The Frankel Center for Judaic Studies accepts applications to its Master of Arts Program based on term deadlines: Fall Term: January 10; Winter Term: September 1. GRE general test scores required. Letters of recommendation required. Contact the department for additional information and requirements. Please use the following information when completing the application.
Code: 01739; Academic Program: Judaic Studies, M.A.
Applications to the Graduate Certificate Program are accepted only from students who have been admitted to or are currently enrolled in a Ph.D. or professional program at the University of Michigan. The application deadline is January 10 for the ensuing Fall Term. Contact the department for additional information and requirements.
Code: 01948; Academic Program: Judaic Studies, Graduate Certificate Program
For a listing of faculty please visit the Judaic Studies website.
Master of Arts
The Jean and Samuel Frankel Center for Judaic Studies at the University of Michigan offers students an interdisciplinary approach to the study of Jewish civilizations and thought. The Master of Arts (M.A.) program explores the rich culture and historical experience of the Jewish people, their unique traditions, interactions with other cultures, and impact on world civilizations. It draws on the academic excellence and expertise of faculty in many disciplines, including history; political science; Near Eastern studies; Germanic, English, Slavic, Hebrew and Yiddish languages; sociology; religious studies; and comparative literature. Resources available to our students include the Harlan Hatcher Graduate Library, the Martin Salinger Resource Center, and the Jewish Heritage Video Collection. The M.A. program provides an advanced, yet comprehensive and balanced curriculum in Judaic Studies while allowing students to concentrate on one of the following areas:
1) Literature and Culture
- Comparative Jewish Literatures
- Hebrew Literature
- Yiddish Literature
2) Jewish History and Social Science
- Ancient, Medieval and Modern Jewish History
- Contemporary Jewish Affairs
- American Jews (history, literature, sociology)
- Israel (culture and politics)
- Former Soviet Union (politics, history, and culture)
3) Classical and Modern Judaism: Law and Religion
- Jewish Mysticism
- Jewish Thought
- Biblical Studies
Any student with a Bachelor’s Degree from an accredited college or university may apply to the M.A. Program at the Frankel Center for Judaic Studies. The following items are accepted electronically via the Rackham Graduate School online application system.
1. A Statement of Purpose: A concise statement on your academic background and description of how a graduate degree in Judaic Studies will help meet your career goals.
2. Personal Narrative: Describe your life experiences that have motivated your decision to pursue a degree in Judaic Studies.
3. Three Letters of Recommendation
4. Transcript(s): from all academic programs attended; electronic versions are accepted but official transcripts must still be mailed to the Rackham Graduate School.
5. GRE Scores
6. Writing Sample: Please keep length below 30 pages.
Interviews will be requested only of those whose prospects for success are uncertain, and who live within a reasonable distance. No credit will be given for relevant work experience, though minimal credit might be given for coursework in advanced Judaic Studies that was done within the decade previous to application for admission.
Credits: A minimum of 30 credits are required for the Judaic Studies M.A.:
- 13 credits in required courses
- 6 – 8 credits in language courses at the 400-level or above, or credit by placement exam
- 3 credits for the thesis or seminar paper
- 8 elective credits (14 credits for students who receive language credit by placement exam)
Thesis: A thesis or substantial seminar paper of 10,000 - 15,000 words (40-60 pages) is required. It is recommended that students begin work on their thesis in the first semester of their second year. There will be no field work, work experience, internship or similar requirements.
Judaic Studies 601: Introduction to Methods and Topics in Judaic Studies (3 credits)
This mandatory course introduces graduate students to the disciplines, texts, and methods of Jewish studies. Students read textual materials from various eras of Jewish history (from antiquity to the modern period) and current scholarly literature that illustrates critical and disciplinary approaches to these texts. Students should take this course in their first year.
A student who lacks a sufficient background in Judaic Studies, but who has an exceptionally strong academic record and GRE scores, may possibly be admitted to the program. He or she would be required to take Judaic Studies 505 (Introduction to Jewish Civilization and Cultures).
Breadth Selections (minimum of 10 credits)
Students are required to choose one course from each category: Literature & Culture; Jewish History and Social Science; and Classical & Modern Judaism: Law and Religion. Students will not necessarily concentrate in a specific module. As long as they take a course from each of the three categories, they may choose any of the other courses offered. This includes courses offered by our Padnos Visiting Professor in Judaic Studies, an annual visitor for one semester, whose fields have ranged from history to film and video, Anglo-Jewish literature to Israeli politics.
All entering students are required to demonstrate second term (1 year) proficiency in Hebrew or Yiddish and, upon graduation, fourth term (2 year) proficiency. Those who come with fourth term proficiency should take a third year language. The Rackham Graduate School will not apply credit for language courses that are at a 300-level or below toward any graduate degree. However, such language instruction will serve as an instrumental factor in continued learning at the graduate level.
Graduate Certificate Program
The Graduate Certificate Program in Judaic Studies at the University of Michigan is a comprehensive course of study for Ph.D. students in LS&A departments and professional schools across campus who want to acquire an interdisciplinary grounding in their area of expertise through organized interactions with graduate students and faculty in other areas. The Graduate Certificate Program in Judaic Studies builds upon the graduate courses offered by faculty affiliated with the Frankel Center for Judaic Studies and integrates them into a coherent cluster.
Any student who has been admitted to or is currently enrolled in a Ph.D. or professional degree program at the University of Michigan is eligible to apply for a Graduate Certificate in Judaic Studies. Students must be in good standing to be considered.
Students who are interested in applying must follow a three-step process. The required forms may be found on the Rackham Graduate School’s website.
1. Submit a Dual Degree/Program Cover Sheet and Admissions Conduct Code form to the Rackham Graduate School.
2. Submit the Add a Degree or Certificate Program Application to the CURRENT degree program. Once approved, the current program’s Chair will forward the application to the Frankel Center.
3. Submit to the Frankel Center a Dual Degree/Program Cover Sheet and the items noted below:
a. A letter outlining the student’s reasons for wanting to receive a Judaic Studies certificate and the student’s background in Judaic Studies.
b. A current transcript demonstrating that the student has maintained at least an “A-” average at his/her graduate or professional school.
c. A letter of approval from the Director of Graduate Studies in the student’s home department or school clarifying an understanding of the student’s intentions. This is not meant to be a letter of recommendation.
d. A letter of support from the student’s advisor.
e. A declaration form, which requires students to map out a course of study for the certificate, with a list of courses already taken and those to be taken, as well as a statement explaining how Jewish Studies will be integrated in an overall course of study.
Materials should be submitted to the Frankel Center’s Student/Fellow Coordinator at least two terms before the anticipated graduate degree is to be received. Applications will be assessed and admitted by the Judaic Studies Executive Committee.
This program requires a minimum of fifteen-hours of coursework that will provide multidisciplinary perspectives on Judaic Studies consisting of the following:
The mandatory core introductory course, JUDAIC 601: Introduction to Methods and Topics in Jewish Studies introduces students to the various questions, texts, methodologies, and perspectives that constitute the broad field of Jewish studies. It ranges from antiquity to the modern period, reading Biblical and rabbinic texts, as well as medieval and modern ones. The focus is on interactions between Jews and others: on the ways in which Jews have understood themselves in relation to the societies in which they lived, the peoples with whom they interacted, the languages they acquired. (3 credits)
- Capstone Research Course
The mandatory capstone research course, JUDAIC 890, requires a student to carry out a culminating research project in Jewish studies that reflects an interdisciplinary perspective. The product can be a dissertation chapter, a master’s thesis, or a substantive paper, and will normally be subject to approval by the student’s Judaic Studies advisor and by the Graduate Student Advisor. As part of JUDAIC 890, the student will present the work in at least one public forum, such as a lecture or brown-bag. (3 credits)
- Breadth Requirement
Three additional graduate-level courses are required from among those offered by Frankel Center faculty affiliates. At least one of these must be in a field outside of the student’s primary department. Up to six of the fifteen credit hours may include courses that are required for the student’s graduate or professional degree.
Students will be expected to have reading knowledge of at least one Jewish language. Proficiency will be measured via testing or the completion of language instruction through the 200-level (e.g., Yiddish 202, HJCS 202). These include Hebrew, Yiddish, Aramaic, Ladino, Judeo-Arabic, and/or Judeo-Persian. Documentation of this status will be provided by Judaic Studies, and certified by the Judaic Studies Graduate Student Advisor. Credits earned from language instruction will not be applied to the certificate’s 15-credit requirement.
All Judaic Studies M.A. and Graduate Certificate students will work with the JS Graduate Student Advisor in planning a course of study. Once a year students will receive a report on their status and progress toward satisfactory completion of the certificate.
Sample Elective Courses (arranged by concentration)
Jewish Literature and Culture
ENGLISH 553: 20th Century American Literature, "Jewish American Literature," 3 Credits
ENGLISH 649: Topics in Contemporary Literature, “Literature of the Holocaust,” 3 Credits
HJCS 543: The Bible in Jewish Tradition, 3 Credits
HJCS 545: Medieval Jewish Literature, 3 Credits
HJCS 571: Israeli Literature, 3 Credits
JUDAIC 401: Readings in Yiddish Texts, 3 Credits
JUDAIC 481: Jewish Modernism in Eastern & Central Europe, 3 Credits
Jewish History and Social Science
HJCS 401: Hebrew of the Communications Media, 3 Credits
JUDAIC 480: Religion, Ethnicity, and Politics: The Jewish Case, 3 Credits
JUDAIC 591: Advanced Reading in Jewish History and Literature, 1 – 4 Credits
JUDAIC 628: Studies in Jewish History, 3 Credits
JUDAIC 652: Jewish Political Thought and Experience, 3 Credits
Classical & Modern Judaism: Law and Religion
HJCS 478: Jewish Mysticism, 3 Credits
HJCS 591: Topics in Hebrew and Jewish Cultural Studies, 3 Credits
JUDAIC 478: Modern Jewish Thought, 3 Credits
JUDAIC 517: Topics in Judaic Studies: "Thinking Law in Ancient Cultures and Religions," 3 Credits