Posts RSS Comments RSS

Requirements for the Major


The major requires twelve courses distributed according to the guidelines
that follow.


The twelve courses required for the major typically include three quarters of Hebrew. If the student’s research project requires knowledge of a language other than Hebrew, the student may petition to substitute that language for Hebrew.

Jewish Civilization

Amulet, Oriental Institute Museum

Every year, several courses in Jewish civilization are offered. These have course codes in the ranges JWSC 20120–20199 and JWSC 20220–20299. Jewish civilization courses may be taken in any order and may be used to fulfill the College’s general education requirement in civilization studies. To fulfill the general education civilization requirement, at least one course must pertain to the ancient or medieval periods (JWSC 20120–20199) and at least one course must pertain to the modern period (in the range JWSC 20220–20299).

Note: This Jewish Civilization course numbering system is new in 2015–2016. Students who have already taken one or two courses from the previous JWSC civilization studies sequences (JWSC 20001-20003 or JWSC 20004-20006) and wish to complete the civilization requirement may take an additional JWSC civilization course from the set of eligible courses, as defined above, provided that they end up having taken at least one JWSC course in the ancient or medieval period and one in the modern period, and provided that they do not take the same course twice under two different numbers.

For the major in Jewish Studies, students are required to take four to six Jewish civilization courses. At least two of these must pertain to the ancient or medieval periods (in the range JWSC 20120–20199) and at least two must pertain to the modern period (in the range JWSC 20220–20299). [Courses from the previous sequences JWSC 20001-20003 and JWSC 20004-20006 will also be counted towards the fulfillment of this requirement.] Students may also earn credit for three Jewish civilization courses (ancient, medieval, and modern) by participating in the “Jerusalem in Middle Eastern Civilizations” Study Abroad program. (For more information about this program, please see the Study Abroad page of this catalog.)

Note that students who fulfill their general education requirement in civilization studies in an area outside of Jewish Studies still must take the four to six courses in Jewish civilization prescribed above in order to earn a major in Jewish Studies. Students who fulfill the general education requirement in civilization studies by taking courses in Jewish civilization are required to take, as an elective, one quarter of another civilization sequence pertinent to the area and period of their primary interest in Jewish Studies.

Other Requirements

In addition to three courses in Hebrew (or another language, by petition) and four to six courses in Jewish civilization, as described above, students majoring in Jewish Studies must take three to five elective courses in Jewish Studies, making a total of twelve courses. Eligible courses will have the JWSC prefix. The elective courses should normally focus in a specific area of concentration within Jewish Studies and should be chosen in consultation with the director of undergraduate studies. Beyond the requirements for the major, students are encouraged to take at least one course in method or theory pertaining to their area of concentration in Jewish Studies.

Students who have not completed the College’s general education requirements before starting the major should do so during their first year as Jewish Studies majors. Students are encouraged to meet with the director of undergraduate studies before declaring a major in Jewish Studies. Each student in the major will have as an adviser a faculty member who is affiliated with the Center for Jewish Studies.

Summary of Requirements:

  • 3 courses in Hebrew or other approved language as described in the language section
  • A total of nine courses from the following:
    • Four to six Jewish Civilization courses, at least two of which deal with the ancient or medieval periods (JWSC 20120–20199) and at least two of which deal with the modern period (JWSC 20220–20299).
    • Jewish Studies majors may also earn three credits (ancient, medieval, and modern) through the Study Abroad program in Jerusalem.
    • Three to five elective courses among all JWSC course listings

Optional BA Paper

Students who choose this option are to meet with their advisers by May 15 of their third year to determine the focus of the research project, and they are expected to begin reading and research for the BA paper during the summer before their fourth year. After further consultation, students are to continue guided readings and participate in a (formal or informal) tutorial during Autumn Quarter of their fourth year. Credit toward the major is received only for the Winter Quarter tutorial during which the BA paper is finally written and revised. The BA tutorial may count toward one of the courses related to Jewish Studies. The BA paper must be received by the primary reader by the end of fifth week of Spring Quarter. A BA paper is a requirement for consideration for honors.

This program may accept a BA paper or project used to satisfy the same requirement in another major if certain conditions are met and with the consent of the other program chair. Approval from both program chairs is required. Students should consult with the chairs by the earliest BA proposal deadline (or by the end of their third year, if neither program publishes a deadline). A consent form, to be signed by both chairs, is available from the College adviser. It must be completed and returned to the College adviser by the end of Autumn Quarter of the student’s year of graduation.


Honors are awarded to students who demonstrate excellence in their course work, as well as on the BA paper. To qualify for honors, students must register for JWSC 29900 BA Paper Preparation Course in addition to the twelve courses required in the general program of study, bringing the total number of courses required to thirteen. Students must maintain an overall GPA of 3.0 or higher and a GPA of 3.5 or higher in the major, and the BA paper must be judged to be at least of A- quality.


Students take all courses required for the major for quality grades. However, students who qualify for honors may take for P/F grading during the second quarter of their fourth year. Requirements for this P/F course will be agreed upon by the student and the instructor.