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From history to political science, sociology to music and the arts, Jewish Studies is a vibrant, interdisciplinary program that allows you to explore Jewish civilization from a variety of perspectives. We encourage all students to consider a Jewish Studies major or certificate, regardless of your background or previous study.

As a student in Jewish Studies, you will study the intellectual and cultural values of Jews, their religious beliefs and practices, languages, literary creativity, and participation in the larger societies in which they live. You will sharpen your ability to think critically, read closely, and write effectively. And while learning how Jews have lived, survived, and sometimes flourished, you will gain a deeper comprehension of their rich, varied culture and the world they inhabit.

Since Jewish Studies is an interdisciplinary field, many students simultaneously pursue majors or certificates in other departments, including Art, Education, Geography, History, Music, Political Science, Religious Studies, and Sociology. Given the broad history and geography of the Jewish experience, Jewish Studies also pairs well with programs like African Studies, Classical and Near Eastern Studies, European Studies, German/Nordic/Slavic Studies, and Middle Eastern Studies. For the same reason, many of Jewish Studies courses fulfill General Education requirements, including Humanities and Literature, Ethnic Studies, Foreign Language, and Communications Part B. To get a sense of the variety of our offerings, check out our current and recent courses.

Building on a strong foundation in the humanities and social sciences, you may go on to pursue a variety of career paths, such as education, library and information sciences, finance and international trade, journalism and mass media, social work, and the nonprofit sector. Our graduates are also well prepared to apply for law school, graduate school, or rabbinical studies.

Questions? Contact undergraduate advisor Gwen Walker: undergrad-adviser@cjs.wisc.edu.

Students interested in a certificate in Jewish Studies should make an appointment with the undergraduate advisor (undergrad-adviser@cjs.wisc.edu) to discuss requirements and courses.

REQUIREMENTS FOR THE CERTIFICATE

The Jewish Studies certificate requires 5 courses, totaling at least 15 credits, in 4 areas: 1) one course in Literature, Philosophy, or the Arts; 2) one course in History or Social Science; 3) one course in Pre-Modern Jewish History, Culture, or Literature; and 4) two courses in an approved Jewish language. Each course may count toward only one required area.

Language Requirement

Complete two courses in one of the following approved Jewish languages at the appropriate level. 

Biblical Hebrew (Select 2 courses):
Elementary Biblical Hebrew, I
Elementary Biblical Hebrew, I
Elementary Biblical Hebrew, II
Elementary Biblical Hebrew, II
Modern Hebrew (Select 2 courses):
First Semester Hebrew
Third Semester Hebrew
Second Semester Hebrew
Fourth Semester 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
Introduction to Hebrew Literature
Introduction to Hebrew Literature
Intermediate Biblical Hebrew, I
Intermediate Biblical Hebrew, II
Topics in Modern Hebrew / Israeli Literature and Culture I
Topics in Modern Hebrew / Israeli Literature and Culture II
Biblical Texts, Poetry
Biblical Texts, Poetry
Yiddish (Select 2 courses)
First Semester Yiddish

Literature, Philosophy, or the Arts

Complete one course in Literature, Philosophy, or the Arts.

Jewish Law, Business, and Ethics
Introduction to Judaism
Introduction to Biblical Literature (in English)
Elementary Topics in Jewish Literature
Elementary Topics in Jewish Philosophy and the Arts
Bascom Course
Yiddish Literature and Culture in Europe
Food in Rabbinic Judaism
Yiddish Literature and Culture in America
Directed Study
Introduction to Hebrew Literature
Introduction to Hebrew Literature
Modern Jewish Literature
The Sabbath
Classical Rabbinic Literature in Translation
Prophets of the Bible
King David in History and Tradition
The American Jewish Life of DNA
Jewish Literature of the Greco-Roman Period
Jerusalem, Holy City of Conflict and Desire
Israeli Fiction in Translation
Jewish Humor
Topics in Modern Hebrew / Israeli Literature and Culture I
Topics in Modern Hebrew / Israeli Literature and Culture II
Intermediate Topics in Jewish Literature
Intermediate Topics in Jewish Philosophy and the Arts
Moral Philosophy and the Holocaust
Biblical Texts, Poetry
Biblical Texts, Poetry
Readings in Contemporary Hebrew Literature
Jewish Literatures in Diaspora
Literature of Jewish Identity in America
Jewish Philosophy from Antiquity to the Seventeenth Century
Undegraduate Seminar in Judaism and the Arts
German-Jewish Culture Since the 18th Century
Advanced Topics in Jewish Literature
Advanced Topics in Jewish Philosophy and the Arts
Directed Study

History or Social Science

Complete one course in History or Social Science.

Introduction to Judaism
Jews and American Pop. Culture
The American Jewish Experience: From Shtetl to Suburb
Introduction to Modern Jewish History
Elementary Topics in Jewish History
Elementary Topics in Jewish Studies: Social Sciences
Introduction to Biblical Archaeology
Food in Rabbinic Judaism
Directed Study
The Holocaust
The American Jewish Life of DNA
Israeli Politics and Society
What Is Jewish Studies?
Modern Jewish Thought
Intermediate Topics in Jewish History
Biblical Archaeology
Holocaust: History, Memory and Education
Anti-Semitism in European Culture, 1700-1945
Advanced Topics in Jewish History
Advanced Topics in Jewish Studies: Social Sciences
Directed Study

Pre-modern Jewish history, culture, or literature

Complete one course in Pre-Modern Jewish History, Culture, or Literature.

Jewish Law, Business, and Ethics
Introduction to Judaism
Introduction to Biblical Literature (in English)
Introduction to Biblical Archaeology
Food in Rabbinic Judaism
The Sabbath
Classical Rabbinic Literature in Translation
Prophets of the Bible
King David in History and Tradition
Jewish Literature of the Greco-Roman Period
Jerusalem, Holy City of Conflict and Desire
Jewish Philosophy from Antiquity to the Seventeenth Century
Biblical Archaeology
Biblical Texts, Poetry
Biblical Texts, Poetry

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 certificate.

Residence and quality of work

  • Minimum 2.000 GPA in all JEWISH courses and courses approved for the certificate
  • 11 credits, counting toward the certificate, taken in residence

Certificate COMPLETION REQUIREMENT

This undergraduate certificate must be completed concurrently with the student’s undergraduate degree. Students cannot delay degree completion to complete the certificate.

  1. At least two semesters of reading, understanding and conversing in Hebrew 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. 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.

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 students 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

Every L&S major opens a world of possibilities.  SuccessWorks at the College of Letters & Science helps students turn the academic skills learned in their major, certificates, and other coursework into fulfilling lives after graduation, whether that means jobs, public service, graduate school or other career pursuits.

In addition to providing basic support like resume reviews and interview practice, SuccessWorks offers ways to explore interests and build career skills from their very first semester/term at UW all the way through graduation and beyond.

Students can explore careers in one-on-one advising, try out different career paths, complete internships, prepare for the job search and/or graduate school applications, and connect with supportive alumni and even employers in the fields that inspire them.

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

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