Program Requirements

The MA in Jewish Thought includes coursework in advanced late antique and medieval Jewish texts, classical and contemporary Jewish philosophers, ethics, and secular Jewish literature in English, German, Yiddish and Hebrew. To progress successfully through the program students must earn a “B” or better on all required course work. In consultations with the academic advisor or with the department chair, students are required to select courses from the areas of inquiry listed below. In addition students will be required to take 6 credits of project or thesis guidance, and 6 elective credits of a student's choosing, either from available courses in Department of Jewish Thought, or other coursework approved by advisement in the Department of Jewish Thought.

1. Advanced Late Antique and Medieval Jewish Texts

  • JDS 715 Advanced Late Antique and Medieval Jewish Texts
  • JDS 709 Jewish Law and Theory

2. Classical and Contemporary Jewish Philosophers

  • JDS 650 Modern Jewish Thought
  • JDS 655 Medieval Jewish Thought

3. Ethics

  • JDS 729 Virtue Ethics in Abrahamic Religions
  • JDS 725 Politics, Ethics and Religion
  • JDS 720 Ethics of Levinas

4. Secular Jewish Literature

  • JDS 690 Jewish Identity in Modern Literature
  • JDS 695 Jewish Literature after Auschwitz

5. Special Topics

  • JDS 526 Special Topics - Topics Vary
  • JDS 598 Supervised Readings

6. Master’s Project or Thesis

  • JDS 599 Project Guidance
  • JDS 600 Thesis Guidance


By the middle of the first semester into the program, after a consultation with faculty and approval of the Director of Graduate Studies, each student will be assigned an academic advisor. The advisor will provide academic guidance for the student, and it is likely that the advisor will eventually become the supervisor for the student’s MA thesis or MA project.

The advisor will also serve as a resource the student can go to consult about coursework, language requirements and prospects of applying to Ph.D. programs at UB or other universities. The advisor will also be responsible for presenting a report of the student’s progress in the program for yearly review and evaluation, as well for evaluating the student’s overall performance and making recommendations for continuation of the program for the student.

Graduate Transfer Credit

Transfer students may bring in up to 6 credits from a prior graduate program. The graduate director of Jewish Thought must approve all transfer credit. Students may be required to repeat part or all of a course taken at another institution.

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