M.A. in Jewish Studies

Why M.A. in Jewish Studies?

  • Deepen your understanding of Jewish civilization and culture from ancient times to the present
  • Study with top researchers and build a solid base for further academic study in the field
  • Live in Jerusalem, a city steeped in more than 3,000 years of Jewish history and home to dozens of religious sites, libraries, archives, museums, research institutes and nonprofit organizations.

Offered by the Hebrew University’s Rothberg International School (RIS) and Mandel Institute of Jewish Studies, the M.A. in Jewish Studies is designed to prepare you for an advanced academic degree in the field.

The program will expand your knowledge of Jewish history, literature, philosophy and culture, and enhance your language, research and writing skills. You’ll enjoy an intimate learning environment with small classes taught by experts in the field.

The flexible nature of the program, which includes a large number of elective credits, allows students to design a program of study most suited to their specific interests within the field of Jewish Studies. In addition, the program provides students with grounding in Modern Hebrew as well as the opportunity to immerse themselves in a Hebrew-speaking environment.

The program is divided into two main periods: Ancient to Early Medieval, and Late Medieval to Modern.

The program consists of required and elective courses taken over two academic years (four semesters in total). Each academic year runs from October – June. While you will take courses from all time periods (Ancient, Medieval and Modern), you will be required to specialize in one period.

Elective course offerings include cross-listed courses from our M.A. in the Bible and the Ancient Near East, M.A. in Israel Studies, and M.A. in Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies. Students also take elective courses taught in English at the various departments of the Hebrew University’s Faculty of the Humanities. Students with a high enough level of Modern Hebrew may take courses taught in Hebrew as well.

The program consists of 36 credits over four semesters.

2023/2024 Course Catalog

Information about the M.A. in Jewish Studies starts on page 20 of the above catalog. The information provided in the catalog will help you get a sense of the structure of the program and kinds of courses offered, but changes are made from year to year.

Modern Hebrew Requirement
You will be required to complete level Gimel of Modern Hebrew (lower intermediate) by the end of your M.A. program. Applicants to the program must take a Modern Hebrew placement exam and those who place below level Gimel will be required to enroll in Modern Hebrew courses during their M.A. program. You can learn more about our Hebrew levels here.

Note: Modern Hebrew courses taken to fulfill the above requirement do not count as credits towards the M.A. degree.

While it is not required, we encourage you to attend the Summer Ulpan (intensive Hebrew language training) prior to the start of your M.A. program, particularly if you have little or no prior knowledge of Modern Hebrew. If possible, you are encouraged to obtain level Gimel by the end of your first year of study, so that you can read Hebrew texts and join graduate-level courses taught in Hebrew at the Faculty of the Humanities in your second year.

Enrollment in the Summer Ulpan, as well as in the autumn/spring semester Modern Hebrew courses above level Gimel, is not included in the M.A. tuition and involves payment of an extra fee.

Additional Language Courses
You may choose to study an additional language in place of some of your elective course credits, provided that you receive approval from your academic advisor. Please note that some language courses may not be included in the M.A. tuition and may involve payment of an extra fee.

Other Languages Offered at the Rothberg International School:
Biblical Hebrew
Modern Standard Arabic
• Akkadian

The above courses are taught in English. If you have a high enough level of Hebrew proficiency, you can request to take additional languages, such as French and German, taught in Hebrew at the Faculty of the Humanities. Enrollment in such courses is contingent upon the approval of your academic advisor.

Seminar Papers
You will submit at least two seminar papers. Seminar papers are required in order to graduate but do not count towards the program’s credit requirements.

M.A. in Jewish Studies courses are taught by experts in a range of disciplines, from history to languages to philosophy to religious studies. The academic head of the M.A. program is Dr. Yakir Paz.

Click here for a partial list of Jewish Studies lecturers.

Mandel Institute of Jewish Studies
The M.A. in Jewish Studies is offered in conjunction with the Mandel Institute of Jewish Studies, a hub of research since 1924. The Mandel Institute is responsible for overseeing all teaching departments and research centers devoted to the pursuit of Jewish studies at the Hebrew University. Among the wide variety of journals and periodicals the Institute runs is the flagship journal, Tarbiz, currently in its 74th year of continuous publication.

Research Institutes & Libraries
The Mandel Institute is affiliated with over 20 smaller research institutes, among them the Orion Center for the Study of the Dead Sea Scrolls. The Center aims to stimulate and foster research on the scrolls, particularly the task of integrating the new information gained from the scrolls into the body of knowledge about Jewish history and religion in the Second Temple period. This work affects areas such as Biblical studies, Jewish literature and thought on the Second Temple Period, early Christianity and the New Testament, the study of early rabbinic Judaism, and more.

Other Jewish Studies research centers at the Hebrew University include:

Students also benefit from Hebrew University’s academic resources, such as the National Library of Israel, which sits on the Edmond J. Safra Campus, Givat Ram.

Click here to see what our alumni from recent years are doing academically and professionally.

The Hebrew University’s RIS offers a rich extracurricular activities program, including tours, social and cultural events, lectures, and more. We support you throughout your stay with us so that Jerusalem becomes your home away from home. Learn more about the Office of Student Life here.

Click here to view one of the OSL’s weekly emails to students with information about events taking place on campus and around Jerusalem.

Early admissions

  • Apply: November 15, 2023 – January 15, 2024
  • Application fee: $120
  • First tuition payment of $1,500 by: February 15, 2024
  • Remaining tuition payment by: March 31, 2024
  • Early admissions scholarship: $1,000 (for students who apply and pay tuition in full by the above deadlines)
  • Additional scholarship for students who pay tuition in full by February 15, 2024: $1,000 (total of $2,000 scholarship)

Regular admissions

  • Apply: January 16 – June 1, 2024
  • Application fee: $120
  • Tuition payment by: June 21, 2024

Students who pay the tuition in full by May 1, 2024, will receive a scholarship of $500.

Late admissions

  • Apply: June 2 – August 1, 2024
  • Application fee: $250

For a list of our scholarship dates and deadlines, please check our Scholarships and Financial Aid page.

Cancellation Policy
Applicants who complete their tuition payment and then decide to cancel their enrollment in the M.A. program will receive a full refund, but will be charged a withdrawal fee, as follows:

• Cancellation by June 1, 2024: $250 withdrawal fee
• Cancellation by August 1, 2024: $500 withdrawal fee
• Cancellation by October 28, 2024: $750 withdrawal fee

For information about withdrawal fees after October 29, 2024, please refer to our Tuition Fees & Refunds page.

Arrive on campus by: Approximately one week before your program starts; specific dates will be sent to accepted students via email.

Program length: October, 2024 – June, 2026. Check our academic calendar for exact dates.

Fees & Refunds
For information about tuition, health insurance, and housing fees and refunds, see our Tuition Fees & Refunds page.

A number of merit and need-based scholarships are available. See our Scholarships and Financial Aid page for more information.

For tips and ideas regarding scholarships and financial planning from our current and former students, see our How Did You Finance Your Studies pamphlet.

To be eligible for acceptance, you must have the following:

  • Bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution of higher education recognized by the Hebrew University
  • Minimum B average (85/100 or equivalent)
  • Demonstrated knowledge of English

 In addition to your online application, you will be required to submit the following documents:

  • Academic Records: Applicants must submit transcripts and diplomas from all prior academic degrees.
  • Proof of English Proficiency: A TOEFL exam score of 80 or above, IELTS exam score of 6 or above, or Amiram exam score of 120 or above. **
  • CV and Statement of Purpose
  • Two Academic Recommendations
  • Photocopy of your Passport ID page
  • Medical Form and Disclaimer Form (the latter for US citizens only) – both forms may be downloaded from the application website.

All documents may be uploaded to your application directly or sent to gradiv2@savion.huji.ac.il as email attachments.

** If you have completed a degree at a university at which English is the sole language of instruction, or if you have completed a degree in English Language and Literature, you can request an exemption. You must submit documentation from your university verifying English as the language of instruction. Exemption is not automatic and is determined on a case-by-case basis.



Questions about the Curriculum
Email Dr. Yakir Paz
Academic Head of the M.A. in Jewish Studies

Questions about Admission, Housing, and Other Practical Matters
Email the Division of Graduate Studies
Call us: +972 2 588 1194

Fast Facts

Language of Instruction:


Degree Earned:

Master of Arts

Career Outlook:

Academia, community and religious leadership, relevant nonprofit organizations, museum and archive work


Two years (four semesters)

Start Date:



Accredited bachelor’s degree

Application Deadline:

June 1, 2024


See Tuition & Fees

Take a look at our pages for prospects, students, faculty and staff, alumni, and parents – or contact us!

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Pre-Semester Program: “Encountering Jerusalem”
Practical Hebrew Beginners4 credits
Modern Standard Arabic Beginners 5 credits
Jerusalem: A Journey Through Time and Space3 credits
Pre-Semester Program: “Encountering Jerusalem”
Practical Hebrew Beginners 4 credits
Israeli Society3 credits