for more information

For further information about the graduate program, contact the Director of Graduate Studies:

ChaeRan Freeze
NEJS Department, MS 054
Brandeis University
Waltham, MA 02453-9110
(781) 736-2987

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

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Why Earn an M.A. in NEJS?



NEJS offers a range of master's degree programs geared to the individual needs of students. Whether your interests are broad or narrow, our programs and course offerings will stretch you intellectually and teach you what you need to know to advance.

  • An M.A. that focuses on ancient Near East and Bible provides background into the religious and cultural forces that shaped Western civilization.
  • An M.A. that focuses on the modern Middle East opens a window on one of the world’s most critical and divided regions, background essential to understanding contemporary events.
  • An M.A. that focuses on Jewish studies provides a foundation for lifelong Jewish learning and multiple perspectives on the historical, religious and cultural dimensions of the Jewish experience.

There are, in addition, some practical reasons to seek the M.A. degree:

Job Prospects

The M.A. will greatly enhance your opportunities to work in a wide range of Jewish settings, including schools, museums and communal organizations as well as the diplomatic corps.It may also serve as a stepping stone to a professional degree, such as rabbinic ordination.

Enhanced Credentials for Doctoral Program

The M.A. will significantly enhance your qualifications if you plan to pursue a doctoral program; this can be especially useful if you seek to enter graduate school in a field outside your undergraduate major. You will have the opportunity to study many languages that are needed for beginning doctoral work; in fact, Brandeis has the largest Hebrew Language program of any university outside of Israel. The M.A. program is flexible so that a student will be able to build a bridge from previous undergraduate training to future doctoral work in any field of Jewish, Biblical and Near Eastern, and Islamic and Middle Eastern study.

Material Benefits

Having the M.A. significantly enhances your qualifications and pay in most public and private organizations.

Test the Water

The M.A. can help you decide whether the academic path is right for you—before you invest a great deal of time in a multi-year doctoral program.

Transferable Skills

The emphasis on research and writing will give you the skills that are critical for any career path and will serve in good stead in a wide array of graduate and professional schools--including law school, business school and medical school--and in general careers, where exposure to cultural and spiritual values and issues combined with the ability to think clearly and write cogently are desirable assets.