Jul 20, 2024  
2023-2024 Undergraduate Catalog 
2023-2024 Undergraduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Jewish Studies BA

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If you like thinking about philosophy, religion and questions that don’t have a “right” answer, then Jewish studies might be the perfect fit for you. Here, you’ll tackle questions like: What is God? What makes us human? Can we accommodate both science and religion in our belief? Jewish studies is for anyone who wants to learn how to think critically about beliefs and facts-a valuable skill that can lead to a surprising variety of careers.

Visit the Jewish Studies academic program page for more information about the academic experience, who you will learn from, opportunities outside of class and what you can do with this degree.

Visit the Jewish Thought department page  for contact information, a brief overview of the department and the curricular options.

Admission Criteria

Current UB students seeking admission to the Jewish Studies BA will be added to the major upon request by completing the College of Arts and Sciences Major/Minor Change Request Form.

Course Requirements

Jewish Studies Core (6 credits)

One Course From the Bible and Talmud Area List (3 credits)*

One Course From the Ethics Area List (3 credits)*

Six JDS Electives (18 credits)

Six additional Jewish Studies courses at the 300/400 level, including a 400-level Special Topics seminar that will serve as a “Capstone Seminar.” Relevant courses from other universities - American or International - will be considered on a case by case basic for credit in Jewish Studies. Summer internships will also be considered.

Language Requirement (6-20 credits)

Two years of Hebrew language or one year of Hebrew language and one year of either French, German, Italian, Arabic, Aramaic or Yiddish. See advisor for waivers of this requirement.

Students are required to complete four language courses unless waived by the Department based on placement results or demonstrated proficiency. If the language requirement is waived because of proven proficiency, the student will be required to take 6 additional credit hours of electives in Jewish Studies (JDS).

Total Credits Required for Major: 36-50

Additional Degree Requirements Include:

  • Additional coursework to fulfill UB Curriculum requirements
  • Elective courses as needed to complete the 120 credit hour total


Students must earn a 2.500 (C+) in JDS 103  and a 2.000 (C) or better in each of the three additional required courses.

*At least one course (3) credits from the Bible and Talmud or Ethics areas must be taken at the 300/400 level.

*** The bachelor’s degree requires 120 credits total, therefore the number of major and additional electives required will vary based on the number of language credits needed.

Total Credits Required for Graduation: 120

Total Credit Hours Required represents the minimum credits needed to complete this program, and may vary based on a number of circumstances. This should not be used for financial aid purposes.

Curricular Plan

A Curricular Plan provides a roadmap for completing this academic program and the UB Curriculum on time. Your actual plan may vary depending on point of entry to the university, course placement and/or waivers based on standardized test scores, earned alternative credit and/or college transfer credit.

First Year Fall

Total Credits: 15 or 16

First Year Spring

  • Pathway Credits: 3
  • Bible and Talmud Area Credits: 3
  • Credits: 4 OR Pathway Credits: 3
  • Scientific Literacy 2 Credits: 3
  • Scientific Lab Credits: 1
  • Elective Credits: 3

Total Credits: 16 or 17

Second Year Fall

Total Credits: 14

Second Year Spring

  • Diversity in the United States Credits: 3 (Approved Diversity in the United States course if not met through approved major, elective, or UBC course.)
  • Credits: 5
  • Ethics Course Credits: 3
  • Math & Quantitative Reasoning Credits: 4

Total Credits: 15

Third Year Fall

  • Elective Credits: 3
  • Credits: 3 or alternative language
  • JDS Elective at the 300/400 level Credits: 3
  • JDS Elective at the 300/400 level Credits: 3
  • Elective Credits: 3

Total Credits: 15

Third Year Spring

Total Credits: 14

Fourth Year Fall

  • JDS 400-level Elective Credits: 3
  • Elective Credits: 3
  • Elective Credits: 3
  • Elective Credits: 3
  • Elective Credits: 3

Total Credits: 15

Fourth Year Spring

  • JDS Elective at the 300/400 level Credits: 3
  • Elective Credits: 3
  • Elective Credits: 3
  • Elective Credits: 3
  • Elective Credits: 3

Total Credits: 15

Total Credits Required: 120

Note: Some classes may count toward both a major and UB Curriculum requirement.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of all requirements, the student will be able to:

  • Develop critical thinking and abilities to read and analyze complex written texts – a set of skills to help become more competitive on professional job markets.
  • Discuss Judaism in a wide range of interdisciplinary contexts, including philosophy, history, literature, ethics, language, comparative religion, and critical theory
  • Understand and apply key concepts, theories, and methods in the academic study of Judaism
  • Conduct research: pose questions, obtain evidence, analyze sources, assess information, and construct an argument
  • Understand critical methods of inquiry and use critical reading skills
  • Hone effective written communication skills in academic writing: to engage primary and secondary sources, to access critically the methods these sources use, and to express a point of view on a subject and support it with evidence
  • Cultivate oral communication: present research findings clearly, analyze primary and secondary sources in class discussion
  • Engage in thinking collectively within a group through group projects, including but not limited to using theatrical, cinematic and other ways of expression to develop and display an ability to think critically and independently about a problem at hand.
  • Develop language skills in Modern modern Hebrew for conversation and to read classical and modern Hebrew texts in their original language (if taking Hebrew language for four semesters)


(HEGIS: 03.00 AREA STUDIES UNCLASSIFID, CIP38.0206 Jewish/ Judaic Studies)


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