Skip to content | Change text size
Handbooks Courses Units
Monash University

Master of Holocaust and Genocide Studies

NOTE: This course has been updated - please refer to the postgraduate handbook change register for details.

Course code: 3946 ~ Course abbreviation: MHoloc&GenStds ~ Total credit points required: 72 ~ 1.5 years full-time, 3 years part-time ~ Managing faculty: Arts

Study mode and course location

On-campus (Clayton)

Course description

The aim of the Masters degree is to provide students with expert knowledge about the causes of genocide and international efforts to prevent crimes against humanity. It covers a wide range of themes, with a focus on the Holocaust as a paradigmatic case of genocide from which lessons can be learned about other instances of mass killing. Students completing this program will have advanced knowledge on the United Nations Conventions relating to Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity and on the way scholarly communities have addressed the perennial problem of genocide prevention and resolution of violent conflict. The program emphasises the possibilities for averting violent conflict through humanitarian intervention and individual acts of conscience. The units offered cover particular instances of genocidal conflict, the gender politics of violence, a consideration of the treatment of Australia's indigenous population, and the themes of memory, trauma, testimony, and reconciliation. The program highlights the importance of oral testimony and the act of witnessing, drawing on Monash's acquisition of the Shoah Foundation Visual History Archive. Students completing this program will be equipped to contribute to government and non-governmental organisations dealing with conflict resolution, and to work with international systems of justice established for the purposes of genocide prevention and prosecution.

Course objectives

Upon completion of this course, students will have: 1. a comprehensive understanding of the United Nations genocide convention and its effectiveness as a description of the social reality of mass killing. 2. advanced knowledge of the origins and history of the Holocaust and its application as a paradigmatic case of genocide. 3. knowledge of the broad history of genocidal acts in history and how they can be distinguished from other acts of violent conflict. 4. an understanding of theoretical approaches to the problem of human violence from a range of disciplinary perspectives, including anthropology, ethnography, sociology and politics. 5. an appreciation of the experience of Australia's indigenous population in relation to the UN definition of genocide. 6. an ability to identify the factors that radicalise conflict into genocidal situations. 7. an appreciation of the possibilities for humanitarian intervention and acts of individual conscience and rescue in situations of genocide. 8. an appreciation of the role of scholarly communities in defining genocide and identifying the complex web of factors that lead to genocidal situations. 9. an understanding of the role of the law and international systems of criminal justice for preventing genocide and dealing with post-genocidal societies. 10. an understanding of the ethics of testimony and the themes of trauma, memory, mourning as they relate to genocide. 11. critical thinking about how genocidal situations are represented and probed through different forms of writing. 12. highly developed critical thinking skills, particularly in regard to analysis of violent conflict and the role of governments and non-government organisations, on both the international and national level in providing responsive measures to genocide. 13. the ability to work and research independently on complex academic and workplace-based projects. 14. high level writing, communication and presentation skills.

Minimum pass grade

Student must maintain a minimum credit average (60 ~ ). If students do not maintain a minimum credit average they will exit the course with one of the qualifications outlined below under `Exit points'.

Course structure

This course will cover a broad range of areas that deal with different aspects of genocide. Students will be able to specialise in areas of particular interest to them, through coursework units and self-directed research. Students commence with 24 points of genuine Level 4 units. The next 24 points may be either Level 4 or Level 5 units. The final 24 points must be Level 5 units.

Course requirements

The following units are available (not all are offered every year):


  • up to two approved elective 12 point units from across the University.

Students completing 48 points of the program including the24-point research project may be permitted to enter into a research degree.

Students completing the masters qualification are required to complete 24 points of level 5 units.

Exit points

Students who have completed 24 points of the Master of Holocaust and Genocide Studies may apply to exit with a Graduate Certificate in Holocaust and Genocide Studies. Students who have completed 48 points of the Master of Holocaust and Genocide Studies may apply to exit with a Graduate Diploma in Holocaust and Genocide Studies.

Course coordinator

Assoc Prof Mark Baker