Placement Assessment 

To determine the right level course for you, contact the Louchheim School, USC’s Jewish Studies program, to schedule a placement assessment by email hebrew@usc.edu or by phone 213-765-2113.



             HEBR 120 Hebrew I (no assessment required) 
             HEBR 150 Hebrew II 
             HEBR 220 Hebrew III 
             HEBR 315 Modern Hebrew Language 
             JS 504 Modern Hebrew Literature

Study Hebrew at USC and gain access to the deeply innovative and creative language of contemporary Israel and ancient tradition.  


About Hebrew 

With a history that reaches back thousands of years, Hebrew has roots in tradition and prayer and is now the language of vibrant cultural, economic, and technological expression.  

With nearly 9 million speakers worldwide, Hebrew supports a thriving tech economy, cutting edge agricultural and sustainability research and globally recognized poets, novelists, journalists, writers and film and television creators.  

Study Hebrew at USC and and develop skills in Hebrew as a spoken and a written language.   


USC Hebrew Language Program 

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.  

The first three courses satisfy the foreign language proficiency requirement for most majors in the Dornsife College of Arts, Letters and Sciences.  

Students can start with Hebrew I or place into a higher-level course by taking the Hebrew language assessment. Upper-level courses offer students a chance to dive more deeply into Israeli literature, business vocabulary and cultural diplomacy. There are also opportunities to do independent research at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. 

Hebrew is a perfect choice for students who have studied Hebrew in the past, whose parents or family speak Hebrew as a first language, who are interested in the Middle East, and/or who wish to explore religion, history, and culture.  

While learning Hebrew, students will investigate the relationship between cultures, practice communication skills and language use in different social and professional contexts and broaden their critical awareness about cultural stereotypes. Advanced Hebrew courses teach students how to recognize and navigate potential opportunities for and obstacles to successful intercultural communication. 

At all levels, students will explore places, people, art, photography, literature, poetry, films, and songs in the language that is spoken and written today. Students will gain both confidence and competence in communication skills, greater sophistication and complexity of expression, and nuanced written, oral and reading expertise. 


HEBR 120: Hebrew I (Fall Semester) 

This course focuses on the acquisition of speaking, reading, writing, and comprehension skills as well as cultural literacy. Students will become familiar with the sound and structure of Hebrew as they read and listen to a variety of written and oral texts relating to their own lives.  


HEBR 150: Hebrew II (Spring Semester) 

Prerequisite: HEBR 120 or proficiency assessment 

This course develops writing, reading and comprehension proficiency. Students will be able to describe themselves, their families, and interests as well as learn vocabulary related to shopping for clothes, talking about the weather and seasons, describing people and jobs, making travel arrangements, and planning a vacation.  


HEBR 220: Hebrew III (Fall Semester) 

Prerequisites: HEBR 120 and HEBR 150 or proficiency assessment 

Students will develop a more sophisticated vocabulary, contextual comprehension and interactive skills.  They will engage in learning about the linguistic, cultural, and historical roots of the language that essential for Hebrew language proficiency.  


HEBR 315: Modern Hebrew Language (Spring Semester) 

Prerequisite: HEBR 220 or proficiency assessment 

This course examines modern Hebrew language in depth and introduces students to contemporary popular culture, political discourse, and business and entrepreneurship vocabularies. Students deepen their fluency by unpacking the nuances of spoken and written Hebrew. 


JS 504Modern Hebrew Literature 

This graduate level course requires prior knowledge of Hebrew. Students will read unvocalized texts from Hebrew literature and explore the development of modern Hebrew literature, with an emphasis on modern and contemporary short story and poetry. 



The Hebrew language program at USC is administered by faculty in the Louchheim School for Judaic Studies in connection with USC’s academic partner HUC-JIR. 

Professor Hagit Arieli-Chai, a native Israeli and Hebrew Language Program Coordinator, specializes in language acquisition and language proficiency with a particular interest in second language study. She has degrees from California State University, Northridge and the American Jewish University. She is certified by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) as a national Oral and Written Language Assessor. 

She is an active member of the National Association of Professors of Hebrew (NAPH) and the Institute Européen D’Etudes Hébraïques.  

As part of her language courses, she incorporates the history and culture of Israel. Her scholarly research focuses on the practices related to language acquisition, the linguistic phenomenon of Hebrew roots, and cultural competency.  

Please contact the Jewish studies office for questions related to the Hebrew language assessment process and/or to set up an assessment appointment louchheim@huc.edu or 213-765-2113. 

For other questions about studying Hebrew, you can reach Professor Arieli-Chai by email


Study Abroad in Israel 


USC undergraduates may spend one semester or a year at Hebrew University of Jerusalem (HUJ) in the Rothberg International School (RIS). The program begins with a three-week pre-semester period of intensive Hebrew language study. USC students take a semester-long Hebrew language course and English-taught courses at RIS in fields such as archaeology, art history, environmental studies, history, international relations, Jewish and religious studies, Middle East and Islamic studies, literature, political science, neuroscience, and psychology. Students may also take Arabic or Yiddish at RIS. Although most regular HUJ courses are taught in Hebrew, there are well over a dozen regular HUJ courses offered in English. All USC students are required to take at least one regular HUJ course taught in English (or in Hebrew for students with advanced language ability). Students live on campus and participate in a variety of social and cultural activities at the university. Students must have completed one semester of college-level Hebrew or the equivalent to participate in this program. You can find more information about the program and how to apply from the Office of Overseas Studies. 



Several Websites offer a wealth of educational material about Hebrew language and culture as well as other languages of Jewish experience. Many help students gain proficiency in reading, speaking, and listening. Here are some of our favorites: 

Hebrew Language 

     Duolingo Hebrew 


Other Jewish Languages


     Yiddish Pop