Jewish Studies, B.A.

Program Code: JST_BA

Program Description

The Jewish Studies major provides broad inquiry into the history, culture, society, literature, philosophy, politics, language, and religious beliefs of the Jewish people from Biblical times to the present. By nature interdisciplinary, and emphasizing critical thinking and global engagement, the Jewish Studies major is flexible and adaptable to a wide variety of courses of study. Students in the major must complete a total of thirty (30) credits, at least fifteen (15) of which must be at the 400-level. No more than eight (8) credits of Hebrew may count toward the 30-credit total. All students in the major must complete JST 10, an introduction to Jewish Civilization, and select from approved lists or in consultation with the Director three courses that address Jewish studies across its history:

  • one course in Jewish Studies of the Ancient through the Medieval periods,
  • one course in Jewish Studies of the Early Modern through the Contemporary periods, and
  • one course in Jewish Studies of the Diaspora.

All students in the major are particularly encouraged to participate in a relevant internships, education abroad programs, and/or archaeological fieldwork for which course credits and scholarships are available. Penn State students also may enroll to study abroad at a university in Israel, and up to 15 credits of related education abroad courses in any country may be applied to requirements for the major in consultation with the adviser.

What is Jewish Studies?

Jewish Studies is an interdisciplinary program where students can learn about the history, cultures, literatures, and languages of the Jews. Specializations can include, but are not limited to, Modernity and the Jews; Ancient Israel, Bible, and Early Judaism; Holocaust, Anti-Semitism, and Genocide; Jews in America; Jewish Culture and Literature; Israel and Zionism; or Jewish-Christian Relations.

You Might Like This Program If...

  • You want to think critically about the world we all live in.
  • You have interest in experiences such as lectures, film series, symposia, discussions, and sponsored trips to museums and Jewish cultural sites.
  • You hope to enrich your understanding of Jews, Judaism, and the Jewish experience.

Entrance to Major

In order to be eligible for entrance to this major, a student must:

  1. attain at least a C (2.00) cumulative grade-point average for all courses taken at the University; and
  2. have third-semester classification.

READ SENATE POLICY 37-30: ENTRANCE TO AND CHANGES IN MAJOR PROGRAMS OF STUDY

Degree Requirements

For the Bachelor of Arts degree in Jewish Studies, a minimum of 120 credits is required:

Requirement Credits
General Education 45
Electives 21
Bachelor of Arts Degree Requirements 24
Requirements for the Major 30

3 of the 24 credits for Bachelor of Arts Degree Requirements are included in the Requirements for the Major, General Education, or Electives and 0-12 credits are included in Electives if foreign language proficiency is demonstrated by examination.

Per Senate Policy 83-80.5, the college dean or campus chancellor and program faculty may require up to 24 credits of course work in the major to be taken at the location or in the college or program where the degree is earned. For more information, check the Recommended Academic Plan for your intended program.

General Education

Connecting career and curiosity, the General Education curriculum provides the opportunity for students to acquire transferable skills necessary to be successful in the future and to thrive while living in interconnected contexts. General Education aids students in developing intellectual curiosity, a strengthened ability to think, and a deeper sense of aesthetic appreciation. These are requirements for all baccalaureate students and are often partially incorporated into the requirements of a program. For additional information, see the General Education Requirements section of the Bulletin and consult your academic adviser.

The keystone symbol Keystone/General Education Course appears next to the title of any course that is designated as a General Education course. Program requirements may also satisfy General Education requirements and vary for each program.

Foundations (grade of C or better is required.)

  • Quantification (GQ): 6 credits
  • Writing and Speaking (GWS): 9 credits

Knowledge Domains

  • Arts (GA): 6 credits
  • Health and Wellness (GHW): 3 credits
  • Humanities (GH): 6 credits
  • Social and Behavioral Sciences (GS): 6 credits
  • Natural Sciences (GN): 9 credits

Integrative Studies (may also complete a Knowledge Domain requirement)

  • Inter-Domain or Approved Linked Courses: 6 credits

University Degree Requirements

First Year Engagement

All students enrolled in a college or the Division of Undergraduate Studies at University Park, and the World Campus are required to take 1 to 3 credits of the First-Year Seminar, as specified by their college First-Year Engagement Plan.

Other Penn State colleges and campuses may require the First-Year Seminar; colleges and campuses that do not require a First-Year Seminar provide students with a first-year engagement experience.

First-year baccalaureate students entering Penn State should consult their academic adviser for these requirements.

Cultures Requirement    

6 credits are required and may satisfy other requirements

  • United States Cultures: 3 credits
  • International Cultures: 3 credits

Writing Across the Curriculum

3 credits required from the college of graduation and likely prescribed as part of major requirements.

Total Minimum Credits

A minimum of 120 degree credits must be earned for a baccalaureate degree. The requirements for some programs may exceed 120 credits. Students should consult with their college or department adviser for information on specific credit requirements.

Quality of Work

Candidates must complete the degree requirements for their major and earn at least a 2.00 grade-point average for all courses completed within their degree program.

Limitations on Source and Time for Credit Acquisition

The college dean or campus chancellor and program faculty may require up to 24 credits of course work in the major to be taken at the location or in the college or program where the degree is earned. Credit used toward degree programs may need to be earned from a particular source or within time constraints (see Senate Policy 83-80). For more information, check the Suggested Academic Plan for your intended program.

B.A. Degree Requirements

Foreign Language (0-12 credits): Student must attain 12th credit level of proficiency in one foreign language. See the Placement Policy for Penn State Foreign Language Courses.

B.A. Fields (9 credits): Humanities, Social and Behavioral Sciences, Arts, Foreign Languages, Natural Sciences, Quantification (may not be taken in the area of the student's primary major; foreign language credits in this category must be in a second foreign language or beyond the 12th credit level of proficiency in the first language)

Other Cultures (0-3 credits): Select 3 credits from approved list. Students may count courses in this category in order to meet other major, minor, elective, or General Education requirements, except for the General Education US/IL requirement.​

Requirements for the Major

15 of these must be at the 400-level. No more than 15 credits in courses numbered 99, 199, 299, 399, or 499 may count toward the requirements for the major.

A grade of C or better is required for all courses in the major. To graduate, a student enrolled in the major must earn at least a C grade in each course designated by the major as a C-required course, as specified by Senate Policy 82-44.

 
Prescribed Courses
Prescribed Courses: Require a grade of C or better
JST/HEBR 10Jewish Civilization Keystone/General Education Course3
Supporting Courses and Related Areas
Supporting Courses and Related Areas: Require a grade of C or better
Select 3 credits in Jewish Studies in the Ancient Period through Medieval Period from approved program list or in consultaton with the director3
Select 3 credits in Jewish Studies from the Early Modern Period through the Contemporary period from approved program list or in consultation with the director3
Select 3 credits in Jewish Studies concerned with Jewish culture in Diaspora from approved program list or in consultation with the director3
Select 18 credits from Jewish Studies, Hebrew, or appropriate courses in Anthropology, Classics and Ancient Mediterranean Studies, Compartative Literature, English, History, Philosophy, or Religious Studies from approved program list18

No more than 8 credits of Hebrew Language courses may count toward the requirements for the major.

Academic Advising

The objectives of the university’s academic advising program are to help advisees identify and achieve their academic goals, to promote their intellectual discovery, and to encourage students to take advantage of both in-and out-of class educational opportunities in order that they become self-directed learners and decision makers.

Both advisers and advisees share responsibility for making the advising relationship succeed. By encouraging their advisees to become engaged in their education, to meet their educational goals, and to develop the habit of learning, advisers assume a significant educational role. The advisee's unit of enrollment will provide each advisee with a primary academic adviser, the information needed to plan the chosen program of study, and referrals to other specialized resources.

READ SENATE POLICY 32-00: ADVISING POLICY

University Park

Liberal Arts Academic Advising
814-865-2545
Use the Liberal Arts Majors and Minors web page to see the contact information for the specific adviser(s) of this program

Suggested Academic Plan

The suggested academic plan(s) listed on this page are the plan(s) that are in effect during the 2021-22 academic year. To access previous years' suggested academic plans, please visit the archive to view the appropriate Undergraduate Bulletin edition (Note: the archive only contain suggested academic plans beginning with the 2018-19 edition of the Undergraduate Bulletin).

Jewish Studies, B.A. at University Park Campus and Commonwealth Campuses

The course series listed below provides only one of the many possible ways to move through this curriculum. The University may make changes in policies, procedures, educational offerings, and requirements at any time. This plan should be used in conjunction with your degree audit (accessible in LionPATH as either an Academic Requirements or What If report). Please consult with a Penn State academic adviser on a regular basis to develop and refine an academic plan that is appropriate for you.

First Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
JST 10*3Course at Any Level in JST or Related Area*3
General Education Course (GWS)3General Education Course3
General Education Course3General Education Course (GQ)3
General Education Course (GQ)3General Education Course3
HEBR 14HEBR 24
 16 16
Second Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
General Education Course (GWS)3400-Level Course in HEBR*3
Course at Any Level in JST or Related Area*3Course at Any Level in JST or Related Area*3
General Education Course3General Education Course3
General Education Course3General Education Course3
HEBR 34B.A. Knowledge Domains3
 16 15
Third Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
Course at Any Level in JST or Related Area*3General Education Course (GWS)3
400-Level Course in JST, HEBR, or Related Area*3400-Level Course in JST, HEBR, or Related Area*3
General Education Course3General Education Course3
B.A. Knowledge Domains3Elective3
Elective3Elective3
 15 15
Fourth Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
400-Level Course in JST, HEBR, or Related Area*3400-Level Course in JST, HEBR, or Related Area*3
Other Cultures3General Education Course (GHW)1.5
B.A. Knowledge Domains3Elective3
Elective3Elective3
General Education Course (GHW)1.5Elective3
 13.5 13.5
Total Credits 120

University Requirements and General Education Notes:

US and IL are abbreviations used to designate courses that satisfy University Requirements (United States and International Cultures).

W, M, X, and Y are the suffixes at the end of a course number used to designate courses that satisfy University Writing Across the Curriculum requirement.

GWS, GQ, GHW, GN, GA, GH, and GS are abbreviations used to identify General Education program courses. General Education includes Foundations (GWS and GQ) and Knowledge Domains (GHW, GN, GA, GH, GS, and Integrative Studies). Foundations courses (GWS and GQ) require a grade of ‘C’ or better.

Integrative Studies courses are required for the General Education program. N is the suffix at the end of a course number used to designate an Inter-Domain course and Z is the suffix at the end of a course number used to designate a Linked course.

All incoming Schreyer Honors College first-year students at University Park will take ENGL 137H/CAS 137H in the fall semester and ENGL 138T/CAS 138T in the spring semester. These courses carry the GWS designation and replace both ENGL 30H and CAS 100. Each course is 3 credits.

Bachelor of Arts Requirements:

Bachelor of Arts students must take 9 credits in Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) Fields (Humanities; Social and Behavioral Sciences; Arts; World Languages [2nd language or beyond the 12th credit level of proficiency in the 1st]; Natural Sciences; Quantification). The B.A. Fields courses may not be taken in the area of the student’s primary major. See your adviser and the Degree Requirements section of this Bulletin.

Bachelor of Arts students must take 3 credits in Other Cultures.
See your adviser and the full list of courses approved as Other Cultures courses.

Career Paths

Jewish Studies offers a flexible curriculum that’s a natural complement to many other courses of study. Our graduates have gone on to work in business, education and academia, public service, museums, philanthropy, and many other fields. A Jewish Studies degree will make you more attractive to employers seeking well-rounded applicants who are globally conscious citizens and critical thinkers.

Careers

  • Secondary and College Level Teaching
  • Public Service
  • The Ministry (both Jewish and non-Jewish)
  • Business
  • Law
  • Medicine
  • Archaeology

MORE INFORMATION ABOUT POTENTIAL CAREER OPTIONS FOR GRADUATES OF THE JEWISH STUDIES PROGRAM

Contact

University Park

DEPARTMENT OF JEWISH STUDIES
108 Weaver Building
University Park, PA 16802
814-863-8939
jstd@psu.edu

http://www.jewishstudies.la.psu.edu/