M.A. Program in Jewish Studies
offered in conjunction with the Mandel Institute of Jewish Studies
Academic Head: Dr. Ronnie Goldstein
This program is designed for students who wish to study Jewish culture and sources from an interdisciplinary perspective, whether they are recent college graduates interested in the field of Jewish studies or Ph.D. candidates who wish to enrich their knowledge, research skills and experience by studying at the Hebrew University while living in Jerusalem.
Students will enjoy a learning experience in small classes with experts in the field as well as be able to use the Hebrew University's academic resources, such as the National Library on the Edmond J. Safra Campus, Givat Ram.
A city sacred to Judaism, Jerusalem is a melding of past and present, of ancient roots and modern innovations. It is a city about which the Talmud says: “Of the ten measures of beauty allotted to the world, nine were given to Jerusalem.” From the hilltop of the Mount Scopus campus, through the windows of the classrooms and dormitories of the Hebrew University, the incredible panorama of Jerusalem unfolds.
Jerusalem, the capital of Israel, is well known for its many historical and holy sites and fascinating tourist attractions. In addition, this thriving metropolis is rich in art galleries and museums, theaters and concert halls, restaurants and cafes, pubs and dance clubs. Exciting festivals, exhibitions, international conferences, sports competitions, and many other special events are held throughout the year.
Duration of studies
Two academic years
Advanced track: Outstanding students with a very good command of Modern Hebrew (level Dalet and above) and background in Jewish studies will be able to complete the M.A. program in three semesters (autumn, spring and summer) on the basis of courses offered by the RIS, the Mandel Institute of Jewish Studies, and individual tutorials concentrating on the student's field of interest. For information on this track, please contact Dr. Ronnie Goldstein by e-mail (see above).
About the Program
The program covers Jewish culture and history from its beginnings to Modern times, and is divided into two main periods: from Ancient to early Medieval times and from Medieval to Modern times. Courses are offered in textual studies, history, philosophy, and culture, and include study tours in Jerusalem (see sample of courses below). Language instruction is offered in Modern Hebrew, Biblical Hebrew, Akkadian, Greek, and Literary and Colloquial Arabic.
Courses from the M.A. program are also open to visiting students on a one year or semester basis.
Special track: Religious Studies
Students who choose to pursue this option will follow a core curriculum in Jewish Studies but focus a significant portion of their electives in Religious Studies courses.
A rich extracurricular activities program is offered, including tours, cultural and social events, lectures and more.
Course of Study
The program consists of 40 credits over four consecutive semesters, including elective courses and tutorials. Students are required to specialize in one period of study, but take courses in the other period as well.
First Year: During their first year of studies, students will be expected to take required and elective courses.
Second Year: The second year (20 credits) will be devoted mainly to specialized study concentrating on the student's field of interest. Courses will include interdisciplinary and advanced courses offered by the RIS, seminars offered within the Institute of Jewish Studies and an individual tutorial chosen in consultation with the student's advisor.
Electives may also be chosen from a select list of courses from the programs in the Bible and the Ancient Near East, Religious Studies, and Society and Politics in Israel.
Students are encouraged to study an additional ancient language. Students who opt to do so will be able, in consultation with their advisor, to reduce the above credit load.
Students will be expected to complete level Vav by the end of their second year of study. The Hebrew Exemption examination (p’tor) is optional for all students and is not a requirement of the M.A. degree. Students who complete level Vav may apply 2 of the credits towards the 40 credits necessary to complete the degree. Students may replace level Vav with a Biblical Hebrew course, which will count as 2 credits towards the degree credit requirements.
A tutorial (2 credits) provides an instructional framework in which students can study either one-on-one or in small groups with instructors of the Hebrew University faculty. In tutorials, students can investigate areas of knowledge in which they have a special interest. While the format and scheduling of a tutorial are flexible, the student and tutor are expected to meet for at least three sessions in the course of the semester. The topic of the tutorial, reading and written assignments, and a detailed schedule of meetings are to be worked out between the student and the tutor (subject to the approval of the student's academic advisor). A paper is to be submitted at the conclusion of the tutorial course.
Qualified students with a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution of higher education are eligible for admission to the program. Admission is competitive and based on transcripts and letters of recommendation. Students must have
- at least a 3.2 ("B") grade-point average
- a relevant background in Jewish studies
- be prepared to enroll in at least level Gimel Hebrew at the beginning of their first semester of study. Students who have minimal or no knowledge of Hebrew (levels Aleph-Bet) will be required to attend the Summer Ulpan prior to their first and second year of the program.
Knowledge of English: Candidates who did not previously study at an educational institution where the language of instruction is English must submit official TOEFL scores or the equivalent. The minimum TOEFL scores required is 573 on the paper-based test, 230 on the computer-based test, or 89 on the Internet-based test.