Starts: Oct 28, 2013 9:30:00 AM
May 7, 2013 1:00:00 PM
End: May 17, 2013 7:30:00 PM
Location: various venues, UCL Bloomsbury Campus More...
The panel investigates shifts in the role of the Holocaust in European public debates in the recent past. Contrasting developments in Poland, Germany, and Great Britain, we will identify common threads as well as differences in perceiving, presenting, memorizing the mass murder of European Jewries.
The Yiddish Forverts has recently published a report from the Graduate Student Conference on ‘Jewish Spirituality in Eastern Europe – a Textual Perspective,’ held at the Department of Hebrew and Jewish Studies, UCL on 6-7 June, 2012. The article, authored by conference participant Adi Mahalel (Columbia University), is available online on the website of the Forverts: http://yiddish.forward.com/node/4589 More...
Over a period of three years, the Hebrew and Jewish Studies Department at UCL has been cooperating in a research project devoted to 'Cultural Continuitiy in the Diaspora: Paris and Berlin in 1917-1937', based at the Department of European Studies and Modern Languages, University of Bath, and in cooperation with the Centre for European and International Studies at the University of Portsmouth. The project had been funded by the Leverhulme Trust Academic Collaboration-International Network scheme. Among the initiators of the project had been the late John D. Klier. More...
Donate to the Department by clicking on the button below:
MA in Hebrew & Jewish Studies
The MA in Hebrew & Jewish Studies (MA in Language, Culture and History) is the oldest such master's degree in the UK. It draws on the substantial research and teaching resources of the department. In any given year candidates may choose from taught courses covering a broad range of chronological and topical topics in Jewish Studies.
The department has particular strengths in Jewish languages and texts, Jewish history, Jewish philosophy, thought and spirituality, as well as modern Jewish and Israeli politics.
The department offers some courses only for graduate students, but MA students may also take undergraduate classes by fulfilling additional graduate-level requirements.
MA students are assessed in three different taught areas, i.e., three year-long courses. Students may combine two one-term courses as equivalent to one year-long course. In addition, they write a thesis of up to 15,000 words, which should be based, if possible, on some original research. The assessment of the dissertation will include an oral examination.
There is a language requirement for entry to the programme. Candidates who lack the necessary language skills can be admitted to the programme as part-time students. In addition to the regular curriculum, they study a language as qualifying work which must be satisfactorily in order to be awarded the degree.
The MA in Hebrew and Jewish Studies was the first such degree in the UK, and probably in Europe. It was made possible by the concentration of resources in what was, and remains, the only UK university department devoted exclusively to Jewish Studies.
The department at UCL has approximately 35 undergraduates, 35 graduate students, and 14 full and part-time members of staff. We pride ourselves on the quality of our pastoral care and concern for students. We strongly urge potential applicants to speak to any of our former students.
Our MA degree was created at a time when undergraduate education in many areas of Jewish Studies was not available in UK universities, and certainly not as specific degree programmes. Thus, the MA in Hebrew and Jewish Studies has always had two objectives. The first is to provide further, more intensive instruction in an area of Jewish Studies (such as Hebrew Bible, or Aramaic) for students who already have some background. The second objective is to provide an entrée into Jewish Studies for students who have not been able to study them at the undergraduate level (for example, a student who wishes to study modern Jewish literature, or the history of Zionism).
Reflecting its origins, the MA in Hebrew and Jewish Studies is less specific and prescriptive than the department’s other two MAs. There is, for example, no mandatory seminar course. There is, however, a language requirement, reflecting the department’s belief that serious work in Jewish Studies is difficult without the appropriate language skills. Recognising that many applicants will not have had the opportunity to study an appropriate language, the department permits them to take the degree on a part-time basis over two years, which will include supplemental language study, ordinarily in classical or modern Hebrew or Yiddish.
Students may enroll in the degree on a full-time (one year) or part-time basis (two years). The degree consists of three year long classes (or their equivalent in half-year classes) and a thesis of up to 15,000 words. The classes are ordinarily assessed by essays and a final examination, although some half-year classes are assessed only by written work. The taught component of the degree is offered during the three academic terms, from October to June. Students ordinarily write their thesis in the summer to meet a due date of mid-September.
Students who are taking the degree on a part-time basis, over two years, take two taught classes in the first year, and one taught class in the second year, in addition to writing their thesis.
Students who are taking the degree on a part-time basis in order to meet the language requirement take two taught classes in their first year, as well as a language class. This class must be completed satisfactorily in order to receive the degree. In the second year candidates take one taught class and write their thesis. They may continue language study if they so wish.
While there are no required classes for the MA in Hebrew and Jewish Studies, students are expected to work closely with their graduate supervisor to design their course curriculum.
The department believes that it is difficult to pursue Jewish Studies at an advanced level without appropriate language skills. At the same time we recognise that not all applicants, otherwise qualified for admission, have had the opportunity to acquire language skills. The department will admit such students and provide them with the opportunity to study an appropriate language from among the wide range of the department’s offerings. The department offers elementary language instruction in classical Hebrew, modern Hebrew, and Yiddish. Part-time students have the opportunity to continue their language study into the second year.
For students who wish to build on existing language skills, the department also offers instruction in related languages such as Sumerian, Aramaic, Syriac, and others.
In any given year, students will find a variety of courses on offer that reflect the department’s special strengths. Thus, there is instruction in Biblical Hebrew, texts and related languages, especially Biblical Aramaic and Targum. With the recent appointment of Dr Sacha Stern, the department has strengthened its teaching in rabbinic literature. The department boasts internationally recognised specialists in the history of Hasidic spirituality. Modern Hebrew and modern Yiddish language and literature are well-represented in the departmental offerings, with Gender Studies constituting a special teaching and research focus. The department is strong in Jewish history, especially the modern history of the Jews in Central and Eastern Europe, the history of Zionism, and the history of the Holocaust. The department is a major centre for teaching and research devoted to the politics of the state of Israel, with special emphasis on the Arab-Israeli Conflict and the Peace Process, which is studied from a comparative approach.
Each candidate for the MA is required to write a thesis with a maximum length of 15,000 words. It should, at least in part, be based upon original research and primary source material. The objective is to train students in research techniques that can be applied in future employment, or as preparation for working towards the research degrees of MPhil or PhD. Research councils increasingly demand that candidates for admission to research degree programmes have adequate training. It is one of the objectives of the HJS MA to provide this, so the degree is excellent preparation for further academic work.
Students are expected to select their thesis topic early in the second term, in consultation with a member of staff who will supervise their work. Most students use the summer period to research and write their thesis, which is submitted at the end of the academic year.
Financial assistance for MA candidates is available through The Ian Karten Charitable Trust Scholarships which provide four scholarships per annum to a maxium value of £1,000 each for students enrolling in the MA programme of the department. Candidates who wish to be considered for these scholarships should contact the Graduate Tutor. They should also consult the booklet, Sources of Funding for Graduate Students.
Applicants for the MA in Hebrew and Jewish Studies are normally expected to have a second class Bachelor's degree in an appropriate arts or social science subject, although students who have qualified in other subjects will be considered. North American students should normally have at least a B+ average for their undergraduate work.
Applicants should have strong letters of recommendation from two referees who know their academic achievements and potential well. They must also write a short description of their background and skills, as well as their reasons for pursuing the degree.
Students for the MA in Hebrew and Jewish Studies are expected to demonstrate knowledge of a Jewish language, usually classical or modern Hebrew, or Yiddish. They may also present another language if it is applicable for their field of research. Students without the requisite language skills can be admitted on a part-time basis, with the proviso that they undertake language study during the first year of their programme.
HJS students who have earned an MA have embarked upon a variety of
careers. Some have pursued an academic career at the university or
secondary school level. Others are active in community service
organizations, both Jewish and non-Jewish. Graduates of the MA programme
have found it an excellent foundation for a professional degree in Law.
Whatever career path graduates might choose, they will be helped by a
degree from a university recognised as one of the best in the world.