Welcome to the Jewish Studies Program at the University of Southern California. Jewish Studies is an interdisciplinary field, and USC is proud to offer courses in several areas, as well as two minors and a shared major. In our courses you will explore how Jews have interacted with other religious and ethnic groups. You will grapple with the history of the ancient world and the Holocaust. You will discover the connections between Judaism and food, Judaism and sex, and Judaism and magic. And you will gain enough Hebrew fluency to converse with Israelis and read Hebrew poetry. Whether you want to create an intensive program of study or dabble in a course or two, you have come to the right place.

Judaic Studies Learning Objectives

Jewish Studies offers multidisciplinary courses in history, philosophy, religious studies, literature, sociology, and linguistics that aid students in gaining an understanding of the Jewish past and present. Students majoring and minoring in Jewish studies should graduate with:

  • knowledge of the growth and development of Jewish religion, history, and culture from the ancient to the contemporary periods.
  • the critical skill set to use Jewish history to identify and analyze the cultural, social and political dynamics that shape majority/minority relations
  • the ability to evaluate the influence of living in diverse societies on Jews and Judaism and to identify changing Jewish responses to theological, religious, societal, and political changes
  • an understanding of the connections and competitions between different religious and cultural traditions with which Jewish communities developed in distinct historical periods
  • knowledge of different literary and historical genres of Jewish literary, cultural and religious writing
  • an introduction to modern Hebrew language as understood within in the context of the history, culture, and society of Israel
  • the capacity to create and produce informed, objective research and communicate a point of view with clarity both orally and in writing