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M.A. Program in Jewish Studies

offered in conjunction with the Mandel Institute of Jewish Studies 



Program ID:


2 Academic Years

See Academic Calendar

Application Open: 

November 24 ,2013-May 15,2014

See Apply Now

Diploma Type: 

M.A. Degree

Tuition Fee: 

$12,000 per year

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Academic Head: Dr. Ronnie Goldstein 



Academic Advisor: Mr. Hanan Harif



Who is this program for? 


This program is designed for students who wish to study Jewish culture and sources from an interdisciplinary perspective, whether they are recent college graduates interested in the field of Jewish studies or Ph.D. candidates who wish to enrich their knowledge, research skills and experience by studying at the Hebrew University while living in Jerusalem.  


Students will enjoy a learning experience in small classes with experts in the field as well as be able to use the Hebrew University's academic resources, such as the National Library on the Edmond J. Safra Campus, Givat Ram. 




A city sacred to Judaism, Jerusalem is a melding of past and present, of ancient roots and modern innovations. It is a city about which the Talmud says: “Of the ten measures of beauty allotted to the world, nine were given to Jerusalem.” From the hilltop of the Mount Scopus campus, through the windows of the classrooms and dormitories of the Hebrew University, the incredible panorama of Jerusalem unfolds. 


Jerusalem, the capital of Israel, is well known for its many historical and holy sites and fascinating tourist attractions. In addition, this thriving metropolis is rich in art galleries and museums, theaters and concert halls, restaurants and cafes, pubs and dance clubs. Exciting festivals, exhibitions, international conferences, sports competitions, and many other special events are held throughout the year. 


Duration of studies Two academic years 


Advanced track: Outstanding students with a very good command of Modern Hebrew (level Dalet and above) and background in Jewish studies will be able to complete the M.A. program in three semesters (autumn, spring and summer) on the basis of courses offered by the RIS, the Mandel Institute of Jewish Studies, and individual tutorials concentrating on the student's field of interest. For information on this track, please contact Dr. Ronnie Goldstein by e-mail (see above). 


About the Program 


The program covers Jewish culture and history from its beginnings to Modern times, and is divided into two main periods: from Ancient to early Medieval times and from Medieval to Modern times. Courses are offered in textual studies, history, philosophy, and culture, and include study tours in Jerusalem (see sample of courses below). Language instruction is offered in Modern Hebrew, Biblical Hebrew, Akkadian, Greek, and Literary and Colloquial Arabic. 


Courses from the M.A. program are also open to visiting students on a one year or semester basis. For information see Visiting Student  webpage.


Special track: Religious Studies

Students who choose to pursue this option will follow a core curriculum in Jewish Studies but focus a significant portion of their electives in Religious Studies courses.


Extracurricular Activities  

A rich extracurricular activities program is offered, including tours, cultural and social events, lectures and more. 



Course of Study  


The program consists of 40 credits over four consecutive semesters, including elective courses and tutorials. Students are required to specialize in one period of study, but take courses in the other period as well.   


First Year: During their first year of studies, students will be expected to take required and elective courses.  

Second Year: The second year (20 credits) will be devoted mainly to specialized study concentrating on the student's field of interest. Courses will include interdisciplinary and advanced courses offered by the RIS, seminars offered within the Institute of Jewish Studies and an individual tutorial chosen in consultation with the student's advisor. 

Electives may also be chosen from a select list of courses from the programs in the Bible and the Ancient Near East, Religious Studies, and Society and Politics in Israel.  



Course List Sample: 


Required Courses 

·         Approaching Classical Jewish Texts: Ancient until Modern Times 

·         Major Trends in Jewish Studies (taught by various professors from the Mandel Institute of Jewish Studies such as Prof. Israel Yuval, Prof. Richard Cohen, Prof. Avigdor Shinan, Prof. Galit Hazan-Rokem)


Elective Courses (sample of 2012-2013 courses) 

·         The Rabbinic World View 

·         Trends in Medieval Kabbalah 

·         The Secrets of Maimonides’ Guide of the Perplexed 

·         Eschatology in the Late Second Temple Period: Qumran, Nascent Christianity and Beyond 

·         Crisis and Identity: Jewish Intellectuals in the Modern World         

·         Jerusalem in History, Art and Literature: Between Imagination and Reality 

·         The Origin of Modern Jewish Studies 

·         Einstein's Question: The Holocaust in History, Trauma and Culture 

·         Jews under the Habsburg Double Eagle 

·         Transformation of German Jewry


Religious Studies Courses 

  •  Current Trends in the Study of Religion
  • Issues in the Study of Judaism in the Second Temple Period
  • Jerusalem and the Temple in Early Christian and Jewish Literature
  • Eschatology in Late Second Temple Period: Qumran, Nascent Christianity and Beyond
  • Religion and Politics in Comparative Perspective

 * Program is subject to change


Students are encouraged to study an additional ancient language. Students who opt to do so will be able, in consultation with their advisor, to reduce the above credit load. 



Hebrew Requirements   Students will be expected to complete level Vav by the end of their second year of study. The Hebrew Exemption examination (p’tor) is optional for all students and is not a requirement of the M.A. degree. Students who complete level Vav may apply 2 of the credits towards the 40 credits necessary to complete the degree.  Students may replace level Vav with a Biblical Hebrew course, which will count as 2 credits towards the degree credit requirements. 


Tutorials         A tutorial (2 credits) provides an instructional framework in which students can study either one-on-one or in small groups with instructors of the Hebrew University faculty. In tutorials, students can investigate areas of knowledge in which they have a special interest. While the format and scheduling of a tutorial are flexible, the student and tutor are expected to meet for at least three sessions in the course of the semester. The topic of the tutorial, reading and written assignments, and a detailed schedule of meetings are to be worked out between the student and the tutor (subject to the approval of the student's academic advisor). A paper is to be submitted at the conclusion of the tutorial course. 


Admission Requirements 


Qualified students with a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution of higher education are eligible for admission to the program. Admission is competitive and based on transcripts and letters of recommendation. Students must have  

  • at least a 3.2 ("B") grade-point average 
  • a relevant background in Jewish studies 
  • be prepared to enroll in at least level Gimel Hebrew at the beginning of their first semester of study. Students who have minimal or no knowledge of Hebrew (levels Aleph-Bet) will be required to attend the Summer Ulpan prior to their first and second year of the program. 

Knowledge of English: Applicants are required to submit official TOEFL, IELTS, or Amir scores. The minimum TOEFL score required is 573 on the paper-based test, 230 on the computer-based test, and 89 on the Internet-based test.  The minimum IELTS score is 7. The minimum Amir score is 220. 

Exempted from this requirement are applicants who have completed a full degree (a minimum of four years) taught in English, at an institution of higher education in an English speaking country. Applicants who have completed a B.A. in English Language and Literature may request an exemption provided that they submit documentation from their university stating that the language of instruction is English.  

Note: Official documents or test results may be scanned and emailed to  official documents must be submitted upon arrival.



Students are expected to conclude all courses for credit with a grade based on an exam or a written paper. Two of these papers must be full-fledged seminar papers, one of which will be submitted during the first year of study. 


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