Jewish Studies

Program Category: MA Programs
Program Director: Isabelle Levy
Assistant Director: Julie Feldman
Email Address: [email protected]
Degree Programs: Full-Time/Part-Time: Free-Standing MA

The MA in Jewish Studies offers students the opportunity to create a specialized program of study that leads to an enriched understanding of the breadth and depth of Jewish Studies as an academic discipline. The program concludes with a thesis on a focused topic related to the student's area of interest. Our program helps students prepare for careers as scholars or as professionals in a variety of fields, including education and the nonprofit sector.

Students in the program are encouraged to make use of the resources of Columbia's Institute for Israel and Jewish Studies, one of the most distinguished and longest-standing institutes dedicated to the academic study of Jewish literature, religion, history, culture, and philosophy, and which brings together faculty and students across a range of disciplines and departments. MA students will have the opportunity to study with these professors in a variety of pedagogical and curricular formats. The program welcomes both full- and part-time students.

Special Admissions Requirements

In addition to the requirements listed below, all students must submit one transcript showing courses and grades per school attended, a statement of academic purpose, a personal statement, and two letters of recommendation. The statement of academic purpose allows the university to evaluate your ability to succeed academically and the reasons you wish to undertake the degree. It should describe briefly your academic and/or professional background (relevant coursework, professional experience, or other activity pertaining to your academic interests); indicate your plans for graduate study at Columbia; and explain clearly the relation of your studies to your plans after completing the MA.

The writing sample should be 10-15 pages long, preferably a paper that you have written for a course pertaining to the general field of Jewish studies. Alternatively, you may provide a focused essay written in an academic style that examines an article, book, exhibit, or event relevant to your field of interest.

If you have recently received an academic degree or have recent academic experience, letters of recommendation from faculty are preferred. If you have not been enrolled in an academic program in recent years, professional recommendations are acceptable.

All international students whose native language is not English or whose undergraduate degree is from an institution in a country whose official language is not English must submit scores of the TOEFL or IELTS exams. For more information, refer to the Information for International Students page.

*GSAS will accept up to four recommendations, regardless of the number required by your program of interest. However, to be eligible for admission at GSAS, at least TWO letters must be submitted by academic recommenders.


FLAS Fellowships are available for students entering in the fall. If you are applying for the FLAS Fellowship, you must submit your admission application, including the FLAS essay by the fellowship application.