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Major in Jewish Studies

The Jewish Studies major addresses the culture, history, literature, philosophy, language, and religious beliefs of the Jewish people from Biblical times to the present. All students in the major must complete Jewish Studies 010 (Introduction to Jewish Civilization), and select from approved lists four courses that are concerned with Jewish studies across its chronological and geographical expanse. Students in the major select one of two options. The Culture and Language option is recommended for students planning further academic work in Jewish Studies or professional study in a related field. It requires study of Hebrew at the 400 level, and additional language study is encouraged. The Interdisciplinary option is intended for students who have enrolled in Jewish Studies as a secondary major. This option is recommended for students planning specialized careers within such fields as communications, social service, politics, medicine, education, or law where a knowledge of Jewish history, traditions, and institutions would be important. All students in the major are particularly encouraged to participate in a relevant internship, education abroad program, or archaeological fieldwork. Penn State students also may enroll to study abroad at a university in Israel, and up to 15 credits of related education abroad courses may be applied to requirements for the major in consultation with the advisor.

All required course work must be completed with a grade of C or higher.

To enroll in the major, please schedule an appointment with Ben Whitesell (College Adviser) through this page:

Major Requirement: (30 credits)

(No more than 15 credits in courses numbered 099, 199, 299, 399, or 499 may count toward the requirements for the major.)

Required courses for all options (15 credits):

JST 010 (or HEBR 010) (3 credits)

Supporting Courses in Related Areas (12 credits)

3 credits in Jewish Studies in the ancient through medieval world.
3 credits in Jewish Studies from the medieval through the contemporary period.
3 credits in Jewish Studies concerned with archaeology, language and literature, history, philosophy, or religious studies in Israel.
3 credits in Jewish Studies concerned with history, language and literature, philosophy, or religious studies in the Diaspora.

Major Options (15 credits)

Culture and Language Option

3 credits in Hebrew at the 400 level.
12 credits of additional courses at the 400 level (consult with your advisor).

Interdisciplinary Option

(This option is to be taken only concurrently with another major.)

15 credits at the 400 level from Jewish Studies, Hebrew, or appropriate courses (consult your advisor) in Anthropology, Classics and Ancient Mediterranean Studies, Comparative Literature, History, Philosophy, or Religious Studies.

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