WORCESTER, Mass. (AP) _ Tiny Clark University is moving to become the nation's first college to offer a doctoral degree in Holocaust studies, ahead of much bigger rivals.

Clark, a liberal arts college with an enrollment of 2,700, is expected to gain final approval for the program by the end of the month and start classes next fall.

The school expects to unveil plans for its Holocaust Studies Center next month in a ceremony in New York.

``The subject is of enormous consequence, and nobody is giving it the kind of attention in academe that it deserves,'' Clark President Richard P. Traina told The Boston Globe in today's editions.

``Genocidal behavior unfortunately does not seem to be aberrational human behavior. But we need to come to understand it if we are to be rid of it,'' Traina said.

A Holocaust Studies professorship at Harvard University remains in limbo as a search committee debates whether the Holocaust should be treated as a subject apart from history and Jewish studies, and argues over whom to appoint to the chair.

Clark's doctoral degree will be a five-year program offered through the history department.

The program will examine the entire cast involved in the Holocaust, from victims to killers to silent witnesses, and will combine sociological and psychological aspects.

Clark hired former Yale professor Deborah Dwork, who suggested hiring another professor and creating a doctoral program. Dwork urged adding the $20 million Holocaust Studies Center.

Clark becomes the second college in the world, after Hebrew University in Jerusalem, to donate a full-time professorship to the subject.

The Holocaust ``is a complex event and there are enormous lessons that haven't been learned yet. To me, this is a study that's big enough in and of itself,'' said David H. Strassler, a Clark trustee and former national chairman of the Anti-Defamation League whose family has donated $2 million to the program.