian refugees or became refugees themselves before, during and after the Holocaust.
Teaching & assessment
Assessment is carried out by coursework and a dissertation.
The dissertation must be a maximum of 12,000 words, inclusive of footnotes and exclusive of bibliography, 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)
UK Lower Class Honours degree (2:2) or equivalent in History or a related subject in the Humanities or Social Sciences.
Relevant research experience will also be considered
An interview and academic essay 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.
International & EU requirements
English language requirements
- IELTS: 6.5 overall. Writing 7.0. No other subscore lower than 5.5.
- Pearson Test of English: 61 overall. Writing 69. No other subscore lower than 51.
- Trinity College London Integrated Skills in English (ISE): ISE III.
- Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE) grade C
- TOEFL iBT: 88 overall, with Reading 18 Listening 17 Speaking 20 Writing 26.
- Duolingo: 120 overall, 135 in Literacy, 135 in Production and no sub-score below 100.
Your future career
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.
Fees, funding & scholarships
Home (UK) students tuition fee per year*: £10,600
EU and international students tuition fee per year**: £21,700
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.
* and ** These tuition fees apply to students enrolled on a full-time basis. Students studying on the standard part-time course structure over two years are charged 50% of the full-time applicable fee for each study year.
All postgraduate fees are subject to inflationary increases. Please be aware that tuition fees can rise during your degree (if longer than one year’s duration). This means that the overall cost of studying the course part-time will be slightly higher than studying it full-time in one year.
** This figure is the fee for EU and international students starting a degree in the academic year 2024/25. Find out more
*** These estimated costs relate to studying this particular degree at Royal Holloway during the 2024/25 academic year, and are included as a guide. Costs, such as accommodation, food, books and other learning materials and printing, have not been included.