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 Art, Classical and Near Eastern Studies, Education, History, Law, Music, Philosophy, Political Science, Slavic Studies, and Sociology. We encourage 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. 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 Classical and Near Eastern Studies, History, Political Science, Religious Studies, Journalism, and International Relations. We also have students in pre-business, pre-law, and STEM fields.

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 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 thousands of dollars each year in scholarships and grants to students who have declared a Jewish Studies major or certificate. More information about 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 do so 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?

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 these and other fields, and are prime candidates for theological studies or rabbinical or cantorial school.