Jul 16, 2024  
Undergraduate Record 2021-2022 
Undergraduate Record 2021-2022 [ARCHIVED RECORD]

Jewish Studies

Requirements for Major

Students who have taken two Jewish Studies classes are eligible to apply for the Jewish Studies Major Program. There is no grade requirement. The application materials include a transcript, a recommendation by one Jewish Studies faculty advisor, and an essay addressing why the student wants to major, and how she or he might craft an individualized plan of study. This letter should demonstrate the student’s skills in written expression.

The major shall consist of 10 courses.

The core of the new major in Jewish Studies is a close relationship between the student and two faculty advisors. Working with their faculty advisors, students design a course of study that fulfills the Jewish Studies requirements, provides disciplinary rigor, and addresses the student’s academic interests and career plans. Knowledge of Hebrew is not required but encouraged.  Students are expected to complete language study appropriate to their particular program, as approved by their advisors.

Core Course Requirements

Two courses from the list of eligible core courses.

Distribution Requirements

One course from two of the following three categories as approved by the student’s Jewish Studies advisors:

  1. History and Society
  2. Belief and Thought
  3. Language, Literature and Culture (Note: A 3000- level Hebrew course can be counted toward the “Language and Literature”)

Topics Requirements

Two topics courses in the area of their specific major concentration, as approved by their advisors: e.g. a student with a concentration in Jewish History will need two courses in that area; a student of Jewish Thought will likewise require two courses in Jewish Thought; and so on for Literature, Scriptural Studies, etc. (Note: the topics will typically be more specific than the categories listed above for the Distribution Requirements).


Students will take three electives in a field related to their topic, as approved by their advisor. A student focusing on Jewish Thought Since Spinoza may, for instance, be advised to take an additional course in modern Jewish History or a course on Maimonides or a related course on Enlightenment philosophy. 


Students will take one 4000-level class selected in consultation with their advisors and relevant to their program of study.


Requirements for Minor

The minor shall consist of 6 courses totaling 18 credits.
Students must complete a minimum of 3 courses at the 3000-level or above.

Distribution Requirements

One course from the following three categories as approved by the minor advisor:  

  • History and Society
  • Belief and Thought
  • Language, Literature and Culture (Note: A Hebrew-language course at any level can be counted toward the “Language, Literature and Culture” distribution requirement.)


Three additional courses selected as electives in conjunction with the minor advisor.

Distinguished Majors Program in Jewish Studies

The Distinguished Majors Program (DMP) in Jewish Studies affords qualified students the opportunity to do advanced research, and to receive, at graduation, the honor of distinction, high distinction or highest distinction. 

Entry into the Program

Students who meet the following criteria are eligible to participate in the Distinguished Majors Program.

  1. Students qualify for the program if they have achieved an average of 3.400 in all university coursework as well as in all major course work prior to application for the program.
  2. Application should be made to the Director of the Jewish Studies Distinguished Majors Program.
  3. Admission into the program will be considered by the program’s Committee on Curricular Issues, and the Director of the Distinguished Majors Program.

Requirements for Completion of the Program

  1. Completion of the Hebrew language requirement (minimum of two semesters) and all major requirements (30 credits).
  2. Students must enroll in JWST 4970 (directed reading; 3 credits) in the fall semester and JWST 4980 (writing; 3 credits) in the spring semester. These courses are in addition to the 30 required credits and the Hebrew language requirement.
  3. Students are responsible for selecting two members from the Jewish Studies faculty to serve as committee members; one member shall serve as the primary reader and chair.
  4. The thesis shall be thirty to fifty pages in length.

Additional Information

For more information contact Gabriel Finder, Ida and Nathan Kolodiz Director of Jewish Studies, PO BOX 400286, Charlottesville, VA 22904-4286; (434) 243-4369; gf6n@virginia.edu


The Jewish Studies Program lists the specific courses being offered each semester on the web at www.jewishstudiesuva.com.

Core Courses

Distinguished Majors Thesis