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Judaic Studies Major Guide for 2015-2016

What is Judaic Studies?

The major concentration in Judaic Studies offers a course of study that treats Judaism as a historically evolving and culturally specific enterprise. The concentration explores Jewish culture, religion and heritage through literature, philosophy, archaeology, music, and history.  A multi-disciplinary combination of courses permits critical reflection about topics and issues in a world civilization and cross-cultural context.

Several funds and scholarships have been instituted to enhance educational experiences beyond the classroom, through a regular Judaic Lecture Series, the Solomon/Schwartz Distinguished Lecture Series, and the Karen and Pace Robinson Judaic Enrichment Fund. Two scholarships are also available for advanced Judaic Studies majors and minors: The Dr. Ruben P. Robinson Judaic Studies Scholarship and the Fern and Manfred Steinfield Scholarship in Judaic Studies.  In addition, both Modern and Biblical Hebrew are offered at the Beginner and Intermediate level.

Career Opportunities in Judaic Studies

The courses in this program provide a foundation for a variety of professional endeavors and graduate studies such as Government Service, Education, Nonprofit Organizations, Community Service, Law, Business, Communications, Politics, and Community Work.

Salary Trends in Judaic Studies

An Arts and Sciences degree can propel students into limitless directions. Majors are not always the deciding factor as to what career path is followed. As with any degree, pre-professional experiences (volunteerism, work experience, internships, etc.) enhance the chances of obtaining desired employment and further affect the projected salary.

High School Preparation

Courses in history, literature, languages, and the arts and humanities in general as well as solid writing skills are recommended as the best preparation for course work in this program.

How to Major in Judaic Studies

There are no prerequisites for a concentration in Judaic Studies. A student interested in a Judaic Studies concentration should consult the Program chair, Dr. Gilya Schmidt, or a member of the Judaic Studies Advisory Committee who will help to set up a course of study.

Requirements for Judaic Studies

The major concentration in Judaic Studies consists of a minimum of 30 semester hours at the 300 level or above to be chosen from an approved list of courses. Required courses are Religious Studies 381 and History 383; 12 hours from Religious Studies 311, 312, 320, 385, 386, 405 and History 370, and 12 hours from Art History 425 and 431; Ger­man 350; History 369, 382, 395, and 484; Philosophy 322; Religious Studies 321 and 413. All of the above courses are cross-listed under Judaic Studies.  At the discretion of the Judaic Studies Committee, other courses with sufficient Jewish content may be used.

Special Programs, Co-ops, and Internships

A Judaic Studies minor is also available. Study abroad is highly recommended. Prospective students are also encouraged to become double majors or College Scholars with a Judaic Studies minor.

Highlights of Judaic Studies

In addition to regular guest lectures by visiting scholars, the Judaic Studies Program organizes conferences on topics such as the Holocaust and Israel, and symposia based on the work of distinguished scholars on topics of wide interest.  Between 2008-2011, the program in collaboration with the College of Arts and Sciences and the Knoxville Jewish community funded a Schusterman Visiting Israel Professor, residing in the Religious Studies Department.  Since 2009, the program is also offering Beginning and Intermediate Modern Hebrew, taught by the Guilford and Diane Glazer and Allen and Lea Orwitz Teaching Fellow in Modern Hebrew.  Religious Studies also offers Beginning and Intermediate Biblical Hebrew.

Ready for the World logo

“Ready for the World” is part of a long-range plan to transform the UTK campus into a culture of diversity that best prepares students for working and competing in the 21st century.  Thus students are encouraged to actively participate in the diverse cultural programs offered on campus.  Some of these events include the guest lecture series, cultural nights at the International House, and international film screenings.  Visit the Center for International Education web site ( or the Ready for the World web site ( for more information on upcoming cultural programs and activities. Learn more about UT’s Ready for the World initiative to help students gain the international and intercultural knowledge they need to succeed in today’s world.

Students are also encouraged to develop a global perspective within their academic program through study abroad. The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, offers study abroad programs in Asia, Europe, Africa, Australia, South America, and North America. Program lengths vary from mini-term trips to the entire academic year, and students may choose to fulfill general education requirements, study a foreign language, or take courses within their majors. In addition, UTK offers students opportunities for international internships.

Students are highly encouraged to begin planning early in their academic career and to consult with an academic advisor about the best time to study abroad as well as what courses to take abroad. For more information about program options, the application process, and how to finance study abroad, please visit the Programs Abroad Office website.

Academic Plan and Milestones

Following an academic plan will help students stay on track to graduate in four years. For first-time, first-year, full-time, degree-seeking students, UT has implemented Universal Tracking (uTrack), an academic monitoring system designed to help students stay on track for timely graduation. In order to remain on track, students must complete the minimum requirements for each tracking semester, known as milestones. Milestones may include successful completion of specified courses and/or attainment of a minimum GPA.

To see a sample academic plan and milestones for this major, please visit the undergraduate catalog.

For More Information

Dr. Gilya Schmidt
Professor of Religious Studies
Director, The Fern and Manfred Steinfeld Program in Judaic Studies
(865) 974-2466


The information on this page should be considered general information only. For more specific information on this and other programs refer to the UT catalog or contact the department and/or college directly.

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