Doctor of Hebrew Letters

The Next Step on Your Jewish Educational Journey

The Doctor of Hebrew Letters offers rabbis and other in-service Jewish professionals the opportunity to earn their doctoral degree while diving deeply into the subjects about which they are most passionate.

Taught by distinguished faculty.

Content is rich and relevant.

Flexible and individualized.

View the video above to hear what Spertus students have to say.
A stack of books on a table with one open covered in annotations

Unlike traditional degree programs, each student in Spertus Institute’s Doctor of Hebrew Letters program undertakes an individualized 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.

Program Delivery

  • Students learn through a combination of in-person and online participation since each format offers unique benefits.
  • Courses meet online and during seminars at our downtown Chicago campus.
  • Content is relevant and engaging. Program is self-paced.
  • Taught in a welcoming, nondenominational environment, open to all.
  • Designed to accommodate the schedules of busy professionals, wherever they live.
  • Priced to be affordable — with financial assistance available for qualified applicants.

Download Program Overview

Headshot of Rabbi Moishe Meirovich

There are not enough superlatives to describe the superb level of scholarship here and to adequately express how my studies expanded my scope of Torah knowledge. I acquired a deeper understanding and appreciation of Judaism.

Congregation B’nai Israel, Toronto
Adult students working at a round table

About Spertus Students  

Our students come from across North America and around the globe. They pursue Jewish Studies for a range of personal and professional reasons aligned with their own interests and individual journeys. Some pursue their education for work they do in Jewish or interfaith communities. Others pursue learning for its own sake. Our programs draw students who are passionate, motivated, and engaged.

Headshot of Rouhama Garelick.

Spertus stands out as a top-tier educational entity, offering students a world-class educational experience in an environment characterized by intellectual curiosity, academic rigor, and a commitment to student success.

Founding Director
Walder Education Online Teacher’s Resource Center, Chicago

Next Steps

Apply now to join faculty and fellow students for Spertus Institute’s next Jewish Studies seminar. 

We are available to answer your questions and help you explore if a Spertus Institute program is right for you. Click the button below to contact Amie Barrish, Assistant Director for Recruitment, to arrange a time to talk.

Contact Amie Barrish

Key Dates

  • October 3, 2023 — Fall Application Deadline
  • April 3, 2024 — Spring Application Deadline
Curriculum & Requirements

The Doctor of Hebrew Letters (DHL) program requires 18 courses (54 quarter-hour credits), as follows:

Reading Courses—7 courses (3 quarter-hour credits each) that focus on themes across time periods.

  • Jewish Thought
  • Jewish Ethics
  • Jewish Law (Halakhah)
  • Key Issues in Contemporary Jewry
  • Jewish Community: Historical and Sociological Developments
  • One Elective Reading Course
  • Reading for Project Demonstrating Excellence 

Text-Based Courses—7 courses (3 quarter-hour credits each) that focus on a specific text or group of texts.

Research and Writing Relating to the Project Demonstrating Excellence—4 courses (3 quarter-hour credits each)


The cost is $1,425 per course (3 quarter-hour credits each, $475 per quarter-hour credit) for a total of $25,650 (plus fees) for the entire program. Many of our students receive scholarship funds through a Spertus Jewish Studies Scholarship or other financial assistance.

Learning Outcomes 

Doctor of Hebrew Letters (DHL) students learn to: 

  • Demonstrate skills in a variety of methodologies and approaches by conceptualizing and critically analyzing key 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 pietica, and liturgie
  • Trace historically, conceptually, and analytically a variety of issues, ideas, and practices through the labyrinth of classical Jewish religious literature
  • Draw upon the resources of Jewish literature and historical experience to address issues and problems challenging contemporary Jewish life