BA in Jewish Studies

Two Jewish Thought students in the Samuel J. Friedman library.


A BA in Jewish Studies provides undergraduate students with a comprehensive view of Jewish thought, history and life. Judaism has flourished in a great variety of cultures in the past and in the present. With this is mind, our courses examine Judaism as a living and dynamic religion in relation to others in the ancient, medieval, modern and contemporary worlds. Undergraduate students develop the ability to apply different methods and models for understanding religion, history and culture – crucial skills in both academic and professional settings.

Additionally, our department fosters a strong, nurturing sense of community. Every faculty member is interested and engaged in the learning of our students, through close mentoring relationships, and our students forge a strong sense of camaraderie and partnership with each other. The Department of Jewish Thoughts offers a truly interdisciplinary program of study uniquely suited to each individual student's interests and goals.

Program Requirements

I. Required Courses: (12 credit hours)

  • JDS 103 – Introduction to Judaism
  • JDS 229 – Medieval Judaism
  • One course in the area of Bible or Talmud
  • One course in the area of Ethics

Students must earn a 2.5 GPA (C+) in JDS 103 and a 2.0 GPA (C) or better in each of the three additional required courses.

II. Six JDS Electives: (18 credit hours)
Five additional Jewish Studies courses, including a 400-level Special Topics seminar that will serve as a “Capstone Seminar.” Relevant courses from other universities – American or International – will be considered on a case by case basis for credit in Jewish Studies.  Summer internships will also be considered.

III. Foreign Language Courses:

  • Two years of Hebrew language; OR
  • One year of Hebrew language and one year of either French, German, Italian, Arabic, Aramaic or Yiddish.
  • See Director of Undergraduate Studies for waivers of this requirement.
    Note: If the language requirement is waived because of proven proficiency, the student will be required to take 6 additional credit hours of electives in Jewish Studies.

Minimum Required Credit Hours: 36

Apply to the Major or Minor

Undergraduates may apply for a major or minor in Jewish Studies  by completing an application and scheduling an appointment with Professor Alexandra Zirkle, the Director of Undergraduate Studies (DUS). Please email Professor Zirkle at to schedule your appointment.