New Joint Program in Jewish Ethics and Public Health

Contact: Beth Mayerowitz, bemayerowitz@JTSA.EDU

October 16, 2018, New York, NY – The Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS) and Columbia University today announced a joint master of arts in Jewish Ethics and master of public health degree program, which will be offered at JTS’s Kekst Graduate School and Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health.

“We are pleased to announce the launch of the Jewish Ethics and Public Health dual-degree program, which for the first time ever, offers students an opportunity both to develop and to evaluate public health services from the perspective of Jewish tradition,” said Dr. Shuly Rubin Schwartz, JTS Provost, Irving Lehrman Research Associate Professor of American Jewish History, and Sala and Walter Schlesinger Dean of the Gershon Kekst Graduate School.  “We are thrilled to launch this innovative program, which equips future professionals with the moral vision to identify issues of ethical concern in public health as well as the skills to design effective initiatives to resolve them. We encourage future scholars of this new MA/MPH program to bring to bear Jewish values in grappling with the many public health challenges plaguing our world.”  

“This joint degree represents a continued commitment by Columbia Mailman School to combine the depth and breadth of expertise in two fields of study, to propel discovery, and educate the next generation of scholars to create research-based solutions at the juncture of public health and religion,” said Linda P. Fried, MD, MPH, dean of Columbia Mailman School. “Together with JTS we will pave the way for new research and engagement on complex issues facing theologians and public health professionals to benefit our schools, our country, and the world.”

Integrating an academic approach to Jewish studies and a multidisciplinary approach to public health, this program will provide graduates with the tools to identify moral issues in public health matters and to engage in ethical reflection rooted in Jewish tradition. Upon completion of the program, students receive both an MA in Jewish Ethics from JTS and a MPH from Columbia Mailman School.

This dual-degree program is the latest development in the long history of joint degree programs between JTS and Columbia University. The joint undergraduate program, which has been in place since 1954, allows college students to combine their studies at Columbia’s School of General Studies with a second bachelor of arts degree at JTS’s List College. The University offers a joint master of arts / master of social work program through the Kekst Graduate School and the Columbia University School of Social Work. JTS and Columbia University’s dual-degree programs provide future Jewish communal professional leaders with the essential knowledge, skills, and experience to meet the challenges of building and maintaining Jewish community and values in an increasingly complex world.

More information about the MA/MPH dual-degree program can be found at

About The Jewish Theological Seminary

JTS is a preeminent institution of Jewish higher education, training thoughtful, innovative leaders—rabbis, cantors, educators, lay leaders, and scholars—who strengthen our communities with a vision of Judaism that is deeply grounded in the Jewish past and thoroughly engaged with contemporary society. JTS also provides high-caliber lifelong learning and professional development to our alumni, adult learners, and Jewish communities throughout North America. Through its Library, JTS preserves and makes accessible to students and scholars throughout the world the greatest collection of Judaica in the Western Hemisphere.

About Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health

Founded in 1922, the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health pursues an agenda of research, education, and service to address the critical and complex public health issues affecting New Yorkers, the nation, and the world. The Columbia Mailman School is the third largest recipient of NIH grants among schools of public health. Its over 450 multi-disciplinary faculty members work in more than 100 countries around the world, addressing such issues as preventing infectious and chronic diseases, environmental health, maternal and child health, health policy, climate change and health, and public health preparedness. It is a leader in public health education with over 1,300 graduate students from more than 40 nations pursuing a variety of master’s and doctoral degree programs. The Columbia Mailman School is also home to numerous world-renowned research centers, including ICAP and the Center for Infection and Immunity. For more information, please visit