Academics

ACADEMIC STUDY   :
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The Center for Jewish Studies (CJS) supports the academic study of Judaism throughout the University, in the many departments of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Harvard Divinity School, and the Law School.   It does not, however, sponsor academic programs of its own on either the undergraduate or graduate levels. These programs are administered through the following schools and departments at Harvard:

HARVARD COLLEGE UNDERGRADUATE CONCENTRATIONS, SECONDARIES, AND OTHER STUDY

Undergraduate academic work in Jewish Studies can be pursued through a number of venues:

1)     Students who choose an undergraduate concentration and secondary concentration in the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations (NELC) may select to follow the Jewish Studies track (one of four offered by the department). These programs are very flexible but they do focus upon those aspects of Jewish Studies that are most related to the ancient and modern languages and civilizations of the Near East.

2)     NELC offers a joint concentration with the Department of History. For joint concentrations with other departments, students must make a case for it with NELC and the other department. For more information, see nelc.fas.harvard.edu/joint-concentration .

3)     Concentrations in departments and programs like History, the Study of Religion, Comparative Literature, and Social Studies are also able to construct programs of study that involve serious work in Jewish Studies.

4)     For further information about any of the programs, please contact the Director of the Center (dstern@fas.harvard.edu); NELC (email nelc@fas.harvard.edu or call the NELC office at (617) 495-5757), or any of the departments mentioned above.

In addition to formal classwork, the Center for Jewish Studies offers research, study, and travel stipends to undergraduates interested in pursuing and undertaking projects related to Jewish Studies. Application cycles for these grants are offered in the fall and spring semesters.

GENERAL EDUCATION

Harvard’s Core Curriculum or the Program in General Education, in which all undergraduates are required to participate, presently includes several courses offered by Jewish Studies faculty: Moral Imagination in Modern Jewish Literature; Text and Context: Jews and their Books in Pagan, Christian and Muslim Surroundings; From the Hebrew Bible to Judaism, From the Old Testament to Christianity; and “If There is No God, All is Permitted”: Theism and Moral Reasoning. These courses are quite popular and enroll hundreds of students on an annual basis.

GRADUATE STUDY

All Ph.D. programs at Harvard are located in departments in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS). The Center for Jewish Studies does not sponsor any graduate programs of its own, and all applications for graduate study must be made through the departments and the admissions site of the GSAS. (More on the relevant departments below.)

While the Center does not run graduate programs, it does, however, coordinate courses and offer fellowships and stipends to Harvard graduate students (through GSAS). In addition, the Center sponsors a graduate student-run Workshop in Jewish Studies and a Jewish Studies Reading Group, and regularly offers research grants and other funding to support graduate research, travel and study. These grants are awarded on a competitive basis through formal applications during the fall and spring semesters. For further information about these grants and application cycles, please contact the CJS at 617-495-4326 or cjs@fas.harvard.edu.

Finally, the Center also supports the Jewish Studies Reading Room in 745 Widener as a study (and socializing) place for students working in any area of Jewish Studies. The Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations administers this room. The Reading Room contains a small library of basic works in Jewish Studies in multiple disciplines and periods.

The most common departments in GSAS for graduate study in Jewish Studies are the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations (for Biblical and Ancient Near Eastern studies; Rabbinics, and medieval and early modern history and culture); Department of History (for Modern Jewish history and Israel studies); the Committee on the Study of Religion (for Hebrew Bible and Jewish studies), and Comparative Literature (for Hebrew and Yiddish literature in particular). In addition, students working in the Departments of English, Germanic Languages, Slavic Languages and Literatures, Philosophy, American Studies and Government have also specialized in some aspect of Jewish Studies.

For fields in which the Harvard faculty are especially strong, see below.

THE HARVARD DIVINITY SCHOOL

HDS offers many programs of study including the Master of Divinity (MDiv), Master of Theological Studies (MTS), and Master of Theology (ThM).  (The Doctor of Theology (ThD) is no longer offered through HDS; interested students are encouraged to apply to the Committee on the Study of Religion in GSAS.)  Among its course-offerings, The Divinity School offers many courses in Jewish Studies and Hebrew Bible/Old Testament as well as courses cross-listed with the NELC department. For further information on their application procedures and requirements, see the HDS website, or email admissions@hds.harvard.edu or call the Divinity Admissions office at (617) 495-5796.

COURSE OFFERINGS

At the start of each academic year, the Center for Jewish Studies publishes a booklet called Jewish Studies at Harvard listing the current academic year’s course offering in Jewish Studies and other courses of Jewish interest throughout Harvard University.

Jewish Studies at Harvard: Course Offerings, 2018-19 is now available below. You can also request a hard copy be sent to you by sending your mailing address to the Center for Jewish Studies via email.

   

 

 

Upcoming Events

  • Judith Wechsler: Isaiah Berlin: Philosopher of Freedom - (Film Screening) December 11, 2018 at 4:30 pm – 6:00 pm Harvard University, Adolphus Busch Hall, 27 Kirkland Street, Lower Level Conference Room, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA Judith Wechsler, Professor Emerita, Tufts University"Isaiah Berlin: Philosopher of Freedom" is a 72 minute documentary film tracing the development of his ideas in the context of his life and times. The film presents this intellectual biography through interviews with Sir Isaiah, and filmed for the documentary, with Michael Ignatieff, his biographer, and Henry Hardy, his…
  • Adorno's Aesthetic Theory (Samantha Matherne) February 13, 2019 at 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm Center For European Studies, 27 Kirkland St, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA We are now approaching the 50th anniversary of Aesthetic Theory (first published posthumously in 1970), the final masterpiece of the philosopher and social theorist Theodor W. Adorno. This lecture contributes to the semester-long series of scholarly presentations that reflect on the legacy and actuality of this major work. Speaker: Samantha Matherne (Harvard University)Sponsored by the Harvard…
  • Adorno's Aesthetic Theory (Michael Rosen) February 20, 2019 at 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm Center For European Studies, 27 Kirkland St, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA We are now approaching the 50th anniversary of Aesthetic Theory (first published posthumously in 1970), the final masterpiece of the philosopher and social theorist Theodor W. Adorno. This lecture contributes to the semester-long series of scholarly presentations that reflect on the legacy and actuality of this major work. Speaker: Michael Rosen (Harvard University)Sponsored by the Harvard…