The Program in Jewish Studies offers an undergraduate major (BA in Jewish Studies) and minor, Departmental Honors (both by research paper and by service learning), and courses in Jewish Studies, Hebrew, and Yiddish; we also co-sponsor courses in many other units, especially Religious Studies. Among our several focus areas are Judaic studies, identities and ethnicities, languages and narratives, history and archaeology, and applied service in Jewish organizations.

Jewish culture and religion have flourished in a rich variety of forms and in remarkably disparate places on the globe for thousands of years. Jewish contributions have deeply affected the art, language and literature, law, philosophy, and political thought, and the sciences of all nations. The global impact of Jewish culture thus warrants its study as an important component of the liberal arts curriculum at KU. The Jewish Studies Program at KU is the only such program in the state of Kansas. Its mission, therefore, is to celebrate the Jewish experience and promote the understanding of its cultural importance with courses and academic programs that focus on the history, diversity, culture, languages, thought, and practices of the Jewish people and their religion.

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 International Support 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.

Core Courses
2 Courses in Jewish History and/or Culture6
Topics in Jewish Studies:_____
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: _____
2 Religion Courses Relevant to Judaism6
Jews, Christians, Muslims
Understanding the Bible
Topics in Jewish Studies:_____
Religion of Ancient Israel
Introduction to Judaism
The Dead Sea Scrolls
Jews and Christians
Language (2 courses)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
1 Capstone Seminar Course3
Senior Seminar in Jewish Studies
Other courses not chosen to satisfy the above requirements (except HEBR/YDSH 100-level)

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

 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

For departmental honors in Jewish Studies, students must meet the following criteria:

1.  Candidates 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 their intention to seek honors and by graduation.

2.  In consultation with the JS honors coordinator and with approval from a supervising professor, candidates will declare their intention to seek honors no later than the time of enrollment for the final undergraduate semester.

3.  Candidates will fill out a declaration form (available here) and submit a copy of that form to College Advising and Student Services (109 Strong Hall).

4.  Candidates intending to conduct research and write a substantial, original research paper (honors essay) will enroll in JWSH 490 Directed Study in Jewish Studies or in JWSH 491 Directed Study in Jewish Studies Honors (if they are in the University Honors Program) for one or two semesters. Candidates intending to engage in service learning at a community organization will enroll in JWSH 650 and, at the end of service, will submit an essay that describes the service and reflects on the student's experience. A grade of B or higher must be earned in this/these courses.  

5.  A committee of three members of the University faculty (the supervising professor and two others, one of whom must be a member of the Jewish Studies faculty) will approve the honors essay or service learning project and will certify to the JS honors coordinator that the candidate has successfully completed the requirements to earn honors. The JS honors coordinator will write to notify College Advising and Student Services that the JS Honors Program has been successfully completed.

6.  If the candidate is earning a double major and is attempting to earn departmental honors in two different departments, one research project may be used to satisfy the requirements of both departments if the candidate obtains approval from both. Both departments must be represented on the student’s committee.