FAQs about Jewish Studies at the UW

Row of smiling students on a window seat

What is Jewish Studies?

Jewish Studies offers interdisciplinary entry points to universal questions and concerns through the lens of global Jewish experiences. Students can choose from dozens of courses that highlight history, modern Israel, Sephardic Jewish lives, arts & culture, religion, language, and identity.

Is Jewish Studies only for Jewish students?

Jewish Studies is for everyone! Just as all academic programs at the UW — from French & Italian Studies to Asian Languages & Literature to American Indian Studies — are open to all students regardless of background, so too Jewish Studies welcomes any student interested in learning about culture from different perspectives.

Studying the variety of Jewish cultures throughout history and their interaction with majority cultures offers a fascinating vantage point for the study of society, language, art, history, philosophy, and issues related to being part of a marginalized group, no matter one’s background or intended career path.

What can I expect in a Jewish Studies course?

In courses as varied as “Sephardic Diaspora: 1492-Present,” “The Holocaust in Film,” “Israel in a Global Context” and “The Beginnings of Judaism and Christianity,” Jewish Studies professors encourage students to read, write, discuss, and think critically. Students reflect that Jewish Studies instructors “ask students what they think, rather than telling them what to think.” As a result, Jewish Studies classes attract students from across disciplines and backgrounds who seek an open atmosphere where they can be challenged, ask questions, and engage in meaningful conversations.

What do Jewish Studies alumni do with their degree?

Jewish Studies alumni have gone on to work in law, international relations, business, consulting, communications, non-profit leadership, religious affairs, academia, and the arts. Our alumni report that their experience in Jewish Studies honed their critical thinking, strengthened their writing skills, and expanded their cultural literacy and ability to work with others from different backgrounds.

Outside of courses, how can students get involved with Jewish Studies?

Students are warmly encouraged to attend programs and events offered by the Stroum Center for Jewish Studies. These events, almost all of which are free, range from lectures to films to musical performances. Subscribe to the Stroum Center newsletter to learn more about upcoming events.

What study abroad opportunities are available for Jewish Studies students?

UW-approved study abroad programs — from Melbourne to Haifa to Prague to Grenada — offer courses that are transferable to the UW for Jewish Studies credit. Check with your adviser to confirm that specific courses will transfer.

Is funding is available for Jewish Studies students?

Yes! Stroum Center opportunity grants offer up to $1500 to undergraduate students who participate in UW-approved study abroad programs with a focus on Jewish Studies or take intensive Jewish language courses domestically. Undergraduates do not need to be Jewish Studies majors or minors to apply, and multiple grants are available. The grants are also available for graduate students conducting research in the field of Jewish Studies.