MBA Core Courses

HS 215 Corporate Finance
HS 245 Economics
HS 248 Financial Management
HS 250 Financial Accounting
HS 251 Managerial Accounting
HS 252 Strategic Management
HS 254 Human Resources Management
HS 258 Operations Management
HS 285 Marketing
HS 299 Team Consulting Final Project

Heller MBA website for full descriptions

MPP Core Courses

HS 303 Historical and Contemporary Developments in Social Welfare
HS 332 Research Methods and Evaluation
HS 336 Capstone Seminar
HS 341 Public Finance
HS 372 Economic Theory and Social Policy
HRNS/HS 404 Regression Analysis
HS 405 Econometrics
HS 472 Policy and Program Implementation
HS 532 Social Policy Analysis

Heller MPP website for full descriptions

NEJS Courses

NEJS 231 Graduate Proseminar
NEJS Final Project or Thesis

Students choose an additional 7 courses from among a large selection of 100-level and above courses listed on the NEJS website.

Hebrew Language

As the language that unifies the Jewish people, Hornstein encourages students to know the Hebrew alphabet prior to beginning their studies and to become proficient in modern Hebrew. Proficiency at a level comparable to one year (MA/MBA and MA/MPP programs) or two years (MA/MA program) of Brandeis University training is required for graduation. Students not meeting this requirement upon entrance are required to enroll in courses in Hebrew language during their academic residency.

Academic Courses



All Hornstein students earn a Master of Arts in Jewish Professional Leadership and one additional degree:

  • Master of Business Administration (MBA),
  • Master of Public Policy (MPP), or
  • Master of Arts in Near Eastern and Judaic Studies

The Hornstein Program takes place over 21 months: two academic years (fall and spring semesters) and half the summer in-between. Students must be on campus and physically present for all classes, including for the Heller summer courses.

Courses for the Hornstein MA in Jewish Professional Leadership are listed below. Courses for the second degrees—MBA, MPP, or NEJS MA—are listed to the right.

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HRNS 231b - Jewish Community in Historical Perspective - Jonathan Sarna
This course uses history to shed light on the issues and challenges facing the contemporary American Jewish community.  It asks how the community assumed its current shape, and uses a series of historical case studies to examine past crises and the lessons that might be learned from them. The goal of the course is to help students craft a "usable past" – one that employs the hindsight of history to understand the present and help plan the future. 4 credits.
HRNS 237b - Organizational Behavior in Jewish Nonprofits - Mark Rosen

Integrates contemporary management theories, case studies, experiential exercises, and traditional Jewish teachings to provide frameworks and skills that help students to understand, predict, and influence individual and group behavior in Jewish nonprofit organizations. Topics covered include motivation, trust, ethics, group dynamics, decision-making, power, conflict, influence, negotiation, lay-professional relations, leadership, organizational culture, and organizational change. 4 credits.

HRNS 241a - Skills and Techniques in Jewish Fundraising and Philanthropy - David Mersky

Provides a conceptual framework and develops a community organizing approach to implementing fundraising campaigns for Jewish communal enterprises. 4 credits.

HRNS 246a - Statistics for Jewish Professional Leaders - Matt Boxer

Provides an introduction to statistical thinking and analytical methods. Focus is on understanding statistical reasoning and interpreting analyses. Topics include descriptive and inferential statistics applied to understanding survey research, evaluation, and policy studies relevant to Jewish organizational leadership. 2 credits.

HRNS 247f - Evaluation for Jewish Professional Leaders - Len Saxe

Provides participants with an understanding of the basic concepts of evaluation research and their application to Jewish communal policy. Emphasizes methodological issues and their application to social interventions and program delivery using exemplars from the Jewish communal sphere. 2 credits.

HRNS 297a - Professional Field Experience - Mark Rosen

Students work 150-250 hours under the mentorship of a leader in a Jewish nonprofit organization. Placements are carefully designed to advance professional leadership skills and match students' interests and career goals. Each student is advised by a faculty member and by Hornstein's Director of Fieldwork. 2 credits.

HRNS 350a - Myra Kraft Seminar in Israel - Ellen Smith, Rachel Fish

An intensive examination of contemporary issues in Israeli society and its relationship with Diaspora communities. Held on campus during fall semesters and in Israel during winter break. 4 credits.

HRNS 380a - Proseminar: Issues, Structure and Perspectives of the American Jewish Community - Ellen Smith

This seminar provides entering students with an introduction to key issues in American Jewish communal life. The course provides students with the basic background, major themes, and shared readings that serve as a foundation for Jewish professional life. 4 credits.

HRNS 399a Capstone

The final course in the Hornstein curriculum, the class transitions Hornstein learning to the coming professional workplace in the Jewish community through faculty "last lectures," critical assessments of current issues, and student presentations. 2 credits.

Culminating Project

During the final Hornstein semester, each Hornstein student completes a culminating project which integrates the knowledge and skills gained in both of the degree programs. Students work with advisors from both degree programs. 2 credits.


HRNS/HS 232a Team Consulting Project Workshop - Larry Bailis, Carole Carlson, Ellen Smith
A series of sessions designed to provide students with the team building and consulting skills necessary to meet the team consulting projects client needs and provide them with tools that will be useful throughout their careers. Several sessions will enable teams to share their experiences with other teams and problem solve as a group. Course taken in conjunction with HS 299 Team Consulting Final Project.


Dual MA/MPP students must meet the MPP second-year capstone requirement and will generally focus their papers on Jewish community-related policy. Students will demonstrate the ability to define and diagnose public policy situations, collect relevant information, perform logical analysis, develop alternatives, and make compelling recommendations; and to organize and communicate information clearly to a variety of audiences through formats including verbal presentations, policy briefs, and statistical charts, graphs, and tables.


Students may choose among three NEJS MA capstone options:
1. Write an MA thesis.
2. Complete a significant final project.
3. Take an oral examination


HRNS 205f - Summer Camp: The American Jewish Experience - Joe Reimer

How did American summer camps evolve? How did American Jews appropriate this form for their communal needs? How did leadership develop and what are the pressing issues of today? These questions will be examined from historical, educational, and managerial perspectives.

HRNS 206b - Informal Education in Jewish Settings - Joe Reimer

This course is an exploration of what we mean by ‘informal education’ and how serious Jewish educators have brought "informal education" and "experiential learning" to settings as diverse as summer camps, Israel trips, arts programs, and community service initiatives.

HRNS 230f - Managing Jewish Nonprofits - Mark Rosen

Virtually all of the work of the modern Jewish community is done through nonprofit organizations. This course is designed to acquaint Hornstein students who are not enrolled in the Heller MBA program with the most widely-used concepts, tools, and practices utilized by managers in the Jewish nonprofit sector. Topics covered include mission development, governance, strategic planning, human resources, financial resources, marketing and communications, and performance management.

HRNS 239b - History and Philosophy of Jewish Philanthropy and Fundraising - David Mersky
Utilizing classical texts to illuminate the history and values of tzedakah, this course explores different presentation techniques employed in the contemporary Jewish communal setting. Students learn how to bring enduring Jewish values to bear upon the different tasks involved in the process of fundraising and development in Jewish organizational life.
HRNS 243b - Financial Resource Development for the Nonprofit Agency - David Mersky

Explores the strategic approach to funding the nonprofit agency with an emphasis on major gifts management. Students learn the process of planning, developing and soliciting leadership support through readings, lectures, guest speakers, case studies, simulations, and role plays.

HRNS 248f - Jewish Texts for Professional Leaders - Joe Reimer

An introduction to Jewish text study in English on themes from Biblical, rabbinic, medieval and modern sources. Students will gain appreciation for how these texts grapple with key question still alive for world Jewry.

HRNS 298a Advanced Professional Field Experience
For Hornstein students who wish to pursue an additional elective field experience beyond the requirement of HRNS 297b. Students work a minimum of 125 hours in a Jewish nonprofit organization, and are required to conduct a literature review and submit a related paper that is connected to their fieldwork project. Fieldwork projects are carefully designed to provide students with practical experience as well as guidance and mentoring from experienced Jewish professionals. Each student is advised by the Director of Field Experience Programs. 2 credits.
NEJS 145a History of the State of Israel - Ilan Troen

Examines the development of the State of Israel from its foundation to the present time. Israel's politics, society, and culture will be thematically analyzed. Usually offered every year.

NEJS 162a- American Judaism - Jonathan Sarna

American Judaism from the earliest settlements to the present, with particular emphasis on the various streams of the American Judaism. Judaism's place in American religion and comparisons to Judaism in other countries.

NEJS 235b Philosophy of Jewish Education - Jon Levisohn

 What should Jewish education be? What are its legitimate goals? What are the competing visions of an educated Jew, and how do these influence educational practice? How is Jewish education similar to and different from other kinds of religious education? Usually offered every second year.


Want to delve into a topic not offered by one of our electives? If so, you might consider organizing an elective "Readings Course" with a Hornstein professor or other interested faculty member.

Two- or four-credit readings courses can be taken during the fall, spring, or summer semesters for one to five students. Students may take up to two readings courses during their time at Hornstein. Just remember to plan well in advance of the semester in which you'd like to take the course.

For more information, contact Rise Singer, Hornstein Program Manager.