Jewish Studies

The Program in Jewish Studies explores Jewish culture, history, society, and thought from a broad, interdisciplinary perspective. The program reflects the core goals of Colorado’s flagship university: to provide an outstanding liberal arts education, to foster critical thought, and to instill a keen appreciation of humanity’s interrelatedness and diversity. At its core, the major trains students to be global citizens by studying the world’s oldest global people.

With a major in Jewish Studies, students will develop fundamental skills in critical thinking, comparative analysis, oral and written expression, and a well-rounded perspective of the diversity of the Jewish experience. CU-Boulder’s major in Jewish Studies is designed to encourage students to explore all facets of Jewish life in the context of the larger global society. With internationally acclaimed faculty engaged in cutting-edge research and opportunities to study with leading artists, scholars, and professionals working in the field of Jewish Studies, the program offers an innovative and contemporary curriculum designed to provide a strong foundation in cultural education and to connect Jewish thought and text to action and people’s lives.

As a major, students will have the opportunity to take courses that explore Jewish history, modern Jewish experience in a variety of countries and cultures, Jewish literature, and secular Jewish societies. Courses are offered on a wide array of topics and issues including Jewish culture, the history of the Arab/Israeli conflict, the Holocaust, gender and sexuality in Judaism, Israeli literature, the history of Yiddish culture, and cultures of Israel and Palestine. The study of Jewish culture, society, history, and religion is, by its nature, comparative. This program offers many cross-listed classes with other departments on campus to facilitate a well-rounded learning experience. The program is open to students of all backgrounds.

Course code for this program is JWST.

Bachelor's Degree Program(s)

Bachelor of Arts in Jewish Studies

In addition to the general requirements of the College of Arts and Sciences, students must complete 36 credit hours of Jewish Studies requirements, of which 18 credit hours must been upper division (3000/4000 level) courses. A grade of C- or better must be received in all Jewish studies courses used to satisfy the major requirements, with an overall average of 2.00 in the major. No more than 6 credit hours may be taken in independent study. No pass/fail graded courses may satisfy the 36-semester-hour minimum requirement. Many courses also satisfy university core curriculum requirements. For more information on the core curriculum, visit colorado.edu/artssciences/students/undergraduates/core_curriculum.html.

Required Courses (6 credit hours)

  • JWST/HEBR 2350 Introduction to Jewish Culture—3
  • JWST 4000 Methods in Jewish Studies (Senior Capstone)—3

Language Requirement

Three years of university level language training or demonstrated equivalent proficiency in Hebrew (modern or Biblical) or another language that is to be used in the Jewish Studies capstone project (JWST4000). Examples include Russian, French, German Arabic, or Spanish. Language must be approved by major advisor.

Completion of at least two (6 credit hours) of the following courses, all courses are highly recommended:

  • JWST/HIST 1818 Introduction to Jewish History, Bible to 1492—3
  • JWST/HIST 1828 Introduction to Jewish History since 1492—3
  • JWST/HEBR 2551 World Jewish Literature—3
  • JWST/RLST 3100 Judaism—3
  • JWST/IAFS 3600 Global Secular Jewish Societies—3

Optional but highly recommended:

  • JWST 3930 Internship in Jewish Studies—3

12–24 remaining credit hours, of which at least eight must be upper division (3000-4000 level), taken from among the following list or additional course by approval of major advisor:

Lower Division

  • JWST/RLST 2600 Judaism, Christianity, Islam—3
  • JWST/GRMN 2502 Representing the Holocaust—3
  • HEBR 1030 Biblical Hebrew—3 
  • HEBR 1040 Biblical Hebrew—3
  • HEBR 2121 Intermediate Hebrew—4 
  • HUMN/GRMN 2601 Kafkaesque—3

NOTE​: The first three semesters of modern Hebrew (or any equivalent language being used in the required capstone course JWST4000) do not count as credits toward the major.

Upper Division

  • JWST/HEBR 3202 Women, Gender, and Sexuality in Jewish Texts and Traditions—3
  • JWST/ENGL 3312 The Bible as Literature—3
  • JWST/GRMN 3501 German Jewish Writers—3
  • JWST/IAFS 3610 Topics in International Affairs and Jewish Studies—3
  • JWST/IAFS 3650 Arab–Israeli Conflict—3
  • JWST/ENGL 3677 American Jewish Writers—3
  • JWST/ANTH 4050 Topics in Jewish Anthropology—3
  • JWST/HEBR 4101 Topics in Hebrew Literature—3
  • JWST/RLST 4260 Topics in Judaism—3
  • JWST/HEBR 4301 Venice: The Cradle of European Jewish Culture—3
  • JWST 4302 Justice, Human Rights, and Democracy in Israel—3
  • JWST/HIST 4338 History of Modern Israel—3
  • JWST/HIST 4348 Topics: World Areas in Jewish History—3
  • JWST/HIST 4349 History of Jews under Islam—3
  • JWST/HIST 4454 Jewish Intellectual History—3
  • JWST/HIST 4544 History of Yiddish Culture—3
  • JWST/ANTH 4580 The Holocaust—3
  • JWST/HIST 4803 Topics: European Jewish History—3
  • JWST/HIST 4804 Modern European Jewish History—3
  • JWST/HIST 4827 Modern American Jewish History—3
  • HEBR 3010 Third-Year Hebrew, First Semester—3
  • HEBR 3020 Third-Year Hebrew, Second Semester—3
  • HIST 4433 Nazi Germany—3
  • WRTG 3020 After the Holocaust—3

Minor Programs

Minors are offered in Jewish Studies and Hebrew and Israel Studies. Declaration of a minor is open to any student enrolled at CU-Boulder, regardless of college or school. A grade of C- or better must be received in all courses used to satisfy the minor requirements. For more information visit jewishstudies.colorado.edu/courses/major-and-minors-jewish-studies.

Minor in Jewish Studies (18 credit hours)

  • Complete JWST/HIST 1818 Introduction to Jewish History, Bible to 1492 or JWST/HIST 1828 Introduction to Jewish History since 1492—3
  • JWST/HEBR 2350 Introduction to Jewish Culture—3
  • Four upper-division (12 credit hours at 3000-4000 level) Jewish Studies courses from the following list or by approval of advisor:
    JWST/HEBR 3202 Women, Gender and Sexuality in Jewish Texts and Traditions
    JWST/ENGL 3312 The Bible as Literature
    JWST/GRMN 3501 German Jewish Writers
    JWST/IAFS 3600 Global Secular Jewish Societies
    JWST/IAFS 3610 Topics in International Affairs and Jewish Studies
    JWST/IAFS 3650 Arab-Israeli Conflict
    JWST/ENGL 3677 American Jewish Writers
    JWST 3930 Internship in Jewish Studies (not repeatable for minor)
    JWST/ANTH 4050 Topics in Jewish Anthropology: Cultures of Israel and Palestine
    JWST/ANTH 4050 Topics in Jewish Anthropology: World of Hidden Jews
    JWST/HEBR 4101 Topics in Hebrew Literature
    JWST/RLST 4260 Topics in Judaism
    JWST/HIST 4338 History of Modern Israel
    JWST/HIST 4348 Topics: World Areas in Jewish History
    JWST/HIST 4349 History of Jews Under Islam
    JWST/HIST 4454 Jewish Intellectual History
    JWST/HIST 4544 History of Yiddish Culture
    JWST/ANTH 4580 The Holocaust
    JWST/HIST 4803 Topics: European Jewish History
    JWST/HIST 4804 Modern European Jewish History
    JWST/HIST 4827 Modern American Jewish History
    HIST 4433 Nazi Germany
    WRTG 3020 After the Holocaust

Minor in Hebrew and Israel Studies (19 credit hours)

  • Modern Hebrew Language (10 credit hours minimum above the 2010 Intermediate Hebrew level)
    HEBR 2120 Intermediate Hebrew, second semester—4
    HEBR 3010 Advanced Hebrew, first semester—3
    HEBR 3020 Advance Hebrew, second semester—3
  • JWST/HEBR 2350 Introduction to Jewish Culture—3
  • Two of the following (or course approved by advisor) Hebrew/Israel Studies courses (6 credit hours):
    JWST/ANTH 4050 Topics in Jewish Anthropology: Cultures of Israel and Palestine
    JWST/IAFS 3650 Arab-Israeli Conflict
    JWST/HEBR 4101 Topics in Hebrew Studies: Israeli Literature
    JWST/HIST 4338 History of Modern Israel

The Program in Jewish Studies is growing rapidly and new courses are continually being added. Visit jewishstudies.colorado.edu for the most current course information.