Educational and Career Objectives

The MS in GMAP program aims to prepare ethical and competent prevention agents for the public, nonprofit, and private sectors who are well-educated, theoretically-informed, and practically-focused and who are prepared to bridge traditional divides to generate creative and effective solutions. They will be equipped to bring together evidence from history and the present day, from domestic and international contexts, from academic and practitioner worlds, from governmental, civil society and corporate sectors, and from a wide range of disciplines and professions.

Despite widespread acclamations of “never again” in the aftermath of the Holocaust, the subsequent development of a body of international law intended to encourage quick international interventions in genocides, and a range of domestic mechanisms designed to prevent genocide from occurring, the world continues to bear witness to genocides, ethnic cleansings, and other mass atrocities.

Existing educational programs in law, political science, international relations, history, philosophy, or human rights treat genocide and mass atrocities as a topic of a single course, and generally apply a narrow disciplinary lens to the problem. Degrees in genocide studies or Holocaust studies address those concerns, but they remain largely academic and backward-focused in that they do not adequately apply what we know about the causes and consequences of past and present atrocities to inform prevention.

In contrast, the MS in GMAP represents an entire degree dedicated to educating and training students to work in government, nonprofit, and private organizations to help prevent the occurrence and reoccurrence of genocides and mass atrocities. The degree requires completion of 45 credits.

The MS in GMAP will prepare graduates to be leaders and practitioners with the knowledge, skills and abilities (KSAs) they need to recognize and assess risk factors and to design and implement strategies to interrupt the processes that lead to genocide and other mass atrocity crimes, thereby contributing to prevention. The program will prepare students to adjust their prevention strategies for the stage of the atrocity as different approaches are appropriate for before, during, and after the occurrence of mass atrocities.

Program's overarching characteristics:

I. Focus on prevention

The program is prevention-focused, preparing students to recognize and disrupt a sufficient number of known risk factors at all stages – before, during and after mass atrocities. Students will learn about the importance of structural factors in upstream prevention before the onset of violence. Among the key factors are those related to democratic processes and peaceful transitions of power; equitable provision of health, education, employment and other basic services; and protection of fundamental human rights. Students will learn how humanitarian aid, peace keeping, economic sanctions, or military interventions, as well as the actions of individual rescuers, can help stop or mediate the effects of a genocide in progress as forms of midstream prevention. Students will also be prepared to design and participate in aspects of the post-conflict transitional justice process, including truth and reconciliation processes and constructive use of memorialization.

II. Interdisciplinary approach

The program is interdisciplinary, drawing upon scholarship, courses, and faculty from a wide spectrum of academic disciplines, thereby preparing students to serve as boundary spanners who are able to communicate across a range of professions. In contrast to genocide and Holocaust studies programs which are often grounded primarily in History, peace building or international relations programs based principally in Political Science, or transitional justice programs based in law schools, the GMAP program will draw upon theories, models, and research from a wide variety of disciplines from the entire university campus. In the initial design, the coursework and the faculty involved span four schools/colleges at Binghamton University (Harpur College of Arts and Sciences, the College of Community and Public Affairs, the Decker School of Nursing, and the Watson School of Engineering). As the program evolves we hope to include all colleges across campus.

III. Multi-level and multi-sectorial scope

The program is multi-level and multi-sectoral in its scope. It prepares students to apply micro, meso, and macro strategies for prevention and to be prevention actors in the governmental, civil society, and corporate environments. At the micro level graduates will understand the opportunity for themselves and other individuals to be prevention agents in their personal, volunteer, and work lives. At the meso level, the program will prepare students to incorporate prevention strategies into the management and leadership of governmental, nongovernmental, and profit-driven organizations. At the macro level, the program will develop in students the skills to design and implement national and international policies and practices to promote prevention.

IV. Professional orientation

The degree is professional in that it will provide not only knowledge, but also skills that prepare students for employment; the degree will provide students with regular interaction with practitioners and includes a required field placement. It will generally be completed in two or two-and-one-half years. The program is comprised of three or four semesters of academic coursework, and a semester-long domestic or international field placement. The program has been developed by and will operate in affiliation with the Institute for Genocide and Mass Atrocity Prevention (I-GMAP) and will be closely linked to several practitioner components of the Institute.

Primary Student Learning Outcomes 

There are four broad student learning outcomes of the program each of which include several specific sub-competencies of knowledge and skills. Upon completion of the MS in GMAP, we expect graduates to be able to:

I. Apply an Atrocity Prevention Lens to analyze and interpret situations and to develop strategies for action focused on preventing occurrence, escalation, or reoccurrence of mass violence.

This entails:

  1. Demonstrating an understanding of the evolution of and distinguishing characteristics of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, ethnic cleansing, and other forms of mass atrocities;
  2. Differentiating between upstream, midstream, and downstream prevention mechanisms;
  3. Identifying opportunities for prevention at the micro, meso, and macro levels;
  4. Interpreting current and potential atrocities in light of lessons learned from one or more historical examples of genocide;
  5. Assessing the lingering effects of a past genocide in a post-conflict society;
  6. Assessing the status of countries in risk assessment, early warning systems, education for prevention, and protection of fundamental human rights;
  7. Evaluating the effectiveness of coercive diplomacy, Responsibility to Protect (R2P), and military and non-military interventions;
  8. Developing prevention strategies appropriate for governmental and nongovernmental actors, and demonstrating an appreciation for their unique priorities and constraints; and
  9. Evaluating the effectiveness of efforts at transitional justice in specific contexts, in terms of truth and reconciliation processes, prosecution, institutional reforms, compensation of victims, memorialization, and other processes.

II. Work effectively as part of a team to promote atrocity prevention, broadly defined.

This entails:

  1. Engaging in professional, competent and ethical support of a prevention-focused organization as part of a field experience;
  2. Working in teams to gather and analyze data on Mechanisms of Atrocity Prevention project; and
  3. Working as part of a team to write, design and produce a professional report for high level international distribution.

III. Demonstrate the application of analytical and technological skills to promote atrocity prevention.

This entails:

  1. Demonstrating the application of advanced quantitative or qualitative analytical skills, language and culture skills, or computing skills to a specific prevention context; and
  2. Using one or more technologies to gather data that can be used in support of prevention efforts.

IV. Effectively communicate with professional practitioner audiences regarding atrocity prevention.

This entails:

  1. Synthesizing academic research in concise, jargon-free, and action-oriented formats;
  2. Preparing reports and recommendations appropriate to relevant political and policy actors who are in positions to promote prevention;
  3. Demonstrating appreciation for regional, national and local circumstances of specific potential, ongoing or past atrocities, in addition to a more global perspective;
  4. Advocating for the application of an atrocity prevention lens in specific contexts; and
  5. Conducting research that synthesizes coursework and the field placement experience to generate evidence-based recommendations for a relevant organization.