Bachelor of Arts in Modern Jewish Studies

The Bachelor of Arts in Modern Jewish Studies allows students to focus on the histories, languages, literatures, and cultures of the Jews as they have negotiated modernity. Consequently, the degree encompasses courses that reflect the particular strengths of Department faculty in Jewish History, American Jewish Studies, Israel Studies, the Holocaust, Judaism, Modern Jewish Thought, and Jewish Literatures. Majors develop a broad background in Modern Jewish Studies as an interdisciplinary project within higher education; moreover, the degree’s breadth encourages students to locate Jewish experience in relation to other ethnic, religious, or racial minorities’ groups globally, to contrast Jewish experiences both at the nation’s margins and in the case of Israel, at its center.

To ensure a useful and meaningful university experience, all majors must consult any one of the department's faculty advisors regularly as they progress through the degree program. Students are also advised to consult with the Advising Resource Center (ARC) for information about General Education and other University degree requirements (https://advisinglca.sfsu.edu/).

Program Learning Outcomes

  1. Students develop interpretive and analytical skills in reading Jewish religious texts.
  2. Students develop interpretive and analytical skills in reading Jewish literary texts.
  3. Students gain knowledge of the history and cultures of Jews and Judaism in the ancient, medieval, and modern periods in the Americas, Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa.
  4. Students gain knowledge of the relationships of Jews and Judaism to other peoples, religions, and cultures in the Americas, Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa.
  5. Students gain knowledge of the ways that Jews and Judaism illuminate the histories, literatures, religions, and cultures of non-Jews in the world.
  6. Students gain knowledge of the ways that non-Jewish histories, literatures, religions, and cultures are necessary to understand Jews and Judaism in the world.
  7. Students find, read, understand, and assimilate primary and secondary research materials.

Modern Jewish Studies (B.A.) — 30 units

The Bachelor’s Degree in Modern Jewish Studies requires a total of 30 units. All Modern Jewish Studies majors are expected to take 12 units from the Core Courses, three units of a Culminating Experience, 12 units of Electives, and three units in a GWAR course. 

Twelve units of complementary studies are required of all candidates for the Bachelor’s Degree in Modern Jewish Studies. These units are courses that have a prefix other than JS and that are not cross-listed with Jewish Studies. One of the recommended ways to fulfill this requirement is to take four Hebrew language courses.

  • Courses that fulfill the Core and Culminating Experience requirements must be taken for a letter grade. CR/NC grading is not accepted for Core and Culminating Experience courses.
  • Students must earn a grade of C or better in their selected GWAR designated course, and a C– or better in all other required degree courses.

Major Core (12 units)

Select four courses from the following:

JS 280Introduction to Jewish Studies3
or JS 301 Judaism, An Introduction
JS/I R/PLSI 430Israeli Democracy: Politics, Institutions, and Society3
JS/CWL 437/ENG 533Holocaust and Literature3
JS/HIST 449American Jewish History3
JS/CWL 480European Jewish Writers3
JS 540Anti-Semitism and Social Justice3
JS/HIST 332Ancient and Medieval Jews Among Pagans, Christians, and Muslims3
HEBR 101First Semester Modern Hebrew3
or HEBR 102 Second Semester Modern Hebrew
or HEBR 201 Third Semester Modern Hebrew
or HEBR 202 Fourth Semester Modern Hebrew

Electives (12 units)

Select four JS upper division courses. These can include courses from the major core list. Courses from the major core cannot be double counted to fulfill both the core and elective requirements. A maximum of six units outside Jewish Studies may be counted toward the major with approval of a major advisor.

GWAR Course (3 units)

Select any GWAR course from any discipline or department with approval of a major advisor.

Culminating Experience (3 units)

Select one of the following:

JS 600Internship3
or JS 699 Independent Study

Complementary Studies

Twelve units of complementary studies are required of all candidates for the B.A. in Modern Jewish Studies. These units are courses that have a prefix other than JS and that are not cross-listed with Jewish Studies. Students can satisfy this requirement by completing a related minor, a second major, studying a pertinent foreign language, or through an approved study abroad program. Complementary studies courses should relate to the Jewish Studies major, as well as deepen and enrich student focus in the major, whether that focus is religion, literature, philosophy, history, social responsibility, or the study of Israel. Such courses are typically found through the College of Liberal & Creative Arts.

Note: Students that complete two majors, a major and a minor, automatically complete the complementary studies requirement.

Students who have earned AA-T or AS-T degrees and are pursuing a similar B.A. degree at SF State are required to fulfill the Complementary Studies requirement as defined by the major department. Students should consult with a major advisor about how transfer units and/or SF State units can best be applied to this requirement to ensure degree completion within 60 units.

General Education Requirements

Requirement Course Level Units Area Designation
Oral Communication LD 3 A1
Written English Communication LD 3 A2
Critical Thinking LD 3 A3
Physical Science LD 3 B1
Life Science LD 3 B2
Lab Science LD 1 B3
Mathematics/Quantitative Reasoning LD 3 B4
Arts LD 3 C1
Humanities LD 3 C2
Arts or Humanities LD 3 C1 or C2
Social Sciences LD 3 D1
Social Sciences: US History LD 3 D2
Lifelong Learning and Self-Development (LLD) LD 3 E
Ethnic Studies LD 3 F
Physical and/or Life Science UD 3 UD-B
Arts and/or Humanities UD 3 UD-C
Social Sciences UD 3 UD-D
SF State Studies
Courses certified as meeting the SF State Studies requirements may be upper or lower division in General Education (GE), a major or minor, or an elective.
American Ethnic and Racial Minorities LD or UD 3 AERM
Environmental Sustainability LD or UD 3 ES
Global Perspectives LD or UD 3 GP
Social Justice LD or UD 3 SJ

Note: LD = Lower-Division; UD = Upper-Division.

First-Time Student Roadmap (4 Year)

  1. In order to choose your English Composition A2 course and your QR/Math B4 course, please complete the online advising activities at writingadvising.sfsu.edu and mathadvising.sfsu.edu. Questions? Contact Gator Smart Start.
  2. Select the row that matches your English course choice for A2.*
  3. Select the column that matches your QR/Math course choice for B4.
  4. Click the Roadmap that lines up with your row and column.

For example, if you select ENG 104/ENG 105 and a multi-semester QR/math sequence for your first year, then choose Roadmap D.

Course Choice One-Semester Course Two-Semester Sequence or Support Course
ENG 114 Roadmap A Roadmap C
ENG 104/ENG 105 Roadmap B Roadmap D

* Composition for Multilingual Students: If taking ENG 209 as your first English course, choose the ENG 114 row. If taking ENG 201 or ENG 212 for your first English course, choose the ENG 104/ENG 105 row.

Transfer Student Roadmap (2 Year)

For students with an AA-T in English, Global Studies, History, Philosophy, Political Science, or Social Justice Studies. This roadmap opens in a new tab.

This degree program is an approved pathway (“similar” major) for students earning the ADT in History or Political Science

California legislation SB 1440 (2009) mandated the creation of the Associate Degree for Transfer (ADT) to be awarded by the California Community Colleges. Two types of ADTs are awarded: Associate in Arts for Transfer (AA-T) and Associate in Science for Transfer (AS-T). 

Note: no specific degree is required for admission as an upper-division student. However, the ADT includes specific guarantees related to admission and graduation and is designed to clarify the transfer process and strengthen lower-division preparation for the major.

An ADT totals 60 units and in most cases includes completion of all lower-division General Education requirements and at least 18 units in a specific major. (The Biology, Chemistry, and Environmental Science AS-T degrees defer 3 units in lower-division GE area C and 3 units in lower-division GE area D until after transfer.) Students pursuing an ADT are guaranteed admission to the CSU if minimum eligibility requirements are met, though not necessarily to the CSU campus of primary choice.

Upon verification that the ADT has been awarded prior to matriculation at SF State, students are guaranteed B.A. or B.S. completion in 60 units if pursuing a “similar” major after transfer. Determinations about “similar” majors at SF State are made by faculty in the discipline.

Degree completion in 60 units cannot be guaranteed when a student simultaneously pursues an additional major, a minor, certificate, or credential.

A sample advising roadmap for students who have earned an ADT and continue in a "similar" major at SF State is available on the Roadmaps tab on the degree requirements page for the major. The roadmap displays:

  • How many lower-division units required for the major have been completed upon entry based on the award of a specific ADT;
  • Which lower-division requirements are considered complete upon entry based on the award of a specific ADT;
  • How to complete the remaining 60 units for the degree in four semesters.

Students who have earned an ADT should seek advising in the major department during the first semester of attendance.

General Advising Information for Transfer Students

  1. Before transfer, complete as many lower-division requirements or electives for this major as possible.
  2. The following courses are not required for admission but are required for graduation. Students are strongly encouraged to complete these units before transfer; doing so will provide more flexibility in course selection after transfer.
    • a course in U.S. History
    • a course in U.S. & California Government

For information about satisfying the requirements described in (1) and (2) above at a California Community College (CCC), please visit http://www.assist.org. Check any geographically accessible CCCs; sometimes options include more than one college. Use ASSIST to determine:

  • Which courses at a CCC satisfy any lower-division major requirements for this major;
  • Which courses at a CCC satisfy CSU GE, US History, and US & CA Government requirements.

Remedial courses are not transferable and do not apply to the minimum 60 semester units/90 quarter units required for admission.

Additional units for courses that are repeated do not apply to the minimum 60 units required for upper-division transfer (for example, if a course was not passed on the first attempt or was taken to earn a better grade).

Before leaving the last California Community College of attendance, obtain a summary of completion of lower-division General Education units (IGETC or CSU GE Breadth). This is often referred to as a GE certification worksheet. SF State does not require delivery of this certification to Admissions, but students should retain this document for verifying degree progress after transfer.

Credit for Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, or College-Level Examination Program courses: AP/IB/CLEP credit is not automatically transferred from the previous institution. Units are transferred only when an official score report is delivered to SF State. Credit is based on the academic year during which exams were taken. Refer to the University Bulletin in effect during the year of AP/IB/CLEP examination(s) for details regarding the award of credit for AP/IB/CLEP.

Students pursuing majors in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines often defer 6-9 units of lower-division General Education in Areas C and D until after transfer to focus on preparation courses for the major. This advice does not apply to students pursuing associate degree completion before transfer.

Transferring From Institutions Other Than CCCs or CSUs

Review SF State's lower-division General Education requirements. Note that, as described below, the four basic skills courses required for admission meet A1, A2, A3, and B4 in the SF State GE pattern. Courses that fulfill the remaining areas of SF State’s lower-division GE pattern are available at most two-year and four-year colleges and universities.

Of the four required basic skills courses, a course in critical thinking (A3) may not be widely offered outside the CCC and CSU systems. Students should attempt to identify and take an appropriate course no later than the term of application to the CSU. To review more information about the A3 requirement, please visit bulletin.sfsu.edu/undergraduate-education/general-education/lower-division/#AAEL.

Waiting until after transfer to take a single course at SF State that meets both US and CA/local government requirements may be an appropriate option, particularly if transferring from outside of California.

All Students Must Meet the Transfer Eligibility Requirements Outlined Below for Admission.

For more information, visit the Undergraduate Admissions section.

  • Complete 60 or more transferable semester units or 90 or more quarter units.
  • Earn a college grade point average of 2.0 or better in all transferable courses. Non-local area residents may be held to a higher GPA standard.
  • Be in good standing at the last college or university attended.
  • Complete 30-semester units (45-quarter units) of General Education, including four basic skills courses:
    1. One course in oral communication (same as CSU GE Area A1)
    2. One course in written composition (same as CSU GE Area A2)
    3. One course in critical thinking (same as CSU GE Area A3)
    4. One course in mathematics or quantitative reasoning (same as CSU GE Area B4)
  • The four basic skills courses and a minimum of 60 transferable semester units (90-quarter units) must be completed by the spring semester prior to fall admission, or by the fall semester prior to spring admission. Earn a C- or better grade in each basic skills course.