PhD Program

Requirements for the Degree

For all candidates within the Department of Religious Studies. UVA's PhD concentration in the Study of Judaism is offered as a Doctor of Philosophy in Religious Studies. All Doctor of Philosophy Candidates who do not hold a graduate degree are required to pass a minimum of 54 credits in courses at the 500 level and above plus 18 additional credits (which may be taken in non graded non-topical research consultation). Students who already hold a graduate degree in Religious Studies from another University (M.A., M. Div., or equivalent) may petition for advanced standing at the end of their first year of residence and be permitted to waive p to 24 credits of the course-work requirement.

Course Requirements

Candidates for the Concentration in Judaism are required to pass five Foundational Courses:

  • Two courses within the sub-area of Textuality: one course in Biblical Studies, one course in Rabbinic Literature
  • One course within the sub-area of Practice
  • One course within the sub-area of Modern Thought
  • One course in Jewish history


Like all Doctor of Philosophy Candidates in Religious Studies, candidates in the Study of Judaism must demonstrate by examination a reading competency in both French and German, but substitutions may be approved when other languages are appropriate to the field of concentration. Candidates in the Study of Judaism must also demonstrate by examination a reading competency in Modern Hebrew (which may be substituted for either French or German) and in Classical Hebrew. It is expected that students will have taken at least two years in either Modern or Classical Hebrew upon matriculation. It is additionally expected that students will have taken at least one year in the other language upon matriculation. Additional competencies may be required in Rabbinic Hebrew and/or Aramaic depending on the student’s area of specialization. Advisor: Students should engage one member of the Core Faculty in the Study of Judaism as graduate advisor. Individual courses of study must be approved by the advisor, in consultation with the Core Faculty. Comprehensive Examinations: No sooner than one semester and no later than one year after the completion of all coursework and language examinations, Candidates must pass five comprehensive examinations in the Study of Judaism. The examinations must be taken in the following five areas:

  • Textuality: Biblical Literature; Rabbinic Literature; and Methods of Text Study. A six hour exam.
  • Practice: Ritual Theory and Methods of Study; Historical Studies in Jewish Practice. A six hour exam.
  • Thought: Enlightenment era (16-17th centuries); Modern era (18-19th centuries); Contemporary era (20-21st centuries). A six hour exam.
  • Jewish History: A three hour exam.
  • Special Topics: Issues in the Study of Judaism. A three hour exam designed, in consultation with the Faculty, within the student's concentration of study.