Bachelor of Arts Degree

Program Description - Jewish studies

Jewish Studies is an interdisciplinary program that offers a comprehensive examination of all aspects of Jewish experience. Housed in the Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies at the University of Washington, the Stroum Jewish Studies Program is a highly-regarded international venue for the academic study of Jewish life. A broad range of courses—in history, sociology, political science, law, literary criticism, economics, language, philosophy, religion, and American Studies—addresses the historical, social, cultural, religious, legal, and political life of Jews today and throughout history around the world.
Students can major or minor in Jewish Studies, focusing on either of two tracks:  The Judaic Cultural Tradition (including the world of ancient Israel, and the literary and intellectual traditions of classical Judaism), or The Jewish People in the Modern World (including the literary and intellectual traditions of modern Jewry, modern Israel, and contemporary Jewish life around the world).  The faculty also supervises graduate instruction in Jewish Studies through a number of programs and departments, including History, Political Science, Sociology, Comparative Religion, Near Eastern Languages and Civilization, Middle East Studies, and others.

—Noam Pianko, Chair

Admission to Major - open major

Any undergraduate admitted for study as a matriculated student in the College of Arts and Sciences may declare Jewish Studies as his/her major and work for the B.A. degree.

Major Requirements

A major in Jewish Studies shall consist of not less than 52 credits, as follows:

Introductory courses (15 credits):

  • JSIS 201
  • JSIS C 145,
  • JSIS C/HIST 250

Jewish Studies Track - 20 credits in either one of the tracks below:

  • The Judaic Cultural Tradition (A) or
  • The Jewish People in the Modern World (B)

Approved course lists

Language Proficiency

Students must be proficient in the Hebrew language through second year college level.

Jewish Languages and Texts (15 credits).
A minimum of 15 credits selected from an approved list of courses

  1. Students in the Cultural Tradition track (A) may take Biblical or Modern Hebrew.
  2. Students in the Modern World track (B) must take Modern Hebrew.

Modern Hebrew Language: Read more about offerings and placement in Modern Hebrew at the University of Washington.

Biblical Hebrew Language: Read more about Biblical Hebrew at the University of Washington.

Overlapping credits: A maximum of 15 credits that are used to fulfill minimum requirements of any other UW major can be counted in this major.


Honors Program
Jewish Studies majors may apply to the Honors Program in International Studies.
An honors thesis under the direction of a Jewish Studies faculty member is required.
Two additional courses are required: JSIS 395 Junior Honors Seminar (taken Spring of Junior year) and JSIS 491 Senior Honors Seminar (taken Autumn of Senior year).
The Honors thesis is defended in May of the Senior year.

Honors Application information


Minor Requirements

30 credits, to include the following:

  1. JSIS C 145 (5 credits) and JSIS C/HIST 250 (5)

  2. 15 credits of Jewish Studies elective, chosen from the list of approved Humanities/Social Science electives*

  3. 5 additional credits chosen from the list of approved Humanities/Social Science electives or in courses in modern or Biblical Hebrew*

  4. 15 credits of the minor must be taken in residence at the UW.

*For a list of approved electives and Hebrew language courses, follow this link.

Revised 9-9-14

Jackson School
Office of Academic Services
111 Thomson Hall
Box 353650
Seattle, WA 98195
(206) 543-6001