AJR’s M. A. Program: Sacred Text and Contemporary Jewish Community


The Master of Arts Degree in Jewish Studies at the Academy for Jewish Religion provides graduate level engagement with both the treasured and sacred texts of the thousands of years of Jewish creativity and spirituality as well as with the most stimulating ideas, trends, and realities of the contemporary Jewish community as they unfold in real time. The 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. This program 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.

The M.A. in Jewish Studies Program goals are listed here.

Course Requirements

The Master’s Degree requires successful completion of courses comprising 36 credits plus a Master’s Project. Sixteen of the courses are 2-credit courses. The remaining 4 credits comprise four 1- credit courses (Core Concepts Seminars and/or Havruta sessions). The M.A. Program may be completed in about 18-24 months of full-time study (by students entering with a significant level of Hebrew).

Click here to see a listing of the Course Requirements.

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 HEB 351.

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 and functional, 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.