Jewish Ethics (BA, MA, and Certificate)

Bachelor of Arts Degree Requirements

  • 3 credits (1 course) in foundations of Jewish Ethics
  • 6 credits (2 courses) in Ethics & Jewish Thought (philosophy, kabbalah, etc.)
  • 6 credits (2 courses) in Jewish texts in the field of Ethics (Bible, Talmud, Midrash, etc.)
  • 9 credits (3 courses) in Ethics electives
  • 3 credits (1 course) in ethical theory, philosophical ethics, practical ethics, introduction to ethics, or religious ethics (taken at Columbia University or Barnard College)
  • 3 credits (1 course) Senior Seminar, Thesis, or an upper-level Ethics course

Master of Arts Admission Requirements

An undergraduate degree with a major in Jewish Studies, Religious Studies, Ethics, or its equivalent is beneficial but not required.

Master of Arts Degree Requirements


In addition to prerequisite courses, students are required to complete 30 graduate credits as follows:

  • First Year Seminar (3 credits)
  • Ethics in Jewish Tradition and Community: a theory-based course on the history and methods of Jewish ethics (3 credits)
  • Moral Theories: a theory-based course surveying ethics and/or moral philosophy, (3 credits)
  • Two electives in Jewish ethical theory chosen from the following (6 credits):
    • Narrative Ethics: including but not limited to midrash, Aggadah, and biblical literature
    • Philosophical Ethics: considering the philosophical elements of Jewish ethics
    • Halakhah and Ethics: addressing the role of halakhah in Jewish ethics
    • Feminist Jewish Ethics: engaging feminist theory, feminist ethics, and gender studies
    • Comparative Religious Ethics: comparing Jewish ethics with Christian, Muslim, and other religious ethics
  • Three electives in applied Jewish ethics from the fields below (9 credits):
    • Bioethics
    • Legal ethics
    • Environmental ethics
    • Business ethics
  • Two Jewish studies electives, chosen in consultation with an advisor (6 credits)

Master’s Degree Program Internship or Thesis

Depending on their career trajectory, students will have capstone project options. Students focusing on Jewish bioethics and/or those interested in more clinical work will complete a 150-hour internship and attend an accompanying biweekly seminar with other Jewish Ethics students at this stage. This yearlong, 3-credit class will give students the opportunity to process their internship with a facilitator and their peers while synthesizing this experience with the academic course work that they have taken. Students’ participation in the seminar and their field experience will culminate in a seminar paper. 

Those who are more interested in ethical theory or for whom a thesis will prove beneficial may apply to write a traditional master’s thesis. Students interested in writing a thesis should consult with their advisor and apply at the end of their first year of course work.

Certificate in Jewish Ethics



The Certificate in Jewish Ethics will enable people from a range of backgrounds to address issues of ethics and justice by learning wisdom of ancient and contemporary Jewish texts and communities. This program can be pursued independently, or current JTS students in any graduate program at JTS can pursue this certificate.

Over the course of two to three years, with some online options available, students will complete four academic classes. These classes will include three Jewish Ethics courses and one elective in the field of the student’s choosing.

Examples of course offerings include:

  • Existentialism, Holiness, and Dialogue in Modern Jewish Philosophy
  • Jewish and American Legal Theory
  • Is Jewish Religious Belief Rational