Department of Near Eastern and Judaic Studies

Master of Arts in Near Eastern and Judaic Studies

If you want to delve more deeply into a topic about which you are particularly impassioned, enhance your credentials for a job, or hone the critical skills you'll need to pursue a doctoral degree, you should consider pursuing a Master of Arts (MA) in Near Eastern and Judaic Studies (NEJS).

As a master's degree candidate in NEJS, you may work with faculty to tailor your own, personalized course of study, or you may elect to follow one of three tracks:

  • Bible and Ancient Near East: the Hebrew Bible, in its original language, studied through the rich and varied prisms of Near Eastern texts, languages, histories, and religions.
    Note: The Near Eastern and Judaic Studies department is not accepting applications in the field of Bible and the Ancient Near East for the academic year 2022-23.

  • Jewish Studies: the Jewish people's history, religion, literature, and thought, from ancient to modern periods and spanning diverse geographical regions.

  • Arabic and Islamic Civilizations: the religions, literature, and intellectual traditions of the Islamic world with a focus on Arabic-speaking regions.

In addition to the Master of Arts in Near Eastern and Judaic Studies, we also offer one dual degree program and two joint degree programs. 

Why Brandeis?

Brandeis has the largest faculty in Jewish studies of any secular American university, and is home to one of the oldest and largest programs of its type outside of Israel. We are proud of our stellar faculty—not only because they are world-renowned scholars in Jewish studies and related disciplines, but because they genuinely care about you and are dedicated mentors. Working in a broad range of fields across the university, they bring both true interdisciplinarity and a deep respect for diverse viewpoints.

Whichever MA path you choose, you'll conduct exciting, original scholarship in a top research institution that boasts a rich array of Jewish studies centers and a nationally recognized library collection—not to mention access to the rich academic resources of Boston. And you'll work alongside a diverse and international cohort of students—classicists, historians, journalists and more—who are as passionate as you.

Careers and Alumni

A Brandeis master's degree in NEJS will give you a solid preparation for doctoral studies; many of our graduates go on to study in the most prestigious PhD programs, including those at the University of Chicago, Harvard, Yale and New York University.

Others pursue careers in government service and diplomacy, as well as Jewish settings, such as schools, museums and community organizations. Still, others chose another professional degree, such as rabbinic ordination.


Financial Aid and Scholarship

Most of our master's degree students receive partial scholarship support that is based upon a combination of need and academic merit.

“In no other school—and I studied in several countries on two continents—have I found as much support and encouragement in my academic pursuits, and respect for diverse viewpoints, as in NEJS.”

Monika Rice