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University of Pittsburgh



Certificate Requirements

The Jewish Studies Certificate program is open to all students interested in the Hebrew language and the history and culture of the Jewish people. This course of study offers undergraduates the opportunity to supplement their academic major with an interdisciplinary course of study in Jewish studies. Satisfactory completion of the certificate satisfies the College of Arts and Sciences requirement of a related area or minor towards graduation.


The certificate program requires eighteen (18) credits, of which a maximum of nine (9) may be transfer credit (subject to the appropriate School of Arts and Sciences regulations). The credits are to be distributed in the following manner:

  • Hebrew Language 3-9 credits.
    At least 3 credits of Hebrew language and attainment of Hebrew 3 or higher.
  • Upper-level Jewish Studies 6 credits.
    Two 1000-level courses to be selected from the inventory of Jewish studies courses.
  • Comparative Religious Studies 3 credits.
    One course treating a religious tradition other than Judaism offered by the Department of Religious Studies.
  • Independent Study 3 credits.
    Completion of JS 1901 as a capstone to the certificate program.
  • Elective 3-9 credits.
    Any other Jewish studies courses.

Independent Study Guidelines

  • Should cover material not covered in regular course offerings.
  • Should serve as a capstone to student’s certificate, therefore should build on and complement previous coursework.
  • Should involve a significant amount of research and independent reading and writing.
  • Should produce either an original research paper or should follow a syllabus of readings and short papers around a given topic in Jewish studies.

Students should consult the certificate coordinator/advisor in the Jewish Studies Program sometime during their junior year to review requirements, check progress, and plan for the independent study. Students planning to study abroad and transfer courses to the certificate should consult with the Jewish studies advisor as part of the study abroad planning process.

Faculty supervisors should submit a grade to the coordinator one day prior to the grade submission deadline for that term.

Some Recent Capstone Topics

"Echoes of the Holocaust in Generation Y"

"Pope Pius XII and the Jews of Pittsburgh"

"Purity and Pleasure: The Bathhouse and Mikvah in Late Antiquity"

"The Kaddish in Reform Judaism: Growing Emphasis on Communal Mourning"

"The International Response to the Nazi Annihiliation of Lidice"

"Gender Neutral Prayer in Reconstructionist Judaism"

"US Adaptation of Israeli Film and Television"

"Suburbanization and the Urban Synagogue"

"The Israeli-American Relationship in the Pittsburgh Chapter of the Zionist Organization of America"

"Conflict among Religious Communities in Beit Shemesh"

"Israelis in Pittsburgh"

"JFilm: Pittsburgh's Jewish Film Festival"

"History of the Amidah Prayer"

"Rabbinic Law and Roman Law on Marriage: A Comparison"

"Psychological Impacts of the Holocaust on Jewish Identity"