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First-Year Focus

welcome first-year students!

Please visit us at the virtual Academic Directions Fair on Wednesday, September 1st  and learn more about Jewish Studies at NU!  Session link here.

Learn more about the Jewish Studies Program and meet some of our faculty and past students in this video.

Hebrew Placement Exam:

Foreign Language Proficiency Requirement
Most students graduating from Northwestern University must demonstrate that they have proficiency in a foreign language equivalent to the work covered in the third course in the second year sequence in a foreign language. For Hebrew, you will have to pass 121-3 (the third quarter of second-year) with a grade of C- or better.  If you wish to start with Hebrew and have never studied Hebrew before, you should place yourself into 111-1, the first quarter of first year.   If you learned  Hebrew in school, through private instruction, or at home, you will need to take a foreign language proficiency placement test.

The Hebrew Placement Test consists of a questionnaire about your Hebrew experience and an online proficiency test. Both can be accessed here. For questions please contact Professor Hanna Tzuker Seltzer:

Why take Jewish Studies?

Jewish Studies at Northwestern is an interdisciplinary enterprise catering to anybody interested in a minority culture broadly conceived. It is a conversation about Jewish thinkers, leaders, artists, and Jewish life from ancient to modern times with a focus on the interaction between the Jewish people and the world. It studies Judaism as a religion and Jews as a civilization in its own right, but also contemplates Jews as an ethnic group that has made significant contributions to Western thought. It considers cultures and civilizations, texts and languages, philosophy and literature, religion and history, majority and minority groups, universally shared and particular values. Courses in Jewish Studies help develop critical skills, hone comparative approaches, and build bridges between the universal and the particular.

What do we offer?

The Jewish Studies Program offers about forty-five courses annually in nine departments or programs and can satisfy the entry-level student with no background and also intellectually challenge a sophisticated student with a solid foundation in Jewish texts. Offerings span many academic departments and programs, including Anthropology, Art History, Comparative Literary Studies, English, German, Hebrew Language, History, Political Science, Religious Studies, Spanish, and Sociology. Subjects range from the Hebrew Bible to the Arab-Israel conflict and modern Jewish thought, history, literature, and culture. See a comprehensive course listing.

Jewish Studies at Northwestern

You can take Jewish Studies courses to fulfill distribution requirements, as a way to explore your identity, as a step toward bettering your critical thinking, or simply out of curiosity. Because Jewish Studies courses are held in all different departments, students work towards many majors while completing Jewish Studies coursework. Over 1,000 students annually take Jewish Studies courses. They are a diverse group and many have no background in Judaism. Additionally, the department offers a major in Jewish Studies, a minor in Jewish Studies and a minor in Hebrew Studies that allow students to explore their areas of interest in a more in depth fashion.

Introductory Courses

Introductory courses are offered at the 200 level and are a great starting place for someone interested in exploring the themes of Jewish Studies. Recommended classes include: 


Please contact with questions about courses or the minor and major in Jewish Studies.

Also see general information about Weinberg College first-year advising.

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