A new major in Jewish studies at the University of Kansas will allow students to explore in-depth the beliefs, history, culture and influence of one of the world's oldest religions and multi-ethnic religious communities.
The major was established in part because of the popularity of KU's Jewish studies minor, which was introduced in 2005.
"The development of three major world religions – Christianity, Judaism and Islam – is very much intertwined," said John Younger, academic director of the Jewish Studies Program. "The new Jewish studies major can be used to better understand nearly endless aspects of ancient and modern history, such as the current political climate in the Middle East or the influence of Jewish culture in American life."
The Jewish studies major, an interdisciplinary program, requires students to take two courses in Jewish history and/or culture, two courses in Judaism, three electives related to Jewish studies and a capstone course. As a bachelor of arts degree, the major requires two years of Hebrew or Yiddish.
Students have a wide range of courses from which to choose electives, such as Jewish American Literature and Culture, Jewish Film, Modern Jewish Thought and Contemporary Israeli Politics, to name just a few. Study abroad programs in Israel led by KU faculty are expected to be attractive to majors.
KU is the only university in the state to offer a major or minor in Jewish studies.
The Jewish studies major, in addition to providing the analytical and communications skills that employers seek, will prepare students for graduate school in various fields, depending on their choice of electives, or to go into careers in government, business, nonprofit agencies, community organizations, private schools and more. The Jewish studies major and minor can be readily paired with other KU majors and career paths, from pre-med to archaeology.
The major will be offered through the Jewish Studies Program in the Center for Global & International Studies.