Holocaust and Genocide Studies



The demand for Holocaust and Genocide Studies has grown over the past thirty years. Five states mandate that the subject be taught in the schools, and multiple states -- including Pennsylvania -- are recommending inclusion in school curricula. Thus, teachers and librarians are seeking more information and instruction. Furthermore, the end of the 20th century saw an explosion of new scholarship and new perspectives on the Holocaust. This scholarship is reinforced by the desire of survivors and those who lived through World War II to educate future generations and to bear witness to the fact that the Holocaust did happen. 

Subsequent episodes of genocide in the modern world generate a continuing need for education and a demand for teaching resources. As a public, comprehensive university that has been training teachers for more than a century, West Chester University is able to provide excellent scholarly and pedagogical resources to students, teachers, and the community.

WCU faculty have been pioneers in Holocaust Studies since 1978 when professor Irene Shur first offered an undergraduate course on the Holocaust. The program now includes an 18-hour graduate certificate in Holocaust and Genocide Studies, an undergraduate minor in Holocaust Studies, a regional education center, and a library collection. Students in the graduate certificate program and undergraduate minor take six courses. Graduate students are eligible to apply for a number of merit-based scholarships.

Alumni have gone on to do important work across the United States in the field of Holocaust education and human rights advocacy. Students have also entered doctoral programs at the University College of London, Lehigh University, the University of Tennessee, Wayne State University, Arizona State University, and George Mason University.

Interested students should contact either Dr. Jonathan Friedman (jfriedman@wcupa.edu) or Dr. Brenda Gaydosh (graduate coordinator of the history department, (bgaydosh@wcupa.edu).

Course Listings for Holocaust Studies

Summer 1 2023 

  • HIS 523 Modern Germany online Dr. Gaydosh


Fall 2023 

  • HIS 331 20th Century Europe online Tuesday 7:15-10:00 pm Dr. Friedman
  • HIS 418 Global History of Slavery Tuesday/Thursday 2:00-3:15 pm Dr. Urban
  • PHI 481/581 Philosophy of Human Rights Wednesday 6:15-9:00 pm Dr. Johnson 
  • HIS 500 Methods in Historical Research 5:50-8:25 pm Dr. Kirschenbaum
  • HIS 511 Africa to Independence Tuesday 4:00-6:45 pm Dr. Donkor


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