Language of Instruction:
Master of Arts
Optional Religious Studies Track
Academia, community and religious leadership
One year (three consecutive semesters)
August (Summer Ulpan, optional) or October (degree program); check the academic calendar
Bachelor’s degree in humanities, academic background in Jewish Studies is an advantage
April 1, 2019; late applications reviewed on a space-available basis
Why M.A. in Jewish Studies?
- Study Jewish history and culture with top researchers in the field.
- Build a foundation in Modern Hebrew and study additional ancient languages.
- Specialize in Religious Studies.
- Learn while living in Jerusalem, a city sacred to Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.
Offered by Hebrew University’s Rothberg International School (RIS) in conjunction with the Mandel Institute of Jewish Studies, the M.A. in Jewish Studies program is designed to provide you with up-to-date knowledge in the field of Jewish studies in preparation for an advanced degree. The program offers you broad foundation in the field and will help you enrich your knowledge, research and language skills, and experience. You will expand your understanding of particular areas of interest through in-depth study of Jewish culture, texts, history, and philosophy.
You’ll enjoy an intimate learning experience in small classes with experts in the field. The program is divided into two main periods: Ancient to early Medieval, and Medieval to Modern. It also offers an optional Religious Studies Track.
In the M.A. in Jewish Studies program, you can take courses in textual studies, history, philosophy, languages, and culture, as well as participate in on-site study tours in Jerusalem. Courses that deal with the Ancient, Medieval, and Modern periods are available, along with an optional Religious Studies Track, which allows you to expand your understanding of the interplay between the three monotheistic religions.
The M.A. in Jewish Studies program consists of three consecutive semesters of required and elective courses. While you take courses from all the periods of study, you are required to specialize in one period.
The M.A. in Jewish Studies consists of 40 credits over three consecutive semesters.
Provided as an example only and subject to change:
Approaching Classical Jewish Texts: Ancient until Modern Times
Recent Elective Courses
(For sample Religious Studies courses, please see the Religious Studies Track.)
- Rabbis and Rivalry: Babylonia and the Land of Israel in Late Antiquity
- Jerusalem in History, Art, and Literature: Between Imagination and Reality
- The Battle over the Bible: The Bible in the Eyes of Jews, Christians, and Muslims
- Kabbalah: The Renaissance of Myth and Mysticism in Medieval Jewish Thought
- The Philosophy of Maimonides and His World
- When West Met East: The Orient in Modern Jewish Culture
- Understanding Holocaust Survivor Testimony: History and Memory
Modern Hebrew Requirement
You are required to pass two levels of Hebrew beyond the level at which you entered the program (i.e., if you started the program at Level Bet, you are required to complete Levels Bet and Gimel). Modern Hebrew courses taken to fulfill the requirement do not count as credit towards the degree. If you complete additional levels of Hebrew beyond the requirement, you may request approval from your academic advisor to apply half of the credits earned from the extra Hebrew courses towards your degree’s credit requirements. Such requests will be assessed on a case-by-case basis.
You are strongly encouraged to obtain at least Level Gimel in Hebrew by the end of your studies so that you have the ability to read Jewish texts in Hebrew. Learn more about the Hebrew levels.
While it is not required, we strongly encourage you to attend the Summer Ulpan (intensive Hebrew language training) prior to the start of the program as it allows students to advance quickly through Modern Hebrew. This is particularly true for those who have little or no knowledge of Modern Hebrew.
Additional Language Courses
You also have the option to study an additional language in place of some of the elective courses above (consult with your advisor). See our complete course catalog.
- Modern Hebrew
- Biblical Hebrew
- Literary Arabic
At least two of the papers you will submit are seminar papers. Seminar papers are required for the degree, but do not count towards the credit requirements.
As a student in the M.A. in Jewish Studies, you are not required to write a thesis.
Optional Extended Thesis Year
If you wish to write a thesis, you may do so by enrolling for an additional year (or more) at Hebrew University as a special research student of the Faculty of Humanities. All program requirements in the M.A. in Jewish Studies must be completed before the Faculty of Humanities will admit special research students for studies.
You must select an academic department in which to continue your studies and find a thesis advisor. You may inquire about writing a thesis in the following departments:
- Jewish Thought
- Comparative Religion
You should obtain current information from the department you select concerning the conditions for writing a thesis. You may be required to take additional courses in preparation for drafting your thesis during the extended year, as per the policy of the department where you will be hosted. During your extended year at Hebrew University, you will be required to complete all levels of Modern Hebrew (through Level Vav).
For information about the admission procedures for a special research student, please contact Ms. Ellie Baras.
+ Faculty & Research
Courses for the M.A. in Jewish Studies are taught by experts in a range of disciplines, from history to languages to philosophy to religious studies. The head of the program, Dr. Ronnie Goldstein, specializes in the history of Biblical literature and its historical contexts, cultural interactions between Biblical and ancient Near Eastern literature, and Biblical historiography, prophecy, and the history of Biblical traditions.
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 that is responsible for coordinating all the teaching departments and research centers devoted to the pursuit of Jewish studies at Hebrew University. Among the wide variety of journals and periodicals the institute oversees is the flagship journal, Tarbiz, currently in its 74th year of continuous publication.
Research Institutes & Libraries
The Mandel Institute of Jewish Studies is affiliated with over 20 individual 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 great 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. Students also benefit from Hebrew University’s academic resources, such as the National Library of Israel on the Edmond J. Safra Campus, Givat Ram.
Graduates of the M.A. in Jewish Studies program are well positioned for careers in academia or religious leadership.
+ Student Life
“For me, living in the holy city with Palestinian and Israeli friends all around, I truly had lessons of the complex reality of that land. At the same time, our seminars about wars, peace, and international regimes in the Middle East engaged me to do research on China’s role in the peace process of the Middle East.”
Haotan Wu of China
M.A. in Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies (2016)
Extracurricular Activities & Student Support
HebrewU’s RIS offers a rich extracurricular activities program, including tours, cultural and social events, lectures, and more. We support you throughout your stay with us so that Jerusalem becomes your home away from home. Learn more about student life.
+ Dates & Deadlines
- Early Admissions: December 16, 2018 – January 15, 2019*
- Regular Admissions: January 16, 2019 – April 1, 2019
* Students who submit their applications and all of the required supplementary documents by the early admission deadline (January 15, 2019) will receive a US$ 720 reduction on tuition.
Late applications will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.
Arrive on campus by: Approximately one week before your program starts; specific dates will be sent to accepted students via email.
Summer Ulpan (optional intensive Hebrew language course): August-September, 2019; check the academic calendar for specific dates.
Program length: Three consecutive semesters (autumn, spring, and summer); October, 2019 – September, 2020; check the academic calendar for specific dates. Students who wish to prolong their studies may enroll as M.A. Extended Year Students for an additional fee
+ Costs & Scholarships
For financial information, see Tuition & Fees for Graduate Students.
Students enrolled in M.A. programs are eligible to receive health insurance for the duration of their program at no extra cost. Students who will be arriving early or departing late may purchase extended health insurance. See Health and Safety for more information.
The Summer Ulpan (an intensive Modern Hebrew course) is optional. Tuition for international students is US$ 2,425. Tuition for Israeli citizens is NIS 7,770. Housing is available for the Summer Ulpan for an additional fee of US$ 1,640. See Summer Ulpan Programs for more information.
A limited number of on-campus student apartments are available. The cost of housing for three semesters (October, 2019 – September, 2020) is US $7,600. See University Housing for more information.
Fees & Refunds
For a complete explanation of fees and refunds, see Tuition & Fees for Graduate Students.
A limited number of scholarships, based on merit or demonstrated need, are available. See Scholarships and Financial Aid for more information.
To be eligible for acceptance, you must have the following:
- Bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution of higher education recognized by HebrewU and relevant background in Jewish studies
- 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: A Bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution of higher education with a B average (85/100 or equivalent) or above. Applicants must submit transcripts and diplomas from all prior academic degrees.*
- Proof of English Proficiency: A TOEFL exam score of 89 or above, IELTS exam score of 7 or above, Amir exam score of 220 or above, or Amiram exam score of 120 or above. **
- A CV and Statement of Purpose
- Two Academic Recommendations
- Photocopy of your Passport ID page
- A Medical Form and Disclaimer Form (US citizens only)- both forms may be downloaded from the application website.
- Modern Hebrew Proficiency Test: students in the Jewish Studies program must complete two levels of Modern Hebrewduring their MA studies. Students whose Modern Hebrew level is below Bet are strongly encouraged to also enroll in the RIS Summer Ulpan prior to the beginning of their academic studies. Please note: each level of Hebrew can be completed over the course of one semester or a Summer Ulpan session, except for level Aleph, which requires two semesters.
All documents may be uploaded to your application directly or sent to firstname.lastname@example.org as email attachments.
*Students who submit scanned copies of their academic records may be accepted to the program conditionally, pending submission of original academic records.
**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.
We’re happy you’ve chosen to apply to Hebrew University’s Rothberg International School. See our application guidelines or apply online now.
Questions about the Curriculum
Email Dr. Ronnie Goldstein
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 3184