Graduate Programs in Near Eastern and Judaic Studies (NEJS)

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About the Program

Brandeis University's Department of Near Eastern and Judaic Studies (NEJS) bears a proud tradition of scholarly excellence in the fields that it embraces:

  • The study of the Jewish people, including their history, religion, literature and place in civilization;
  • The history, languages, and culture of the Bible and ancient Near East;
  • The study of Arabic and Islamic civilizations.

NEJS is one of the oldest and largest programs of its type outside of the State of Israel. We have the largest faculty in Jewish Studies of any secular American university. At Brandeis, students have the opportunity to study with the scholars who are, in many cases, the foremost experts in the world in their field. Our internationally renowned faculty has published dozens of books and hundreds of articles. Many are known throughout the world.

Degree Options:

  • Ph.D. in Near Eastern & Judaic Studies
  • M.A. in Near Eastern & Judaic Studies (full- and part-time)
  • Joint M.A. in Women’s, Gender, & Sexuality Studies and Near Eastern & Judaic Studies (full- and part-time)
  • Joint M.A. in Coexistence & Conflict and Near Eastern & Judaic Studies. Please visit Brandeis' Heller School for Social Policy and Management website for more information.
  • Dual M.A. with Hornstein: Jewish Professional Leadership. Please visit the Hornstein website for more information. (full-time only)
  • B.A./M.A. in Near Eastern & Judaic Studies (for current Brandeis undergraduates)
  • Joint B.A./M.A. in Women’s, Gender, & Sexuality Studies and Near Eastern & Judaic Studies (for current Brandeis undergraduates)


We encourage you to explore one of the department’s greatest assets through our faculty pages.

Courses and Degree Requirements

For the most updated course listing, course descriptions, and degree requirements, please visit the Registrar.

How to Apply

Please note: Applicants to the Hornstein/NEJS Dual M.A. should consult the admission information on the Hornstein website. Applicants to the Joint M.A. in Coexistence & Conflict and NEJS should visit the Heller School's website.

Application Deadlines:

Ph.D.: January 15; fall admission only
M.A.: Applications received by January 15 will be given first consideration, though applications will be accepted through May 1.
Joint M.A. in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and NEJS: January 15
B.A./M.A.: Current undergraduates should apply for the B.A./M.A. program during their sixth semester at Brandeis using our online application.

Admission Requirements

To apply for all programs, you need to submit:

  • An online application;
  • An application fee (please click here for more information);
  • Transcripts from all universities and colleges attended must be uploaded to your application; do not mail official transcripts to our office. For more information, visit Frequently Asked Questions;
  • Three letters of recommendation, submitted online. The B.A./M.A. program requires only one letter of recommendation.
  • curriculum vitae (CV) or resumé;
  • statement of purpose indicating your reasons for undertaking graduate study. In addition, please describe your qualifications for the academic program and your objectives in undertaking this program.
  • Writing Sample not exceeding 35 pages; the 35-page maximum may consist of a single critical essay or two shorter essays of approximately equal length.
  • Graduate Record Exam (GRE) recommended, but not required. Brandeis undergraduates applying to the B.A./M.A. program do not need the GRE. Note: For the joint M.A. in NEJS/Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies program, the GRE IS required. Our GRE institution code is 3092 (please note: this institution code only applies to GRE scores).
  • International applicants:  For additional requirements for international applicants (non-U.S. citizens or non-permanent residents), minimum TOEFL, IELTS, or PTE scores, and important information regarding visas, please click here. If you are submitting TOEFL scores, please note that our TOEFL institution code is 3261.

For a more comprehensive description of application requirements, please visit Frequently Asked Questions.

Financial Aid and Scholarships

Generous scholarships and financial aid are available; for more information please visit Financial Aid.

Careers and Alumni

Students and alumni can work closely with Career Services for an array of resources, including CV/resume help, job search, and networking. Learn more about careers in Near Eastern and Judaic Studies.