What is Jewish Studies?

Jewish Studies is an academic discipline that covers the full range of topics related to Jews, Judaism, and Jewish cultures, past and present. It is inherently interdisciplinary, meaning that it combines studies in classics, religious studies, archaeology, history, political science, literature and the arts, philosophy, psychology, anthropology, and sociology, among other fields.

What’s the difference between Judaic Studies and Jewish Studies?

There isn’t one! The two are interchangeable. Both mean the study of any aspect of Jews, Judaism, and/or Jewish cultures, at any point in history and anywhere in the world.

What sort of financial aid and/or scholarships are available?

Several scholarships are available through the Harris Center for Judaic Studies. Some are reserved for students working toward a minor in Jewish Studies, while others have other academic criteria for eligibility, such as enrollment in a particular course.

Is there a Hillel group at UNL?

Yes. To learn about activities for Jewish students (and anyone else interested in things Jewish) on the UNL campus, visit the Hillel website or contact the Hillel faculty advisor, Harris Center Director Jean Cahan.

What kinds of courses does the Jewish Studies program offer?

Because Judaism is a world religion and Jewish people can be found on every continent, courses in Jewish Studies generally cover the influence of Judaism and other religions upon each other, and the relationship between Jewish individuals, Jewish communities, and the broader historical and cultural context of each.

Frequently offered courses at UNL include Introduction to Jewish History, the Arab-Israeli Conflict, the Holocaust, Jews in the Modern World, Religion of Late Western Antiquity, Women in the Biblical World, European Jewish Philosophy, Biblical Hebrew language, and more. Check out a complete list of courses offered this semester, as well as the entire range of Jewish Studies courses available across all disciplines at UNL, on our Undergraduate Courses page.

Do I have to be Jewish to minor in Jewish Studies or TO receive a Jewish Studies scholarship?

Absolutely not!

The Program in Jewish Studies is open to students of all backgrounds, and no outside study or prior knowledge is required beyond listed course prerequisites. At UNL, instructors approach the field of Jewish Studies from a humanistic, liberal arts perspective, and students are encouraged to engage intellectually with the ideas presented just as they would the material in any other course.

In addition, all UNL students will be considered for the Harris Center scholarships, provided that they meet the stated criteria.

What are the requirements for the minor in Jewish Studies?

In order to receive a minor in Jewish Studies, students need to complete 6 hours of required core courses, as well as 12 hours of electives from a preapproved list. Substitutions are allowed on a case-by-case basis in consultation with the Jewish Studies program adviser. Visit our page about the minor.

How do I enroll for a minor in Jewish Studies?

You can enroll in the minor in Jewish Studies at any time prior to graduating, since courses can be credited retroactively. However, we strongly encourage you to make an appointment with the Jewish Studies program adviser as early as possible in your UNL career to discuss your academic interests and to plan ahead: more about advising.

You will also need to fill out a College-Degree-Major-Adviser Change Form (CDMA) at your current college’s dean’s office or from Registration and Records, 107 Canfield Administration Building South.

How do I find out about study abroad or summer hebrew programs?

There are full pages of information in the Resources section of this site. Take a look there, and if you still have questions, contact the Harris Center office. For specific questions about individual programs, please contact the sponsoring institution directly. The Harris Center has no information about other universities' Study Abroad and Summer Programs beyond what is listed on their website.

If I STUDY abroad, will courses I take be counted for the minor?

In principle, yes, provided that you are enrolled at an accredited institution whose courses are substantially equivalent to a semester-long course at UNL. Make an appointment with the Jewish Studies program advisor, and bring a full course syllabus and any other relevant materials when you come in. Credit is granted on a case-by-case basis, and is ultimately up to the College of Arts and Sciences.

Do Jewish Studies courses fulfill any ACE or college distribution requirements?

Any cross-listed JUDS course can be counted toward the General Education distribution requirements, as follows: (a) all JUDS courses cross-listed with History (HIST), Classics (CLAS), Religious Studies (RELG), Philosophy (PHIL), and English (ENGL) can be used for the distribution requirements in Humanities; (b) all JUDS courses cross-listed with Anthropology (ANTH), Political Science (POLS), and Sociology (SOCI) can be used for the distribution requirements in the Social Sciences.

If a course fulfills an ACE requirement in a cross-listed department, then the JUDS version of it does, as well. For example, JUDS 205 is cross-listed with RELG 205, which is an ACE 5 course. In this case, because RELG 205 and JUDS 205 are the same course, JUDS 205 would be treated as an ACE 5 course, as well. Check with your college advisor for more information.

What can I do with a minor in Jewish Studies?

Anything! With its broad and flexible selection of courses in a wide range of fields and its emphasis on critical thinking, humanistic understanding, and cross-cultural competence, the Jewish Studies minor offers excellent preparation for various careers, as well as for graduate studies in the humanities and social sciences.

Students who hope to go into international affairs/diplomacy, journalism, public relations, social work, human rights, communications, history, religion, archaeology, philosophy, Jewish education, and a multitude of other fields will benefit from completing the minor. Visit our featured alumni page to see what a sampling of recent students have done after leaving UNL.