Degree Programs at the HfJS
10 reasons for studying at the HfJS:
- A diversity of course offerings focused both on research and career options.
- The unique diversity of study subjects within Jewish Studies, which reflects Judaism’s multiple layers and its fascination.
- Outstanding possibilities to combine one’s studies with the excellent University of Heidelberg and its course offerings as a full university.
- Personal atmosphere of a small, well-connected College.
- Active language practice of Hebrew.
- A well-equipped library.
- The central role of the Hochschule für Jüdische Studien Heidelberg within the European network of Jewish Studies and humanities.
- Cultural and religious offerings of the Hochschule beyond everyday study.
- The possibility to lead an extensive Jewish life in an environment of plurality.
- Availability of scholarships and donors offering financial support.
The HfJS offers a variety of courses of study. The course listings range from Biblical Studies, Rabbinics, Jewish Art history, and Jewish Philosophy to programs in community work and rabbinic training. The specific courses of study are as follows:
B.A. Jewish Studies
The B.A. in Jewish studies offers to students of the HfJS a course of study that is focused on the humanities and cultural studies. It is not connected to any particular denomination or confession and requires no previous knowledge of Hebrew, nor does it presuppose a familiarity with Jewish religion, history or culture. The portion of general studies can count as 75%, 50%, or 25% of the total course of study. Students who chose this path focus on the sources of Judaism: that is, the sacred texts of Judaism and their interpretation over the course of history; the history of the Jewish people; Jewish philosophy, art, and literature; as well as other thematically associated fields. In this way, the object of inquiry is time and again viewed through the perspective offered by a number of academic disciplines.
B.A. Practical Jewish Studies
The B.A. degree programme Practical Jewish Studies 100% consists of two equally weighted parts, one scientific, the other concerned with religious practice. The scientific part corresponds to the study programme B.A. Jewish Studies (50%). The other 50% consist of modules dealing with religious practice, which includes, for example, traditional legal study, prayer, and Jewish education. Both parts of the study programme correspond to each other. Intensive traditional source work is required by Jewish Studies, while the knowledge of scientific methods is necessary for a modern conception of religion.
M.A. Jewish Studies
After the completion of the B.A. with a portion of at least 50%, the course of study can be continued in order to acquire the degree of M.A. in Jewish Studies. In the course of the student’s M.A. studies the knowledge gained during the B.A. will be expanded and deepened. The comprehensive course offerings at the HfJS makes it possible for students who aspire to the M.A. in Jewish studies to specialize in an area of study according to their own choosing. The M.A. degree qualifies graduates for PhD study.
M.A. Jewish Studies/History of Jewish Culture (Joint Degree)
In contrast to the M.A. in Jewish studies the HfJS also offers a joint masters degree program in Jewish Studies and the History of Jewish Culture. The program is open for all advanced students in the fields of the humanities, social sciences and theology, as well as students with a degree in Islamic studies or political science. This course of study offers to graduates who have already become acquainted in the course of their bachelor studies with technical and research-intensive modes of learning a rapid entrance into the academic field of Jewish Studies. Students are able to quickly specialize and to choose for themselves their focus according to their individual interests.
This program is offered by the HfJS in conjunction with the Karl-Franzen-Universität Graz. After a first required semester in Heidelberg the student must spend at least one semester in Graz. This M.A. qualifies graduates for PhD study.
M.A. Jewish Civilizations
Jewish Civilizations is a joint Master's program between the Hochschule für Jüdische Studien Heidelberg and Paideia – The European Institute for Jewish Studies in Sweden. The first phase of the degree program takes place in Stockholm with the One-Year Program, for which the annual application deadline is 15th April to matriculate for the following Winter semester.
The non-consecutive Master’s programme in “Jewish Civilizations” should develop in students the ability to develop the cultural-academic study of Jewish civilizations in their different forms, through intensive language and source study, to which competency in Hebrew language and expertise in the source material are central. In addition to this, in the course of their studies in Stockholm and Heidelberg, students should acquire the necessary theoretical knowledge and knowledge of relevant methods, in order to be able to devote themselves to the study of complex events in Jewish culture in the past, present and future.
M.A. Jewish Museology
As an academic discipline, museology is concerned with museums and museum history as spaces of societal education and the accompanying intellectual, pedagogical, and aesthetic imperatives. Jewish museums develop societal self-understanding in a dual perspective: for one, they function as a place of Jewish identity formation and on the other hand, they enable the non-Jewish majority to gain information and encourage understanding of Jewish contexts. This special task requires the development of focused teaching, research and museal practices. The insights into museology gained through museological practice are set in a context of societal development and are not defined statically, but require constant examination and renewal.
The master’s programme Jewish Museology qualifies both foreign and domestic students for work in Jewish museums, exhibitions, and memorial work by transmitting scientific and practical foundational skills of exhibition conception and cultural work.
M.A. Medieval Studies (Heidelberger Mittelaltermaster)
The study of the medieval period has traditionally been separated between different faculties and departments. In the past several decades new perspectives have been developed in the humanities that stress transdisciplinary research, and through which new forums of scholarly exchange have been created. The graduate of the Heidelberg M.A. in Medieval Studies will attain a degree of familiarity with these developments and shall seek to make them consistently fertile for advanced research projects. Students are able to draw upon the extensive course offerings in medieval history, culture and the research at the various faculties of the University of Heidelberg and the HfJS.
M.A. Classical and Modern Literature
This M.A. programme centres on a reasoned, theoretically and methodologically sound engagement with the manifold literary connections existing between Antiquity (Greek and Roman), Christian/Jewish cultural traditions and the great national literatures of Europe. The aim is to enable students to obtain an overview of the main lines of Hebrew/Jewish, Greek/Latin and modern literary and cultural development and to describe and discuss them convincingly and confidently. To this end, they will be expected to acquire the specific skills required by a course in Classical Studies on the one hand and the study of modern languages on the other. They will also need to be able to dovetail those skills productively for purposes of application. They will also learn to compare and contrast the different approaches and methodologies prevalent in the disciplines they are concerned with and to relate them to one another.
Ph.D. in Jewish Studies in cooperation with the University of Heidelberg
A doctoral dissertation can be written at the Hochschule für Jüdische Studien Heidelberg. A dissertation in the field of Jewish Studies at the Hochschule for Jüdische Studien is opportune because of the differentiation of subject diversity at the Hochschule. Admission requirements to the PhD consist of a completed magister or master’s degree with Jewish Studies as the main subject, an equivalent degree from the Hochschule für Jüdische Studien or another academic institution, or a rabbinate exam completed at an academic institution within the standard period of study of at least four years.
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