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. Auditors are welcome with faculty permission. 

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.

Courses Required for Completion of MA in Jewish Studies

Sixteen courses are required for the completion of the program, two of which may be thesis credits. At least two courses must be from either faculty from a non-CJS faculty member or faculty at University of California at Berkeley. Among the fourteen non-thesis courses:

I. One course in a tradition other than Judaism.

II. Two courses in the history of Jewish thought covering the major periods of Jewish History.

III. One course in each of the following periods of Jewish history: Biblical, Rabbinic, Medieval and Modern.

IV. Two courses in Hebrew grammar or reading. The Hebrew Language requirement may be fufilled simultaneously with the other requirements. Thus a course in medieval Jewish history with readings in Hebrew satisfies both the medieval requirement and one of the two Hebrew requirements.


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

Please see the Auditor Registration Form here. 

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.  

Fellowship Terms for 2016-2017

The Berkeley-Jerusalem fellowship covers tuition for up to 24 units taken in the academic year 2016-17. The fellowship also provides funds for a term of study at the Pardes Institute in Jerusalem. Fellows may choose the five-week summer program or the semester program. Fellows receive additional funding for travel expenses and language study.

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). 

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