Fourth in a series of posts, by CHRISTINE LIM, on graduate-level academic programs in genocide studies.  

Q & A with Dr. Jonathan Friedman, Director of the Holocaust and Genocide Studies program at West Chester University of Pennsylvania

1. What graduate-level degree is offered in the field of genocide studies at WCUPA?

West Chester University, located 25 miles west of Philadelphia, PA, offers through its Holocaust and Genocide Education Center a Master of Arts in Holocaust and Genocide Studies.

2. What are some of WCUPA’s non-degree offerings in the field?

WCUPA offers a graduate-level certificate in Holocaust and Genocide Studies, an undergraduate minor in Holocaust Studies, and a popular capstone field studies course that has traditionally gone to sites of Holocaust history in Europe, usually Israel or Germany.

3. When was the program founded?

An undergraduate course on the Holocaust was first offered in 1978. WCUPA’s Holocaust and Genocide Studies M.A. and graduate certificate program began in 2000.

4. What makes the WCUPA program stand out from others?

It has a broad theoretical framework, with a rigorous focus on the nature and dynamics of prejudice, racism, and bigotry. Also, it brings an interdisciplinary approach to the subject matter, including courses from history, psychology, philosophy, criminal justice, political science, and language arts.

5. Who are the faculty involved in this program?

Here is our program faculty page.

6. What are the courses like?

Some examples:
Genocide in Modern History
Methods for Teaching the Holocaust and Genocide Studies
Politics of the Holocaust and Genocide

A more complete list is here.

7. How many years do students normally take to graduate?

Normally, the program takes two years to complete.

8. How many people have received this degree to date?

38 students have graduated from the program since its inception. 37 graduates received the MA degree. 1 student graduated with the 18-hour certificate.

9. What are your alumni doing?

The bulk of our alumni are middle and high school teachers who are using the degree to create courses in Holocaust and Genocide Studies. A smaller number of graduates work in Jewish federations or Holocaust museums, and we’ve had students go on to doctoral programs in history at Temple University, the University of Tennessee, Wayne State University, and Lehigh University.

(Google and LinkedIn searches reveal that Middle East analyst Asaf Romirowsky is an alum. Other alumni are variously an Adjunct Professor of Holocaust and Genocide at Widener University, on the Executive Committee of the Holocaust Resource Center of the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey, the chair of a high school English department, and a Special Assistant Public Defender.)

10. Tell us more about the admissions process.

GREs are not required. I don’t know what our acceptance rate is, but the basic requirements are an undergraduate degree, GPA of 2.8 or higher, a completed application with statement of purpose and transcripts, and two letters of recommendation.

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