Undergraduate Overview

The B.A. program in Jewish Studies aims to introduce College students to the breadth and depth of Jewish culture spanning three millennia and to provide them with the skills and tools to examine the texts, languages, and histories of Jews and Judaism. The perspective is contextual, comparative, and interdisciplinary. Whether College students choose to take the occasional course in Jewish Studies, to examine the range of ancient, medieval, and modern periods and communities studied in the courses in Judaic civilization, or to pursue a major or minor, they will learn to read the classic texts and to appreciate the complexities of Jewish history and culture.


Israelite Four Horned Alter, Oriental Institute Museum

Students may either major or minor in Jewish Studies. In addition to a number of courses offered throughout the University and cross-listed with Jewish Studies, the Undergraduate Program also sponsors a two-course sequence that may be used to fulfill the College’s general education requirement in civilization studies, JWSC 12000 Jewish Civilization I: Ancient Beginnings to Early Medieval Period and JWSC 12001 Jewish Civilization II: Late Medieval to Modern Period. These courses explore the development of Jewish culture and tradition from its ancient beginnings through its rabbinic and medieval transformations to its modern manifestations via an investigation of primary texts—biblical, Talmudic, philosophical, mystical, historical, documentary, and literary. Through this sequence students thus acquire a broad overview of Jews, Judaism, and Jewishness while reflecting in greater depth on major themes, ideas, and events in Jewish history. In addition, many faculty in Jewish Studies participate in the College Study Abroad Program in Jerusalem which gives credit toward the Jewish Studies major and minor and can also be used for the general education civilization requirement through its sequence Jerusalem in Middle East Civilizations I-II-III.