AJRCA’s Master of Jewish Studies degree is designed to provide a platform for developing your unique qualities in ways that can serve Jewish and/or interfaith communities. You will build a groundwork of Jewish knowledge, and then, with an adviser, select the courses that will best qualify you to serve in your chosen area. A variety of positions in synagogues, agencies, Jewish centers, and spiritual or faith-based programs will be open to you upon completion of the degree.
Course requirements total 36 semester units plus Hebrew language requirements, which differ depending on your specialty. A full-time student can complete the Master’s degree in less than two years.
Many of the courses for the Master’s degrees will be offered online. You may be required to be on campus for intensives of up to two weeks in length for some classes.
The core curriculum for the Master’s degree includes 18 units of courses in Tanakh (Bible), liturgy, rabbinic literature, law, and custom, and Jewish history and thought. Your specialization will require 18 units, including 3 units of a capstone course which will result in a substantial final project, either a focused area of research or an area of specific practical concern.
Jewish Values and Ethics
The Torah describes the Jewish people as “a wise and understanding people,” and this is certainly true in the realm of ethical reflection. With critical issues facing the world, Jews have a tremendous opportunity and responsibility to bring Jewish values and ethics to bear on our society. This track provides a foundation in classical biblical and rabbinic literature, followed by seminars in contemporary Jewish ethics. Students who complete this degree track can become teachers, adult educators, and consultants in a variety of communal settings.
Music in Jewish Life
Music is a powerful inspiring, integrating, and healing force in communities. This specialization will enrich the student’s access to musical resources and ability to implement that knowledge in the context of Jewish community. Students will also be trained in Jewish musicology and related disciplines, and gain tools to contribute to this diverse and growing field.
In this specialization, the following are required beyond the core curriculum:
- History of Jewish Community Structures
- Jewish Music History, 6 units
- Musical Diversity
- Jewish Musicology
- Capstone Project
- Hebrew language: one year biblical Hebrew (6 units) or equivalent proficiency
Our contemporary communal reality includes practitioners and believers from many non-Jewish religious, humanistic, and spiritual traditions. This degree track offers an orientation to this complex reality and the opportunity to acquire skills that enable students to offer practical assistance to individuals, families, and groups of various religions.
Individually Designed Programs
The Master’s degree offers the possibility of combining elements of two or more of the above specializations. or courses from the chaplaincy specialization, to create a specific educational track. A person specifically interested in conflict resolution, for example, might combine courses in history, spirituality, and interfaith relations. An interfaith specialist could add a unit of clinical pastoral education. An artist interested in Bible and midrash could add spirituality and interfaith topics.
All program designs are created with a faculty advisor and subject to approval by the Dean(s) of the schools whose courses are most directly involved.