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Jewish Studies Major

The Jewish Studies major provides broad inquiry into the history, culture, society, literature, philosophy, politics, language, and religious beliefs of Jewish people from Biblical times to the present. By nature interdisciplinary, and by emphasizing critical thinking and global engagement, the Jewish Studies major is flexible and adaptable to a wide variety of courses of study.


Students in the major must complete a total of thirty (30) credits, at least fifteen (15) of which must be at the 400-level. No more than eight (8) credits of Hebrew should count toward the 30-credit total. All students in the major must complete Jewish Studies 010 (an introduction to Jewish Civilization), and select from approved lists or in consultation with the Director three courses that address Jewish studies across history:

  1. One course in Jewish Studies of the Ancient through the Medieval periods:
    thus courses like
    JST 012: Lands of the Bible; JST 111: Early Judaism; or JST 123: Ancient Monotheisms: Judaism, Christianity, Islam would satisfy this requirement.
  2. One course in Jewish Studies of the Early Modern through the Contemporary periods:
    thus courses like
    JST 060: Modern Israel; JST 121: History of the Holocaust; or JST 416: Zionism would satisfy this requirement.
  3. One course in Jewish Studies of the Diaspora:
    thus courses like
    JST 115: The American Jewish Experience; JST 128: The Holocaust in Film and Literature; or JST 478: Ethics after the Holocaust would satisfy this requirement.

All students in the major are encouraged to participate in relevant internships, education abroad programs, and/or archaeological fieldwork, for which course credit and generous funding and scholarships are available. Penn State students may enroll to study abroad at a university in Israel, and up to 15 credits of related education abroad courses in any country 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.

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