The Master of Arts Degree in Jewish Studies at the Academy for Jewish Religion provides graduate level engagement with thousands of years of Jewish sacred texts as well as with the most stimulating ideas, trends, and realities of the contemporary Jewish community.

This program challenges participants to engage all aspects of their creative energies in research, analysis, and imagination as they master the teachings of the Jewish past and envision the Jewish future. The Master’s Degree is geared to several types of learners who already hold an undergraduate degree:

  • Those who wish to better prepare themselves for careers in Jewish communal organizations or in Jewish education.
  • Those who wish to qualify for a more advanced graduate degree, e.g., a doctoral program or a rabbinical or cantorial program.
  • Professionals involved in Jewish communal service and Jewish education to enrich their academic credentials.
  • Laypeople interested in enriching their Jewish knowledge.
  1. Students will demonstrate recognition of the legitimacy of multiple points of view and approaches, both historically in the Jewish tradition and in the interplay of contemporary Jewish movements and schools of thought.
  2. Students will demonstrate core knowledge of biblical, rabbinic, and liturgical texts in their original languages and contemporary scholarship in these areas.
  3. Students will demonstrate competence in modern Hebrew language.
  4. Students will demonstrate knowledge of the most recent trends and changes in the contemporary Jewish community.
  5. Students will demonstrate competence in academic research (including library skills) in order to produce and present graduate-level academic, practical, or educational work.

Course Requirements

The Master’s Degree requires successful completion of courses comprising 36 credits plus a Master’s Project. The Master’s Program may be completed in about 18-24 months of full-time study (by students entering with a significant level of Hebrew).

The Master’s Degree requires 36 credits of courses that emphasize Jewish sacred text and issues of the contemporary Jewish community. Most of AJR’s courses are 2 credit courses.

Sacred Literature – (multiple courses totaling 8 Credits)
At least one course should be in Bible and one in Rabbinic Literature.

Liturgy – (two courses totaling 4 Credits)

Pluralism – (2 Credits)

History – (two courses totaling 4 Credits)

Philosophy – (2 Credits)

Spirituality – (2 Credits)

Electives – (multiple courses totaling 14 Credits)

Hebrew Language Requirement

Students entering with limited Hebrew language facility should plan on taking additional courses to complete the program since the coursework for the degree assumes familiarity with basic grammar, the ability to read unvocalized Hebrew texts, and the ability to understand basic spoken Hebrew. In order to complete the program, students must show Hebrew competency at the level equivalent to the completion of HEB351, that is, three years of university level study of Hebrew.

The Master’s Project

A Master’s Project represents the ability of a student to work with academic books and articles toward the creation of a project that applies these in a practical, functional, and educational way. Students who wish to create a scholarly study as their Master’s Project must demonstrate mastery of the primary sources in their original languages. Students will choose an appropriate mentor with the help of the Master’s Projects Advisor. For details about the Master’s Project, see the Academic Catalog.

You can see previous Master’s Projects here.

The Academy for Jewish Religion admits qualified students to its Master’s Program without regard to race, age, sex or gender identification, religion, or sexual orientation.

The application for the Master’s Program can be found here.