MA Program Information

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 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 G499 Research Seminar or AMST 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.

Students are encouraged to print the Jewish Studies Checklist (.pdf) and use it to track their own degree progress and select appropriate courses each term in consultation with the Program Coordinator.


Admissions Information: 

In addition to the requirements listed below, all students must submit one transcript showing courses and grades per school attended, a statement of academic purpose and three letters of recommendation. The statement of academic purpose allows the university to evaluate your ability to succeed academically and the reasons you wish to undertake the degree. It should describe briefly your academic and/or professional background (relevant coursework, professional experience or other activity pertaining to your academic interests); indicate your plans for graduate study at Columbia; and explain clearly the relation of your studies to your plans after completing the M.A.

The writing sample should be 10-15 pages long, preferably a paper that you have written for a course pertaining to the general field of Jewish Studies. Alternatively, you may provide a focused essay written in an academic style that examines an article, book, exhibit or event relevant to your field of interest.

If you have recently received an academic degree or have recent academic experience, letters of recommendation from faculty are preferred. If you have not been enrolled in an academic program in recent years, professional recommendations are acceptable.

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.


Deadline for Fall Admission: 

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Deadline for Spring: 

Monday, November 3, 2014

Resume Requirement: 


Writing Sample: 


Writing Sample Number of Pages: 


GRE General: 


Degree Programs: 

Full Time/Part Time

How to Apply:

See GSAS admissions



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.



The Program Coordinator assists students in course registration, requirements, and completion of the degree.

Students are encouraged to approach faculty members for informal discussions about their studies. Faculty members are excellent resources, but students should be aware faculty are not necessarily familiar with the policies and regulations of the Jewish Studies degree.


Course Lists

Pre-approved Course Lists are available on the Liberal Studies Academic Policies and Procedures page.


Thesis Topics

For information regarding the thesis, see Liberal Studies 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


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