MA/Diploma/Certificate Holocaust and Genocide

Co-taught by staff in History, Modern Languages and Theology and Religion, this interdisciplinary programme will immerse you in past and present debates about researching, remembering and commemorating the Holocaust and other genocides.

You have the opportunity to approach the subject from a variety of perspectives with a choice of optional modules - some which have a more traditional, historical focus and others which examine the cultural, social, political and religious afterlife of the Holocaust and other genocides.


German Studies studentship available

The Institute of German Studies is offering a studentship for Master's students in German Studies. Open to students pursuing a range of Master's-level programmes, the award provides a stipend of £5,000.

Find out more and apply now

Kitty Hart-Moxon

Kitty Hart-Moxon

Holocaust Survivor and Honorary Graduate

“I believe that the lack of understanding and education on the consequences of discrimination by three post war generations has contributed to the genocides since the Second World War. Holocaust Education is relevant in today‚Äôs world. It is vital that lessons are learned from the catastrophic events of the past to prevent future genocides.”

We are able to offer a unique combination of expertise in the study of the Holocaust and of genocide across a variety of disciplines, including historical studies, conflict and war studies, memory studies, literary studies, translation studies, and film studies.

In addition to taking modules directly related to the Holocaust and/or genocide, you therefore also have the opportunity to take alternative disciplinary approaches and study modules that are relevant to, but not directly related to, the topic.

All students will take two core modules:

  • Research Skills in the Study of Holocaust and Genocide: Methodologies and Sources
  • Holocaust and Genocide: Comparative and Interdisciplinary Perspectives

MA students will also take an additional module: Dissertation Preparation and Guided Reading (Holocaust and Genocide). See below for full details of core modules.

Certificate students will take one optional module, while Diploma and MA students will take three optional modules, from a wide range of related Masters-level options within the College of Arts and Law, as well as within the Department of Political Science and International Studies (College of Social Sciences). An indicative list of options is provided below.

Certificate students are advised to take a module which directly relates to the study of Holocaust and/or genocide, chosen in consultation with the programme leader. MA and Diploma students also have the option to choose up to two of their modules from the wider College; again, this should be done in consultation with the programme leader.


Core modules are each assessed by 4,000-word written assignment. Assessment of optional modules will vary depend on options chosen.

MA students will also complete a dissertation – this can either be a written or placement-based dissertation. If you choose to complete a written dissertation its length will be 15,000 words.

Why study this course

  • Taught by experts – the departments contributing to this course are home to outstanding academic staff who are leading in their fields and will support you throughout your time at Birmingham.
  • Small classes – teaching on the masters-level modules involves mainly small-group seminars allowing you to have a focused discussion about the learning materials.
  • Friendly and relaxed atmosphere – staff are always happy to talk through work and provide additional feedback on academic performance.
  • Be a part of an active postgraduate community – you will join a lively and stimulating community where you can contribute to on-going research activities, including research seminars, events, workshops, reading groups and conferences throughout the year.
  • Access to academic support services – as a postgraduate student you will have access to services such as the Academic Writing Advisory Service and the Bank of Assessed Work which will aid your transition from undergraduate to postgraduate level, or back into academia after a time away. 


All students will take the following core modules:

Research Skills in the Study of Holocaust and Genocide: Methodologies and Sources

This module introduces you to both generic and subject-specific research skills. In terms of the latter, particular attention is paid to (a) the multi-and interdisciplinary character of studying the Holocaust and genocide, and the range of disciplinary and theoretical interpretive frameworks that can be adopted; (b) the methodological challenges posed by the nature of the sources available (in some cases, by the absence, or fragmented nature, of those sources); (c) the importance of context – local, national and transnational in determining interpretations of, and responses to, Holocaust and genocide; (d) the complexities of remembering, representing and instrumentalising Holocaust and genocide. Subject-specific sessions will focus on key generic research sources (e.g., archives, oral and video histories/testimonies, artefacts and other forms of material evidence, film, photographs).

The module is delivered via a combination of generic and subject-specific research skills seminars on campus (the latter will be delivered in 1-2 intensive day-long or half-day blocks) and self-directed e-learning.
Assessment: 4,000-word essay

Holocaust and Genocide: Comparative and Interdisciplinary Perspectives

This module explores the complexities and challenges of defining and studying the ‘Holocaust’ and ‘genocide’, both on their own terms and comparatively. Attention will be paid to ongoing disputes over what constitutes appropriate terminology in this subject area. This discussion will be contextualised within the emerging and developing fields of Holocaust studies and genocide studies and the complex and contested historiography of ‘Holocaust’, ‘genocide’ and their interrelationship.

Topics covered may include: ‘the politics of uniqueness’; interpretations of the Holocaust as ‘a mosaic of victims’; the relationship between Holocaust/genocide and war; the complexities of categories such as ‘victims, perpetrators and bystanders’; the significance of gender (e.g., ‘gendercide’); genocide and ‘prevention’; prosecuting war crimes and crimes against humanity; different manifestations of denial; and the growing phenomena of memorial museums and the controversies surrounding ‘exhibiting’ atrocity.
Assessment: 4,000-word essay

MA students will also take two additional core modules:

Dissertation Preparation and Guided Reading (Holocaust and Genocide)

This module is designed to aid your planning and research for your dissertation. You will be supported to develop the relevant skills and produce a structured framework in the form of the preparation of a research proposal and literature review. During the course of the module you will also become familiar with a range of bibliographic aids for locating relevant primary and secondary sources.
Assessment: 4,000-word dissertation portfolio

Dissertation or Placement-based Dissertation

If you choose to complete a written dissertation, this will be a substantial and sustained investigation of an aspect of the Holocaust and/or genocide in history and/or memory, culminating in a 15,000-word dissertation.

The placement-based dissertation is ideal for those who have begun careers and are returning to study after time in employment, or those who are aiming to enhance their employability by obtaining (further) experience within related professional contexts. The Placement-based Dissertation offers a more applied, contextualised approach to independent research than the more traditional dissertation route. It combines a placement at a relevant institution or organisation (e.g., a museum or NGO) with the production of either a 10,000-word dissertation critically analysing and evaluating reflecting on an aspect of the approach and/or work of the institution hosting the placement, or a report or piece of relevant research, or another form of media output for the placement host (such as a website).

Certificate students will take one optional module, while Diploma and MA students will take three optional modules. Options previously available have included:

Auschwitz in History and Memory

This interdisciplinary module explores Auschwitz in history and memory.

The history of KL Auschwitz: topics covered may include the evolution and multi-functionality of the site; the experience of non-Jews (Poles, Sinti and Roma, Soviet POWs and British POWs); gendered experiences; the nature of survival; the nature and extent of resistance; the Sonderkommando; perpetrators and perpetrator texts.

Auschwitz in memory: we focus on the cultural and symbolic ‘afterlife’ of the site and ongoing debates over what ‘Auschwitz’ means today both as a physical location/memorial and as a symbol, and controversies between different communities of memory over who ‘owns’ Auschwitz (i.e., whose experience and sensitivities should take precedence there). Topics covered may include visual representations of Auschwitz (art, photographs, film); memorialisation of the site; the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum in Oświęcim with particular reference to its evolution over time, and to permanent and national exhibitions there; Auschwitz as a site of pilgrimage and (contested) sacred space, and/or as a site of mass/dark tourism, and as a site of pilgrimage.
Assessment: 1,000-word critical reflection and 3,000-word essay

Historical and Contemporary Debates on the Holocaust

The module introduces you to a range of historical and contemporary debates on the Holocaust. The focus is methodological, focusing on how this historical period is conceptualised, interpreted and studied, both as events were unfolding and subsequently. The module begins by considering when these events first began to be spoken of as ‘the Holocaust’; the range of possible definitions of ‘the Holocaust’ (e.g., in relation to the experience of non-Jewish victims of Nazi persecution and ‘other’ genocides), and issues relating to language, terminology and the naming of these events. Consideration will be given to evaluating the range of sources and the perspectives they embody (often conceptualized as those of ‘victims’, ‘survivors’, ‘perpetrators’, ‘bystanders’, etc.), and whether it is possible to construct an ‘integrated’ history of the Holocaust. 
Assessment: 4,000-word essay

Jewish Religious Responses to the Holocaust

This module analyses a range of Jewish responses to the Holocaust, both as events were happening and subsequently. These responses fall into three broad chronological and/or thematic groupings: orthodox responses; Holocaust theology which emerged in the mid-1960s; post-Holocaust responses. We focus on the contribution of key thinkers (e.g., Ephraim Oshry, Elie Wiesel, Richard Rubenstein, Emil Fackenheim, David Blumenthal, Melissa Raphael) and the evolution of their thought, as well as on recurrent themes or controversies (such as the Holocaust as punishment for sin, the relevance of kidush hashem or ‘martyrdom’ as a response during the Holocaust; Holocaust testimony as sacred text; how to appropriately memorialise the Holocaust within the Jewish calendar and the relationship between Jewish commemoration of these events and national and international Holocaust Memorial Days; the mythologisation and ‘sanctification’ of the Holocaust, the Holocaust and civil Judaisms).
Assessment: 4,000-word essay

Post-Conflict Peacebuilding and International Order

This module explores the record, effectiveness of, and prospects for, various international actors involved in building peace and reconstructing state institutions after conflict. It considers a number of theoretical debates and controversies regarding peacebuilding, such as: the relationship between peacebuilding and international order; the changing nature of international politics and the types of actors which are relevant to the study of peacebuilding; normative debates about justice and ethics in international politics; the evolving nature of state sovereignty; and the debates and controversies which surround the promotion of democracy and market economics as a basis for peace ('liberal peacebuilding'). It examines a number of case studies in order to deepen understanding of the record of peacebuilding, consider how the political debates can be illustrated 'on the ground' and consider what lessons might be learned.
Assessment: Literature review and essay

Religion in Contemporary Global Politics I

This module focuses on theoretical and conceptual debates about the role of religion in contemporary global politics. Traditionally, the study of political science and international relations has framed the understanding of religion within the context of secularisation and the nation-state. This interpretation is being increasingly contested by the impact of globalisation and the rise of anti-secular movements. The module will critically examine the secularisation thesis as applied to the ‘West’ (developed countries) and the ‘East’ (underdeveloped countries) and evaluate the impact of globalisation on collective religious identities. Following an introduction to the theoretical perspectives the course will focus on three particular themes: religious nationalism; religious identities and mobilisation; and religious transnationalism. The module concludes by reflecting on the wider implications for the study of politics and international relations of organised religious movements today.
Assessment: 4,000-word essay

Religion in Contemporary Global Politics II

This module examines the public policy responses to the global religious revival since 1989. Although traditionally organised religions have been viewed as the source of intractable political conflicts, in the last decade there has been an increasing recognition of the need to manage religious differences and to utilise religious resources for conflict resolution. Theoretically and conceptually this departure is anchored in the inter-related debates on multiculturalism, pluralism and the need for religious dialogue among the world’s great religions. Following an examination of these debates and the assumptions underpinning them, the module will evaluate policy response in three contexts: the United Nations system; transnational organisations; and national and local public policy agendas. The module concludes by reflecting critically on the achievements and the limitations of integrating organised religions into public policy implementation.
Assessment: 4,000-word essay

Terrorism and Contemporary Conflict

This module seeks to explore, examine and critically evaluate contemporary violence and terrorism. In doing so, the module is split, broadly speaking, into two parts. The two parts of the module will seek to explore post-Cold War political violence, or what may be more appropriately understood as terrorism and contemporary conflict. In particular, the module will explore, evaluate and analyse the 'war on terror' and national and international strategies designed to counter contemporary violence.
Assessment: Three-hour written examination

The Politics of the Arab-Israeli Conflict

This module examines the factors which have affected attempts to reach a peaceful settlement of the Palestine/Israel problem and the Arab-Israeli conflict more broadly. This includes a study of the dynamics of the conflict, the proposals which have been put forward to resolve the problem, the conduct of negotiations intended to achieve peaceful settlement, and the practical record of implementation of such measures as have been agreed.
Assessment: Two 500-word papers, one presentation, one 3,000-word essay

Totalitarianism and the State

This module is focused around the study of Totalitarianism and the State in the context of modern political ideas. It is organised both historically and thematically. Historically, it traces developments in theories and interpretations of totalitarianism across the twentieth century, from Hannah Arendt through to Michel Foucault. Thematically, the module examines, in turn, the origins of fascism and of communism; the role of rationality in totalitarian regimes; perspectives on evil in politics; the concept of political religion; and the notion of the modern, surveillance state.
Assessment: 5,000-word essay

Please note that the optional module information listed on the website for this programme is intended to be indicative, and the availability of optional modules may vary from year to year. Where a module is no longer available we will let you know as soon as we can and help you to make other choices.

Fees and funding

We charge an annual tuition fee. Fees for 2018/19 are as follows:


  • UK / EU: £9,000 full-time; £4,500 part-time
  • International: £16,290 full-time


  • UK / EU: £6,000 full-time; £3,000 part-time
  • International: £16,290 full-time


  • UK / EU: £3,000 full-time or part-time
  • International £8,145 full-time

For part-time students studying an MA or diploma, the above fee quoted is for year one only and tuition fees will also be payable in year two of your programme.

Fee status

Eligibility for UK/EU or international fees can be verified with Admissions. Learn more about fees for international students

We can also confirm that EU students who are already studying at the University of Birmingham or who have an offer to start their studies in the 2018-19 academic year will continue to be charged the UK fee rate applicable at the time, provided this continues to be permitted by UK law. The UK Government has also confirmed that students from the EU applying to courses starting in the 2018-19 academic year will not see any changes to their loan eligibility or fee status. This guarantee will apply for the full duration of the course, even if the course finishes after the UK has left the EU.

Paying your fees

Tuition fees can either be paid in full or by instalments. Learn more about postgraduate tuition fees and funding.

Scholarships and studentships

Scholarships to cover fees and/or maintenance costs may be available. To discover whether you are eligible for any award across the University, and to start your funding application, please visit the University's Postgraduate Funding Database.

International students can often gain funding through overseas research scholarships, Commonwealth scholarships or their home government.

Entry requirements

Learn more about entry requirements

International students

Academic requirements

We accept a range of qualifications; our country pages show you what qualifications we accept from your country.

English language requirements

You can satisfy our English language requirements in two ways:

How to apply

Application deadlines

International students requiring visas

Monday 2 July 2018 is the application deadline for international students who require a visa to study in the United Kingdom. We are not able to consider applications for 2018 made after this date - a new application should be made for September 2019. Applications will reopen for 2019 entry by 21 September 2018.

UK/EU students

Please apply by Friday 31 August 2018. However, we would encourage you to apply at the earliest opportunity, to allow adequate time to prepare for starting your studies once receiving a decision on your application. Please also be aware that earlier deadlines may apply if you wish to make an application for funding.

Late applicants are encouraged to contact the Admissions Tutor for advice.

Before you make your application

You may wish to register your interest with us to receive regular news and updates on postgraduate life within this Department and the wider University.

Making your application

When clicking on the Apply Now button you will be directed to an application specifically designed for the programme you wish to apply for where you will create an account with the University application system and submit your application and supporting documents online. Further information regarding how to apply online can be found on the How to apply pages

Apply now

The Research Skills module is taught in an intensive three-day block, to be supported by self-directed e-learning.

The dissertation preparation module is taught via a combination of seminars and individual supervision sessions, while other modules are generally taught via weekly seminars over ten weeks.

You will be given opportunities to come into contact with experts working in their subject areas, and begin networking with such experts and your postgraduate peers, through activities such as our annual colloquium on Holocaust and genocide.

Support with academic writing

As a postgraduate student in the College of Arts and Law, you have access to the Academic Writing Advisory Service (AWAS) which aims to help your transition from undergraduate to taught Masters level, or back into academia after time away. The service offers guidance on writing assignments and dissertations for your MA/MSc programme with individual support from an academic writing advisor via tutorials, email and the provision of online materials.

International students can access support for English Language development and skills through the Birmingham International Academy (BIA).

This programme will enable you to develop your independent learning skills, develop your written and oral communication and show evidence of these to specialist and non-specialist, practitioner and academic audiences.

Your degree will provide excellent preparation for employment and this will be further enhanced by a range of employability support services offered by the University.

The University's Careers Network provides advice and information specifically for postgraduates that will help you to develop an effective career and skills development strategy, and to make the most of your time with us at the University. The College of Arts and Law also has a dedicated careers and employability team to deliver tailored programmes of careers events and local support.

You will have opportunities to: meet employers face-to-face at on-campus recruitment fairs; attend employer presentations and skills workshops; receive individual guidance on your job applications, writing your CV and improving your interview technique; and access to comprehensive listings of hundreds of graduate jobs and work experience opportunities.

You will also be able to access our full range of careers support for up to two years after graduation.

Postgraduate employability: Theology and Religion

Birmingham’s Theology graduates develop a broad range of transferable skills including: familiarity with research methods; the ability to manage large quantities of information from diverse sources; the ability to organise information in a logical and coherent manner; the expertise to write clearly and concisely and to tight deadlines; critical and analytical ability; the capacity for argument, debate and speculation; and the ability to base conclusions on statistical research.

Many of our graduates go into careers in churches of various denominations. Other students use their transferable skills in a range of employment sectors, including publishing, education and social work. Employers that our graduates have gone on to work for include: Church of England; Methodist Church; NHS; and University of Birmingham.

Birmingham has been transformed into one of Europe's most exciting cities. It is more than somewhere to study; it is somewhere to build a successful future.

Get involved

The Guild of Students hosts over 250 student groups and societies to suit a wide range of interests. These include the Postgraduate and Mature Students Association which runs a regular and varied programme of events specifically tailored to postgraduate students.

In addition, you will find that each Department runs its own social activities, research fora and student groups.


We offer accommodation for postgraduates on or near to campus, although many of our students also choose to live privately in student accommodation, shared houses or flats. If you do choose to live in private accommodation, the University has dedicated support services to help you to find properties from accredited landlords.

The City of Birmingham

One of Europe's most exciting destinations, Birmingham is brimming with life and cultures, making it a wonderful place to live, study and work. Our students fall in love with the city - around 40% of our graduates choose to make Birmingham their home.