Jewish Studies FAQ

by CJS Admin

What is Jewish Studies?

Jewish Studies at UW–Madison is a vibrant, interdisciplinary program that allows you to study Jewish civilization from a variety of perspectives: historical, literary, religious, sociological, and political. Our faculty and courses are drawn from over a dozen different departments on campus, including Hebrew & Semitic Studies, Sociology, History, Art, Music, Philosophy, Political Science, Law, and Education. We welcome all students to consider a Jewish Studies major or certificate, regardless of your background or previous study.

What are the requirements for the Jewish Studies major and certificate?

Both programs are interdisciplinary in nature and require you to take courses in a variety of subject areas, including Hebrew language, literature, history, social sciences, and the arts. If you are a Jewish Studies major, you are also required to take part in a capstone course and directed reading with a faculty member of your choice. We also offer a separate track in Education and Jewish Studies. The Jewish Studies major requires a total of 31 credits; the Jewish Studies certificate requires 21 credits.

Can I do a double major?

Absolutely. A Jewish Studies major (or certificate) can be an excellent complement to any number of subject areas. Jewish Studies students most commonly double major with Hebrew & Semitic Studies, History, Political Science, Religious Studies, Journalism, and International Relations. We also have students studying Business, Social Work, Biology, and Zoology.

How does study abroad work with Jewish Studies?

We strongly encourage you to study abroad, and we offer a number of study abroad scholarships. Many students choose to study abroad at Hebrew University or at Tel Aviv University, while others have enrolled in programs in Europe. Regardless of where you choose to study, we work closely with the Study Abroad office to ensure that you receive appropriate credit toward the major or certificate.

Do you offer any scholarships?

The Center for Jewish Studies awards nearly $15,000 each year in merit- and need-based scholarships and grants to students who have declared a Jewish Studies major or certificate. Scholarship applications are typically due in late winter, and awards are announced in April each year. More information about study abroad scholarships is available here.

Sounds great! How do I declare a major or a certificate?

To declare a major or certificate in Jewish Studies, make an appointment with the undergraduate adviser. At that appointment, your adviser will go over the necessary graduation requirements, assist with planning future coursework, and assist you in filling out the necessary paperwork.

When do I need to declare a major or certificate?

You may declare at any time, though most students declare during their Sophomore or Junior year, which allows sufficient time to complete necessary coursework.

Is it possible to switch between a Jewish Studies major and certificate?

Absolutely. There is considerable overlap in the requirements between the two programs, so make an appointment with the undergrad adviser if you wish to make the switch.

What do I do with a Jewish Studies major or certificate?

Like other liberal arts majors, a degree in Jewish Studies can prepare one for a variety of career paths. Graduates in Jewish Studies have followed a variety of different career paths, including law, medicine, education, finance, social work, and the nonprofit sector. Jewish Studies students are also well prepared to apply for graduate studies in fields such as law, education, business, and social work, as well as prime candidates for rabbinical or cantorial school, theological studies, and advanced levels of Jewish studies.