For more information

For further information, feel free to peruse our website or contact the graduate program advisor:

ChaeRan Freeze
(781) 736-2987

For general questions (e.g., housing, scholarships and more), see the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences FAQ.

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"The NEJS department has provided an intellectually challenging, supportive environment in which to pursue my doctoral studies. My adviser and other faculty members have been more than generous with their time and knowledge. They have challenged me to deepen my knowledge, pursue new areas of interest, and maintain the highest academic standards. My fellow graduate students have created a cooperative, intellectually stimulating atmosphere in which we share our research and support each other as we make our way through the program."

Why Brandeis?

Professor ChaeRan Freeze with students

Brandeis’ Department of Near Eastern and Judaic Studies (NEJS) is one of the oldest, most extensive programs outside of the State of Israel, with the largest faculty in Jewish Studies of any secular American university. NEJS represents a wide variety of areas, approaches, and methodologies, including literature, philology, history, sociology, law, religious studies, and gender studies. We invite you to learn more about our program, including our three tracks:

Some highlights of Brandeis and our department include:

World-Class Faculty

At Brandeis, you have the opportunity to study with, and be mentored by, Near Eastern and Judaic Studies scholars who are famed luminaries and rising stars. Our internationally renowned faculty has published standard-setting and widely-cited books and articles. Their research exemplifies Brandeis' interdisciplinarity and garners prestigious honors, including a MacArthur genius grant, National Book Award, and multiple Salo Baron Prizes. 

Our Academic Approach

Texts, context, and method across our curriculum help students engage the past while standing at the vanguard of contemporary scholarship.

  • Texts: Our approach stresses working with texts in their original languages, in their historical contexts, and in dialogue with cutting-edge methods in the humanities and social sciences. Language expertise enables students to hear voices from the past first-hand, opens archives to new discoveries, and allows for original research;
  • Context: An emphasis on context underscores that cultural artifacts cannot be understood apart from the worlds in which they were produced;
  • Method: Methodological sophistication strengthens research and prepares students to work with colleagues in the variegated disciplines of history, literature, philosophy, sociology, gender studies, and religious studies.

Scholarships and Funding

Because our Ph.D. candidates complete extensive individualized research, we want you to complete your degree with the fewest possible interruptions, thus allowing you to move on to industry or academia expeditiously. Funding includes a full-tuition scholarship, a competitive stipend in return for teaching and/or research, and health insurance benefits.

Connected Institutes and Centers

Brandeis is home to a wide array of Jewish Studies centers and institutes that provide programming, promote research and scholarship, and offer opportunities for involving students in their work. These include the Cohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies, the Crown Center for Middle East Studies, the Feminist Sexual Ethics ProjectHornstein: The Jewish Community Leadership Program @ Brandeis, the Hadassah-Brandeis Institute, the National Center for Jewish Film, The Schusterman Center for Israel Studies, and the Tauber Institute for the Study of European Jewry.

Boston Area

The Greater Boston area is rich with history, culture, and intellectual resources. From museums, dining, shopping, and a variety of attractions such as sporting events and theatre, our students partake of this rich intellectual and cultural environment. In addition, cross-registration in courses is offered by the Boston Graduate Consortium, and students have access to seminars, talks, and other events across the city and beyond. 

Library Resources

Goldfarb Library has a nationally recognized collection of exceptional strength in most areas of Near Eastern and Judaic Studies. In addition, the Boston Library Consortium allows graduate students access books and materials from major libraries throughout the Boston area. 

Career Support

NEJS PhD alumni teach at the finest universities here and abroad, and have engaged in a variety of careers in the public and private sector. To this end, the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences' Office of Career Services helps with many aspects of the career search, including helping to identify opportunities, design an effective resume, and prepare for interviews.