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Undergraduate Students

Though the Institute serves the entire university community, the College is at its heart. Providing Columbia and Barnard undergraduates with a variety of opportunities to learn about Jewish studies and Israel – in all their complexity and diversity – Supporting our students is a central mission of the Institute. We are proud to be teaching and training the next generation of students in the field, from expansive course offerings in the classroom to programs both on campus and abroad. From our Undergraduate Israel Fellowship to guest lecturers presenting on a wide range of topics, our students are engaged with the study of the diversity of Jewish experience and the totality of Israeli history, literature, culture, and geopolitics.

Special Concentration in Jewish Studies

The special concentration in Jewish studies is designed for students who wish to gain a broad-based knowledge of Jewish studies. It enables undergraduates to acquire a background in the most important aspects of Jewish culture, religion, civilization, and history in an interdisciplinary setting. 

For a special concentration in Jewish studies, students are required to complete a minimum of 21 points. Within these points, at least one course must be taken from three of the focus areas listed below. Credits for language courses may constitute at most 10 points, and one year of Hebrew or Yiddish language is strongly recommended. A minimum of 18 points must be taken in residence or as part of an approved study abroad program (unless equivalent courses are not offered within the College, as determined by the faculty advisor). 

Focus Areas:

  1. Bible and Rabbinics/Ancient Judaism

  2. Medieval Judaism

  3. Modern Judaism

  4. Israeli Society

  5. Gender and Judaism

  6. Jewish History and Culture

  7. Jewish Literature

  8. Jewish Language

For more information about the special concentration, including sample courses please see the
IIJS Undergraduate Special Concentration Information Packet

Online Resources:

**Please note, the same course cannot be counted towards both a major and a concentration.** For more information on the special concentration in Jewish studies, please contact Yitzhak Lewis at

BA/MA in Jewish Studies      

The Institute for Israel and Jewish Studies offers a joint BA/MA option for Columbia and Barnard students. This program allows qualified students to begin earning credits towards a Master’s Degree in Jewish Studies while they are still undergraduates, making it possible to complete the BA and MA degrees in as little as five years.