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 (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 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 Law, Business and Ethics)|
|Complete two of the following in Hebrew texts:|
|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)|
|The capstone sequence is intended for students nearing the end of their coursework and consists of two courses, which are taken concurrently:|
& JEWISH 677
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 302
& JEWISH 402
& JEWISH 514
& JEWISH 534
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.
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 34 credits for the major. Please contact the undergraduate advisor (email@example.com) for individual consultation about enrollment if you have prior language experience in Hebrew. The following courses satisfy the language requirement:1
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 401–HEBR-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:
Course List Code Title Credits 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
JEWISH courses, 300–699, that are designated as Intermediate or Advanced, count as upper-level in the major
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.|
- Proficiency demonstrated in reading, understanding and conversing in Hebrew, Yiddish, Ladino or another approved Jewish language.
- Honed critical abilities in close reading, interpretation, and written analysis of ancient and modern Jewish texts.
- Expanded knowledge of Jewish history, culture, philosophy, arts, religious practice, and politics in both the past and present.
- Development, pursuit and presentation of original research on Jewish studies culminating in a senior capstone project.
- 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.
|HEBR-MOD 101||4||HEBR-MOD 102||4|
|JEWISH 211||4||Literature, Philosophy, and the Arts course||4|
|Communication A||3||Ethnic Studies||3|
|Quantitative Reasoning A||3-4||Biological Science Breadth||3|
|HEBR-MOD 201||4||HEBR-MOD 202||4|
|JEWISH 231||3-4||Jewish History and Social Science course||3-4|
|Literature, Philosophy, and the Arts course||3||Communication B||3|
|Quantitative Reasoning B||3||Physical Science Breadth||3|
|INTER-LS 210||1||Social Science Breadth (if needed)||3|
|HEBR-MOD 301||3||HEBR-MOD 302||3|
|Jewish History and Social Science course||3-4||Literature, Philosophy, and the Arts course||4|
|Science Breadth||3||Intermediate/Advanced COMP SCI, MATH, or STAT (if B.S.)||3|
|Social Science Breadth (if needed)||3||Science Breadth||3|
|Jewish History and Social Science course||3-4||JEWISH 675||1|
|Intermediate/Advanced COMP SCI, MATH, or STAT (if B.S.)||3||JEWISH 677||3|
|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.
- 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
- INTER-LS 215 Communicating About Careers (3 credits, fulfills Com B General Education Requirement)
- Learn how we’re transforming career preparation: L&S Career Initiative