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Hebrew and Jewish Studies (Middle Eastern Studies)
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Open House

Spotlight on a course: Doing Jewish Studies
his course introduces the student to several different approaches to Jewish studies and consists of two major parts. The first is devoted to multi-disciplinary approaches to studying Jewish history, whereas the second part concentrates on Jewish languages and literatures. Both series feature the same topics, but through different methodologies and case studies: memory, text, space, narrativity, politics and the end of history.
Experience of a student: Lisa
In this video Lisa will tell you more about the Master's Hebrew and Jewish Studies and why she chose this Master.
Meet & Ask
Talk to a student, a teacher and/or a study advisor live, via Zoom. You will receive a short presentation of the programme and you will be able to ask all of your questions live, together with other prospective students.
What does this programme entail?
In this video the teacher and student of the programme explain how this programme is structured and what the unique aspects are.
Podcast: Languages of the Middle East
The Language Museum (Taalmuseum) and the Middle East Platform (Midden-Oostenplatform) have joined forces to create podcasts about the languages of the Middle East. The episodes about Arabic, Hebrew, Kurdish and Turkish are now available. UvA students, alumni and lecturers were involved in their realisation.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Why study this master?

    This MA is unique in the way that it offers a tailor-made programme for each student. Next to the introductory course ‘Doing Jewish Studies’ students will get a programme with tutorials and courses centred around their own interests. Any topic in the broad field of Jewish studies is possible, ranging from Hebrew Bible and Dead Sea Scrolls, to Yiddish literature and Hebrew cinema, from Jews in colonial contexts to Amsterdam Jewish history. A highpoint in the programme is the International Winter School in Jewish Studies, organized by our faculty together with the Open University of Israel and King’s College London. MA students from all three universities visit together a third country for a week of lectures, debates, and excursions. The last few years the Winter School has been in Jerusalem, Athens and Thessalonica and Prague. Madrid is scheduled to be the next location. Finally, the programme offers ample opportunities for internships in museums, libraries, NGOs and other cultural and political institutions in the Netherlands and abroad.

  • What will you learn in this programme?

    This Master gives you a solid basis in the methodologies of Jewish studies, ranging from Jewish history to literature, from anthropology to folklore, and provides ample opportunity to pursue your own research interests. The introductory course ‘Doing Jewish Studies’ gives students a tool kit filled with the most recent ideas, concepts and methods of the field. Consequently students will be able to apply these on their own topics. 

  • How is the programme structured?

    The students have a programme of 18 ECTS with the group as a whole, consisting of the introductory course ‘Doing Jewish Studies’ (12 ECTS) and the International Winter School in Jewish Studies (6 ECTS). 24 ECTS will be used for the tailormade individual trajectory. In September together with the student a specialized programme, consisting of tutorials and relevant courses, will be created. For the final MA thesis another 18 ECTS is reserved.

  • What specialisations can I choose from?

    All topics and themes in the broad field of Jewish studies are possible. Through the tailormade programme the MA accommodates a broad variety of specializations. In the last few years students have specialized, amongst others, in histories of Caribbean Jews, memory cultures of Brazilian Jewry, early modern Yiddish pinkasim, contested Jewish religious rites in modernity, Arab movies in the Israeli cinema, Political identities of American Jewry, Arab Jewish (anti-)Zionisms, Second Temple Period Judaism, Haskalah, and Sephardic Kabbalah.  

  • Can I do an internship or study abroad?

    Yes, both internships of following courses abroad are possible. Students have had internships in the Jewish Cultural Quarter of Amsterdam, collaborating in the preparation of exhibitions, or have been in similar institutions within the Jewish infrastructure of Amsterdam. Also internships in Israel, the USA or elsewhere in Europe are possible. If it fits the student’s tailormade programme, studying abroad can be integrated into it. Lately students have studied at New York University and at the Heinrich-Heine-Universität Düsseldorf.

  • What career prospects do I have after finishing this Master’s?

    Students can specialize for a career in academia, preparing for a PhD research; but also for positions within the worldwide Jewish infrastructure, or with general cultural and political organizations. Students develop widely asked analytical, writing and presentational skills. All of our students have found positions in which they can work with what they have gained in the MA programmes, ranging from museum curator, local rabbi, educator, to company director, journalist, diplomat or working in a NGO.

  • Do I need to have a Jewish background and/or do I need to speak Hebrew?

    No, students from all backgrounds are most welcome in our programme. Most MA groups consist of a wide variety of students, including Orthodox, Reform and secular Jews, Christians and people of no particular religious persuasion. As this is an English language MA, students also hail from different countries. Knowledge of Hebrew is not required, but those who want to work with the language and its literature will have all possibilities. Likewise, the MA does not limit itself to Israel, but rather perceives Jewish studies as a prism for studying the whole world.

  • Questions concerning admission and application

    When does the study programme start and can I study in part time?

    All degree programs at the Faculty of Humanities start in September. It is not possible to start at a different time of the year. This Master’s is only offered full-time.

    Where can I find more information about the courses?

    In the UvA Course Catalogue you will find a study schedule with the courses that are taught. Click on the course to read a detailed description.

    I have a question about my admission. Where can I ask it?

    You can find the admission requirements for this program on the page "Application and admission". Contact the Admissions Office if you are stuck.

    Can I be admitted to the Master’s with a Dutch hbo diploma?

    Yes, with a ‘hbo diploma’, you may be able to follow a pre-master that gives access to this master upon completion.

    Can I register for a master’s if I don't have my bachelor's degree yet?

    The bachelor's degree is not a mandatory document when registering for a master. Have you not yet obtained your diploma, but are you in possession of all the other required registration documents? Then sign up for the master of your choice. You then have until August 31 to complete your bachelor's degree

'Embedded in the rich infrastructure of Amsterdam's Jewish heritage collections, this Master's offers students the unique opportunity to develop their own research profile in the broad field of Jewish Studies. Each student gets a tailor-made program, ranging from Hebrew Bible to contemporary American Jews, early modern Yiddish to mystical kabbalah, from Amsterdam Jewish history to Arab Jews.'
Dr Bart Wallet
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