Master of Arts in Jewish Studies

The MA program in Jewish Studies offers students an opportunity for dedicated, interdisciplinary study of the history, literatures, and cultures of the Jewish people from biblical to modern times. It is designed for students who have some college-level preparation in the field and who wish to deepen their expertise in preparation for a PhD program. It is also well-suited for those planning on professional careers in areas such as education, law, publishing, business, or social work. Our faculty offer graduate-level instruction in Hebrew Bible; rabbinic Judaism and its sources; medieval, early modern and modern Jewish history in both Europe and the Middle East; Jewish-Muslim encounters; premodern and modern Hebrew and Jewish literature; and Israeli culture. Applicants to the MA program must show proficiency in Hebrew language equivalent to at least one year of college-level study. At the end of two years of coursework, students will be expected to have completed third-year Hebrew successfully before receiving the MA degree.

Degree Requirements

  • A minimum of 36 credits from graduate-level courses, which may include up to 6 units transferred from another institution. (Note: first and second-year language classes do not count toward these 36 credits.)
  • Successful completion of third-year Hebrew
  • Ability to use Hebrew source material and scholarly articles, to be demonstrated in at least one major seminar paper
  • A second major research paper to be written either in a second seminar or in an independent study to be supervised by one of the faculty associated with the program
  • Students have the option of writing a Master’s thesis in place of the two major research papers (see also Policies and Timelines).
  • At the end of their program of study, degree candidates are required to complete successfully an oral examination, lasting no more than one hour, based on either the two research papers submitted (and revised) for this purpose or the Master’s thesis.
  • Please note also the departmental Policies and Timelines.

Recently Offered Courses in Jewish Studies

Jewish History

  • L75 535C, Becoming "Modern": Emancipation, Antisemitism, and Nationalism in Modern Jewish History
  • L75 536, The History of the Jews in Islamic Lands
  • L75 5330, Out of the Shtetl: Jews in Central and Eastern Europe Between Empire, State, and Nation in the 19th and 20th Centuries
  • L75 5334, Crusade, Disputation, and Coexistence: Jews in Christian Europe
  • L75 5900, Identity: Genocide and Migration: Flight and Displacement Under Nazi Regime

Biblical Studies

  • L75 501C, Kings, Priests, Prophets, and Rabbis: The Jews in the Ancient World
  • L75 584, Introduction to Biblical Hebrew for Graduate Students
  • L75 585D, Topics in Biblical Hebrew Texts: Biblical Law
  • L75 585D, Topics in Biblical Hebrew Texts: Biblical Poetry
  • L75 585D, Topics in Biblical Hebrew Texts: The Book of Isaiah
  • L75 5012, Biblical Law and the Origins of Western Justice
  • L7 5751, In the Beginning: Creation Myths of the Biblical World

Hebrew and Jewish Literature

  • L75 402, Fourth-Level Modern Hebrew I and II
  • L75 4741, Topics in Jewish Literature: Exile, Jewish Historical Experience and Literary Imagination
  • L75 5060, Modern Jewish Writers
  • L75 5348, Travelers, Tricksters, and Storytellers: Jewish Travel Narratives and Autobiographies
  • L75 540, Israeli Women Writers
  • L75 550, Israeli Culture and Society


Rabbinic Judaism and Its Sources

  • L75 440, Topics in Rabbinic Texts: Midrash
  • L75 440, Topics in Rabbinic Texts: Mishnah and Gemara
  • L75 444, The Mystical Tradition in Judaism
  • L75 5082, From the Temple to the Talmud: The Emergence of Rabbinic Judaism

Research Seminars

  • L75 49JK, Advanced Seminar: Blood and Sacred Bodies: Ritual Murder and Host Desecration Accusations
  • L75 401W, Seminar in Hebrew Literature: Israeli Culture
  • L75 405, Diaspora in Jewish and Islamic Experience
  • L75 409, Beyond Geography: The Meaning of Place in the Near East
  • L75 492, Advanced Seminar: Europe's "Jewish Question": Emancipation, Antisemitism, and Jewish-Christian Confrontation
  • L75 4001, Convivencia or Reconquista? Muslims, Jews, and Christians in Medieval Iberia
  • L75 4020, Jerusalem, the Holy City
  • L75 502, Proseminar in European Jewish History

This list is not exhaustive and departmental course offerings may change. Other graduate-level courses in anthropology, history, various languages and literatures, philosophy, and political science may be taken, as long as they are related to a student’s specific field of study and have been approved by his or her academic advisor. However, students should earn at least two thirds of their credits (excluding first- and second year language classes) in courses home-based in the JIMES department.