Jewish studies majors and minors study Hebrew, history, literature, philosophy, culture, religion, modern Israel and Yiddish.
Why Be a Jewish Studies Major?
Judaism is not just a great world religion, from which spring Christianity and Islam. It is one of the foundations of Western civilization, with a rich culture and history. Because it encompasses a civilization that is ever changing, the study of Judaism spans almost all periods of recorded history. And the Jews continue to play an interesting role in the unfolding of world history.
But there are other, more practical considerations for majoring in Jewish studies. Jewish studies has one of the largest faculty-student ratios at the University of Maryland. That means that classes are smaller, interaction with junior and senior faculty is more widespread and attention is paid to developing the skills necessary to succeed in professional life. Due to the generosity of its benefactors, the Meyerhoff Center of Jewish Studies is able to provide students with scholarships for travel to Israel and elsewhere, as well as other scholarships.
The Jewish studies major, like all other majors in the College of Arts and Humanities, requires students to have a four-year plan (click here for a sample plan) to help them complete their requirements and graduate in a timely manner. Many Jewish studies majors double major with other fields. We can work with you to help you navigate your course of study, and we can be flexible about the order in which you fulfil your Jewish studies requirements to help you pursue your other academic interests.
Transfer Credit from Yeshiva and Israel Programs
Increasing numbers of Jewish studies students study in Israel or elsewhere at academic or religious institutions, especially during their gap year. While we value these educational opportunities, we do not grant credit for all programs. Briefly put, we do not offer credit for any religious program (Yeshiva, seminary, bet midrash, etc.), and we evaluate the academic merit of all courses posed for transfer credit from colleges and universities that are accredited to confer bachelor's degrees. Administrators at some programs may tell parents, "Maryland gives college credit for our programs." This is not always the case, and you must not assume it unless the Admissions Office or Jewish studies has evaluated a specific course, and even that evaluation is revisited periodically.
Programs in Israel will not be considered for transfer credit unless the credit is through the following universities:
Bar-Ilan University, Ben-Gurion University of Negev, Bezalel Academy of Art, David Yellin School of Education, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, IDC Herzliya, Ono Academic College, Open University, Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, Tel Aviv University, University of Haifa or another institution accredited by the Council for Higher Education of Israel to confer a bachelor's degree.
Gap-year programs, even those offered on the campuses of accredited Israeli institutions, will not receive transfer credit through Jewish studies unless the credit is offered through the institutions above.
You can check for previously approved courses and their institutions at the Transfer Credit Center's database.