The Meyerhoff Center for Jewish Studies offers majors, minors, and extensive coursework in the history, literature, and culture of the Jewish people, along with courses of study in related fields including Israel Studies, Hebrew, and Religious Studies. Students benefit from small class size and excellent faculty-student ratios, with opportunities for independent research projects and high-level academic work.
Current degree programs include:
- Major in Jewish Studies
- Major in Religions of the Ancient Middle East
- Minor in Jewish Studies
- Minor in Israel Studies
- Minor in Religious Studies
- Minor in Hebrew Studies (administered by the School of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures)
Director: M. Grossman (JWST)
Professors: H. Lapin (HIST/JWST), M. Rozenblit (HIST)
Associate Professors: B. Cooperman (HIST), M. Grossman (JWST), S. Hazkani (JWST), M. Suriano (JWST), E. Zakim (SLLC)
Assistant Professor: R. Schine (SLLC)
Affiliate Professors: J. Herf (Dist Univ Prof), R. Igel, A. Karamustafa, F. Keshavarz-Karamustafa, S. Sosnowski, S. Telhami, P. Wien
Affiliate Associate Professors: A. Borrut, L. Felbain, S. Khamis
Associate Clinical Professor: A. Karpman (JWST)
Associate Research Professor: P. Scham (ISRL)
Assistant Research Professor: I. Saltzman (ISRL)
Professors Emeriti: A. Berlin (Emerita), C. Manekin (Emeritus), R. Manekin (Emerita), Y. Peri (Emeritus)
Majors in Jewish Studies have mandatory advising every semester. They must meet with the advisor before being allowed to register for classes for the next semester. You can reach the Jewish Studies advisor at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please note that Jewish Studies majors must also meet with a College of Arts and Humanities advisor:
- During their first semester
- When they complete 45-55 credits
- When they complete 86-100 credits
Students who wish to minor in Jewish Studies must meet with the advisor at least once, mainly to declare the minor.
What to Expect from Advising
During advising meetings, an advisor will chart the student’s progress through the major or minor. The advisor will ask guiding questions to identify the courses the student is currently taking, intends to take, or wants to learn more about. In the meeting, the student will also have an opportunity to learn about study abroad and internships and to talk more generally about their academic and career plans.
The advisor will make notes and go through the Major or Minor Advising Form to ensure that the student understands the major’s or minor's requirements, what courses to take, and when to take them. Every student will get a copy of the Major or Minor Advising Form at the end of each meeting, to retain for their own records.
Note that students who have not yet declared Jewish Studies as their major must meet with the Jewish Studies advisor and then meet with an ARHU advisor. During this first meeting with the Jewish Studies advisor, the student will learn about the Four-Year Plan, which is a schedule of classes developed by ARHU and Jewish Studies for the typical Jewish Studies major to follow. It outlines which courses should be taken during which semesters.
To review the academic plan for this major, go to http://arhu.umd.edu/academics/advising/academic-plans/.
What to Bring to an Advising Meeting
When students come to a meeting with the Jewish Studies advisor, they should bring a list of courses they are thinking about taking, as well as a list of any requirements they still need to fulfill for another major or minor.
Other documents, such as the requirements for another major or minor, descriptions of courses taken abroad, and previous Major or Minor Advising Forms, are also helpful to bring.
The Honors Program in Jewish Studies is designed to encourage Jewish Studies majors with excellent grades and strong academic interests to pursue an individual research project of their own design, in consultation with and under the direction of a faculty advisor. The Program consists of twelve credits taken in a student's Junior and Senior years, culminating in the writing of an honors thesis. Students who complete the Honors Program are deemed to have completed the research seminar requirement for the major, typically completed through JWST409.
Junior Year: Students apply for admission to the Honors Program in the Fall of their Junior year, and, upon admission, enroll in the Honors Seminar (JWST408) (3 credits) in the Spring of their Junior year. During this time students are expected to develop a general research plan to be approved by the prospective thesis advisor. Thesis advisors will generally belong to the regular or affiliate Jewish Studies faculty. Other faculty may serve as thesis advisor with the written permission of the Director of Undergraduate Studies.
Senior Year: In the Fall of their Senior year students select an upper-level course (3 credits) closely related to their research agenda in consultation with the advisor. This may include a regularly offered undergraduate course or an independent study, in which case students are encouraged to apply for an Honors Option for that particular course. In addition, students may request permission to enroll in a graduate-level course to complete this part of their requirement. Students who enter the Honors Program with a clearly defined research interest may complete this requirement in their Junior year.
In addition, students take 6 credits of JWST418: Honors Thesis Research, under the direction of their thesis advisor. Typically these will be divided between the fall and spring semesters. Students are expected to work out with their advisors clear goals that contribute to the thesis as a whole for each semester of thesis research, and will be graded each semester on the basis of having met those goals. In the second semester, the principal goal will be the completed thesis.
Student Societies and Professional Organizations
Tzabim (Turtles) –The Jewish Studies Student Organization
The goal of the Jewish Studies Student Organization (Tzabim) is to provide non-curricular support for Jewish Studies majors and minors. Such support includes career guidance, cohort development, networking activities, social events, and other programs designed by the UJSO's members. Led by members, Tzabim responds to students' needs that extend beyond the curricula of the Jewish Studies Program.
All Jewish Studies majors and minors, as well as other students interested in Jewish Studies, are encouraged to attend meetings and get involved.
Scholarships and Financial Assistance
The Joseph and Rebecca Meyerhoff Center and Program for Jewish Studies is pleased to offer scholarships and awards in a variety of areas of study. These include:
- Merit scholarships for majors and minors in their first year in JWST and majors in their third year in the program.
- Scholarships for study abroad and Hebrew-language study.
- The Harlan and Sally Weisman Scholarship for STEM and Jewish Studies.
- The Charlotte Brozer Shapiro paper prize for work at the intersection of Women Studies and Jewish Studies.
Applications for scholarships are accepted once in the fall and once in the spring. Specific deadlines, as well as the application form, can be found at http://jewishstudies.umd.edu/academic-programs/undergraduate/scholarships/. For more information, please call the Center at 301-405-4975.
The Office of Student Financial Aid (OSFA) administers all types of federal, state and institutional financial assistance programs and, in cooperation with other university offices, participates in the awarding of scholarships to deserving students. For information, visit: http://financialaid.umd.edu.
Academic Programs and Departmental Facilities
The Jewish Studies program encourages students to study internationally. In addition to programs run by the university, students study at academic programs in Israel, Europe, and elsewhere. In particular, majors studying in Israel gain the opportunity to improve their Hebrew language skills by taking ulpan, the intensive course in Hebrew offered at those universities, and by practicing their Hebrew with Israelis. In addition, students can take courses in Israeli society and politics, Middle East Studies, and other courses not usually offered at College Park. Scholarship funds are available to majors and non-majors. Please see the section on "Scholarships and Financial Assistance" for more information.
The Jewish Studies program has a large and growing Judaica collection at the University of Maryland Libraries that aims to become a major resource and repository for the entire area. The collection includes materials in Jewish history, Hebrew and Yiddish literature, the Bible, Talmud, medieval philosophy, Jewish women, theater, the Holocaust, and modern Israel. In addition to scholarly books and periodicals written in the English, German, Hebrew, Yiddish, Ladino, Arabic, French, Italian, and Slavic languages, the collection includes rare books, musical scores, video and audio recordings, facsimile copies of historical documents, and manuscripts. Students may work with Dr. Yelena Luckert, the Judaica Librarian, on their projects and assignments.
The Joseph and Alma Gildenhorn Institute for Israel Studies offers a wide array of lectures, programs, courses, and study abroad opportunities, as well as an academic minor. Jewish Studies majors and minors, as well as other students in the university, can benefit from these programs.
The minor in Religious Studies and the major in Religions of the Ancient Middle East provide students with opportunities to learn about religion in cross-cultural and trans-historical perspectives. Each program includes a core course that introduces students to the study of religion, including relevant discussions of sacred texts, traditions, practices, philosophies, and material culture. Students explore a variety of approaches to the study of religion, both in theory and in applied consideration of specific examples. Religious Studies courses are offered across campus, not only under the RELS designation, but also in American Studies, Art History and Archaeology, Classics, Government and Politics, History, Jewish Studies, Philosophy, and Women's Studies.