The final three years of The Rabbinical School curriculum are known as Iyun, which means concentration. Where the Beit Midrash program is tightly integrated, Iyun is highly individualized. Students select their own MA program, apply for their own internships, and choose their own Judaica electives.
Iyun consists of four major components over the course of six semesters and two summers:
- Judaica Distribution Courses: Rabbinical students take an additional 45 credits in Bible, Talmud, history, literature, Jewish thought, halakhah, and liturgy. They also take at least one course studying a different faith tradition at JTS or in our consortium.
- Professional and Pastoral Skills: 45 credits in communication, pedagogical skills, methods of pastoral counseling, nonprofit management, the art of leading worship, rabbinic leadership, and Conservative Judaism. Senior Seminar prepares students for the transition to their rabbinic careers, training them in interview and negotiation skills, professional ethics, and retirement planning, and there is an elective slot to further explore all of these areas either at JTS or in our consortium.
- Field Education: Rabbinical students complete a unit of Clinical Pastoral Education, either at JTS or at another accredited CPE center, generally in the summer. All students also participate in a yearlong Resnick Internship with a rabbinic mentor. This internship allows students to gain in-depth experience and mentoring in a part of the rabbinate they might like to pursue professionally. It also includes a weekly class to process field experiences and gain community organizing skills. In addition, students are required to work for either Camp Ramah or United Synagogue Youth, and to complete other rotations in a synagogue, a school, and an agency as part of the courses above. JTS offers generous stipends to enhance the income of its rabbinical students for their internships, CPE units, and work at Camp Ramah.
- Master’s Degree: Drawing on the combined strength of our four graduate programs and two research centers, rabbinical students earn an MA degree at no additional expense and in no additional time. Options include:
At the Gershon Kekst Graduate School, students may earn an MA in several fields that span biblical, rabbinic, medieval, and modern Jewish studies.
At the William Davidson Graduate School of Jewish Education, students may earn a master’s in Education, specializing in either Educational Administration or Teaching.
Rabbinical students with musical skills may earn a master’s in Sacred Music from H. L. Miller Cantorial School.
Students may earn a Certificate in Pastoral Care together with an MA in Jewish Studies from The Rabbinical School.
All MA degrees require an additional 18 credits of course work in the field, plus either comprehensive exams or a thesis.