Man studying copies of Jewish artifacts
Degrees Offered: BA Minor

Jewish studies explores Jewish culture, history, society and thought from a broad, interdisciplinary perspective. The program reflects the core goals of the University of Colorado Boulder: 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.

The study of Jewish culture, society, history and religion is, by its nature, comparative. The program offers many cross­listed classes with other departments on campus to facilitate a well­rounded learning experience. Many of the courses also satisfy core requirements. This program provides appropriate professional training, especially for those considering admission to graduate or professional schools and careers in education, law, medicine, public health, journalism, business, urban planning, politics, counseling, international relations, creative writing, university teaching and research.

Undergraduate Opportunities

With a major in Jewish studies, students develop fundamental skills in critical thinking, comparative analysis, oral and written expression and a well­rounded perspective of the diversity of the Jewish experience. The 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 cutting­edge 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.

Students 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.

Research Opportunities

To help assist in preparing students for the working world, the Program in Jewish Studies offers an internship each semester (JWST3930). This program connects students with community service organizations, nonprofits and educational institutions for a semester of service learning, incorporating concepts of Jewish learning and tikkun olam (“repairing the world”). Students then work with a member of the Jewish studies faculty who connects their internship experience to Jewish studies through texts. Past interns have worked in a wide array of capacities that have included public service with Congressman Jared Polis, health care at the University of Colorado Hospital, advocacy with a local Jewish LGBT organization, community education with Boulder County AIDS Project, conducting oral histories with the local oral history program and youth education at a local synagogue. 

In addition to the internship, Jewish studies majors are also strongly encouraged to participate in study abroad programs to increase cultural awareness and to bring a global perspective to their studies. Most Jewish studies majors can satisfy some area and language proficiency requirements while abroad. Thanks to generous support of donors, the program in Jewish studies offers several scholarship and grant opportunities that support study abroad experiences. 

The program in Jewish studies is home to several historical and artistic archives that provide students with additional opportunities to engage in Jewish studies research and to work closely with faculty. There are more than 30 faculty members on the CU Boulder campus who either specialize in or have research interests related to Jewish studies.