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About Us

Jewish Studies at Penn State is an interdisciplinary program where students can learn about the history, cultures, literatures, and languages of the Jews. When you study with us you’ll range from the Israelite origins of the Jewish people to the experiences of postmodern Jews in the 21st century, and your global reach will span the continents.

We offer a variety of flexible, student-centered degree options: a 30-credit major in Jewish Studies, an 18-credit minor in Jewish Studies, a 21-credit minor in Hebrew, and a 12-credit certificate in Holocaust and genocide studies. In addition to our academic programs, we sponsor a variety of events throughout the year designed to enrich your understanding of Jews, Judaism, and the Jewish experience, including lectures, film series, symposia, discussions, and sponsored trips to museums and Jewish cultural sites. Together these foster student engagement with Jewish issues and expose students to the many disciplines and career options within Jewish Studies. And we’re certainly not just for Jews! Jewish Studies is for anyone who wants to think critically about the world we all live in.

Choosing Jewish Studies at Penn State means you’ll be introduced to the methodologies of both the humanities and the social sciences—including historical inquiry, ethnography, literary criticism, philosophical analysis, cultural studies, and textual exegesis, among others. You’ll work with internationally respected faculty who have expertise in Ancient Israel and archaeology, Semitic languages, Hebrew Bible, European Jewry, Israel and the Middle East, the Holocaust and genocide, Jewish literatures, Jewish thought, and the American Jewish experience.

And Jewish Studies offers plenty of other opportunities, such as generous scholarships and awards; close, individualized relationships with faculty; study abroad programs; honors thesis advising; independent study options; and internships. 

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