Graduate Theological Union

Study at CJS



The Center for Jewish Studies currently offers an M.A., a Ph.D. and a certificate in Jewish studies. Areas of specialization include Judaism in late-antiquity, rabbinic literature, medieval and modern Jewish history and culture.

M.A. Jewish Studies

The M.A. program is a two-year program of advanced graduate study and research. Students complete four semesters of courses as well as supervised thesis research. They work closely with CJS faculty and may specialize in late-antiquity and rabbinic literature, medieval Jewish history and culture, as well as modern Jewish cultural and literary studies. Students are required to take a two-semester survey on the foundations of Jewish history and culture and may take a variety of electives at the member schools of the Graduate Theological Union and at UC Berkeley. Students are also required to take two courses of Hebrew study.

CJS offers a fellowship in partnership with Pardes in Jersusalem for MA students called the Berkeley Jerusalem Fellowship. More information can be found at the bottom of this page. 

Ph.D. Jewish History

The CJS doctoral program encourages interdisciplinary and comparative research. Students work closely with professors from the GTU  in the field of late-antique, medieval, and modern Jewish history and culture. Dissertations may focus on themes such as language, Biblical hermeneutics, translation, secularization, sexuality, cultural exchange, and Jewish-Christian interaction. Students may work within the discipline of history, as well as literary, religious, or cultural studies. Students acquire a strong general competence, particularly for teaching, in the history of Judaism from late antiquity to the recent past, and will acquire strength both for teaching and scholarly research.


Certificate in Jewish Studies

The CJS offers a certificate in Jewish Studies. The program is open to registered GTU students as well as to the broader Bay Area community. The certificate allows students to register for graduate level coursework and to receive a transcript and documentation of graduate work in Jewish studies.
The requirements of the program are six courses in Jewish Studies. Of those six, two are the required foundations courses: Ancient and Medieval Jewish Civilization and Modern Jewish History and Thought. In addition to these two foundations courses, students are required to take four more courses in Jewish Studies. Two of these remaining four courses (excluding Hebrew language courses) must be taught by CJS faculty or other GTU faculty affiliated with the Joint Jewish Studies Faculty of GTU-UCB. For the remaining two courses, Hebrew language courses as well as Old Testament/Hebrew Bible courses qualify. Students may propose alternative or additional courses to the Director of CJS for approval. Apply

Non-degree Study at CJS

Auditors are welcome in CJS classes, pending permission from instructors. For information, including fee, please contact

Audit Registration Form for the general public and for GTU students

Intersession and Summer Programs

CJS often offers courses in the winter intersession, as well as during the summer. These courses can be taken for credit. Auditors are also welcome.

Fellowship Opportunities

The Berkeley-Jerusalem Fellowship at the Graduate Theological Union and the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies

The Richard S. Dinner Center for Jewish Studies at the Graduate Theological Union and the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies are pleased to announce the establishment of a new fellowship for students pursuing an M.A. in Jewish Studies at the GTU, with supplementary studies at the Pardes Institute in Jerusalem. This fellowship allows students to take full advantage of the resources at both institutions and inaugurate a collaboration for the mutual benefit of the students, faculty and community at the GTU and at Pardes.  

The Berkeley-Jerusalem fellowship will provide the full tuition for the M.A. in Jewish Studies at the GTU, as well as tuition at Pardes for one semester, funding for summer Hebrew language study at an Ulpan, travel to Jerusalem and a stipend for additional expenses.

Berkeley-Jerusalem fellows would be expected to study at CJS for the first year of their program, and to attend a summer Hebrew Ulpan in Israel (where necessary), and spend the fall semester of their second year at Pardes. Students may also choose to attend the Pardes summer program. Fellows are expected to return to Berkeley in the spring to complete their M.A. at GTU. While in Israel, students will work in close consultation with faculty from both institutions, regarding their course of study and evaluation. Students can receive up to twelve units of academic credit, through GTU, for their studies in Jerusalem.

To apply: 

Along with your MA application to the Jewish Studies program, submit a 500-word essay addressing the following:

Studies at the GTU and the Pardes Institute allow students to combine critical approaches to Jewish history and literature with classical rabbinic literacy. Please describe how this combination of academic and rabbinic studies will contribute to your long-term goals. 


Students will apply for the Berkeley-Jerusalem Fellowship as part of their M.A. applications to CJS for studies beginning in the fall (application due the prior February 1st). The fellowships will be awarded in March 2015; the fellow or fellows will begin in the following fall 2015, with travel to Pardes that summer 2016 and graduation the following spring 2017. Fellows may complete the M.A. program in three years, if needed.

For more information, please contact our office at and/or Andrea Sheaffer, Director of Admissions at

The Taube Language-Study, Travel and Research Grant and the CJS-Pardes Language-Study Grant

The Taube Travel and Research Grant is designated for intensive language study of Hebrew, Yiddish, or other Jewish languages in the summer of 2014; a number of grants are designated specifically for travel and research in the history and culture of East European Jews during the summer of 2014.

The CJS-Pardes Language-Study Travel and Research Grant is designated for CJS students who would like to combine summer studies at the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies with intensive Hebrew language study in the summer of 2014.

Eligibility: Currently enrolled students in Jewish Studies at the M.A. or Ph.D. level at the Center for Jewish Studies at the Graduate Theological Union are eligible for this grant.

Criteria: The grants will help students pay expenses incurred in summer research outside the Bay Area. Such expenses include tuition for language or other study programs, travel to language programs or research sites, and accommodation at language programs or research sites. In the case of the CJS-Pardes grants, the grants will help students pay expenses incurred in their summer studies in Jerusalem. Such expenses include tuition for an Ulpan program, Pardes tuition, travel and accommodations.

Grants: Grants will be up to $5000, depending on the number of applicants and the cost of the program. Students are expected to apply for other funding and financial aid for their language or research programs, and to report any other funding they hope to receive, or actually receive. Funds will be disbursed at the end of the semester. Funds will be disbursed by May 1, 2014.

Application: Students must submit a proposal, curriculum vitae, and proposed budget. The language-study proposal should explain their study in relation to ongoing academic interests. Students applying for the East European travel grant must outline a course of research and demonstrate its relevance to their ongoing academic interests. Please include relevant brochures, letters of acceptance, and other related material.

Students applying to the CJS-Pardes program should explain their interest in this grant in relation to ongoing academic research. Students are also expected to apply to the Pardes Summer Program, and to an Ulpan in Israel. Fluent Hebrew speakers may be exempted from this requirement. Students are also expected to file a report on completion of their summer program.

Course Credit: Students may earn up to six units of graduate credit for their summer language workshops, or for Ulpan and Pardes studies. These credits may be acquired in an accredited language program, or applied retroactively in the fall semester through one or two SRC courses. Those students who wish to receive credits for their studies must arrange to be evaluated on completion of their program by their language program, Ulpan or Pardes instructors.

Applications due February 1, 2014.

They may be submitted electronically to

For more information contact Deena Aranoff at

Financial Aid/Scholarships

CJS students in the M.A. and Ph.D. programs are eligible for a range of generous financial aid packages and fellowships. Doctoral students may apply for a Newhall Teaching and Research Fellowship. This program provides the opportunity to work with core faculty to develop and teach new courses and lead research. GTU Ph.D. students are also eligible for the GTU-wide Presidential Scholars program, which provides full tuition and a stipend, and is merit-based. Other sources of funding are also available through the Financial Aid office.

The Taube Travel and Research Grant is designated for intensive study and research in the languages, history and culture of East European Jews, during the summer.

Berkeley and Bay Area Jewish Studies Resources

GTU library

Libraries of the University of California

Magnes Museum

Stanford Jewish Studies

SFSU Jewish Studies

USF Jewish Studies

Center for Middle Eastern Studies

Other Jewish Study Opportunities

Reconstructionist Rabbinical College



Contact Information - Jewish Studies