Master's Program in Jewish Studies

The Master’s Program in Jewish Studies offers students the opportunity to create a specialized program of study that leads to an enriched understanding of the breadth and depth of Jewish studies, and to prepare for careers as scholars or as professionals in a variety of fields in the professional world, the field of education, and the nonprofit sector.  

Over decades of teaching and research, Columbia University's stellar faculty has created one of the most distinguished and longest-standing traditions in the academic study of Jewish literature, religion, history, and thought. Participating students will have the opportunity to learn from these professors in a variety of pedagogical and curricular formats, and to take advantage of the countless cultural opportunities, museums, collections and libraries in New York City that provide the chance for further study and hands on experience. We welcome applicants committed to academic excellence,  and hope you will consider joining our growing cohort. The program welcomes both full- and part-time students, but is not currently intended for night study.

Degree Requirements

Jewish Studies students must complete 36 credit points, including the thesis, to graduate. Of the 36 points, 30 must be at the graduate level (4000 or higher). Specific degree requirements are:

  • Two courses in Jewish or Middle Eastern history

  • Two courses in Judaica taken from the Religion department or The Jewish Theological Seminary

  • One graduate seminar in a topic related to Jewish Studies

  • Six elective courses in topics related to Jewish Studies

  • Final master’s thesis completed in the final term and registered under RSRH G4990 Research Seminar or JWST G4999 Supervised Individual Research

There is no language requirement for the Jewish Studies M.A. degree. Students may take up to six credit points of language courses at the 3000 level or higher in Hebrew or Yiddish.

Please be advised that courses taken as P/F (pass/fail), taken for R credit, and below the 4000 level CANNOT count towards the degree requirements. A total of 2 RUs (residence units) must be completed before a student is eligible to graduate with an MA degree.

Students are encouraged to print the Jewish Studies Checklist. and use it to track their own degree progress and select appropriate courses each term in consultation with the Assistant Director and/or Academic Advisor.

Thesis Topics

For information regarding the thesis, see the Thesis Policies. Previous Jewish Studies theses are available for students to read in the IIJS office. Past titles include:

  • When Theodicy Fails

  • On the Question of Maimonides and Creation

  • The Impact of Television on Jewish Identity: A Perspective

  • ETS HAIM: Tradition and Innovation in Jewish Education

  • Jewish Rights in Colonial America

  • Imagining Eve

  • Rome and the Bar Kokhba Rebellion…What the Coins Reveal

Admissions Information

For complete admissions information, including essay requirements and deadlines, please click here.

To apply, please visit the GSAS Admissions website.

All international students whose native language is not English or whose undergraduate degree is from an institution in a country whose official language is not English must submit scores of the TOEFL or IELTS exams. For more information, refer to the Information for International Students page.

Academic Policies

For more on the Academic Policies and Procedures of the M.A. in Jewish Studies, click here.

Potential Funding

FLAS Fellowships are available for students entering in the fall. If you are applying for the FLAS Fellowship you must submit your admission application, including the FLAS essay by the fellowship application.

Contact

For questions about the Jewish Studies M.A. program including course registration, requirements, and completion of the degree, please email Yitzhak Lewis at yml2108@columbia.edu.

Good Academic Standing

In order to continue pursuing the degree, all students must remain in good academic standing. Good standing includes maintaining course grades at or above a B grade. Good standing also includes timely submission of all course related work. In order to maintain good standing, any student wishing to take an INC (incomplete) for any course may do so only with the approval of the program’s Academic Advisor.