We offer an undergraduate major, minor and courses in Jewish Studies, Hebrew, and Yiddish, as well as co-sponsor courses in a variety of other units.

Among the oldest of academic interdisciplinary studies, dating back to the 19th century, Jewish studies explores Judaism, the Jewish people and culture, and their role in the shaping of human experience. The subject matter of Jewish studies makes it relevant to every department and program in the humanities and social sciences. The breadth of Jewish studies is extensive, with a strong foundation in biblical scholarship and the ancient world combined with more recent study of European, American, Mediterranean and Middle Eastern history. It can involve the study of almost every discipline -- religion, literature, folklore, sociology, anthropology, psychology, political science, philosophy, modern and ancient languages, art, music, film and theatre, law, social welfare, and women's, cultural, and American studies. Jewish studies can benefit students exploring their own identity or pursuing an interest in Western civilization. Jewish studies prepares students for graduate school; for careers in Jewish agencies, federations, and community centers or for pre-professional training. The Jewish studies minor can be readily integrated with several KU majors and programs, such as American studies, English, history, or religious studies.

Undergraduate Admission

Admission to KU

All students applying for admission must send high school and college transcripts to the Office of Admissions. Unless they are college transfer students with at least 24 hours of credit, prospective students must send ACT or SAT scores to the Office of Admissions. Prospective first-year students should be aware that KU has qualified admission requirements that all new first-year students must meet to be admitted. Consult the Office of Admissions for application deadlines and specific admission requirements.

Visit the Office of International Student and Scholar Services for information about international admissions.

Students considering transferring to KU may see how their college-level course work will transfer on the Office of Admissions website.

Admission to the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Admission to the College is a different process from admission to a major field. Some CLAS departments have admission requirements. See individual department/program sections for departmental admission requirements.

Requirements for the B.A. Major

Students take 30 credit hours structured according to the following plan:
2 Jewish culture or history courses;
2 religion courses relevant to Judaism;
2 courses of intermediate or advanced Hebrew and/or Yiddish;
1 capstone seminar course (JWSH 601), writing intensive;1 and
3 elective courses, allowing the student to explore Jewish Studies in greater breadth and depth.

Culture or History (2 courses) (6)6
Topics in Jewish Studies:_____ (Jewish American Popular Culture (meets with AMS 344/THR 380) Archaeology of Ancient Israel)
Narratives of Jewish Life
Jews and Slavs in Eastern Europe
The Spanish Inquisition
Religious Zionisms
Languages of the Jews
Topics in Modern Jewish Literature: _____
The Holocaust in History
Contemporary Jewish Identities
Jewish Film
Jewish History and Literature in the Greek and Roman Periods
Modern Jewish Thought
Studies in Judaism
Jewish Folklore
Undergraduate Seminar in: _____
Religion (2 courses relevant to Judaism) (6)6
Living Religions of the West
Understanding the Bible
Topics in Jewish Studies:_____ (Mysticism and the Supernatural; The Story of the Talmud)
Religion of Ancient Israel
Introduction to Judaism
The Dead Sea Scrolls
Jews and Christians
Language (2 courses) (6)6
prerequisite: successful completion of introductory Hebrew or Yiddish
2 further courses in Languages (Hebrew and/or Yiddish) at or above the 200-level
Languages of the Jews
Intermediate Israeli Hebrew I
Intermediate Israeli Hebrew II
Biblical Hebrew
Biblical Hebrew II
Advanced Israeli Hebrew I
Advanced Israeli Hebrew II
Study Abroad Topics in Hebrew: _____
Studies in Modern Hebrew Literature
Studies in Modern Hebrew
Independent Study
Intermediate Yiddish I
Intermediate Yiddish II
Studies in Yiddish: ______
Study Abroad Topics in Yiddish: _____
Independent Study
Capstone Course (3)3
Senior Seminar in Jewish Studies
Electives (9)9
Any 3 courses from the previous lists

Major Hours & Major GPA

While completing all required courses, majors must also meet each of the following hour and grade-point average minimum standards:

Major Hours
Satisfied by 30 hours of major courses.

Major Hours in Residence
Satisfied by a minimum of 15 hours of KU resident credit in the major. 

Major Junior/Senior Hours
Satisfied by a minimum of 12 hours from junior/senior courses (300+) in the major.

Major Junior/Senior Graduation GPA
Satisfied by a minimum of a 2.0 KU GPA in junior/senior courses (300+) in the major. GPA calculations include all junior/senior courses in the field of study including F’s and repeated courses. See the Semester/Cumulative GPA Calculator.

Below is a sample 4-year plan for students pursuing the BA in Jewish Studies. To view the list of courses approved to fulfill KU Core Goals, please visit the KU Core website.

ENGL 101 (Goal 2.1 Written Communication (2 crs req) BA Writing I)13ENGL 102 (Goal 2.1 Written Communication (2 crs req) BA Writng II)13
MATH 101 (Goal 1.2 Quantitative Reasoning)3Quantitative Reasoning (BA Quantitative Reasoning)23
HEBR 110 or YDSH 104 (BA Second Langauge, Major Pre-requisite)5HEBR 120 or YDSH 108 (BA Second Language, Major Pre-requisite)5
First Year Seminar (Goal 1.1 Critical Thinking)3Jewish Studies Religion Course (Major Requirement)33
 14 14
HEBR 210 or YDSH 212 (BA Second Language, Major Requirement)43HEBR 220 or YDSH 216 (BA Second Language, Major Requirement)43
Goal 3 Humanities3Goal 3 Social Science3
Goal 3 Natural Science3Jewish Studies Culture or History Course (Major Requirement)33
Lab Science (BA Lab Requirement)2Elective or possible minor course (Total Hours)3
Jewish Studies Religion Course (Major Requirement)3Elective or possible minor course (Total Hours)3
Elective or possible minor course (Total Hours)3 
 17 15
Goal 4.1 US Diversity3Goal 4.2 Global Awareness3
Jewish Studies Culture or History Course (Major Requirement)33Jewish Studies Major Elective Course (Major Requirement)53
Jewish Studies Major Elective Course (Major Requirement)53Jewish Studies Major Elective Course (Major Requirement)53
Elective or possible minor course (Total Hours)3Elective or possible minor course 300+ (Total Hours)3
Elective or possible minor course (Total Hours)3Elective or possible minor course 300+ (Total Hours)3
 15 15
Goal 5 Goal 5 Social Responsibility & Ethics3Goal 6 Integration & Creativity 3
JWSH 601 (Major Requirement)3Elective or possible minor course 300+ (Total Hours)3
Elective or possible minor course 300+ (Total Hours)3Elective or possible minor course 300+ (Total Hours)3
Elective or possible minor course 300+ (Total Hours)3Elective or possible minor course 300+ (Total Hours)3
Elective or possible minor course 300+ (Total Hours)3Elective or possible minor course 300+ (Total Hours)3
 15 15
Total Hours: 120

The BA requires completion of two courses of collegiate-level writing instruction. Students who test out of Composition will still need to complete ENGL 102 (or equivalent) and one additional Goal 2.1 course. 


Visit this website for a list of courses that fulfill the BA Quantitative Reasoning requirement.


See the Degree Requirements tab for a list of courses that fulfill this major requirement. 


Please note: the HEBR and YDSH Intermediate I and II courses listed on this four-year plan will fulfill both the BA Second Language requirement and the Language requirement in major. A complete list of courses that can count toward the Language requirement for the major is listed on the Degree Requirements tab. Not all the courses listed will fulfill the BA Second Language requirement. Students who use courses from the course list to fulfill the major Language requirement that do not also fulfill the BA Second Language requirement need to be sure that they either complete coursework or obtain a letter of proficiency to satisfy the BA Second Language requirement.  


This major requires 3 courses of Jewish Studies major electives, which can be chosen from all the course lists provided under the Degree Requirements tab

Please note:

All students in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences are required to completed 120 total hours of which 45 hours must be at the Jr/Sr (300+) level.

The same course cannot be used to fulfill more than one KU Core Goal. However, overlap of a KU Core course with a major or degree-specific requirement is allowed. Overlapping is recommended to allow more opportunities to explore other majors and/or minors.

Departmental Honors

The Jewish Studies Program invites undergraduate majors to apply for graduation with program honors. They must meet the following criteria:
1. The candidate will have an overall grade-point average of at least 3.25 and a grade-point average in Jewish Studies of 3.5 both at the time of declaring intention to seek honors and by graduation.
2. The candidate will fill out a declaration form (available on the JS Program's website) and submit a copy of that form to Student Academic Services.
3. In consultation with the JS honors coordinator and with approval from a supervising professor, the candidate will declare the intention of seeking honors no later than the time of enrollment for the final undergraduate semester.
4. The candidate will enroll in JWSH 491 Directed Study in Jewish Studies, Honors for one or two semesters during which the student will write a substantial, original research paper to be submitted to the supervising professor as an honors essay. A grade of B or higher must be earned in this/these courses.
A committee of three faculty members (the supervising professor and two others) will approve the honors essay and will certify to the JS honors coordinator that the candidate has successfully completed the requirements to earn honors. The JS honors coordinator will certify to Student Academic Services that the Honors Program has been successfully completed.