Jewish Studies

This program is designed for students who wish to obtain a strong foundation in Jewish Studies through a well-rounded course of study in four major areas: Hebrew Bible and Its Interpretation, Rabbinic Literatures and Cultures, Medieval and Early Modern Jewish Studies, and Modern Jewish Communities and Cultures. Students who successfully complete the Jewish Studies MA program go on to a variety of educational and professional settings, including doctoral studies and professional careers in the Jewish world.

Students in the Jewish Studies MA program are also eligible to enroll in the Israel Studies track, in which they will spend the fall semester of their second year at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) under the auspices of the Israel Studies International Program (ISIP) based at the Ben-Gurion Research Institute for the Study of Israel and Zionism. All JTS Israel Studies–track students are guaranteed housing in Sde Boker, and must abide by all rules and policies set forth by BGU while they are in Israel. Only students in good academic standing after their first year of study have the opportunity to participate in the Israel Studies track. While in Israel, students will take courses in Hebrew Language and Israel Studies, totaling 12 credits that will be used toward the MA degree.

Master of Arts

Degree Requirements


In addition to courses required of all students in The Graduate School, 30 additional graduate credits are required as follows:

  • One First Year Seminar (3 credits)
  • One course in Hebrew Bible and Its Interpretation (3 credits)
  • One course in Rabbinic Literatures and Cultures (3 credits)
  • One course in Medieval and Early Modern Jewish Studies (3 credits)
  • One course in Modern Jewish Studies (3 credits)
  • Four courses in area of concentration (12 credits)
  • One elective (3 credits)

Courses will be chosen in consultation with the program advisor and “area” courses need to be distributed as follows:

  • One course must be cross listed with Jewish Gender and Women’s Studies
  • One course must be cross listed with History
  • One course must be cross listed with Jewish Thought
  • One course must be cross listed with Jewish Literature

Students in the Israel Studies track will count three of the Israel Studies courses taken at BGU toward their concentration within the Jewish Studies MA. 

Comprehensive Exam

Students must take a written comprehensive examination, which tests their understanding of a list of readings and their ability to place the readings in the broader contexts covered in course work.