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:

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.


For the NEJS MA
  • Seven courses per academic year over two years of full-time residence are required. At least eight of these courses must be offered by members of the Near Eastern and Judaic Studies department.

  • First-year students are required to participate in a weekly for-credit graduate Proseminar during the fall.

  • All candidates are required to demonstrate language proficiency, normally in biblical or modern Hebrew or Arabic.

  • Finally, students must select one of the following culminating assignments: write a master's thesis, complete a significant final project, or take an oral examination.

For the Hornstein-NEJS Dual MA
  • 80 course credits over five semesters.

  • First-year students are required to participate in a weekly for-credit graduate Proseminar during the fall.

  • 150-250 hours of professional field experience.

  • In addition to travel to Israel and New York City, students participate in a three-day seminar on Jewish leadership.

  • Language proficiency in modern Hebrew is required.

  • Students must also complete a comprehensive examination, thesis, or capstone project related to both Hornstein and NEJS learning.

For the Conflict Resolution and Coexistence-NEJS Joint MA
  • Eight NEJS courses (min.) and eight Coexistence and Conflict courses (min.).

  • Language proficiency, normally in biblical or modem Hebrew or Arabic, is required.

  • Internship or independent fieldwork, with a concluding paper written under the supervision of two faculty mentors.

For the Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies-NEJS Joint MA
  • A selection of required and elective courses approved by both the NEJS and WGS advisers.

  • Successful completion of a comprehensive examination, a culminating project or a master's thesis.

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.