Taking advantage of our large faculty and substantial library holdings, the M.A. in Judaic Studies program provides a broad, balanced advanced education in Judaic Studies while allowing students to concentrate on one of the following areas:
· Comparative Jewish literatures (Hebrew, Yiddish, Germanic, Slavic, Anglo-American)
· Contemporary Jewish affairs (United States, Israel, former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe)
· Hebrew studies (language, literature, culture)
· History (ancient, medieval and modern Jewish history)
· Rabbinics and Jewish thought (ancient, medieval, modern)
· Yiddish studies (language, literature, culture)
The program builds on existing courses or modifications thereof and adds a modest number of courses, subject to the approval of the departments concerned. All entering students are required to demonstrate fourth semester proficiency in Hebrew or Yiddish and, upon graduation, sixth semester proficiency. A total of 30 credits is required for the M.A., and either a thesis or a substantial seminar paper are required.
Students are required to take two cognate courses, to be determined by their area of interest and in consultation with the graduate advisor. For example, a student concentrating in contemporary Jewish affairs might take Political Science 643 (ethnicity and politics), Political Science 653 (Middle East politics), Sociology 650 (political sociology) or Public Policy 580 (values, ethics and public policy).
All students are required to take the following four courses:
Judaic Studies 500.009/HJCS592 Reading the Rabbis: This is an intensive graduate seminar in rabbinic literature that requires approximately 150-200 pages of reading each week. Second year proficiency in Hebrew is a prerequisite. Students will attend HJCS 270 - Introduction to Rabbinic Literature - and meet all the assignments for that course. In addition, the seminar will meet separately once every two weeks for an intensive reading session in the original language (time will be determined in class), during which the class will read through the entire Mishnah and Tosefta. Students will also be asked to read 5-7 scholarly books and write a short paper about 2.
Near East Studies: Either 542 (Literature of the Hebrew Bible) or 543 (The Bible in Jewish Tradition). The Bible is the literary and historical foundation of Judaism and the Jewish people.
Judaic Studies 601 Introduction to Methods and Topics in Judaic Studies: This course introduces graduate stdents to the disciplines, texts, and methods of Jewish studies. Students read textual materials from various eras of Jewish history (from antiquity to the modern period) and current scholarly literature that illustrates critical and disciplinary approaches to these texts.
In the extraordinary case of a student with an exceptionally strong academic record and GRE scores, but who lacks sufficient background in Judaic Studies, the student could be admitted but would be required to take Judaic Studies 505 Introduction to Jewish Civilization and Cultures.
Elective courses, arranged by module, include:
One course from either Hebrew literature (NES 571,
592—seminar in Hebrew and Jewish cultural studies); English literature
(English 658—literature of the Holocaust); English 553 (Jewish literature in
America); English 417 (Three Yiddish classic writers); or Judaic Studies 317 (independent study course of readings in Yiddish literature); German 482/History 656 (German-Jewish Identities and Culture); Slavic Literatures (course to be determined upon appointment of faculty).
Sociology 410 (American Jewish community), Political Science 452 (Israeli society and politics), Political Science 652 (Jewish Political Thought and Experiences); Social Work 600 and 645 (American Jewish community; contemporary issues in Jewish communities in US and abroad)
Near East 401-2 (Hebrew of the communications media); Near East 471-472 (Introduction to modern Hebrew literature); Near East 571, 572 (Israeli literature); Near East 592 (seminar in Hebrew and Jewish cultural studies)
History 406 (The Church and the Jews), 407 (Jews in Spain), History 435 (Jews in Eastern Europe) and History 628 (Studies in Jewish history).
"Reading the Rabbis" a course offered alternating years.
English 417 (three Yiddish classic writers); or Judaic Studies 500 (independent study course of readings in Yiddish literature); Political Science 350 (Politics and Culture of Modern East European Jewry); History 435 (Jews in Eastern Europe).
Students will not necessarily concentrate in a specific module. As long as they take the three required courses, they may choose any of the other courses offered. This includes courses offered by our Padnos Visiting Professor in Judaic Studies, an annual visitor for one semester, whose fields have ranged from history to film and video, Anglo-Jewish literature to Israeli politics, etc. For a student concentrating in a module—for example, in comparative Jewish literatures—the program of courses might look like this:
· The required three courses (History, Judaic Studies, Near East)
· Five courses from Hebrew, Yiddish, English, German or Slavic literatures
· Two cognate courses. For example, English 521 (history of literary theory), English 522 (history of literary criticism), English 527 (contemporary critical theory), courses in Jewish history or the history of Germany, Russia, Eastern Europe
There will be no field work, work experience, internship or similar requirements.
The minimum GPA for admission is 3.2. Applicants must take the Graduate Record Examination (general exam only). GRE scores should be about the same that are standard in other Michigan graduate admissions. Applications should include a personal narrative describing educational background, relevant experience, and educational and occupational goals, a statement of purpose, and a writing sample. Three letters of recommendation should be provided. Interviews will be requested only of those whose prospects for success are uncertain, and who live within a reasonable distance. No credit will be given for relevant work experience, though minimal credit might be given for course work in advanced Judaic Studies that was done within the decade previous to application for admission.
To apply online, please go to https://apply.embark.com/Grad/Umich/Rackham/ProgramA/33.
Graduate students in the M.A. in Judaic Studies program and doctoral students whose course work and research are focused on Jewish themes may apply for financial assistance from the Frankel Center. Financial opportunities include, among others:
Frankel Fellowships in support of either master's or doctoral degree students in Judaic Studies;
Brandt Fellowship for Study in Israel;
Posen Foundation Fellowships, three-year grants to graduate students working on either secular Judaism/Jewishness or contemporary or historical Jewish identities.
Click here for summary information on the Judaic Studies Graduate program (pdf version). The Center has additional sources of support for graduate study, including summer language study; library, archival and field research; and limited travel funds. These may be supplemented by funds from students' home academic departments and the Rackham School of Graduate Studies. A cover sheet to be submitted with your application is available from the Judaic Studies office, or the Word 2000 version can be opened by clicking here.