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Master of Arts in Jewish Studies

Master of Arts in Jewish Studies

Detail from a newly restored painting by Chicago artist Todros Geller, in which he portrays a traditional Hassidic wedding dance in an artistic style influenced by Italian Futurism. One of the highlights of Spertus Institute's collections. Chicago 1928. MORE>

Jewish Studies

Spertus Institute's Master of Arts in Jewish Studies (MAJS) is a sequenced, content-specific program that explores the evolving nature of Jewish civilization, the fundamental religious and intellectual outlook of Jews and Judaism, and the contributions of Jewish civilization to human civilization. The program is designed to provide inspiration and grounding for students who embrace and continue to explore both Jewish heritage and Jewish life today.

Throughout the program, students explore and examine Jewish texts — a traditional and effective mode of Jewish learning — to promote intellectual growth through discovery and inquiry.

Admissions requirements include a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution of higher education.

Learning Outcomes

  • Basic familiarity with the key periods and themes in Jewish history 
  • An understanding of the nature and development of Judaism as a religion 
  • Familiarity with the most important Jewish thinkers and personalities 
  • Familiarity with the central texts in Jewish tradition and history 
  • An understanding of the complex relation between Jews, Judaism, and the non-Jewish world 
  • An understanding of the challenges and possibilities facing Jews and Judaism throughout history and how Jews and Judaism have responded to these challenges and possibilities 
  • Basic understanding of Biblical Hebrew, equivalent to one year of college-level Hebrew 
  • Familiarity with primary resources and methodologies involved in Jewish Studies 
  • Development of intermediate to advanced knowledge and skills in an area of individual focus selected by the student 
  • Awareness of Jewish diversity throughout the ages

Course Requirements (48 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).

  • Introductory Jewish Studies Course (3 credits)
  • Series of Three Biblical Hebrew Courses (3 credits each)
  • Nine Core Courses (3 credits each)
  • Three Courses in Directed Reading or Concentration Area (3 credits each)

Core Courses 
Download Core Course Descriptions>

  • Orientation: Introduction Jewish Studies
    Supervised Independent Study (3 credits)
  • Introductory Biblical Hebrew I, II, and III (3 courses, 3 credits each)
  • The Bible and the Ancient Near East (3 credits)
  • The World of the Rabbis (3 credits)
  • Jews and Judaism in the Middle Ages (3 credits)
  • Early Modern Jewish Experiences (3 credits)
  • Modern Jewish Experiences (3 credits)
  • Contemporary Jewish Experiences

Level Two Core Courses

  • Themes Across the Periods (3 courses, 3 credits each)

Directed Reading/Concentration Courses

  • 3 courses, 3 credits each

Additional Online Courses Now Available
(Level Two Core or Directed Reading)

  • Gender and Judaism (3 credits)
  • History of Antisemitism: Antiquity to Late Eighteenth Century (3 credits)
  • History of Antisemitism: Dawn of the Enlightenment to the Present (3 credits)

To Learn More

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


Why Spertus Institute?

  • Welcoming nondenominational environment open to all
  • Distinguished international faculty
  • Flexible scheduling and locations, distance learning available
  • 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.




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 encourage personal reflection. Students grapple with Jewish ideas in the service of their personal, professional, and communal advancement.

Cost for Admitted Students

  • Masters level 
    $350 per quarter-hour credit 
    ($1050 per 3qh course)
  • Doctoral level 
    $400 per quarter-hour credit 
    ($1200 per 3qh course)

A registration fee of $25 is also required.