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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 Classical and Near Eastern Studies, English, Gender and Women's Studies, German/Nordic/Slavic Studies, History, Music, Philosophy, Political Science, Religious Studies, 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 the field. 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.

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 86th 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 34 credits in Jewish studies, distributed as follows:

Introduction to Judaism
JEWISH 211
JEWISH 231
(Jewish Law, Business and Ethics)
Hebrew Texts
Complete two of the following in Hebrew texts:
HEBR-MOD 301
HEBR-MOD 302
HEBR-MOD 401
HEBR-MOD 402
HEBR-BIB 513
HEBR-BIB 514
Literature, Philosophy, and the Arts
Complete three courses in Jewish literature, philosophy, and the arts (see below)
History and Social Science
Complete 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:
JEWISH 675
& JEWISH 677

and

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 227 4
JEWISH 230 3-4
JEWISH 232 3-4
JEWISH 236 23
JEWISH 269 13
JEWISH 278 13-4
JEWISH 279 13
JEWISH 301
& JEWISH 302

and
6
JEWISH 318 13-4
JEWISH 328 3-4
JEWISH 332 4
JEWISH 335 3
JEWISH 346 3
JEWISH 356 3
JEWISH 367 3-4
JEWISH 401
& JEWISH 402

and
6
JEWISH 430 3-4
JEWISH 432 3-4
JEWISH 435 13
JEWISH 442 3
JEWISH 448 3
JEWISH 450 13
JEWISH 510 13
JEWISH 513
& JEWISH 514

and
6
JEWISH 533
& JEWISH 534

and
6
JEWISH 539 3
JEWISH 593 13
JEWISH 630 3-4
JEWISH 632 3-4
JEWISH 343 3-4

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 213 13-4
JEWISH 219 14
JEWISH 220 4
JEWISH 231 3-4
JEWISH 233 3-4
JEWISH 241 4
JEWISH 278 3-4
JEWISH 374 4
JEWISH 431 3-4
JEWISH 433 3-4
JEWISH 451 3
JEWISH 452 2
JEWISH 515 3
JEWISH 518 3
JEWISH 633 3-4
JEWISH 665 3-4

LANGUAGE 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 34 credits for the major. Please contact the undergraduate advisor (undergrad-adviser@cjs.wisc.edu) for individual consultation about enrollment if you have prior language experience in Hebrew. The following courses satisfy the language requirement:1

HEBR-MOD 101 undefined
HEBR-MOD 102 undefined
HEBR-MOD 201 undefined
HEBR-MOD 202 undefined

1The language requirement can also be fulfilled if students with prior experience in Hebrew Language are advised to enroll in a course higher than  HEBR-MOD 202. In this case, based on which course they are advised to take, students will take two of the following Hebrew text requirements: HEBR-MOD 301, HEBR-MOD 302, HEBR-MOD 401, HEBR-MOD 402.

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 401 and HEBR-MOD 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 401HEBR-MOD 402 to fulfill the Hebrew Texts requirement, the student must repeat HEBR-MOD 402. The second time the student takes HEBR-MOD 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:
    HISTORY 309 3-4
    JEWISH 220 4
    JEWISH 227 4
    JEWISH 241 4
    JEWISH 278 3-4
    JEWISH 318 3-4
    JEWISH 328 3-4
    JEWISH 332 4
    JEWISH 356 3
    JEWISH 367 3-4
    JEWISH 374 4
    JEWISH 401 3
    JEWISH 402 3
    JEWISH 665 3-4
    INTL ST 266 undefined

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) to satisfy a requirement for the major.

Residence and Quality of Work

  • 2.000 GPA in all JEWISH courses and all courses accepted in the major
  • 2.000 GPA on 15 upper-level major credits, taken in residence1
  • 15 credits in JEWISH, taken on campus

Honors in the Major

Students may declare Honors in the Major in consultation with the Jewish Studies undergraduate advisor.

Honors in the Jewish Studies Major: Requirements

To earn Honors in the Major, 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 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 and JEWISH 682, 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.

Sample Four-Year Plan

This Sample Four-Year Plan is a tool to assist students and their advisor(s). Students should use it—along with their DARS report, the Degree Planner, and Course Search & Enroll tools—to make their own four-year plan based on their placement scores, credit for transferred courses and approved examinations, and individual interests. As students become involved in athletics, honors, research, student organizations, study abroad, volunteer experiences, and/or work, they might adjust the order of their courses to accommodate these experiences. Students will likely revise their own four-year plan several times during college.

First Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
HEBR-MOD 1014HEBR-MOD 1024
JEWISH 2114Literature, Philosophy, and the Arts course4
Communication A3Ethnic Studies3
Quantitative Reasoning A3-4Biological Science Breadth3
 14 14
Second Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
HEBR-MOD 2014HEBR-MOD 2024
JEWISH 2313-4Jewish History and Social Science course3-4
Literature, Philosophy, and the Arts course3Communication B3
Quantitative Reasoning B3Physical Science Breadth3
INTER-LS 2101Social Science Breadth (if needed)3
 14 16
Third Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
HEBR-MOD 3013HEBR-MOD 3023
Jewish History and Social Science course3-4Literature, Philosophy, and the Arts course4
Science Breadth3Intermediate/Advanced COMP SCI, MATH, or STAT (if B.S.)3
Social Science Breadth (if needed)3Science Breadth3
Elective3Elective3
 15 16
Fourth Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
Jewish History and Social Science course3-4JEWISH 6751
Intermediate/Advanced COMP SCI, MATH, or STAT (if B.S.)3JEWISH 6773
Electives9Electives12
 15 16
Total Credits 120

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). In short, SuccessWorks helps students in the College of Letters & Science discover themselves, find opportunities, and develop the skills they need for success after graduation.

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. 

Students should set up their profiles in Handshake to take care of everything they need to explore career events, manage their campus interviews, and apply to jobs and internships from 200,000+ employers around the country.

MICHAEL BERNARD-DONALS
Chaim Perelman Professor of Rhetoric and Culture and Nancy Hoefs Professor of English and Jewish Studies
michael.bernarddonals@wisc.edu

AMOS BITZAN
Frances and Laurence Weinstein Assistant Professor of History
abitzan@wisc.edu

JEFF BLAKELY
Adjunct Professor of Biblical Archaeology
jblakely@wisc.edu

RACHEL F. BRENNER
Elaine Marks Professor of Jewish Studies
brenner@wisc.edu

TERYL DOBBS
Professor of Music Education
tdobbs@wisc.edu

IVAN ERMAKOFF
Sewell-Bascom Professor of Sociology
ermakoff@ssc.wisc.edu

CHAD ALAN GOLDBERG
Professor of Sociology
cagoldberg@wisc.edu

SARA GUYER
Professor of English
guyer@wisc.edu

JEREMY HUTTON
Professor of Classical Hebrew Language and Biblical Literature
jmhutton@wisc.edu

MARK LOUDEN
Alfred L. Shoemaker, J. William Frey, and Don Yoder Professor of Germanic Linguistics
mllouden@wisc.edu

TONY MICHELS
George L. Mosse Professor of American Jewish History
aemichels@wisc.edu

STEVEN NADLER
William H. Hay II Professor & Evjue-Bascom Professor in Humanities
smnadler@wisc.edu

ANNA PARETSKAYA
Lecturer in Sociology
aparetskaya@wisc.edu

CARA ROCK-SINGER
Assistant Professor of Religious Studies
crocksinger@wisc.edu

DOUGLAS ROSENBERG
Professor of Video/Performance/Installation, Art Department
rosend@education.wisc.edu

JORDAN ROSENBLUM
Belzer Professor of Classical Judaism and Max and Frieda Weinstein-Bascom Professor of Jewish Studies
jrosenblum@wisc.edu

NADAV SHELEF
Harvey M. Meyerhoff Professor of Israel Studies and Professor of Political Science
shelef@wisc.edu

JUDITH SONE
Lecturer of Hebrew
jsone@wisc.edu

ADAM STERN
Assistant Professor in German, Nordic, & Slavic and Jewish Studies
adam.stern@wisc.edu

SCOTT STRAUS
Professor of Political Science and International Studies
sstraus@wisc.edu

JEANNE SWACK
Professor of Musicology
jswack@wisc.edu

URI VARDI
Professor of Cello
uvardi@wisc.edu

SUNNY YUDKOFF
Assistant Professor of Jewish Studies and German, Nordic, and Slavic
yudkoff@wisc.edu

MARINA ZILBERGERTS
Lipton Assistant Professor of Jewish Literature and Thought
zilbergerts@wisc.edu