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Holocaust Studies Overview

The holocaust involved the murder of two-thirds of all European Jews. Many want to ensure this horrific historic event is never repeated. For those who want to learn more about history as well as preventing atrocities in our own time, a major in Holocaust Studies is ideal.

Holocaust Studies focuses on human history with an emphasis on the Nazi Holocaust and the broader topic of genocide. You will explore the culture, society, politics, ethics, science, and religion surrounding the events of the Holocaust. You will also study issues of discrimination, racism, and prejudice.

Be prepared to take courses in a variety of subjects. You will study ethics, communist ideology, politics, Nazi Germany, history of the Holocaust, modern Jewish history, sociology, ethnic and race relations, perspectives on terrorism, and comparative genocide.

Required Skills

This major explores controversial and painful issues. You will learn how to research emotional events to discover the truth. Coursework will you develop critical reading and writing skills. It is important that you are able to summarize information to clearly develop and define your argument. It helps to be detail oriented as you research historical events, analyze scholarly articles and write lengthy papers on your findings.

Students should have empathy toward survivors and current people in similar situations. You may have the opportunity to hear an actual Holocaust survivor speak or interview those with experience in the topic. Work on your critical thinking skills as you analyze world views, ethics and politics of the time period as well as today. Be ready to study abroad in Poland or Germany to get a more a closer look at the Holocaust and actually visit concentration camps.


A Holocaust Studies degree will allow you to work as a historian. This can be a very competitive field to get into, especially for those with a niche major. Most historian positions are paid for by public funding and donations, so job growth will depend on the funding available. However, due to well-developed critical thinking and analytical skills, graduates should be able to find work in a variety of other occupations as well. You could find a job as an educator, museum director, researcher, public service or social worker.

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Salary data is estimated by College Factual using 2013 data provided by PayScale.
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