A More Flexible Jewish Studies Major for Today’s UW Undergrads

Jewish Studies majors at a lunch celebration, June 2015. From left: Chase Landrey, Katy Stoner, Dawn (Hui) Yang, and Josh Etsekson.

Jewish Studies majors at a lunch celebration, June 2015. From left: Chase Landrey, Katy Stoner, Dawn (Hui) Yang, and Josh Etsekson.

The Stroum Center for Jewish Studies is proud to announce revised Jewish Studies major and minor requirements, retroactively effective Winter Quarter 2016.

Jewish Studies engages a diverse student body by providing entry points to universal questions and concerns through the lens of the global Jewish experience. The revised requirements, which were developed by a faculty curriculum committee comprised of Jewish Studies faculty and staff working in tandem with the Jackson School Office of Student Services, offer greater flexibility and clearer options. Professor Ahuvia, the undergraduate faculty adviser for Jewish Studies, noted that the revised requirements are designed to “meet the needs and interests of our students,” who come from a variety of backgrounds and disciplines.

For example, for the Jewish Studies major, which remains at 50 credits, students will no longer be required to select a track, as in the past. Rather, after completing three prerequisite courses (Introduction to Judaism; Jewish Cultural History; and one of the 200-level Jackson School courses required of all Jackson School students), Jewish Studies majors can then select from over 50 diverse interdisciplinary electives that reflect their academic interests.

Another significant change involves creating a more options to fulfill the language requirement for the Jewish Studies major. Now students may fulfill this piece by completing the equivalent of two years in one Jewish language; completing one year each in two different Jewish languages; or demonstrating proficiency in one Jewish language. While Jewish Studies strongly supports the study of Hebrew, these revised guidelines allow students with interests in Jewish languages such as Yiddish or Ladino to study those languages independently and get credit for them toward their major.

As Dana Rubin, the Stroum Center’s Associate Director, pointed out, “Languages are a unique way for students to gain insight into Jewish culture and history. We recently restructured our student Opportunity Grants to be able to support both language intensive programs and study abroad experiences, precisely because we view language enrichment as key for deeper academic engagement with Jewish Studies.” Rubin noted that three of the Spring/Summer 2016 Opportunity Grant winners will be pursuing language intensive courses this summer.

[Editor’s note: the next round of Opportunity Grants are due October 14, 2016.]

Similarly, the requirements for the Jewish Studies minor have been updated to be better defined and easier to access. The minor, a total of 30 credits, requires that students take both Introduction to Judaism with Professor Mika Ahuvia and Jewish Cultural History with Professor Devin Naar, as well as 20 additional credits of electives in Jewish Studies.

Any undergraduate interested in pursuing a Jewish Studies major or minor is welcome to contact Lauren Kurland, the Stroum Center’s Student Engagement Director, to find out about upcoming courses and to be connected with an academic adviser.

Thanks to everyone on the Jewish Studies Curriculum Committee, and especially Lauren Kurland and Mika Ahuvia, for their hard work on strengthening our major/minor program!

Links for Further Exploration

By |2017-09-04T22:41:32+00:00April 6th, 2016|Categories: News|Tags: , |0 Comments

About the Author:

Lauren Kurland is the Director of Student Engagement at the UW Stroum Center for Jewish Studies.

Leave A Comment