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First-Year Focus

welcome first-year students!

Learn more about the Jewish Studies Program and meet some of our faculty and past students in this video Below, you will find more information about Jewish Studies and about studying Hebrew and/or using it to satisfy your foreign language requirement.

Hebrew Language:

Hebrew language courses are offered through a partnership between Jewish Studies and MENA Languages.

Hebrew may be used to satisfy the Weinberg undergraduate foreign language requirement.

what is Jewish Studies?

Jewish Studies at Northwestern is an interdisciplinary enterprise examining Jewish life from ancient to modern times with a focus on the interaction between the Jewish people and the world. It explores Jewishness as a cultural, ethnic and/or religious identity and phenomenon. More specifically, Jewish Studies courses offer instruction in Jewish texts and languages, philosophy and literature, religion and history. Our faculty seek to develop students’ skills in critical reading, writing, and thinking, using comparative approaches, and building bridges between the universal and the particular.

By taking Jewish Studies courses, you can fulfill the following Foundational Disciplines: Social and Behavioral Sciences (FD-SBS); Historical Studies (FD-HS); Ethical and Evaluative Thinking (FD-EET); and Literature and Arts (FD-LA). Jewish Studies courses can be a way to explore your identity, a step toward bettering your critical thinking, or simply taken out of curiosity.  The students who take Jewish Studies courses are a diverse group and many have no background in Judaism.

Our courses are open to everyone, and the department offers a major in Jewish Studies, a minor in Jewish Studies and a minor in Hebrew Studies for anyone who would like to make Jewish Studies a focus of their undergraduate studies.

What do we offer?

Each academic year, the Jewish Studies Program offers more than 40 courses. Many of these courses are appropriate for an entry-level student with no background; all of them will be intellectually challenging even for a student with a solid foundation in Jewish texts. Our comprehensive course listing  and quarterly lists will help you find the courses that are most interesting to you.

When it’s time to register, you will see that while a few of our courses will be listed on CAESAR under Jewish Studies, the majority are listed in other academic departments and programs including Anthropology, Art History, Comparative Literary Studies, German, Hebrew Language, History, Political Science, Religious Studies, Spanish, and Sociology.

Introductory Courses

Introductory courses are a great starting place for exploring the themes of Jewish Studies.  We particularly recommend these classes as an introduction to this field of study.

300-level courses may also be appropriate for new students. If you have questions about a specific course, please consult with the Director of Undergraduate Studies, Professor Maayan Hilel @  



Please contact Director of Undergraduate Studies, Professor Maayan Hilel @ with any questions about the undergraduate program in Jewish Studies.