The Program in Jewish Studies explores Jewish culture, history, society and thought while equipping students of all backgrounds, Jewish and non-Jewish, with a fluency in a number of the disciplines offered by the college.
With internationally acclaimed faculty engaged in cutting-edge research, the program offers an innovative and contemporary curriculum designed to provide a strong cultural foundation and to connect Jewish thought and text to action and people’s lives.
My Jewish Studies degree gave me a fantastic, well-rounded liberal arts education. The critical thinking, deductive reasoning, and comprehensive reading skills [I learned] are abilities I use on a daily basis."
— Joshua Umland, '13
Majors and minors in Jewish Studies learn how to be global citizens by studying one of the world's oldest global peoples. Whether the subject is Jewish literatures, the Holocaust, mysticism, or the diaspora, students of Jewish Studies are always considering the relationship between the Jewish experience and the conditions of the world in which Jewish communities have lived.
At CU Boulder, the Program in Jewish Studies explores these facets of Jewish life from a broad, interdisciplinary perspective. With a major or minor in Jewish Studies, students will develop fundamental skills in critical thinking, comparative analysis, oral and written expression and a well-rounded perspective on the diversity of the Jewish experience.
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.
The study of Jewish culture, society, history, and religion is, by its nature, comparative. Majors and minors 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 often cross-listed, and 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 the cultures of Israel and Palestine.
Finally, the Program in Jewish Studies is committed to helping students acquire the professional skills they need to navigate the professional world. In addition to gaining excellent critical thinking and communication skills, students have the opportunity to pursue internships with organizations that align with their career aspirations, work closely with Jewish Studies faculty on original research projects, learn about archives and conduct archival research and study abroad.
For undergraduate students who are pursuing a degree in Jewish Studies and are interested in research or scholarly work, there are a number of opportunities beyond the classroom to work with the program’s interdisciplinary faculty or on their own:
The Jewish Studies major provides appropriate professional training for a number of potential professions, but 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 and creative writing.
To help assist in preparing students for the working world, the Program in Jewish Studies offers an internship class each semester. The Internship in Jewish Studies brings together Jewish Studies and students' professional paths by placing students in a non-profit organization, educational institution, political office, medical school or other site for a semester of service learning. Interns work 7 to 10 hours per week at their internship site, then come together for a weekly class, in which students learn about leadership, work place ethics and how Jewish Studies can inform their professional lives.
Some examples of CU student internships include constituent services with Congressman Jared Polis, public health with Gift of Life Marrow Registry, interfaith organizing with Sustainable Israeli-Palestinian Projects, community and youth education with the Boulder Jewish Community center and local synagogues and an entrepreneurship internship with Boomtown Accelerator.
Career Services offers free services for all CU Boulder degree-seeking students and alumni up to one year after graduation, to help students discover who they are, what they want to do, and how to get there. They help to bridge the gap between academics and the world of work by discussing major and career exploration, internship or job searching, and graduate school preparation.
According to the 2017-18 College Salary Report by PayScale Human Capital:
The Program in Jewish Studies has an extensive network of alumni who are either working or have worked in a variety of industries across the globe. Some alumni of the program include: