List College History

The Early Years

In 1909, JTS President Solomon Schechter established the undergraduate division of JTS as the Teachers Institute.  Under the visionary leadership of its founding dean, Mordecai M. Kaplan, the Teachers Institute trained American Jewish educators. The Teachers Institute was one of the few institutions in the country where both men and women could gain an advanced education in Jewish studies.

Soon afterward, the undergraduate program expanded, leading to the establishment of a parallel division of the school in 1931, the Seminary College of Jewish Studies. Most students earned a BA at one of the area colleges—Brooklyn, Queens, or City College—and attended the Teachers Institute or Seminary College of Jewish Studies to earn a second undergraduate degree. One could say that this was the original Joint Program.

The Joint Program with Columbia University and the Double Degree Program with Barnard College

In 1953, students were afforded the opportunity to earn two simultaneous bachelor’s degrees: one in liberal arts from Columbia University and one in Jewish Studies from JTS. Dr. Grayson Kirk, president of Columbia, hailed the program as a symbol of “the growing awareness by both institutions of the need for a broad liberal arts background” for the individuals who will “guide our country’s spiritual life.”

The Double Degree Program with Barnard College was launched in 1979 under the leadership of JTS Chancellor Gerson D. Cohen and Barnard College President Jacquelyn Anderson Mattfeld.

List College Today

Under the leadership of Dr. Shuly Rubin Schwartz, who has served as dean since 1993, List College has grown in both size and vision.

With a student body of close to 200 students, List College today is dedicated to preparing young men and women for responsible Jewish citizenship and leadership. Not limited to training young men and women to serve as Jewish professionals, List College attracts a diverse group of students with a wide array of interests.

Today List College alumni pursue career fields as diverse as law, medicine, finance, politics, Jewish and secular education, the rabbinate, academia, journalism, and advertising.

Regardless of their career choices, our alumni also assume volunteer leadership roles. From Jewish day-school board presidents to environmental activists to Tot Shabbat volunteers, List College graduates continue to strengthen the community.

It’s your turn to be a part of List College’s History