Jewish Studies at UC Santa Cruz is an intellectually compelling, interdisciplinary program that makes it possible for students to achieve an extraordinary depth and breadth of learning about Jewish history and culture. From the social history of ancient Israel to the comparative study of modern Jewish cultures, our courses range across three millennia and five continents, with particular emphasis on the dynamic histories of Jews in the world's great cities. We also offer courses in Hebrew and Yiddish, modern Jewish history, the history of Zionism, the Hebrew Bible, an interdisciplinary approach to the study of the Holocaust, Middle Eastern and North African Jewish history, Latin American Jewish history, the history of Jewish radicalism, Anti-Semitism and the American legal system, the history of Israel, and a variety of courses on Jewish music, including the music of modern Israel and music in the lands of Islam. UC Santa Cruz is one of the very few campuses in California where undergraduates have the opportunity to major in Jewish Studies.
Study and Research Opportunities
Students have the opportunity to participate in the UCSC Center for Jewish Studies Summer Fellowship at Diarna. Diarna fellows use digital mapping and database technologies to virtually preserve and ensure untrammeled access to endangered Jewish heritage sites across North Africa and the Middle East. Fellows are based in either Santa Cruz or New York City and receive a sizable stipend.
Students also contribute to UC Santa Cruz's venerable magazine Leviathan, the longest-running college newspaper devoted to reporting and commentary on Jewish subjects.
Information for First-Year Students (Freshmen)
High school students planning to major or minor in Jewish Studies at UC Santa Cruz need no special preparation other than the high school courses necessary for UC admission. Some background courses in history and Hebrew language are helpful but not essential.
Information for Transfers
Transfer students are enthusiastically encouraged to major or minor in Jewish Studies at UCSC! Requirements can be completed within two years, even if you haven’t completed any preparatory coursework prior to transferring. Some background in history and in literary analysis and interpretation is desirable, but not essential. Preparatory work in art history, philosophy, or politics, depending on the student’s interests, may also be useful.
While it is not a condition of admission, students from California Community Colleges are advised to complete the Intersegmental General Education Transfer Curriculum (IGETC) in preparation for transfer to UCSC.
Depending on their skills, interests, values, and experience, students who major in Jewish Studies may find employment in a variety of fields and sectors, including education, media/communications, community/social services, entrepreneurship, research, arts/design, consulting, marketing, sales, healthcare services, law, human resources, information technology, and finance. In addition to knowledge of history, geography, language, and culture, Jewish Studies majors develop many skills valued by employers, including: critical thinking, research, writing, problem solving, communication, and interpersonal skills.
Jewish Studies students are encouraged to expand their horizons in interdisciplinary and international settings! The UC Education Abroad Program (EAP) offers students an opportunity to study abroad in over 40 countries with 171 program options, including study abroad programs in Israel.
Jewish Studies students participate in a lively series of special events throughout the academic year. Every lecture by a distinguished visiting scholar, and every conference on a particular aspect of Jewish history or culture, is tied to a specific Jewish Studies course. There is a genuine community of learning, a partnership between professors and students as they explore the most exciting new trends in the field of Jewish Studies.
Awards, Honors, and Recognitions
Assistant professor of history and Jewish Studies Alma Rachel Heckman has been appointed as the Neufeld-Levin Holocaust Endowed Chair.
UC Santa Cruz has established an endowed chair to honor the accomplishments of Distinguished Emeritus Professor Murray Baumgarten, whose interdisciplinary vision of Jewish Studies has guided the program at UCSC for three decades.
Jewish Studies alumni Catherine Damon, Hana Rothstein, and Monica Deeb all received Jewish Community Federation Haas/Koshland Memorial Awards, which provide up to $20,000 to support a year of study and personal development in Israel.
General Catalog Information
The Jewish Studies program is administered by the History Department.
University of California, Santa Cruz
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