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Red Terror Martyrs' Memorial Museum, Ethiopia

Master Programme Holocaust and Genocide Studies

The unique one-year Master's programme Holocaust and Genocide Studies explores 20th-century genocides from the vantage point of different disciplines.The programme is a collaboration between the NIOD and the University of Amsterdam.

Understanding the Unthinkable

Genocide and mass atrocities are often presented in a way that makes violence seem inexplicable, thus inexorable. Similarly perpetrators are portrayed as being actors motivated solely by an irrational hatred.  And yet, genocide is a recurrent and contemporary historical dilemma. How can we explain this discrepancy? In the Master's programme Holocaust and Genocide Studies, we seek to demystify genocide by taking an interdisciplinary, scholarly approach to understanding genocide and mass atrocities.

Holocaust and Genocide Studies

Key features of the Master's programme Holocaust and Genocide Studies:

  • The curriculum focuses on genocide and mass atrocities in the 20th century, encompassing the Holocaust, and mass violence in Namibia, Armenia, the USSR, Indonesia, Cambodia, Rwanda, the former Yugoslavia, and contemporary cases (Democratic Republic of the Congo, Sudan, Syria).
  • Wide-ranging engagement with genocide, from the causes, courses and consequences, to representations in the arts and transitional justice following mass atrocities.
  • An international student body.
  • The context of the Netherlands offers our students several advantages including the opportunity to visit genocide-related sites, as well as the international criminal tribunals in The Hague.
  • The programme is a collaboration between the NIOD and the University of Amsterdam. 

Student profile

As a student in the Master’s programme in Holocaust and Genocide Studies you will be expected to have the following knowledge, insight and skills:

  • You are interested in mass violence, genocide, Holocaust, war, conflict, atrocities, global affairs, human rights and transitional justice from a scholarly perspective;
  • You have a strong engagement in current politics and contemporary society;
  • You are interested in historical, comparative and contemporary research;
  • You are interested in multidisciplinary research (i.e. history, sociology, anthropology, political sciences, psychology, law, journalism);
  • You have an interest in actively engaging in in-class discussions and debates;
  • You are able to read and understand complex historical, sociological and legal texts (in English);
  • You are self-motivated, critical and can work independently; and you know how to critically engage with primary sources, secondary literature and theory;
  • You wish to learn advanced research and writing skills leading to a research-oriented career or doctoral study.

Information and application

Please see all the practical information about the Master’s Programme and how and when to apply via this link

For substantive questions about the Programme, please contact prof. dr. Ugur Ungor, dr. Thijs Bouwknegt, or dr. Laurien Vastenhout at


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