Founded in 1991, the Mosse/Weinstein Center for Jewish Studies brings together a variety of disciplines to study and interpret Jewish and ancient Israelite history, religion, literature, politics, society, and culture. The center offers a broad selection of courses at all levels, which are cross-listed with other departments, including classics, curriculum and instruction, English, gender and women's studies, German, history, music, philosophy, political science, religious studies, Slavic languages, and sociology.
The Jewish studies major offers students an in-depth study of 3,500 years of Jewish civilization. The program is interdisciplinary in nature and aims to provide students with a broadly based, rigorous liberal arts education in Jewish studies. While learning about Jewish history, religion, language, and culture, students also develop skills in critical thinking, reading, writing, and research—skills that are valuable to a range of career paths. Students with a particular interest in Modern Hebrew and Israel are encouraged to follow a specialized track in Modern Hebrew language, literature, and Israeli culture.
The Jewish studies major requires a minimum of 31 credits and proficiency in the Hebrew language to enable students to deal with Hebrew texts in the classroom and for research purposes. The credits are divided among several clusters that focus on Hebrew texts; literature, philosophy, and the arts; and history and social science. In addition, students must complete a two-course capstone sequence. Together, these courses support the acquisition of an integrated and coherent body of knowledge.
A certificate in Jewish studies is also available. Its aim is to acquaint students with a number of significant aspects of Jewish civilization and to introduce them to tools required for its study; it requires a minimum of 21 credits in seven courses.
The major has an education track that includes coursework in the School of Education. It requires a total of 34 credits—25 in Jewish studies and 9 in education (curriculum and instruction, and educational policy studies). This track provides a series of courses that define the role that education has played in Jewish civilization; Jewish ideas concerning the nature and aims of education; and philosophical, curricular, and pedagogical issues relating to education in Jewish studies in a pluralistic, democratic society. This track does not lead to teacher certification.
Prospective majors in Jewish studies should make an appointment with the undergraduate advisor (firstname.lastname@example.org) to discuss requirements and courses.
University General Education Requirements
All undergraduate students at the University of Wisconsin–Madison are required to fulfill a minimum set of common university general education requirements to ensure that every graduate acquires the essential core of an undergraduate education. This core establishes a foundation for living a productive life, being a citizen of the world, appreciating aesthetic values, and engaging in lifelong learning in a continually changing world. Various schools and colleges will have requirements in addition to the requirements listed below. Consult your advisor for assistance, as needed. For additional information, see the university Undergraduate General Education Requirements section of the Guide.
|General Education|| |
* The mortarboard symbol appears before the title of any course that fulfills one of the Communication Part A or Part B, Ethnic Studies, or Quantitative Reasoning Part A or Part B requirements.
College of Letters & Science Breadth and Degree Requirements: Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)
Students pursuing a bachelor of arts degree in the College of Letters & Science must complete all of the requirements below. The College of Letters & Science allows this major to be paired with either a bachelor of arts or a bachelor of science curriculum. View a comparison of the degree requirements here.
Bachelor of Arts degree requirements
|Mathematics||Fulfilled with completion of University General Education requirements Quantitative Reasoning a (QR A) and Quantitative Reasoning b (QR B) coursework. Please note that some majors may require students to complete additional math coursework beyond the B.A. mathematics requirement.|
|Foreign Language|| |
Note: A unit is one year of high school work or one semester/term of college work.
|L&S Breadth|| |
|Liberal Arts and Science Coursework||108 credits|
|Depth of Intermediate/Advanced work||60 intermediate or advanced credits|
|Major||Declare and complete at least one (1) major|
|Total Credits||120 credits|
|UW-Madison Experience||30 credits in residence, overall |
30 credits in residence after the 90th credit
|Minimum GPAs||2.000 in all coursework at UW–Madison |
2.000 in intermediate/advanced coursework at UW–Madison
Non–L&S students pursuing an L&S major
Non–L&S students who have permission from their school/college to pursue an additional major within L&S only need to fulfill the major requirements and do not need to complete the L&S breadth and degree requirements above. Please note that the following special degree programs are not considered majors so are not available to non–L&S degree-seeking candidates:
- Applied Mathematics, Engineering and Physics (Bachelor of Science–Applied Mathematics, Engineering and Physics)
- Journalism (Bachelor of Arts–Journalism; Bachelor of Science–Journalism)
- Music (Bachelor of Music)
- Social Work (Bachelor of Social Work)
Requirements for the Major
Completion of the major requires a minimum of 31 credits in Jewish studies, distributed as follows:
|Introduction to Judaism|
|Introduction to Judaism|
|Elementary Topics in Jewish History (Jewish Law, Business and Ethics)|
|Select two of the following in Hebrew texts:|
|Introduction to Hebrew Literature|
|Introduction to Hebrew Literature|
|Topics in Modern Hebrew / Israeli Literature and Culture I|
|Topics in Modern Hebrew / Israeli Literature and Culture II|
|Biblical Texts, Poetry|
|Biblical Texts, Poetry|
|Literature, Philosophy, and the Arts|
|Select three courses in Jewish literature, philosophy, and the arts (see below)|
|History and Social Science|
|Select three courses in Jewish history or social science (see below)|
|The capstone sequence is intended for students nearing the end of their coursework and consists of two courses, which are taken concurrently:|
| Research Colloquium for Majors|
and Independent Research for Majors
Literature, Philosophy, and the Arts
Three courses in Jewish literature, philosophy, and the arts, at least one of which must deal with the Jewish experience in Diaspora written in a language other than Hebrew—e.g., English, French, German, Russian, Yiddish. (Courses taken to satisfy the requirement in Hebrew texts cannot be used to satisfy this requirement.) Courses fulfilling the Diaspora requirement are indicated with a footnote. Depending on the semester, select topics courses may also fulfill the Diaspora requirement.
|JEWISH/CLASSICS/LITTRANS/RELIG ST 227||Introduction to Biblical Literature (in English)||4|
|JEWISH 230||Elementary Topics in Jewish Literature||3-4|
|JEWISH 232||Elementary Topics in Jewish Philosophy and the Arts||3-4|
|JEWISH 236||Bascom Course 2||3|
|JEWISH/CLASSICS/LITTRANS/RELIG ST 237||Biblical Poetry in Translation||3|
|JEWISH/GERMAN/LITTRANS 269||Yiddish Literature and Culture in Europe 1||3|
|JEWISH/RELIG ST 278||Food in Rabbinic Judaism 1||3-4|
|JEWISH/GERMAN/LITTRANS 279||Yiddish Literature and Culture in America 1||3|
& JEWISH/HEBR-MOD 302
| Introduction to Hebrew Literature|
and Introduction to Hebrew Literature
|JEWISH/LITTRANS 318||Modern Jewish Literature 1||3-4|
|JEWISH/LITTRANS/RELIG ST 328||Classical Rabbinic Literature in Translation||3-4|
|JEWISH/CLASSICS/HEBR-BIB/LITTRANS/RELIG ST 332||Prophets of the Bible||4|
|JEWISH/CLASSICS/RELIG ST 346||Jewish Literature of the Greco-Roman Period||3|
|JEWISH 356||Jerusalem, Holy City of Conflict and Desire||3|
|JEWISH/LITTRANS 367||Israeli Fiction in Translation||3-4|
|JEWISH/HISTORY/MEDIEVAL/RELIG ST 368||The Bible in the Middle Ages||3|
& JEWISH/HEBR-MOD 402
| Topics in Modern Hebrew / Israeli Literature and Culture I|
and Topics in Modern Hebrew / Israeli Literature and Culture II
|JEWISH 430||Intermediate Topics in Jewish Literature||3-4|
|JEWISH 432||Intermediate Topics in Jewish Philosophy and the Arts||3-4|
|JEWISH/PHILOS/RELIG ST 435||Jewish Philosophy from Antiquity to the Seventeenth Century 1||3|
|JEWISH/RELIG ST 448||Classical Rabbinic Texts||3|
|JEWISH 450||Undegraduate Seminar in Judaism and the Arts 1||3|
|JEWISH/GERMAN 510||German-Jewish Culture Since the 18th Century 1||3|
& JEWISH/HEBR-BIB 514
| Biblical Texts, Poetry|
and Biblical Texts, Poetry
& JEWISH 534
| Readings in Contemporary Hebrew Literature|
and Readings in Contemporary Hebrew Literature
|JEWISH/ENGL 539||Jewish Literatures in Diaspora||3|
|JEWISH/ENGL 593||Literature of Jewish Identity in America 1||3|
|JEWISH 630||Advanced Topics in Jewish Literature||3-4|
|JEWISH 632||Advanced Topics in Jewish Philosophy and the Arts||3-4|
Course fulfills the Diaspora requirement.
Bascom Courses are small (20 students or fewer) and generally focus on one particular topic that would generate substantial in-depth papers throughout the semester. Recent topics include: Jewish Composers: Early Modern to Modern; Modern American Jewish Fiction; and Writing (and) the Holocaust.
History and Social Science
Three courses in Jewish history or social science, at least one of which must deal with the experience of Jews in America. Students are strongly encouraged to take at least one course offered by the History department. Courses fulfilling the American requirement are indicated with a footnote. Depending on the semester, select topics courses may also fulfill the American requirement.
|JEWISH/HISTORY 219||The American Jewish Experience: From Shtetl to Suburb 1||4|
|JEWISH/HISTORY 220||Introduction to Modern Jewish History||4|
|JEWISH 231||Elementary Topics in Jewish History||3-4|
|JEWISH 233||Elementary Topics in Jewish Studies: Social Sciences||3-4|
|JEWISH/CLASSICS 241||Introduction to Biblical Archaeology||4|
|JEWISH/SOC 258||The Jews, States, and Citizenship: A Sociological Perspective||3|
|JEWISH/RELIG ST 278||Food in Rabbinic Judaism||3-4|
|JEWISH/HISTORY 373||Modern Political History of the Jews: 1655-1919||4|
|JEWISH/HISTORY 374||Modern Political History of the Jews: Era of Mass Movements, 1870-1970||4|
|JEWISH/RELIG ST 377||Jewish Cultural History (in English)||4|
|JEWISH/HISTORY 416||Eastern European Jews in the United States, 1880s-1930s 1||3-4|
|JEWISH 431||Intermediate Topics in Jewish History||3-4|
|JEWISH 433||Intermediate Topics in Jewish Studies: Social Sciences||3-4|
|JEWISH/CLASSICS 451||Biblical Archaeology||3|
|JEWISH/CLASSICS 452||Biblical Archaeology||2|
|JEWISH/CURRIC/HISTORY 515||Holocaust: History, Memory and Education||3|
|JEWISH/HISTORY 518||Anti-Semitism in European Culture, 1700-1945||3|
|JEWISH/HISTORY/RELIG ST 529||Intellectual and Religious History of European Jewry, 1648-1939||4|
|JEWISH 625||The Holocaust: Facts, Trials, Verdicts, Post-Verdicts||3|
|JEWISH 633||Advanced Topics in Jewish Studies: Social Sciences||3-4|
|JEWISH/POLI SCI 665||Israeli Politics and Society||3-4|
Course fulfills the American requirement.
The major includes a language requirement of Hebrew proficiency equal to four semesters of Modern Hebrew. These first four semesters of Hebrew do not count toward the 31 credits for the major. The Center for Jewish Studies, 4223 Mosse Humanities Building, administers placement examinations. The following courses satisfy the language requirement:1
|HEBR-MOD 101||First Semester Hebrew||4|
|HEBR-MOD 102||Second Semester Hebrew||4|
|HEBR-MOD 201||Third Semester Hebrew||4|
|HEBR-MOD 202||Fourth Semester Hebrew||4|
1The language requirement can also be fulfilled by placing out of HEBR-MOD 202 Fourth Semester Hebrew. In this case, based on which course they place into, students will take two of the following Hebrew text requirements: HEBR-MOD/JEWISH 301 Introduction to Hebrew Literature, HEBR-MOD/JEWISH 302 Introduction to Hebrew Literature, HEBR-MOD/JEWISH 401 Topics in Modern Hebrew / Israeli Literature and Culture I, HEBR-MOD/JEWISH 402 Topics in Modern Hebrew / Israeli Literature and Culture II.
transcripted option within the major
Major in Jewish Studies: Concentration in Modern Hebrew Language, Literature, and Israeli Culture
Students majoring in Jewish studies may choose to focus their Jewish studies coursework on Modern Hebrew literature and the culture, history, and politics of Israel. This concentration follows the general requirements of the Jewish studies major, with the following modifications:
- The diaspora requirement in the Literature, Philosophy, and the Arts category is eliminated.
- The American requirement for the History and Social Science category is eliminated.
- Students in this concentration take HEBR-MOD/JEWISH 401 and HEBR-MOD/JEWISH 402 (repeatable for credit). These courses can be used to fulfill either the Hebrew Texts requirement or the Literature, Philosophy, and the Arts requirement.
- In the event that a student uses HEBR-MOD/JEWISH 401–HEBR-MOD/JEWISH 402 to fulfill the Hebrew Texts requirement, the student must repeat HEBR-MOD/JEWISH 402. The second time the student takes HEBR-MOD/JEWISH 402, it will count toward the Literature, Philosophy, and the Arts requirement.
- In the six courses taken across the “Literature, Philosophy, and the Arts” and “History and Social Science” clusters, four courses must deal in some way with Israel. Pre-approved for this concentration are:
Course List Code Title Credits HISTORY/MEDIEVAL/RELIG ST 309 The Crusades: Christianity and Islam 3-4 JEWISH/HISTORY 220 Introduction to Modern Jewish History 4 JEWISH/CLASSICS/LITTRANS/RELIG ST 227 Introduction to Biblical Literature (in English) 4 JEWISH/CLASSICS/LITTRANS/RELIG ST 237 Biblical Poetry in Translation 3 JEWISH/CLASSICS 241 Introduction to Biblical Archaeology 4 JEWISH/SOC 258 The Jews, States, and Citizenship: A Sociological Perspective 3 JEWISH/RELIG ST 278 Food in Rabbinic Judaism 3-4 JEWISH/LITTRANS 318 Modern Jewish Literature 3-4 JEWISH/LITTRANS/RELIG ST 328 Classical Rabbinic Literature in Translation 3-4 JEWISH/CLASSICS/HEBR-BIB/LITTRANS/RELIG ST 332 Prophets of the Bible 4 JEWISH 356 Jerusalem, Holy City of Conflict and Desire 3 JEWISH/LITTRANS 367 Israeli Fiction in Translation 3-4 JEWISH/HISTORY 374 Modern Political History of the Jews: Era of Mass Movements, 1870-1970 4 JEWISH/HEBR-MOD 401 Topics in Modern Hebrew / Israeli Literature and Culture I 3 JEWISH/HEBR-MOD 402 Topics in Modern Hebrew / Israeli Literature and Culture II 3 JEWISH/POLI SCI 665 Israeli Politics and Society 3-4 POLI SCI 333 International Politics of the Middle East 3-4 INTL ST 266 Introduction to the Middle East 3
NOTE ON DIRECTED STUDY
With prior consent of the undergraduate advisor in Jewish studies and the relevant instructor, students may use one Directed Study course (JEWISH 699 Directed Study) to satisfy a requirement for the major.
Residence and quality of work
2.000 GPA in all JEWISH courses and courses accepted in the major
2.000 GPA on 15 upper-level major credits, taken in residence1
15 credits in JEWISH, taken on campus
JEWISH courses, 300 and higher, that are designated as Intermediate or Advanced, count as upper level in the major
Honors in the Major
Students may declare Honors in the Jewish Studies Major in consultation with the Jewish Studies undergraduate advisor.
Honors in the Jewish Studies Major: Requirements
To earn Honors in the Major in Jewish Studies, or the separate track in Education and Jewish Studies and Modern Hebrew Language, Literature and Culture, students must satisfy both the requirements for the major and the following additional requirements:
- Earn a 3.300 overall university GPA
- Earn a 3.500 GPA for all JEWISH courses, and all courses accepted in the major
- Complete at least two courses, taken for Honors, in the major, with grades of B or better in each
- Complete a two-semester Senior Honors Thesis, a piece of original research composition, in JEWISH 681 Senior Honors Thesis and JEWISH 682 Senior Honors Thesis, for a total of 6 credits.
University Degree Requirements
|Total Degree||To receive a bachelor's degree from UW–Madison, students must earn a minimum of 120 degree credits. The requirements for some programs may exceed 120 degree credits. Students should consult with their college or department advisor for information on specific credit requirements.|
|Residency||Degree candidates are required to earn a minimum of 30 credits in residence at UW–Madison. "In residence" means on the UW–Madison campus with an undergraduate degree classification. “In residence” credit also includes UW–Madison courses offered in distance or online formats and credits earned in UW–Madison Study Abroad/Study Away programs.|
|Quality of Work||Undergraduate students must maintain the minimum grade point average specified by the school, college, or academic program to remain in good academic standing. Students whose academic performance drops below these minimum thresholds will be placed on academic probation.|
1. Proficiency demonstrated in reading, understanding and conversing in Hebrew, Yiddish, Ladino or another approved Jewish language.
2. Honed critical abilities in close reading, interpretation, and written analysis of ancient and modern Jewish texts.
3. Expanded knowledge of Jewish history, culture, philosophy, arts, religious practice, and politics in both the past and present.
4. Development, pursuit and presentation of original research on Jewish studies culminating in a senior capstone project.
5. Disposition of increased appreciation for diverse world views, value systems and interactions between Jews and non-Jews, minorities and majorities, in Wisconsin, the US, and across the globe.
Like other liberal arts majors, a degree in Jewish studies can prepare one for a variety of career paths. Graduates in Jewish studies have followed a variety of different career paths, including law, medicine, education, finance, social work, and the nonprofit sector. Jewish studies students are also well prepared to apply for graduate studies in fields such as law, education, business, and social work, as well as prime candidates for rabbinical or cantorial school, theological studies, and advanced levels of Jewish studies.
The Mosse/Weinstein Center for Jewish Studies encourages our majors to begin working on their career exploration and preparation soon after arriving on campus. We partner with SuccessWorks at the College of Letters & Science. L&S graduates are in high demand by employers and graduate programs. It is important to us that our students are career ready at the time of graduation, and we are committed to your success.
L&S career resources
SuccessWorks at the College of Letters & Science helps students leverage the academic skills learned in their major, certificates, and liberal arts degree; explore and try out different career paths; participate in internships; prepare for the job search and/or graduate school applications; and network with professionals in the field (alumni and employers).
SuccessWorks can also assist students in career advising, résumé and cover letter writing, networking opportunities, and interview skills, as well as course offerings for undergraduates to begin their career exploration early in their undergraduate career.
- Set up a career advising appointment
- INTER-LS 210 L&S Career Development: Taking Initiative (1 credit, targeted to first- and second-year students)—for more information, see Inter-LS 210: Career Development, Taking Initiative
- Learn how we’re transforming career preparation: L&S Career Initiative
Professors: Bernard-Donals, Brenner, Ermakoff, Goldberg, Guyer, Hutton, Louden, Michels, Nadler, Rosenberg, Rosenblum, Rosenmeyer, Schweber, Swack, Vardi
Associate Professors: Dobbs, Shelef, Strauss
Assistant Professors: Bitzan, Brisman, Hollander, Mandell, Yudkoff, Zilbergers
Lecturers: Blakely, Paretskaya, Sone, Yuchtman