Program in Judaic Studies

Academic Unit

Program Information

The Program in Judaic Studies provides students the opportunity to explore more than three millennia of Jewish culture, history, religion, thought, politics, and literature from the Bible to contemporary Jewish thought and society from an interdisciplinary perspective. A wide variety of courses, lectures, conferences, film series, and exhibitions taking advantage of Princeton's rich resources in Judaic studies are offered. There is no "typical" certificate student; we serve students with a wide range of interests and welcome all who are motivated to deepen their knowledge of Judaic studies.

Program Requirements

In order to receive the certificate, students may choose from the following two options: (1) take a minimum of five courses in Judaic studies, which must include JDS 202 Great Books of the Jewish Tradition and at least one course from the premodern period or (2) take three courses to include JDS 202 Great Books of the Jewish Tradition and one course from the premodern period plus write a senior thesis that draws significantly on some aspect of Judaic studies.

A sound program of study will involve both historical range (courses in premodern and modern periods) and disciplinary breadth. While a junior paper in the field is not required, students are encouraged to explore the field of Judaic studies in their junior-year independent work. A freshman seminar may count as one of the required courses. Depending on other course work, Hebrew language courses may count toward the requirements with the approval of the program director.

Each student's course of study must be approved by the program director as well as by the departmental representative in the student's department of concentration. The certificate requirements are compatible with a concentration in any humanities or social sciences department.


Judaic studies has no specific language requirement apart from what is normally required by the University. However, when appropriate, students are expected to use foreign language skills in their senior thesis research. Students also are strongly urged to develop a competency in Hebrew and may use one advanced (300-level) Hebrew course, if they wish, to fulfill the general course requirements for the certificate.

Study Abroad

The program encourages students to consider studying in Israel, either for a semester or for a summer. Study in Israel provides an excellent opportunity to improve one's knowledge of Hebrew as well as to pursue other topics of interest. There are a number of intensive summer language programs in Hebrew and Yiddish in Israel, the United States, the United Kingdom, and elsewhere. Courses taken abroad, other than elementary language, may count for up to two of the program's required courses.

Certificate of Proficiency

Students who fulfill all the requirements of the program will receive a certificate of proficiency in Judaic studies upon graduation.