mosse-weinstein-jewish-studies-center

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 (undergrad-adviser@cjs.wisc.edu) 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
  • Breadth—Humanities/Literature/Arts: 6 credits
  • Breadth—Natural Science: 4 to 6 credits, consisting of one 4- or 5-credit course with a laboratory component; or two courses providing a total of 6 credits
  • Breadth—Social Studies: 3 credits
  • Communication Part A & Part B *
  • Ethnic Studies *
  • Quantitative Reasoning Part A & Part B *

* 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
  • Complete the fourth unit of a foreign language; OR
  • Complete the third unit of a foreign language and the second unit of an additional foreign language

Note: A unit is one year of high school work or one semester/term of college work.
L&S Breadth
  • Humanities, 12 credits: 6 of the 12 credits must be in literature
  • Social Sciences, 12 credits
  • Natural Sciences, 12 credits: must include one 3+ credit course in the biological sciences; must include one 3+ credit course in the physical sciences
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.

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
Hebrew Texts
Select two of the following in Hebrew texts at the level above 202 in Modern Hebrew:
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
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)
Capstone
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
Optional Track
See "Track in Modern Hebrew Language, Literature, and Israeli Culture" below

LANGUAGE REQUIREMENT

The major includes a language requirement of Hebrew proficiency equal to four semesters of Modern Hebrew:

HEBR-MOD 101 First Semester Hebrew4
HEBR-MOD 102 Second Semester Hebrew4
HEBR-MOD 201 Third Semester Hebrew4
HEBR-MOD 202 Fourth Semester Hebrew4

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.

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

1

JEWISH courses, 300 and higher, that are designated as Intermediate or Advanced, count as upper level in the major

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 Literature3-4
JEWISH 232 Elementary Topics in Jewish Philosophy and the Arts3-4
JEWISH 236 Bascom Course 23
JEWISH/​CLASSICS/​LITTRANS/​RELIG ST  237 Biblical Poetry in Translation3
JEWISH/​GERMAN/​LITTRANS  269 Yiddish Literature and Culture in Europe 13
JEWISH/​RELIG ST  278 Food in Rabbinic Judaism 13-4
JEWISH/​GERMAN/​LITTRANS  279 Yiddish Literature and Culture in America 13
JEWISH/​HEBR-MOD  301
JEWISH/​HEBR-MOD  302
Introduction to Hebrew Literature
and Introduction to Hebrew Literature
6
JEWISH/​LITTRANS  318 Modern Jewish Literature 13-4
JEWISH/​LITTRANS/​RELIG ST  328 Classical Rabbinic Literature in Translation3-4
JEWISH/​CLASSICS/​HEBR-BIB/​LITTRANS/​RELIG ST  332 Prophets of the Bible4
JEWISH/​CLASSICS/​RELIG ST  346 Jewish Literature of the Greco-Roman Period3
JEWISH 356 Jerusalem, Holy City of Conflict and Desire3
JEWISH/​LITTRANS  367 Israeli Fiction in Translation3-4
JEWISH/​HISTORY/​MEDIEVAL/​RELIG ST  368 The Bible in the Middle Ages3
JEWISH/​HEBR-MOD  401
JEWISH/​HEBR-MOD  402
Topics in Modern Hebrew / Israeli Literature and Culture I
and Topics in Modern Hebrew / Israeli Literature and Culture II
6
JEWISH 430 Intermediate Topics in Jewish Literature3-4
JEWISH 432 Intermediate Topics in Jewish Philosophy and the Arts3-4
JEWISH/​PHILOS/​RELIG ST  435 Jewish Philosophy from Antiquity to the Seventeenth Century 13
JEWISH/​RELIG ST  448 Classical Rabbinic Texts3
JEWISH 450 Undegraduate Seminar in Judaism and the Arts 13
JEWISH/​GERMAN  510 German-Jewish Culture Since the 18th Century 13
JEWISH/​HEBR-BIB  513
JEWISH/​HEBR-BIB  514
Biblical Texts, Poetry
and Biblical Texts, Poetry
6
JEWISH 533
JEWISH 534
Readings in Contemporary Hebrew Literature
and Readings in Contemporary Hebrew Literature
6
JEWISH/​ENGL  539 Jewish Literatures in Diaspora3
JEWISH/​ENGL  593 Literature of Jewish Identity in America 13
JEWISH 630 Advanced Topics in Jewish Literature3-4
JEWISH 632 Advanced Topics in Jewish Philosophy and the Arts3-4
1

Course fulfills the Diaspora requirement.

2

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 14
JEWISH/​HISTORY  220 Introduction to Modern Jewish History4
JEWISH 231 Elementary Topics in Jewish History3-4
JEWISH 233 Elementary Topics in Jewish Studies: Social Sciences3-4
JEWISH/​CLASSICS  241 Introduction to Biblical Archaeology4
JEWISH/​SOC  258 The Jews, States, and Citizenship: A Sociological Perspective3
JEWISH/​RELIG ST  278 Food in Rabbinic Judaism3-4
JEWISH/​ANTHRO/​RELIG ST  372 Jews of Central and Eastern Europe3-4
JEWISH/​HISTORY  373 Modern Political History of the Jews: 1655-19194
JEWISH/​HISTORY  374 Modern Political History of the Jews: Era of Mass Movements, 1870-19704
JEWISH/​RELIG ST  377 Jewish Cultural History (in English)4
JEWISH/​HISTORY  416 Eastern European Jews in the United States, 1880s-1930s 13-4
JEWISH 431 Intermediate Topics in Jewish History3-4
JEWISH 433 Intermediate Topics in Jewish Studies: Social Sciences3-4
JEWISH/​CLASSICS  451 Biblical Archaeology3
JEWISH/​HEBR-BIB  452 Biblical Archaeology2
JEWISH/​CURRIC/​HISTORY  515 Holocaust: History, Memory and Education3
JEWISH/​HISTORY  518 Anti-Semitism in European Culture, 1700-19453
JEWISH/​HISTORY/​RELIG ST  529 Intellectual and Religious History of European Jewry, 1648-19394
JEWISH 625 The Holocaust: Facts, Trials, Verdicts, Post-Verdicts3
JEWISH 633 Advanced Topics in Jewish Studies: Social Sciences3-4
JEWISH/​POLI SCI  665 Israeli Politics and Society3-4
1

Course fulfills the American requirement.

Major in Jewish Studies: Track 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 track 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 track must 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  401HEBR-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. Some courses (see list below) are preapproved for this track.
HISTORY/​MEDIEVAL/​RELIG ST  309 The Crusades: Christianity and Islam3-4
JEWISH/​HISTORY  220 Introduction to Modern Jewish History4
JEWISH/​CLASSICS/​LITTRANS/​RELIG ST  227 Introduction to Biblical Literature (in English)4
JEWISH/​CLASSICS/​LITTRANS/​RELIG ST  237 Biblical Poetry in Translation3
JEWISH/​CLASSICS  241 Introduction to Biblical Archaeology4
JEWISH/​SOC  258 The Jews, States, and Citizenship: A Sociological Perspective3
JEWISH/​RELIG ST  278 Food in Rabbinic Judaism3-4
JEWISH/​LITTRANS  318 Modern Jewish Literature3-4
JEWISH/​LITTRANS/​RELIG ST  328 Classical Rabbinic Literature in Translation3-4
JEWISH/​CLASSICS/​HEBR-BIB/​LITTRANS/​RELIG ST  332 Prophets of the Bible4
JEWISH 356 Jerusalem, Holy City of Conflict and Desire3
JEWISH/​LITTRANS  367 Israeli Fiction in Translation3-4
JEWISH/​HISTORY  374 Modern Political History of the Jews: Era of Mass Movements, 1870-19704
JEWISH/​HEBR-MOD  401 Topics in Modern Hebrew / Israeli Literature and Culture I3
JEWISH/​HEBR-MOD  402 Topics in Modern Hebrew / Israeli Literature and Culture II3
JEWISH/​POLI SCI  665 Israeli Politics and Society3-4
LCA 266 Introduction to the Middle East3
POLI SCI 333 International Politics of the Middle East3-4

Major in Jewish Studies: Track in Education

(Degree awarded in College of Letters & Science)

A total of 34 credits—19 in Jewish studies, 9 in education, and 6 in education and Jewish studies. Students electing the education track are responsible for reaching the level of fourth-semester proficiency in Hebrew necessary for required courses in Hebrew texts.

Jewish Studies Requirements
JEWISH/​RELIG ST  211 Introduction to Judaism4
Jewish literature3
Jewish history6
Select two of the following courses in Hebrew texts at the level above 202 in Modern Hebrew:6
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
Education Requirements
Select one of the following in developing a philosophical stance:3
Philosophical Conceptions of Teaching and Learning
Philosophy of Moral Education
Select one of the following in education in Jewish studies in a democratic, pluralistic society:3
Immigration, Education, and Equity
Religion and Public Education
Select one of the following in pedagogical/curricular issues pertinent to education in Jewish studies:3
Teaching of History and the Other Social Studies
Young Adult Literature for Schools
Holocaust: History, Memory and Education
Education and Jewish Studies Requirements
JEWISH 675
JEWISH 677
Research Colloquium for Majors
and Independent Research for Majors (capstone sequence)
4
Total Credits32

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 the B.A. or B.S. with 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.

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 the L&S Career Services office to help you leverage the academic skills learned in your major 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).

Letters & Science 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.

Career Resources:

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

Jewish Studies Faculty Information