Undergraduate Degree & Course Catalog

Jewish Studies BA

Jewish Thought

712 Clemens Hall
North Campus
Buffalo, NY 14261-0026
Sergey Dolgopolski
Alexander Green
Director of Undergraduate Studies
Michele Parente
Assistant to the Chair
(HEGIS: 03.00 AREA STUDIES UNCLASSIFID, CIP: 38.0206 Jewish/ Judaic Studies)

Why study Jewish Studies BA at UB?

Whether you have a religious affiliation or not, if you want to;

  • get a comprehensive academic understanding of Judaism and of the ways in which Judaism contributes to and defines the core of Western civilization from antiquity till today
  • understand the role Judaism, Jewish thought and practice play in Western society
  • appreciate Jewish thought and practice academically rather than how they are presented in a synagogue, a church, a mosque, or in popular culture
  • explore the way in which Biblical call for Ethical Monotheism combines with Greek philosophy and Roman Law to form the core of contemporary Western Civilization
  • be able to converse in Modern Hebrew Language and/or to have an access to classical Jewish texts in their original language
  • apply the millennia-long tradition of Jewish Thought to understanding and, possibly, solving problems and concerns of modern society
  • get an education rather than only a profession 
  • explore how Judaism relates to myth and religion
  • find a way to position yourself well for post-graduate education in humanities and/or law
  • or, simply – and most importantly -- to open your mind as broadly as possibly, and to learn to think critically and independently

You should pursue a BA in the Department of Jewish Thought.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of all requirements, the student will be able to:

  • To advance from consuming knowledge to producing knowledge;
  • To understand academic way of producing knowledge, to master methods of knowing, and to understand their applicability and limitations, 
  • Show sophisticated knowledge of core elements, concepts and implications of Jewish thought, ethics and practice and to appreciate their role in Western Civilization
  • Understand and apply key concepts, theories, and methods in academic study of Jewish Thought and practice
  • knowledge of the History of Judaism, from its biblical Middle Eastern beginnings to its contemporary global and multi-cultural contexts, 
  • Study Judaism in wide range of interdisciplinary contexts, including philosophy, literature ethics, comparative religion, and critical theory
  • Conduct research: pose questions, obtain evidence, analyze sources, assess information, construct an argument
  • Understand critical methods of inquiry and use critical reading skills and think critically
  • Use effective written communication skills in academic writing: to engage primary and secondary sources, to access critically the methods these sources use, and to express a point of view on a subject and support it with evidence
  • Cultivate oral communication: present research findings clearly, analyze primary and secondary sources in class discussion
  • To engage in thinking collectively within a group through group projects, including but not limited to using theatrical, cinematic and other ways of expression to develop and display an ability to think critically and independently about a problem at hand. 
  • To conduct a conversation in Modern Hebrew, and to have basic skills necessary to access classical Hebrew texts in their original language (if taking Hebrew language for four semesters).

The Learning Environment

The Jewish Studies program fosters a strong sense of community, in which students feel nurtured and supported. Faculty know students by name and are uniquely able to help them develop intellectually and to craft a program of study suited to their particular interests. The Department of Jewish Thought regularly hosts lectures, conferences and events, with twice-yearly departmental dinners and receptions. These offer unique opportunities to learn about specific aspects of Jewish studies, and, often, the chance to meet famous scholars in the field. Together, these events work to create a strong community of inquiry.

About Our Facilities

Many of our classes and event are held in the Samuel Friedman Library in 708 Clemens. This is the geographical heart of our department, featuring books related to all areas of the Jewish experience that foster the passion for inquiry that is central to the Jewish tradition. This provides an intimate setting for students to get to know each other and their professors. That distinguishes Jewish Studies courses from those in other departments.

About Our Faculty

The Department of Jewish Thought is a leading program of its kind and the only department of Jewish Thought in all of the United States. The faculty consists of nationally and internationally prominent scholars who are also devoted teachers. Their interests include philosophy, literature, Bible and Talmud, ethics, mysticism, and gender and sexuality studies, and much more.

We encourage students to see professors whose research and area of expertise is of potential interest for them and establish working research relationships with the professor.

We recommend that students meet with the Director of Undergraduate Studies (709 Clemens Hall, marlaseg@buffalo.edu), to discuss their future program and the requirements of the department.

Please visit our department website for additional information about our faculty.

Faculty List Directory

Please visit the Jewish Thought department website for additional information about our faculty.

Career Outlook

Career Choices:

  • Advocate
  • Archivist
  • Author
  • Broadcaster
  • Conservationist 
  • Consultant
  • Cultural or charitable organization president
  • Editor and publisher
  • Historian
  • Film/art critic
  • Fundraiser
  • Journalist
  • Lawyer
  • Librarian
  • Paralegal
  • Physician, health care worker, health sciences researcher
  • Politician or Public official
  • Researcher
  • Social Worker
  • Screenwriter
  • Teacher
  • University administrator
  • Urban Planner
  • Writer

Work settings include:

  • Advertising agencies
  • Book publishers
  • Chambers of commerce
  • Educational institutions
  • Government agencies
  • Health and human service organizations
  • Large companies
  • Law firms
  • Literary agencies
  • Magazines
  • Museums
  • Newspapers
  • Non-profit sector
  • Political offices
  • Printing firms
  • Public interest organizations
  • Public libraries
  • Radio/television stations
  • Research institutions
  • Schools
  • Social Sciences
  • Theaters
  • Tutoring services
  • Opportunities for Post-Baccalaureate Study include:

    • Brandeis University
    • Columbia University
    • Cornell University
    • Duke University
    • Emory University
    • Harvard University
    • Hebrew Union College
    • Hebrew University of Jerusalem
    • Indiana University
    • Jewish Theological Seminary
    • McGill University
    • New York University
    • Rice University
    • Stanford University
    • Tel-Aviv University
    • University of California, Berkeley
    • University of Chicago
    • University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
    • University of Toronto
    • University of Pennsylvania
    • University of Virginia
    • Yale University
    • Yeshiva University

    Academic Advising

    We recommend that students meet with the Director of Undergraduate Studies (709 Clemens Hall, marlaseg@buffalo.edu), to discuss their future program and the requirements of the department.

    Academic Advising Contact Information

    Marla Segol

    Jewish Studies Undergraduate Advisor


    Scholarships and Financial Support

    We offer several merit-based awards, including the Harold J. and Arlyne G. Levy Award in Jewish Studies, Irving M. and Marilyn C. Shuman Scholarship, and the Ruth and Isadore Bob Endowed Fellowship for graduate students.

    Published: November 17, 2017 09:58:49 AM