The major is designed to offer an in-depth engagement with the historical and cultural experience of Jews throughout the world, and to Jewish thought, literature, and contemporary political and social issues. Those completing the major are encouraged to participate in the study-abroad offerings of the program and to obtain at least a working knowledge in a language relevant to research in Jewish Studies such as Hebrew, Russian, or German. We require majors to write a senior thesis over the course of two terms (JWST 86 and 87) or take a one-term independent study (JWST 85) as a culminating experience. This would include writing a major research paper, preferably making use of a foreign language. 

Jewish Studies Majors will:

·         Understand the general contours of Jewish history from the Second Temple period to the present.

·         Demonstrate familiarity with reading Jewish texts in English translation, including biblical, rabbinic, medieval commentaries, and modern Jewish thought.

·         Understand the general practices and beliefs of Judaism.

All majors are encouraged to participate in the joint JWST/GERM three-week Winterim FSP in Berlin, which offers one course credit towards the major. There is no specific language requirement for the major, though students are encouraged to obtain reading proficiency in Hebrew texts, classical and modern, and make use of whatever language skills they have to understand the Jewish historical experience

All of our courses are cross-listed, and we welcome students modifying the JWST major with appropriate courses from other departments and programs.


A total of ten courses, which must include one from the pre-modern era and one from the modern era.

Majors should complete at least one course on the pre-modern era, one course on the modern era, and one specialized seminar, selecting at least one course from each of the following three categories:

Pre-Modern Era

JWST 6 (Introduction to Judaism) or JWST 10 (History and Culture of the Jews: Antiquity and Medieval) or JWST 4 (Hebrew Bible);

Modern Era 

JWST 11 (History and Culture of the Jews: Modern) or JWST 61 (Modern Judaism); or the FSP in Berlin;


JWST 44 (Making of the Modern Middle East); JWST 51 (Freud, Jews and Gender); JWST 74 (The Jewish Jesus); JWST 53 (Gender and Judaism); JWST 40 (Politics of Israel/Palestine); JWST 37 (Nazis, Neo-Nazis and Antifa); JWST 13 (Jews and Race); JWST 42 (Arabs, Jews and Constructions of Modernity)

These seminars are offered once or twice each year. In addition, visiting faculty may offer a seminar on a different topic on a one-time basis that may count toward fulfilling the seminar requirement.

Additional Coursework

Six additional courses in Jewish Studies plus a culminating experience. Course requirements may be fulfilled by a one- or two-term senior thesis.

Thesis Proposal

The thesis proposal should be submitted to the JWST chair for approval by the faculty by the spring of the student's third year. Once it is approved, the student should enroll in JWST 86 (Senior Honors Thesis part 1) and 87 (Senior Honors Thesis part 2) in two terms of their senior year. The thesis should be submitted by week four of the spring term. At least three faculty in JWST will read the thesis. The student will present the thesis to JWST faculty and interested students; the thesis grade will be recommended by the student's advisor and approved by JWST faculty.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Students are expected to update Dartworks' plan to reflect courses completed, current enrolled courses and courses you are planning to take to meet the JWST Major requirements.