Master's in Ancient Judaism

The Master program in Ancient Judaism is a four-semester course of study organized jointly by the Universities of Bern and Zurich. The aim of the program is to provide training for an academic examination of Judaism in the Persian, Hellenistic, Roman and early Medieval periods. The program's inter-faculty approach enables courses to be taught by lecturers from different fields of the humanities.

Basic information
Degree: Master of Arts in Antikes Judentum, Universität Zürich und Universität Bern
Number of credits: 120 ECTS credits
Degree programs:
  • Mono 120 ECTS credits
  • Major 90 ECTS credits
Combination possibilities: several
Duration: 4 semesters
Languages: 70 % German / 30 % English
Beginning studies: Fall or spring semester

The specialized Master program in Ancient Judaism addresses the history, literature and religion of Judaism from the Persian era to the early Medieval period – i.e. from the time of the Second Temple up to and including the era of Rabbinical Judaism (6th century BCE to the 10th century CE. The program is designed for students with a Bachelor's degree in one of the subject fields covered in this Master program, such as Classical Studies, Jewish Studies, Science of Religion and Theology (incl. Religious Studies at the University of Bern). The program utilizes the knowledge attained in the Bachelor course of study, or in a previous Master program, to introduce students to ancient Judaism and expand their knowledge of the subject.

Students work closely with teaching staff as they acquire comprehensive knowledge of the different forms of ancient Judaism within its various historical, cultural and social contexts. Ancient Judaism is viewed here as a continual component of Near Eastern and Mediterranean cultures in general and is studied within the framework of this context. The program introduces students to various methodologies for the scholarly interpretation of relevant (literary and material) sources. Unlike Old Testament studies, the program here does not focus on the study of the Hebrew Bible, but it uses this bible of course as an important text for understanding ancient Judaism.

The program encompasses relevant courses from the course catalog of the University of Bern (Faculty of Theology, Faculty of Humanities) and the catalog of the University of Zurich (Faculty of Theology, Faculty of Philosophy), as well as courses offered at partner institutions in some cases.

There are 6 (mono) or 5 (major) mandatory modules as well as electives (elective modules).

Major (90 ECTS credits)

The major is structured in the same manner as the single-subject (mono) course of study. A learning contract for a course of study at another academic institution (30 ECTS credits) is not required, however.

The Master program in Ancient Judaism consists of the following six mandatory modules:

  • Introduction to the History of Ancient Judaism I (10 ECTS-Punkte)
  • Introduction to the History of Ancient Judaism II (10 ECTS-Punkte)
  • Introduction to the Literature of Ancient Judaism I (10 ECTS-Punkte)
  • Introduction to the Literature of Ancient Judaism II (10 ECTS-Punkte)
  • Interpretive Methods (8 ECTS-Punkte)
  • Learning contract for a course of study at another academic institution (30 ECTS-Punkte)
  • Electives (12 ECTS-Punkte)
  • Master thesis (30 ECTS-Punkte)

Students in the program spend one semester at another academic institution. Students who for some reason cannot spend such a semester studying Ancient Judaism at another academic institution will be issued an independent-study learning contract for the corresponding number of credits. The learning contract will be approved by the Study Commission.

For more detailed information, please consult the study program regulations.

The Master program in Ancient Judaism can be completed as a single-subject (mono) Master with 120 ECTS credits, or with a major (90 ECTS credits) and a minor (30 ECTS credits).

Any subject taught in a sufficient scope at the University of Bern can be chosen as a minor.

Structure
Major ECTS
Minor ECTS
120 
90 30 
Minors you may choose

Travel expenses

Travel expenses

Teaser

Thanks to the generous support of the Swiss Federation of Jewish Communities (SIG), a part of students' expenses for travel between Bern and Zurich (Zurich and Bern) can be reimbursed as long as funds remain available.

Contact

Contact at the University of Zurich

Individual academic requirements

The following requirements apply for admission to the specialized master's degree program in Ancient Judaism (mono or major): 

a) Bachelor's degree (or higher degree) from a recognized Swiss or foreign university in one of the following disciplines: 
  • History
  • Jewish Studies
  • Classics
  • Science of Religion
  • Semitic Studies
  • Theology
  • Religious Studies
  • Other corresponding or higher degree recognized by the Faculties of Theology in both Bern and Zurich.
b) Degrees in subjects other than those listed under a): An admission decision will be made after the student's records have been reviewed based on individual achievement. Additional academic attainments may be required. These can either be admission requirements which must be fulfilled in order to complete the master's degree program or admission requirements which must be fulfilled before admission to the master's degree program. The ECTS credits will be listed separately in the diploma supplement as extracurricular attainments.
c) An interview in which you describe your previous education, your understanding of relevant historical and philological topics, and your motivation and goals. Interview duration: 30 minutes.

The bachelor's degree may not be more than 15 years old. Exceptions are possible where justified.

Language requirements

Knowledge of Hebrew and Greek at upper secondary school-leaving level or evidence of having passed the official university examination in Hebrew or Greek. 

 
For questions regarding application and admission, please contact the Admissions Office.

Current UniBE students

Apply for a change to the M A in Antikes Judentum, Universität Zürich und Universität Bern, by self-service as part of the re-registration for the next semester.
Renewal of semester registration → Self-service
Recognition of academic achievements
Procedure and timing of the renewal of semester registration
   

Application with a Swiss degree

Online application
Assessment
Steps from application to registration
 

Application with an international degree

Online application
CHECKLIST - Documents for your application / Important information
Steps from application to registration

 
For questions regarding application and admission, please contact the Admissions Office.

Doctoral studies

The Institute of Jewish Studies at the University of Bern offers students the possibility to contribute to further research in their field with a dissertation.

Career possibilities

Like any course of study in the humanities, the program offered here does not prepare students for a specific career but instead teaches them methods and skills that can be applied in a variety of fields (e.g. research, media, education, diplomacy, culture, dialog between religions).

 

More information