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Individually Designed Major in Jewish Studies

The Individually Designed Major in Jewish Studies permits interested students to focus their attention on the broad field of Jewish Studies and, at the same time, to expand their knowledge of one or another related fields.

Each major should complete at least 75 units, all in courses at or above the 100 level (or their equivalent). A maximum of 15 of these 75 units may be taken on a credit/no credit basis. A maximum of 5 of these 75 units may be taken in individual study or directed reading.

Students must present evidence that demonstrates their ability to do independent work and have at least three full quarters of undergraduate work remaining at Stanford after the date on which the proposal is approved by the committee. Each major must obtain sponsorship from three faculty members, one of whom is the student's primary adviser, and from the Director of the Taube Center for Jewish Studies.

The application deadline for IDM proposals is the fifth week of Spring Quarter of the sophomore year. Applications are reviewed only once a year.

Details about the written procedures and documents necessary for application for an individually designed major in Jewish Studies can be obtained at the Taube Center for Jewish Studies, Bldg. 360, Main Quad, (650) 725-2789. See also the "Individually Design Majors in Humanities and Sciences" section of this bulletin.


The faculty members in Jewish Studies have designed the following structure for the individually designed major:

History and Society:

Students must take one course in each of the three periods: biblical and ancient, medieval and modern, and contemporary

20 units


Biblical, rabbinic, medieval, modern

20 units


Hebrew, Holocaust, American Jewish, Yiddish, German Jewish, Russian Jewish

15 units

Hebrew Language (second year or beyond):

Students who demonstrate by examination that they have completed the equivalent of at least two years of university-level modern Hebrew may apply the 12 units required in this category to more work in another category, with the approval of their primary adviser

12 units

Ancillary Courses:

Ancient history, medieval history, modern European history, history of philosophy, Islam, Christianity

8-10 units

WIM Course:

The Writing in the Major (WIM) course can be taken within a subfield (History, Religious Studies or Comparative Literature).


5 units

Total number of units required

75-77 units

No course proposed for the major may be counted as fulfilling more than one required category in the proposed major. Transfer credits from other universities must be approved by the appropriate Stanford authorities.


Students planning an Individually Designed Major in Jewish Studies are also urged to write an honors thesis. Students interested in declaring an Individually Designed Major in Jewish Studies should discuss this with their adviser(s) when discussing the major itself. Up to 10 honors thesis units may be included in the major.


Students interested in pursuing an Individually Designed Major in Jewish Studies are advised to consult the following list of courses in preparing their program.

*Courses below the 100-level cannot be counted towards the major, however, it may be counted towards the minor in Jewish Studies.

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