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Jewish Studies M.A.

The masters degree in Jewish studies is a 30-credit program combining broad, interdisciplinary, graduate-level training in Jewish studies with in-depth focus in an area of specialization.

The Jewish Studies M.A. program draws on Maryland’s strengths in areas such as Jewish history, Bible, Jewish literature and cultural studies (especially in the ancient and modern periods), Yiddish, philosophy, religious studies and Israel Studies.

The M.A. program is flexible. It may be pursued full-time or part-time, and may be combined with professional programs such as education and library science. The program is ideal for students wishing to prepare for doctoral-level work in Jewish studies at Maryland or elsewhere and for educators and professionals already working in related fields.

About the Program

Hebrew Language

As a prerequisite for admission, students must have achieved the proficiency-level corresponding to four semesters of university-level Hebrew, and must achieve the level of six semesters of university-level Hebrew by the time they have completed the program. Courses in Hebrew language will not count toward the 30 credits needed for the degree. Students will be asked to demonstrate their knowledge of modern academic Hebrew by examination, or through a research project making extensive use of Hebrew-language materials.

Course of Study

Core Distribution: (a) JWST600: “General Seminar in Jewish Studies” (3 credits), which introduces students to the fields, methods and problems of Jewish studies as a cluster of disciplines; (b) one course each in the general areas of Jewish history, Jewish thought or religion and Jewish literature, normally by enrolling in JWST648: “Readings in Jewish history”; JWST658: “Readings in Jewish Thought”; and JWST678: “Readings in Jewish Literature” (9 credits total).

Specialization: 4 courses (12 credits) in consultation with the advisor. Students may opt to write an M.A. thesis (6 credits). Non-thesis students prepare a dossier of 2 major research papers or their equivalent to be evaluated by an examining committee.

Cognate Studies: Two courses (6 credits) from outside Jewish studies in the discipline(s) related to the student's area of specialization.

Application Requirements

  • Undergraduate degree, completed by the time of enrollment in the program
  • Official transcripts from prior institutions of education
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Applicant’s statement of purpose which should describe how the applicant’s academic career objectives and experiences fit with the intended program of study
  • Sample of academic writing
  • Official scores from a GRE exam

International Student Applications

There are admission requirements for TOEFL Internet-Based Testing (IBT). Each international applicant must provide an official statement regarding financial support. This statement ensures that the applicant has sufficient financial resources to meet educational and living expenses.

Note: The International Educational Services Office (IES) will review the academic and financial records of ALL international applicants before the department will review the application. For specific application requirements for international students please refer to the IES website.