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Special Studies


Special studies allow students to work one–on–one (or in small groups) with an individual faculty member on an area of shared intellectual interest. They are opportunities for students to go into greater depth in a particular area, as well as a chance for the program to supplement its regular course offerings.

In order to register for a JUD 400 Special Studies, a student must first find a faculty member willing to work with her. Together, they develop a plan of study—including a schedule of regular meetings and assignments—and submit the application to the director of Jewish studies for final approval.

The program committee recognizes that a lot of work in special studies takes place independently, but it also believes that learning is a collaborative process that must be regularly and carefully guided by a committed faculty member. To this end, the program adopted the following guidelines to help students understand how special studies are structured within the program:

  1. JUD 400 Special Studies in a foreign language and/or reading texts in a foreign language

Students who elect to take special studies in language and/or reading texts in a foreign language from a department or program other than Jewish studies and to count such a special studies toward the major or minor in Jewish studies will earn the following number of credits:

  • Meet 1 hour/week with the instructor earns 2 credits
  • Meet 1.5 hours/week earns 3 credits
  • Meet twice/week for an hour per session earns 4 credits
  1. JUD 400 Special Studies that functions as the research intensive capstone course

A student who elects to take a JUD 400 Special Studies (4 credits) instead of a 300–level seminar required of the major must ensure that:

  • She meets with the instructor at least one hour per week throughout the semester
  • She completes a research paper of no less than 15 pages

She may not substitute a combination of shorter papers—even if they amount to more than 15 pages over the course of the semester—to fulfill this capstone requirement for the major. The purpose of the capstone research requirement is to ensure that all graduates of the major produce a sustained and significant piece of undergraduate research.

  1. JUD 400 Special Studies (other)

A JUD 400 Special Studies that is not in language, readings in a foreign language, or intended to serve as a student's research–intensive capstone for the major will include regular meetings with the instructor and a defined series of assignments. The program believes that a 4–credit special studies should amount to the same amount of overall work as a regular 4 credit course. It is up to the student and the instructor, with the approval of the director of the program, to determine the appropriate amount of credits for such a special studies.