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Jewish Studies

Degree: BA

Campus: Columbus

College: Arts and Sciences

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.

Upon admission to the university, students can declare a major in Jewish studies within the College of Arts and Sciences. Interested students should contact the academic advisor for Jewish studies and Hebrew majors and minors in the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures.

Students can develop a comprehensive and well-rounded interdisciplinary major in Jewish studies. Major requirements include course work approved by the student’s faculty advisor and courses in Jewish history and philosophy, Hebrew and other electives. Hebrew 1101 through 1103 satisfy the general education foreign language requirement but do not apply to the major.

Major courses include:

  • Introduction to Jewish Studies Thought and Practice 
  • Intermediate Hebrew    
  • Modern Hebrew Grammar, Composition and Conversation    
  • Review of Hebrew Grammar and Composition    
  • Introduction to Jewish Philosophy    
  • Modern Hebrew Short Story    
  • Hebrew and the Media    
  • Ancient and Medieval Jewish Civilization 
  • Modern Jewish Civilization  
  • Yiddish Literature in Translation   
  • History of Zionism and Israel 
  • Jewish Mysticism 

Each year faculty in affiliated departments offer courses that emphasize various aspects of Jewish studies, as well as Hebrew and Yiddish language and literature. In addition, the Melton Center for Jewish Studies offers a basic introductory course to Jewish studies. Interdisciplinary courses are occasionally offered.

The study of Judaism, Jewish civilization and the Jewish people would not be complete without an overseas study experience. Jewish studies students are encouraged to include overseas study as part of their course plan, whether it is to Israel, Europe or other parts of the world. Students have many options to customize their overseas study experience, including international exchange programs, individualized study abroad programs, independent research and programs through third-party providers.

The Department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures has partnerships with select universities in Israel through Ohio State’s Israel Direct Enroll Programs, which provide students a well-rounded cultural and academic experience with advising from the Office of International Affairs in cooperation with students’ advisors.

The Melton Center for Jewish Studies offers generous scholarships for study at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in addition to many other sources at Ohio State and outside of the university.

Students can enrich their organizational skills and gain work experience in a variety of settings in the Columbus Jewish communtiy through the Melton Center for Jewish Studies internship program. Students in this program will earn academic credits and contribute needed services to organizations and institutions.

Jewish life on campus offers a myriad of activities to choose from, including Greek life and a variety of organizations for Jewish students, including Hillel Wexner Jewish Student Center and OSU Chabad.

The purpose of Jewish Studies Student Association (JSSA) is to build a connection between students and faculty at the Melton Center for Jewish Studies and to foster a deeper appreciation for Jewish studies outside of the classroom. It is open to all students at Ohio State who are interested in Jewish studies, regardless of their major. JSSA provides a social environment for students and faculty to interact within a Jewish studies context, plans and implements Jewish educational events, and works to promote and support the study of and research in Jewish studies.

Students completing a degree in Jewish studies are prepared for any position for which a bachelor’s degree in the humanities is the qualification needed. 

There are also a large number of well-paying jobs within the Jewish community for which an undergraduate Jewish studies degree is excellent preparation. These include 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, to name a few. The demand for motivated employees is very high, and Jewish studies graduates have made successful careers in many of these fields.

Jewish studies majors are also well prepared to apply for graduate studies in fields such as law, education, business and communal work, as well as prime candidates for rabbinical or cantorial school, theological studies and advanced levels of Jewish studies.

Students can explore career options by utilizing Career Connection 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.

  • To develop, promote and support the study, teaching and research of Jewish studies by faculty and students at Ohio State
  • To encourage an interest in the study of all aspects ot the Jewish experience within the central Ohio community and to sponsor educational programs for the general public
  • To seek outside funding to encourage the growth of the Jewish studies programs at Ohio State

Dr. Tamar Rudavsky
Interim Director

Lori Botnick Fireman
Program Coordinator

306 Dulles Hall
230 Annie & John Glenn Ave.
Columbus, OH 43210

Work in the area of Jewish studies is greatly enhanced by the presence of the Judaica collection (over 300,000 volumes) at University Libraries—one of the largest and finest of its kind in the United States.