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Indiana University Bloomington
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Master of Arts in Jewish Studies

Indiana University’s master’s degree program in Jewish Studies provides students with the advanced interdisciplinary and language study necessary to prepare them for a doctoral program in a disciplinary department or for nonacademic careers in the professional world and nonprofit sector. Building on the unique strengths of the Borns Jewish Studies Program, the M.A. program in Jewish Studies allows students to take classes with IU's world-class faculty in a wide range of areas within Jewish Studies, to work closely with a faculty mentor on an independent master’s thesis project, and to pursue internship opportunities as part of the master’s degree program.

The program will normally take two years to complete. It is designed to provide students with a solid working knowledge in one or more languages relevant to the study of Jewish culture (typically Modern Hebrew, Biblical Hebrew, and/or Yiddish), a broad exposure to the academic field of Jewish Studies in a number of different disciplines in the humanities and social sciences, and the analytical skills that should serve students whether they choose to pursue a doctoral degree related to Jewish Studies or find employment in the professional world, for example in nonprofit management or education.

The M.A. in Jewish Studies can be combined with a certificate in nonprofit management from Indiana University’s School for Public and Environmental Affairs (SPEA). Students with a particular interest in modern Jewish history can pursue a dual M.A. in Jewish Studies and History.

Most students receive fellowship funding of up to $20,000 plus health insurance and fee remission.

How to apply for the M.A. in Jewish Studies

M.A. Requirements

Thirty-two (32) credit hours of graduate course work to be distributed as follows. Courses need to be at the 500-level or above; courses at the 300 or 400 level can be included only with permission of the Director of Graduate Studies of the Jewish Studies Program.

  1. JSTU-H 520: Colloquium in Jewish Studies (4 credits)
  2. 16 credits (at least 4 courses) to be distributed among courses taught by Jewish Studies faculty.
  3. 12 credits (at least 3 courses) of electives. 3 of these credits can be in JSTU-J 699 for research towards the optional M.A. thesis.
  4. M.A. Thesis or Comprehensive Exam
    Students will have the choice of completing an M.A. thesis (not to exceed 40 pages or 12,000 words) or of completing a comprehensive exam. Students who choose the thesis option will register for 3 cr. under JSTU-J 699 and will be examined on the thesis by a committee of three faculty members, at least two of whom must be Jewish Studies faculty. Students who select the comprehensive exam option will be examined on a reading list to be selected in consultation with the exam committee, which will consist of three faculty members, at least two of whom must be Jewish Studies faculty.
  5. Language Requirement
    Completion of the Jewish Studies M.A. requires knowledge of a language relevant to the student’s research interest—normally Modern Hebrew, Biblical Hebrew, or Yiddish—at the second-year level. First and second year (elementary and intermediate level) language courses in the first foreign language do not count towards the degree requirements but may be necessary to demonstrate proficiency.
    Up to 6 cr. in a second relevant language (e.g., Yiddish, if the first language is Hebrew, or vice-versa) may be counted towards the required 16 cr. of courses taught by Jewish Studies faculty.

The M.A. degree requires three semesters of residency. A maximum of 8 transfer credits are allowed to satisfy the M.A. requirements.


How To Apply

Please note that you must apply electronically via our online application at

Application deadline to apply for the M.A. in Jewish Studies: Thursday, January 15, 2015 (domestic), Tuesday, December 2, 2014 (international). Please note that students applying for a dual M.A. in History and Jewish Studies need to meet the History department deadline of Monday, December 1, 2014 (domestic) and November 1, 2014 (international).

Your application file should consist of the following:

  • Application form must be filled out online for Graduate School Admission, deadlines December 1, 2014 (domestic) and November 1, 2014 (international).
  • Application fee ($55 domestic, $65 international), must be paid via credit card in on-line application
  • C.V. or Resume
  • Writing Sample — e.g. term paper, thesis, published articles, or any other piece of written work that indicates applicant’s ability to communicate well in non-fiction prose.  Your writing sample should be no more than 30 pages in length.  If the piece you are going to submit is more than 30 pages, select and submit only the 30 pages that best highlight your abilities.  Your writing sample should be uploaded and submitted with your online application.
  • Personal Statement/Statement of Intent — a focused statement of 1,000 words or fewer on professional interests and goals. Your personal statement/statement of intent should be uploaded and submitted with your online application.
  • 3 Letters of Recommendation written by professors that address your potential as a scholar. whether submitted online or sentby mail or e-mail, each letter of recommendation must be sent directly from the recommender.
  • One original transcript from each college/university you have attended (whether or not a degree was earned). We cannot accept transcripts directly from applicants. Please contact the Registrar of your university/ies or college/s and request a copy be sent to the Jewish Studies Program.
  • Original GRE test scores — no more than 5 years old. For electronic scores, the code is “1324" for Indiana University.
  • TOEFL score — If your native language is not English, you must submit results of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). The test service (ETS) should report the TOEFL score directly to Indiana University Bloomington. The Indiana University TOEFL code is "1324".

For domestic applicants, supporting materials not included in the online application should be directed to:
Borns Jewish Studies Program
M.A. Program in Jewish Studies
Indiana University
Goodbody Hall 326
1011 E. Third Street
Bloomington, IN 47405

For international applicants:
Office of International Services, International Admissions
Indiana University
Poplars 221
400 E. Seventh Street
Bloomington, IN 47405-1106

Phone: 812-855-9086
Fax: 812-855-4418
Email for Applicants and Prospective Students:
Email for Currently Enrolled Students:

For more details about the international application process, please visit the Office of International Admissions at:

For further information contact the Jewish Studies Graduate Secretary Melissa Hunt at: