Jul 18, 2024  
Course Catalog 2023-2024 
Course Catalog 2023-2024 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Jewish Studies Major

The major consists of a minimum of 9 full courses (or the equivalent).

Note: Students must earn minimum grades of C- or P for all courses that apply toward the major.

arrow View the catalog page for the Jewish studies program.  

Students graduating with a major in Jewish studies have gone into academic careers, the rabbinate, and Jewish education and communal work, as well as varied professional careers (e.g., law, politics) enriched by grounding in Jewish historical experiences, texts, and critical analysis. Many of our majors find that Jewish studies complements other fields, and undertake additional majors, minors, or integrative concentrations.

Note(s) on Requirements

  • No more than five full courses can come from a single cross-listed department (art history, comparative literature, history, politics, or religion). Jewish studies courses are identified by cross-listed departments below.
  • Additional courses with Jewish Studies content that do not have the JWST designation may count toward the major with approval of the chair.

Learning Goals

The Jewish studies program has several objectives for students pursuing a major in the field:

  • substantial knowledge of the diversity within and the complex development of Jewish communities, religious and intellectual traditions, literature, art, and culture
  • in-depth interdisciplinary understanding of one or more approaches to the materials of Jewish studies, including religious studies, cultural studies, comparative literature, or history, and familiarity with the key texts and cutting-edge work in those fields
  • skills in research, written expression, and oral communication, including the critical analysis of primary and secondary texts and the cultural frameworks within which knowledge is produced
  • the ability to research and present a significant project within the field of Jewish studies

Transfer of Credit Toward the Major

Up to two courses taken on study away programs may count toward the major. A student’s petition to count such courses should be approved by the program chair before the course has been completed.

We encourage students to study away to pursue advanced language and culture study, and to explore summer programs and fellowships for lesser-taught languages.

Course of Study

We encourage students to include language acquisition as part of their Jewish studies major, and two semesters of a single language connected to global Jewish experiences can count toward the elective requirement in the major. We encourage students to study Hebrew and Yiddish through Winter Term, summer study, or regular-semester study abroad programs. Arabic, German, Greek, Russian, and Spanish are offered at the college. Language courses should be selected in consultation with the academic advisor.

Honors in Jewish Studies

Qualified students wishing to do an advanced research project in Jewish studies, working closely with an appropriate faculty member, are invited to apply for admission to the Honors Program in Jewish Studies for their seventh and eighth semesters. Students wishing to be considered for the honors program must consult the program chair and submit a statement of the proposed topic and its methodology and bibliography (8-10 pages total), by April 15 of the student’s sixth semester.  Admission to the program and actual award of honors will be determined by program faculty based on the student’s academic record in the major and the college, the strength of the proposal, and the level of excellence achieved in the completed project.

Detailed Major Requirements

Jewish Studies Major Course Lists

Jewish Studies Major Core Courses

Return to the summary of requirements.

Jewish Studies Major Elective Courses

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Note: Additional courses with Jewish Studies content that do not have the JWST designation may count toward the major with approval of the chair.

Capstone Requirement

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The senior capstone project in Jewish Studies will be completed through a capstone course offered in the appropriate JWST-affiliated department with advising from a JWST faculty member. Majors must (a) discuss and gain approval for their potential capstone topic with their JWST advisor; (b) determine which JWST-affiliated department would best serve the topic and apply to that department’s capstone instructor for consent into the capstone course; (c) concurrently
enroll in JWST 400, a zero credit Pass/Fail course; (d) fulfill all course requirements.

Capstone course and final project grades are determined by instructors according to the criteria set for the course.