Welcome to Jewish Studies

Welcome to the Jewish Studies Program at the University of Southern California. Jewish Studies is an interdisciplinary field and USC is proud to offer a major in Jewish Studies as well as two minors, one in Jewish Studies and one in Jewish American Studies. In our courses you will explore how Jews have interacted with other religious, social and ethnic groups. You will see the connections between the history of the ancient world and contemporary society. You will discover the connections between Judaism and food, Judaism and sex, and Judaism and magic. And you can gain enough Hebrew fluency to converse with Israelis and read Hebrew poetry. Whether you want to learn religion, history and culture from the beginning or augment your current major and minors, you have come to the right place.

Major

The major in Jewish Studies offers the opportunity for in-depth study of Jewish history, ethics, texts, language, experience and sociology through two distinct tracks: Judaism as a Religious Tradition and Jewish History and Culture. As an interdisciplinary program of study, Jewish studies challenges students to examine and learn about Jewish experience and Judaism as topics of academic inquiry.

Minors

The Jewish Studies minor is a great way to support your interest in Jewish studies and add more context to your majors. Students can choose from a minor in Jewish studies or in Jewish American studies. In just five classes, you can expand your knowledge in Jewish history, Jewish culture, the diversity of Jewish experience.

photo credit: Jazzy Shofar, Mark Podwal (b. Brooklyn, NY 1945), colored pencil on paper, h. 16 in x 20 in., USA. Cincinnati Skirball Museum; gift of the artist © Mark Podwal, 2016

Studying Hebrew

USC offers a sequence of four semesters that will have you speaking, reading, and writing modern Hebrew; you will learn how to order food and shop at a market as well as how to score an internship, pursue graduate study, write fluently, and foster international connections.

Why Jewish Studies?

An undergraduate program of Jewish studies can prepare you for a variety of careers and further educational opportunities. Our program creates a broad foundation of cultural and intellectual diversity upon which you can build upon an interdisciplinary approach to learning. 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.
As a Jewish Studies student, you will learn how to deal with multicultural societies sensitively and respectfully. Whether you are interested in going into business or education, politics or social work, a Jewish Studies education will provide you with the analytical and conceptual skills you need to move yourself forward.

The Louchheim School for Judaic Studies

The Jewish Studies program is administered by the Jerome H. Louchheim School for Judaic Studies at HUC-JIR, USC’s long time institutional partner. USC students registering for Jewish studies classes use USC’s WebReg and receive course credit and degrees from USC. Jewish Studies has two tracks of study: Judaism as a Religious Tradition and Jewish History and Culture.
HUC is home to a world class faculty, six graduate levels professional schools and one of the country’s largest libraries of Jewish Studies books and periodicals. With expertise in Jewish thought, literature, rabbinics, history, biblical studies, linguistics, sociology, and Hebrew language, the faculty produces cutting edge scholarship that ranges from the ancient Near East to contemporary graphic novels. USC has maintained a special relationship with HUC for many years, involving several joint graduate programs and this unique undergraduate program in Jewish studies. You can read more about their partnership here.
The full time faculty of the Louchheim School maintain close academic ties with USC institutes and departments throughout Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences. The current director of the Louchheim School is Dr. Leah Hochman.

Contact Us

Department Office

Questions? Comments? The Jewish Studies office is here to help.