The undergraduate degree in Judaic Studies offers students a unique opportunity to explore the diverse histories, traditions, languages and cultural expressions of Jews living across the globe. The degree is flexible and individualized, providing opportunities for in-depth language studies, experiential learning, study abroad and personal connections with faculty. Students gain transferable skills in research and writing, critical and creative thinking, and public and persuasive speaking. The diverse curriculum allows for exploration of any aspect of the Jewish experience, from Israel to America, spanning the biblical era to the present.
Judaic Studies explores its key themes in an interdisciplinary fashion, looking at history, law, literature and culture to investigate the broad sweep of nationhood, religion, language and space. Students use the tools of Jewish textual studies and source analysis to contend with contemporary political and social issues: social justice and migration; antisemitism and persecution; gender, racial, and sexual identities; religious faith and diversity. Students develop individual responses to these complex issues and others while working closely with distinguished faculty and prominent visitors.
Want to learn more about what the Judaic Studies department has to offer? Talk to an advisor today!
What do our students have to say?
We asked graduating seniors to share something about their experience in Judaic Studies. Here's what some of them had to say.
"Earning a Judaic Studies minor is incredible in that you begin to see Judaism and Jewry not merely as a religion, but also as an identity, a tradition, a culture that has bloomed and proved resilient from ancient times to modernity."
"College is about more than just training for a career, but rather a time to expand your mind. By learning from the past, Judaic Studies gives me the opportunity to explore new modes of thinking while also better understanding the world around me."
"I've been able to learn about a ethno-religion that I knew nothing about before entering college. Being a JS minor has challenged some of my thoughts and has opened me up to different life perspectives."
"My Judaic Studies classes were a highlight of my academic undergraduate experience... Studying Judaic studies is not just the study of Judaic studies. It is the study of literature, sociology, law, art, governance, and History.... you will likely find a class with the Frankel Center that ties into your other interests and sparks new ideas within yourself."
"I can’t stress enough how valuable my time at the Frankel Center was. Each professor is fervently dedicated to their field and genuinely invested in each student’s learning. My classmates came from a wide range of backgrounds and provided valuable insights into topics that I never thought to question. A degree in Judaic Studies is a multifaceted asset that can be applied to any field a student wishes to pursue."
"My experience in the Judaic Studies department had been one of the most positive aspects of my university experience. The staff is professional and available and the professors are learned in their fields and caring for their students. Overall, the department demonstrates that it truly wants its students to succeed and is there to help in any way possible."
"As a double major student, Judaic Studies was able to better my education and my time in undergrad because in addition to my math and statistics classes, I was also sharpening my skills in history, writing, and social studies. Not only did I feel a personal connection to the subject matter, but also to the close-knit and supportive nature of the department’s advisors, teachers, and students."
"Judaic Studies showed me that I could be interested in my Jewish heritage through a cultural lens, and learn about the many different parts of Jewish life as it relates to the rest of the world."
"One of my favorite things about the Judaic Studies program is the variety of different courses available. I have taken classes about Modern Hebrew, Israeli television and media, and Nazism among other courses. These have all given me a unique perspective on my own Jewish identity and they have helped me develop a strong understanding of my heritage, and the history of my community."
"The Judaic Studies department is small and truly cares about the success of its students. Along with brilliant professors and engaging courses, it makes the larger U-M community feel a bit smaller."