You are here

Doctor of Jewish Studies

Doctor of Jewish Studies

Spertus Institute’s Doctor of Jewish Studies (DJS) is designed specifically for in-service Jewish professionals, primarily rabbis, but may also be of interest to educators and communal service workers with an extremely high level of facility with classical Hebrew texts. It serves those seeking career enhancement, career change and personal edification. Unlike traditional degree programs, each student in the program undertakes an individuated process of learning. The program demands academic excellence balanced with skill-based knowledge directly applicable to those who desire to make a significant contribution to Jewish life. Applicants must have a masters degree in Jewish Studies (or equivalent) and significant facility with classical Hebrew texts to be considered for admission.

Learning Outcomes
Students in the DJS program learn to:

  • Understand the major ideas, practices, and issues (both historical and contemporary) that characterize Jewish spirituality, from theological, kabbalistic, ethical, halakhic, and liturgical perspectives
  • Demonstrate skills in a variety of methodologies and approaches by conceptualizing and critically analyzing these ideas, practices, and issues
  • Demonstrate skills in studying classical and modern Jewish religious literature, including Talmud, Midrash, Biblical and Talmudic commentaries, codes, and responsa, kabbalistic and Hasidic works, medieval Jewish ethical literature, and liturgies
  • Trace historically, conceptually, and analytically a variety of issues, ideas, and practices through the labyrinth of classical Jewish religious literature
  • Apply the results of such study to problems and issues confronting Jewish religious, spiritual, and social life today

Course Requirements (54 quarter-hour credits)
Spertus Institute's Jewish Studies degree programs are offered on a quarter-term system, which allows for flexible and asynchronous registration and start dates. As a result, course credit is granted in quarter hours (as opposed to semester hours).

  • Reading Courses (7 courses, 3 credits each)
  • Intensive Study Seminars (7 courses, 3 credits each)
  • Research and writing related to the Project Demonstrating Excellence (4 courses, 3 credits each)

Project Demonstrating Excellence
The Project Demonstrating Excellence (PDE) is not a traditional thesis, but an applied, practical project grounded in traditional Jewish sources and intended to address current, setting-based issues. It is unique for each participant in the program, and is primarily completed offsite, under faculty advisement.

Reading Course Titles

  • Basic Background Reading in Jewish Spirituality
  • Jewish Theology
  • Ethics (Musar)
  • Jewish Mysticism (Kabbalah)
  • Jewish Law (Halakhah)
  • Prayer and Liturgy
  • Additional works specifically related to the PDE
  • Text Seminars (topics vary)

For More Information

Email Dr. Dean P. Bell, Spertus Dean & Chief Academic Officer, at

Why Spertus?

  • Welcoming nondenominational environment open to all
  • Distinguished international faculty
  • Flexible scheduling and locations
  • Outstanding curricula with opportunities to pursue
    individual interests
  • Extensive resources


For a friendly person-to-person discussion about this program, contact Spertus Institute Director of Enrollment Stacey Flint at or 312.322.1707.


Download your online
course registration form 
Register Now!

Need complete admissions information?


At Spertus Institute, we embrace the idea that the wisdom of Jewish thought and the richness of Jewish experiences inform Jewish society and Judaism today. Our programs in Jewish Studies, therefore, encourage personal reflection. Students grapple with Jewish ideas and writings in the service of their personal, professional, and communal advancement.