Why M.A. in Jewish Studies?
Study Jewish history and culture with top researchers in the field.
Build a foundation in Modern Hebrew and study additional ancient languages.
Learn while living in Jerusalem, a city sacred to Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.
Offered by Hebrew University’s Rothberg International School (RIS) in conjunction with the Mandel Institute of Jewish Studies, the M.A. in Jewish Studies program is designed to provide you with up-to-date knowledge in the field of Jewish studies in preparation for an advanced academic degree. The program offers you a broad foundation in the field and will help you enrich your knowledge, research and language skills, and experience. You will expand your understanding of particular areas of interest through an in-depth study of Jewish culture, texts, history, and philosophy.
You’ll enjoy an intimate learning experience in small classes with experts in the field. The program is divided into two main periods: Ancient to Early Medieval, and Medieval to Modern.
In the M.A. in Jewish Studies program, you can take courses in textual studies, history, philosophy, languages, and culture, as well as participate in on-site study tours in Jerusalem. Courses that deal with the Ancient, Medieval, and Modern periods are available, which allows you to expand your understanding of the interplay between the three monotheistic religions.
The M.A. in Jewish Studies program consists of required and elective courses taken over four semesters (autumn & spring) during two academic years. While you will take courses from all time periods, you are required to specialize in one period.
Elective course offerings include cross-listed courses taught in English at the various departments of the Faculty of Humanities.
The M.A. in Jewish Studies consists of 36 credits over four semesters (autumn and spring semesters over two academic years).
Provided as an example only and subject to change:
Approaching Classical Jewish Texts: Ancient until Modern Times
Recent Elective Courses
Rabbis and Rivalry: Babylonia and the Land of Israel in Late Antiquity
Jerusalem in History, Art, and Literature: Between Imagination and Reality
The Battle over the Bible: The Bible in the Eyes of Jews, Christians, and Muslims
Kabbalah: The Renaissance of Myth and Mysticism in Medieval Jewish Thought
The Philosophy of Maimonides and His World
When West Met East: The Orient in Modern Jewish Culture
Understanding Holocaust Survivor Testimony: History and Memory
Modern Hebrew Requirement
You are required to pass Level Gimel (fourth level) to complete the degree. Each level can be completed in one semester or in one session of Summer Ulpan, with the exception of Level Aleph (first level). For some students, level Aleph requires two semesters to complete, depending on their level.
Modern Hebrew courses taken to fulfill the requirement do not count as credit towards the degree.
While it is not required, we strongly encourage you to attend the Summer Ulpan(intensive Hebrew language training) prior to the start of the program as it allows students to advance quickly through Modern Hebrew. This is particularly true for those who have little or no knowledge of Modern Hebrew.
You are strongly encouraged to obtain at least Level Gimel in Hebrew by the end of your first year of studies so that you have the ability to read Jewish texts in Hebrew and join graduate-level courses taught in Hebrew in the Faculty of Humanities.
Study tours: Tour-based courses are offered in the field of biblical archaeology. Other courses include tours of museums in Jerusalem.
Additional Language Courses
You also have the option to study an additional language in place of some of the elective courses above (consult with your academic advisor).
At least two of the papers you submit will be counted as seminar papers. Seminar papers are required for the degree but do not count towards the credit requirements.
As a student in the M.A. in Jewish Studies, you are not required to write a thesis.
Graduates of the M.A. in Jewish Studies program are well-positioned for careers in academia or religious leadership.
“For me, living in the holy city with Palestinian and Israeli friends all around, I truly had lessons of the complex reality of that land. At the same time, our seminars about wars, peace, and international regimes in the Middle East engaged me to do research on China’s role in the peace process of the Middle East.” Haotan Wu of China, M.A. in Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies (2016)
To be eligible for acceptance, you must have the following:
Bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution of higher education recognized by HebrewU and relevant background in Humanities (background in Jewish Studies is an advantage)
Minimum B average (85/100 or equivalent)
Demonstrated knowledge of English
In addition to your online application, you will be required to submit the following documents:
Academic Records: A Bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution of higher education with a B average (85/100 or equivalent) or above. Applicants must submit transcripts and diplomas from all prior academic degrees.*
Proof of English Proficiency: A TOEFL exam score of 89 or above, IELTS exam score of 7 or above, Amir exam score of 220 or above, or Amiram exam score of 120 or above. **
A CV and Statement of Purpose
Two Academic Recommendations
Photocopy of your Passport ID page
A Medical Form – This form may be downloaded from the application website.
Disclaimer Form (US citizens only) – this form may be downloaded from the application website.
Modern Hebrew Placement Exam: Students in the Jewish Studies program must complete level Gimel during their MA studies. Students whose Modern Hebrew level is below Bet are strongly encouraged to also enroll in the RIS Summer Ulpan prior to the beginning of their academic studies. Please note: each level of Hebrew can be completed over the course of one semester or Summer Ulpan session, except for level Aleph, which requires two semesters.
*Students who submit scanned copies of their academic records may be accepted to the program conditionally, pending submission of original academic records.
**If you have completed a degree at a university at which English is the sole language of instruction, or if you have completed a degree in English Language and Literature, you can request an exemption. You must submit documentation from your university verifying English as the language of instruction. The exemption is not automatic and is determined on a case-by-case basis.