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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.

Judaic Civilization

Amulet, Oriental Institute Museum

The major requires four to six courses in Judaic civilization, including two or three quarters of JWSC 20001-20002-20003 (Jewish History and Society) and two or three quarters of JWSC 20004-20005-20006 (Jewish Thought and Literature). Students who meet the general education requirement in civilization studies in an area outside of Jewish Studies must also take the courses in Judaic civilization prescribed above. Students who meet the general education requirement in civilization studies with one of the Judaic civilization sequences 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. These students make their choice in consultation with the Undergraduate Program Adviser.

Other Requirements

A minimum of two and a maximum of six courses in Judaic civilization are counted for the major, depending on whether the student uses one of the Judaic civilization sequences to meet the general education requirement in civilization studies. Three courses in Hebrew (or another language, by petition) are also required. Three to six elective courses related to Jewish Studies are also needed to meet the requirement of twelve courses for the major. These elective courses would, in part, constitute a specific area of concentration for each student, and are chosen by the student in consultation with the Undergraduate Program Adviser. Students are encouraged to take at least one methodology or theory course in the College in the area pertaining to their area of interest.

Students are encouraged to meet with the Undergraduate Program Adviser before declaring the major. Students who have not completed the general education requirements before starting the major should do so during their first year in the program. Each student in the program has an adviser who is a member of the program’s faculty.

Summary of Requirements:

  • 3 courses in Hebrew or other approved language as described in the language section
  • 2–3 JWSC 20001-20002-20003 (if not used to meet general education requirement)
  • 2–3 JWSC 20004-20005-20006 (if not used to meet general education requirement)
  • 3–6 elective courses related to Jewish Studies*

Total number of courses: 12**
* Courses to be chosen in consultation with the student’s adviser in Jewish Studies.
** Students who wish to be considered for honors must also register for JWSC 29900 (BA Paper) for a total of 13 courses.

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 do 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 Judaic Studies. The BA paper must be received by the primary reader by the end of fifth week of Spring Quarter. Completion of 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’s chair. Approval from both program chairs is required. Students should consult with the chairs by the earliest BA proposal deadline (or Jewish Studies 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. The form must be completed and returned to the College adviser by the end of Autumn Quarter of the student’s year of graduation.


Flavii Iosephi Opera. University of Chicago Library

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 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 JWSC 29900 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.