Knowledge of Jewish civilization—the religion, history, and culture of the Jews—is at the forefront of this program of study. We offer interested students a range of courses and a rigorous academic setting for the major, minor, and occasional student.
Our faculty are both scholars and teachers who devote their careers to making important contributions to their disciplines through writing and research. They are committed to undergraduate education and teach everything from first-year seminars to advanced courses.View Faculty
Established in 1971, the Jewish Studies Program fosters knowledge of Jewish civilization—the religion, history, and culture of the Jews. Interdisciplinary in nature, the program employs a variety of methods to examine a history of more than 3,000 years and Diaspora communities on every continent. We offer a full range of courses for the major and minor, from introductory to private readings.
Students acquire a broad knowledge of the field along with some of the fundamental tools required for its continued pursuit. These skills include the ability to read and comprehend core religious and historical texts of the Jewish tradition, as well as methods for interpreting other materials relevant to the study of the Jewish religion, history, literature, philosophy, and culture.
You may choose one of two disciplinary areas: either religion or history. While all majors must complete four core courses in language, religion, and history, students in both concentrations will achieve practical skills fundamental to each.
Our graduates have gone into academic careers, the rabbinate, and Jewish education and communal work, as well as varied professional careers enriched by grounding in Jewish historical experiences, text, and instruction.
Students pursing the Jewish studies major take core and elective courses from the areas of Hebrew and Jewish history and religion. We provide a rigorous academic setting and encourage majors to pursue intensive study of Hebrew, Yiddish, Ladino, and Judeo-Arabic languages in approved programs. An honors program is open to committed students who want to complete an advanced research project in Jewish studies. Consult with the program director to ensure you meet guidelines and course objectives.
We recommend that majors live in Johnson House, the residential program house for Jewish studies, where Hebrew language, text study, and cultural and social programs abound. Founded in 1969 by students as a winter-term project under the name Hebrew House, today about 35 students live in the renovated Queen Anne-style mansion, complete with a fireplace, library, and lounges.
In addition to program housing, you may enrich your studies by spending a semester or more in Israel, Europe, England, or another American institution, taking a variety of Jewish studies courses through our study-away program.
The Jewish Studies Program regularly hosts outstanding individuals in contemporary Jewish scholarship, politics, and literature through such annual programs as the David Hyman B’nai B’rith Lecture in Judaism and the Lubicki-Rosen lectures on the Holocaust.