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Hebrew and Jewish Studies

Degree: BA

Campus: Columbus

College: Arts and Sciences

The Hebrew and Jewish Studies major is offered by the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures and includes courses in language, culture, literature and linguistics.

On admission to the university, students can declare a major in Hebrew and Jewish studies within the College of Arts and Sciences. Interested students should contact the undergraduate advisor in the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures and in Arts and Sciences Advising.

The Hebrew and Jewish studies major offers two tracks, allowing students to focus more on the Hebrew langauge or on Jewish studies, according to their individual interests.

Students studying Hebrew progress from an elementary working knowledge of the language toward oral and written proficiency. Once students have mastered the unique writing system of the language, they are introduced gradually to basic patterns of speech and grammar. The rich body of Hebrew literature is first studied in English translation; as students progress in the major and develop their language skills, they continue their readings in Hebrew. 

Jewish studies is the exploration of the history, languages, philosophy and literature of the Jewish people. A variety of courses are offered at all levels in Hebrew language and literature, cognate Semitic languages, Yiddish language and literature, Jewish history, rabbinics, and Jewish philosophy, with occasional offerings in other fields such as English, sociology and social work.

In either case, students will take at least four semesters of Hebrew langauge course work (students that choose the language track will complete additional language courses). They will also take course work in Jewish history and philosophy. Students can generally tailor the curriculum to fit their personal interests in consultation with their advisor. 

In both tracks, students are encouraged to study abroad at institutions such as: 

  • Ben-Gurion University of the Negev
  • Hebrew University in Jerusalem
  • Tel Aviv University
  • University of Haifa

Contact the Office of International Affairs for more information on these and other study abroad opportunities. 

The Melton Center for Jewish Studies at Ohio State offers a variety of scholarships to help finance these study abroad opportunities. 

The Melton Center for Jewish Studies regularly helps Hebrew and Jewish studies students find internships in the Columbus Jewish community. 

Hebrew and Jewish studies students may be interested in Ohio State Hillel or Chabad at OSU. They may also wish to participate in the Jewish Studies Student Association

Regardless of their track, graduates can find work in fields such as business, sales, export purchasing, foreign market analysis, journalism, foreign correspondence, science and research, library science, hotel management, publishing, and radio broadcasting, education, government, international trade, media, and tourism. 

Students who pursue the Hebrew language track are prepared for jobs teaching Hebrew at all levels and interpreting and translating for the United Nations, government, or for private and public organizations. They are also equipped for positions in the travel and tourism industry at home or abroad. 

Students who pursue the Jewish studies track are prepared for jobs in Jewish community centers, federations, and national and international Jewish organizations; Jewish education, including day and supplementary school; synagogue administration; youth group advising; work with the elderly; Israel support organizations; and Jewish media.

Students can explore career options through Career Counseling and Support Services as well as the Arts and Sciences Career Services Office. Career Connection focuses on helping students establish a career direction, while the Arts and Sciences Career Services Office assists students with finding internships—experiences that are essential to testing out the suitability of career fields they are considering. 

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The Melton Center for Jewish Studies at Ohio State coordinates a large and diverse Jewish Studies program around the university and is a major resource for Hebrew majors.

Interested in a business career?

Check out the Business Pathway to discover the many majors Ohio State offers that can lead to a career in business.