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Jewish Studies (Middle Eastern Studies)
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Study programme

  • Doing Jewish Studies
    Period 1
    Period 2
  • Term Paper Hebrew and Jewish Studies
    Period 3
  • Free-choice electives
    Period 1
    Period 2
    Period 4
    Period 5
  • Master's Thesis Hebrew and Jewish Studies
    Period 4
    Period 5
    Period 6
Compulsory course
UvA Course Catalogue: Jewish Studies
  • Core courses

    The Master's in Jewish Studies is built around two core components:

    • Doing Jewish Studies: this core course offers an indepth introduction to academic Jewish Studies as a profession. Centering on concrete historical cases and sources, it is designed to help each student place his/her area of specialisation within the broader field, both historically and theoretically. Students will acquire a broad repertoire of scholarly approaches, which they can apply to their own research trajectories.
    • Term paper: the term paper is connected to the Winterschool in Hebrew and Jewish Studies, which offers an interdisciplinary exploration of a selected theme through a combination of lectures, reading groups, site visits and ateliers.
  • Electives

    You can tailor the programme to your own interests through a broad range of electives. Each students trajectory is designed in close consultation with the programme director and study adviser. Some recent examples: East European Jews in the Cold War; Central texts in Jewish mysticism; Early modern Yiddish; Secular Judaism; Images of the other in rabbinic literature; Orthodoxy and LHGBTQ+; Israeli memory culture of the Shoah.

  • Excursion: the International Winter School in Jewish Studies

    The programme includes the International Winter School in Jewish Studies: one week with staff and students on a location somewhere else in Europe or Israel, together with students from the Open University of Israel and King’s College London. Centred around a challenging theme, lectures, excursions and meetings with local Jewish communities and heritage institutions are offered

  • Internships 

    Internships are possible in the Amsterdam Jewish heritage institutions, but also at universities, libraries, media, ministries, or NGOs, both in the Netherlands and abroad. For information on available internships and the experiences of other student interns, please consult prof. Irene Zwiep, or follow the link.

    Read more about internships during your Masters's
    Prof. dr. I.E. (Irene) Zwiep

    Faculty of Humanities

    Capaciteitsgroep Semitische talen en culturen

  • Thesis 

    The Master's thesis reports on research carried out by the student under the supervision of an academic staff member involved in the programme. The subject of the thesis must be mutually agreed upon by the student and academic adviser(s).

Credit transfer

Students who show exceptional promise during a regular or professional Master's programme are encouraged to continue their studies in a research Master's programme. Once students are admitted to the research Master's programme, they can transfer credits earned during their previous course of study towards their Research Master's degree. The Examinations Board determines which courses qualify for transfer.

Frequently Asked Questions
  • Why study this master?

    This MA is unique in the way that it offers a tailor-made programme for each student. Next to the introductory course ‘Doing Jewish Studies’ students will get a programme with tutorials and courses centred around their own interests. Any topic in the broad field of Jewish studies is possible, ranging from Hebrew Bible and Dead Sea Scrolls, to Yiddish literature and Hebrew cinema, from Jews in colonial contexts to Amsterdam Jewish history. A highpoint in the programme is the International Winter School in Jewish Studies, organized by our faculty together with the Open University of Israel and King’s College London. MA students from all three universities visit together a third country for a week of lectures, debates, and excursions. The last few years the Winter School has been in Jerusalem, Athens and Thessalonica and Prague. Madrid is scheduled to be the next location. Finally, the programme offers ample opportunities for internships in museums, libraries, NGOs and other cultural and political institutions in the Netherlands and abroad.

  • What specialisations can I choose from?

    All topics and themes in the broad field of Jewish studies are possible. Through the tailormade programme the MA accommodates a broad variety of specializations. In the last few years students have specialized, amongst others, in histories of Caribbean Jews, memory cultures of Brazilian Jewry, early modern Yiddish pinkasim, contested Jewish religious rites in modernity, Arab movies in the Israeli cinema, Political identities of American Jewry, Arab Jewish (anti-)Zionisms, Second Temple Period Judaism, Haskalah, and Sephardic Kabbalah.  

  • Can I do an internship or study abroad?

    Yes, both internships of following courses abroad are possible. Students have had internships in the Jewish Cultural Quarter of Amsterdam, collaborating in the preparation of exhibitions, or have been in similar institutions within the Jewish infrastructure of Amsterdam. Also internships in Israel, the USA or elsewhere in Europe are possible. If it fits the student’s tailormade programme, studying abroad can be integrated into it. Lately students have studied at New York University and at the Heinrich-Heine-Universität Düsseldorf.

  • What language can I study during this programme?

    The MA does not offer language courses, but students may integrate working with languages into their tailormade programme. This ranging from Hebrew and Yiddish to Judeo-Arabic and Ladino.

  • Do I need to have a Jewish background and/or do I need to speak Hebrew?

    No, students from all backgrounds are most welcome in our programme. Most MA groups consist of a wide variety of students, including Orthodox, Reform and secular Jews, Christians and people of no particular religious persuasion. As this is an English language MA, students also hail from different countries. Knowledge of Hebrew is not required, but those who want to work with the language and its literature will have all possibilities. Likewise, the MA does not limit itself to Israel, but rather perceives Jewish studies as a prism for studying the whole world.