Jewish Studies Certificate

With interest in Jewish Studies flourishing worldwide, the faculty at the School of Arts and Sciences at the University of Pennsylvania has consolidated its long-standing expertise in Jewish history, culture and literature in the Jewish Studies Program. This program brings scholars and researchers together in an interdisciplinary curriculum which coordinates educational and research activities in the study of the Jewish experience, both past and present. Areas of special faculty strength include the Hebrew Bible and its ancient Near Eastern setting, the history of biblical interpretation from the ancient period to the modern, Judaism in late antiquity (including Hellenistic Judaism and Rabbinic literature), modern Jewish history, sociology, ethnography and folklore, Israeli studies and Hebrew and Yiddish literature. In addition, courses are offered in the ancillary fields of biblical archaeology, ancient Near Eastern languages and literatures, Arabic literature, Islam and Christianity. The contributing departments include Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, History, Religious Studies, Folklore and Folklife, Sociology, Germanic Languages and Literatures, Political Science and Comparative Literature. Through the Jewish Studies Program within the Master of Liberal Arts Program, students may explore particular interests within multidisciplinary, graduate-level training in Jewish Studies.


Students admitted to the Jewish Studies Certificate Program within the Master of Liberal Arts Program at Penn are required to complete a total of nine courses that fulfill the following program requirements:

  • Two courses in Jewish history, culture or civilization that, individually or in combination, survey both pre-modern and modern Jewish history
  • Two courses in Jewish literature from two of three periods (biblical, Rabbinic-medieval, modern)
  • An MLA Proseminar
  • Three courses from the MLA curriculum
  • One course within which students will complete their Capstone Projects related to Jewish Studies
  • Successful completion of either a written or oral examination in Jewish history (may be done in the context of a course).

Students wishing to combine Jewish Studies with a concentration in Hebrew or Yiddish must meet the same requirements, except that two of the above courses must involve the study of subject matter in the appropriate language beyond the elementary or intermediate level.

Application Procedure

Students wishing to pursue a certificate in Jewish Studies through the Master of Liberal Arts Program should complete an MLA Application.

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