Holocaust and Related Studies

Holocaust and related studies in genocide examine the historical and social factors that lead to ethnic cleansing and mass murder. Continue reading to learn more about this specialized field of study, as well as how it can lead to a career in education, museum work or other related vocation.

Are Holocaust and Related Studies for Me?

Career Overview

Holocaust studies programs can provide you with an in-depth look at the historical and sociological aspects of ethnic destruction within an ethical, political and religious context. As a student of the Holocaust, you may pursue topics in 20th-century European and German history, human rights, Jewish culture and racism. You might also explore Holocaust themes in literature. The Armenian Genocide or Cambodian killing fields may be covered, along with similar occurrences in Bosnia, Rwanda or Darfur. As a result, you'll be able to make connections between past and present events and learn how governments and societies can protect ethnic groups and populations in the future.

Career Options and Responsibilities

An in-depth study of the Holocaust and history can lead to a career in human rights, historical work, museum studies or teaching. Some positions, such as history teacher, may require additional training in education.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the professional responsibilities of a historian can include analyzing past events and exploring how they shaped history, while museum curators and technicians may organize exhibitions of past and present events. By comparison, human rights activists address areas of current concern and work to prevent future atrocities around the world (www.bls.gov).

Employment and Salary Information

According to the BLS, employment opportunities for high school teachers, historians and museum technicians are projected to increase by a slower-than-average rate nationwide from 2012 to 2022. Average growth is expected for curators and middle school teachers, while university professors will enjoy a faster-than-average increase in opportunities during the same 10-year period.

As of May 2012, history professors and historians earned median annual salaries of $65,870 and $52,480, respectively. In the same month, middle and high school teachers had corresponding salaries of $53,430 and $55,050. As of May 2012, the median annual salary for a curator was $49,590, while museum technicians earned $38,220 (www.bls.gov).

How Can I Work in Holocaust Studies?

Education Overview

Holocaust and genocide studies are available at both the undergraduate and graduate levels; some schools may also offer minors or graduate certificate programs in the same field of study. In addition to Jewish history, literature and religion, some Judaic studies programs include a study of the Holocaust, as well as instruction in the Hebrew language.

Undergraduate Programs

An undergraduate major in history or the Holocaust is an interdisciplinary course of study that examines the Holocaust through historical accounts, literature and film. In particular, you'll have the chance to explore the leadership choices that led to mass genocide, including the myths, stereotypes and prejudices associated with these decisions. The legacy of the Holocaust will also be covered, along with similar contemporary and historical events. In addition to entry-level positions in education or museum work, successful completion of an undergraduate program can prepare you for graduate-level work in Holocaust and genocide studies, humanities or law.

Graduate Degree Programs

Through a master's or doctoral degree program in Holocaust studies, you'll learn about the attitudes, events and public opinions that led to the Holocaust, while pursuing core coursework in ethics and social psychology. You may also learn about Jewish life during the Holocaust and research the activities of Nazi collaborators. Instructional strategies for teaching the Holocaust might also be covered. Completion of a master's degree program may qualify you for a teaching position at a community college, a curator's job or work as a human rights advocate. A doctoral degree is usually required to become a history professor or professional historian. Along with the advanced coursework, doctoral requirements include the writing and defense of a dissertation on genocide or the Holocaust.

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