Jewish Studies Major and Minor


The Best Second Major

Jewish Studies is, above all else, a major that builds skills. It gives you the toolbox you will need to succeed in any career path you choose, and is therefore a wonderful addition to any major at the College of Charleston. Our major is among the most flexible ones you will find (mostly made up of electives). Our dedicated faculty will help you develop an armory of interpretative and analytical skills, such as writing, critical thinking, research, digitizing, global & intercultural fluency, creativity, problem solving, and public speaking – all identified repeatedly by employers as qualities they look for when hiring.

Develop Creative, Outside-the-Box Thinking

Ever wonder what people who changed the world, no matter in which area, have in common? What unites Elon Musk, Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, or the Israeli entrepreneurs who invented flash memory, drip irrigation, or Waze? They all share a spark, a special talent to see things differently, to look at a problem and see a solution many others could not. They are all risk takers, and not just with money: They were willing to go against the curve, to challenge rules and conventions, and never to accept "but we can't do that" or "these are the rules" or even "there's no precedent for that" as answers. Where something did not exist, they created it. When they thought a technology did not work well enough, they improved it. That is creative thinking. That's what we are here for.

Change the World

Here in Jewish Studies we believe many of us have that spark, that ability to look at reality from different angles. We know changing the world is not limited to business or technology. You can be an educator or an artist and invent a new approach that would dramatically transform the work of others in your area. The opportunities are endless. We are not here to teach you a profession. We are here to help you become the person who changes the world in your profession. Majoring with us will be the best investment you have ever made in your future.

No One Does Unconventional Better than Us. No one.

The Jewish Studies Program has had a long track record of being special and different, on campus and nationally. We teach differently. We are involved in myriad research projects. We introduce students to the Israeli innovative state of mind through our Arnold Center for Israel Studies. We bring in substantial grant funds per year. We have a robust community support network that is eager to engage students. We run a major student life operation, the only academic program to do that at CofC, and the only Jewish one in the country. We serve thousands of meals per year. We bring 20-30 guest speakers and performers to Charleston every year. And our professors and staff have an approach to college that challenges and defies norms and conventions every day.

The Jewish Experience Matters Too

The Jewish Studies major enables students to understand the diversity and complexity of the Jewish experience. Students acquire a sophisticated understanding of the historical, religious, philosophical, literary, sociological, and linguistic components that constitute the Jewish experience. We believe the Jewish story, one of perseverance and struggle, also offers the best lessons in ingenuity, creativity, and adaptability.

Works with Almost Any Major

The Jewish Studies major is a wonderful addition to any curriculum. Our majors regularly pair Jewish Studies with such areas as business, political science, history, international studies, psychology, and education, to name but a few. Beginning Fall 2020, students may pursue the Jewish Studies Major with Arabic, German, and in some cases other languages, in addition to Hebrew.

The Jewish Studies Minor offers similar training, but in a more limited way. The minor is a wonderful addition to the curriculum of those students who are in heavy majors that do not leave time or credit hours for a second major; or for those who already pursue two majors or another minor.

Double Dip!

In addition to fulfilling the Jewish Studies major/minor requirements, the two Jewish Studies history survey courses, JWST 210 and 215, fulfill the general education history requirement of the college. All our other electives fulfill the humanities requirement, and Hebrew, German, or Arabic the foreign-language requirement.

Note: Students enrolled in JWST 210 and 215 (Jewish history survey sequence) for their history general education requirement should seriously consider a Jewish Studies minor. Those enrolled in Hebrew, German, or Arabic in addition to JWST 210 and 215 should seriously consider the Jewish Studies major, as those courses fulfill nearly half of the major.

Jewish Studies Major:

 36+ hours (scroll down for the minor)

Language through Culture Requirement

Select one of the following options (also fulfills the College’s foreign language requirement):

Hebrew option:

HBRW 101 Elementary Modern Hebrew I

HBRW 102 Elementary Modern Hebrew II

HBRW 201 Intermediate Modern Hebrew I

HBRW 202 Intermediate Modern Hebrew II


Arabic option:

ARBC 101 Elementary Arabic

ARBC 102 Elementary Arabic

ARBC 201 Intermediate Arabic

ARBC 202 Intermediate Arabic


German option:

GRMN 101 Elementary German

GRMN 102 Elementary German

GRMN 201 Intermediate German

GRMN 202 Intermediate German

Students wishing to complete the requirements for the Jewish Studies major while achieving proficiency in another language (not Hebrew, Arabic, or German) at the 202-level will require permission from the Director of the Jewish Studies Program. 

Students placing out of any of the courses (101-202) in the Language through Culture requirement must still complete the minimum 36 credit hours in the program with Jewish Studies electives. For details, contact Program Director Dr. Ayalon at

Required courses:

JWST 210 Jewish History I:  Ancient to Modern (3 credit hours)

JWST 215 Jewish History II: Modern to Present (3 credit hours)

JWST 400 Independent Research (3 credit hours)


JWST 499 Bachelor’s Essay (6 credit hours)


Complete 15 credit hours (typically 5 courses) from the electives listed below, with at least 9 credit hours (3 courses) being at the 300-level or above.


 No more than 6 credit hours at the 300-level or above in the same language sequence (ARBC, HBRW, GRMN) may apply towards the major requirements.


Jewish Studies Minor


18 credit hours, or a total of 6 courses

Required: JWST 210 Jewish History I:  Ancient to Modern (3 credit hours)


five additional courses from the electives listed below. Most students also take JWST 215, as it fulfills a general education humanities requirement. Hebrew courses count toward the Jewish Studies minor, but other language sequences do not.

Electives (for majors and minors):

FYSM 124* First-Year Seminar in Jewish Studies

HBRW 101 Elementary Modern Hebrew I (required for major, optional for minor)

HBRW 102 Elementary Modern Hebrew II (required for major, optional for minor)

HBRW 201 Intermediate Modern Hebrew I (required for major, optional for minor)

HBRW 202 Intermediate Modern Hebrew II (required for major, optional for minor)

HBRW 313 Advanced Modern Hebrew: Conversation and Composition

HBRW 314 Advanced Modern Hebrew: Conversation and Composition

ARBC 313 Conversation and Composition I**

ARBC 314 Conversation and Composition II**

ARBC 343 Advanced Arabic Conversation and Composition**

ARBC 390 Special Topics in Arabic**

GRMN 313 German Conversation**

GRMN 314 German Composition and Grammar**

GRMN 320 Special Assignment Abroad**

GRMN 325 German Contemporary Issues**

GRMN 326 German Media**

GRMN 328 German Language Study Abroad**

GRMN 329 Current Issues in Germany or the German-Speaking World**

GRMN 331 German for Business**

GRMN 332 German in International Business**

GRMN 341 Advanced Grammar and Syntax**

GRMN 365 Introduction to Literature**

GRMN 390 Special Topics in German**

GRMN 468 Studies in Modern German Literature**

GRMN 472 Studies in German Cinema**

GRMN 490 Special Topics in German**

JWST 201 Topics in Jewish Studies (course can be repeated if different theme) 

Note: JWST 201 is in the process of being approved for the humanities gen-ed sequence. Students taking this course during 2020-21 will receive gen-ed credit for it retroactively in fall 2021.

JWST 215 Jewish History II: Modern to Present (req. for major, optional for minor)

JWST 220 History of Israel

JWST 225 The Jewish Tradition/RELS 225 The Jewish Tradition

JWST 230 The Holocaust

JWST 240 Jewish Philosophy

JWST 250 The Arab-Israeli Conflict

JWST 245/ENGL 191 Introduction to Jewish-American Literature

JWST 300 Special Topics in Jewish Studies (course can be repeated if different theme)
JWST 305 Israeli Cinema

JWST 310 Topics in Jewish History

JWST 315 Southern Jewish History 

JWST 320 Topics in American Jewish Culture

JWST 325 Jewish Mysticism 

JWST 330 Representations of the Holocaust

JWST 335 Modern Jewish Politics

JWST 345 Jewish American Literature and Film

JWST 350 Jews and Muslims: Coexistence and Conflict
JWST 399 Directed Reading

JWST 400 Independent Study in Jewish Studies

HIST 213  American Jewish History: Colonial Times to the Present

HIST 244* History of Germany

HIST 344* Modern European Cultural History

HIST 345* Modern German Cultural and Intellectual History

HIST 359  Modern Jewish History

PHIL 255* Philosophy of Religion

POLS 324 Politics of the Middle East

POLS 339* Special Topics in Comparative Politics

RELS 201 The Old Testament: History and Interpretation

RELS 310* Sacred Texts

*NOTE: These courses must have specifically Jewish content to count towards the Jewish Studies major/minor.

** ARBC and GRMN electives are only available to students pursuing those languages as part of their major.