Basic Judaic Studies

All Jewish students in Bar-Ilan University are required to take Judaic Studies credits in order to graduate. Non-Jewish students may take General Electives instead.

In addition, all undergraduate students who began their studies prior to October 2015 and are required to take a minimum of 3 Judaic Studies credits must also complete the Fundamentals of Judaism Exam before graduating from Bar-Ilan.

Undergraduate Student Requirements

In order to graduate, Jewish Bachelors students in BIU are required to take several Judaic Studies courses over the course of their degree. Officially, students may not take more than 4 Judaic credits per year, although you can request an exemption from the Dept. of Basic Jewish Studies (Yesod).

The requirements vary slightly per degree, and are listed below. Note: In 2016, Bar-Ilan University changed the undergraduate requirements for Basic Judaic Studies.

Current Requirements

Undergraduate students who began their studies after the 2015-16 academic year must take 10 academic credits of Basic Judaic Studies in the following fields:

  • Tanach – 2 credits.
  • Talmud – 2 credits.
  • Jewish Philosophy or Toldot Yisrael – 2 credits.
  • Free Choice (from any of the above fields) – 4 credits.

New students who are majoring in Judaic Studies, Law, or Hebrew Linguistics and Literature, are given a partial exemption from Judaic Studies, and must take the following:

  • Tanach students: Talmud – 2 credits; Jewish Philosophy or Toldot Yisrael – 2 credits; Free Choice (not Tanach) – 4 credits.
  • Talmud/ Torah Shel Ba’al Peh students: Tanach – 2 credits; Jewish Philosophy or Toldot Yisrael – 2 credits; Free Choice (not Talmud/ Torah Shel Ba’al Peh) – 2 credits.
  • Jewish Philosophy students: Tanach – 2 credits; Talmud – 2 credits; Free Choice (not Jewish Philosophy) – 6 credits.
  • Toldot Yisrael & Israel Studies students: Tanach – 2 credits; Talmud – 2 credits; Free Choice (not Toldot Yisrael or Israel Studies) – 6 credits.
  • Law students: Tanach – 2 credits; Jewish Philosophy or Toldot Yisrael – 2 credits; Free Choice (may be taken via the department).
  • Hebrew Linguistics and Hebrew Literature majors must take the full 10 Basic Judaic Studies credit requirements. However, some of the courses are specifically dictated by the departent.

Old (Pre-2016) Requirements

Undergrads who began studying prior to October 2016 must take 14 academic credits of Basic Judaic Studies to graduate, as follows:

  • Tanach – 4 credits.
  • Talmud – 4 credits.
  • Jewish Philosophy or Toldot Yisrael – 2 credits
  • Free Choice (from any of the above fields) – 4 credits.

Students who are majoring in Judaic Studies or Law are given a partial exemption from Judaic Studies, and must take the following:

  • Tanach: Talmud – 4 credits; Jewish Philosophy or Toldot Yisrael – 2 credits; Free Choice – 4 credits.
  • Talmud/ Torah Shel Ba’al Peh: Tanach – 4 credits; Jewish Philosophy or Toldot Yisrael – 2 credits.
  • Jewish Philosophy: Tanach – 4 credits; Talmud – 4 credits; Free Choice (not Jewish Philosophy) – 4 credits.
  • Toldot Yisrael, Israel Studies, Eastern Jewry, Jewish Art: Tanach – 4 credits; Talmud – 4 credits; Free Choice (not Toldot Yisrael) – 4 credits.
  • Law: Tanach – 4 credits; Jewish Philosophy or Toldot Yisrael – 2 credits.
  • Hebrew Linguistics and Hebrew Literature majors must take the full 14 Basic Judaic Studies credit requirements.

Fundamentals of Judaism Exam (Old)

In order to graduate, undergrads who are required to take at least 3 Basic Judaic Studies credits must also pass a Fundamentals of Judaism Exam. Note: This requirement only applies to students who enrolled before October 2015; newer students are exempt.

Although the exam used to be offered four times a year, since very few students are still required to take it, you should contact the Dept. of Basic Jewish Studies directly to find out when it is offered and register.

Material for the exam can be found here. A special version of the exam for immigrants and tourists is available upon request.

Exemptions

Students in the Extended Major in Integrated Judaic Studies have a full exemption from Basic Judaic Studies prerequisites, and students studying in the Midrasha and Machon haGavoah l’Torah (Kollel) programs are eligible for exemptions based on their amount of yearly study.

Additionally, students who studied previously in a gap-year Seminary or Yeshiva program are eligible for up to 4 credit exemptions for each year of study.


Graduate Student Requirements

Graduate (doctoral) students who earned their Bachelor’s in Bar-Ilan University, are only required to take 2 academic credits in Basic Judaic Studies.

Students who earned their B.A. in a different university are required to complete 4 credits in Basic Judaic Studies, two of which must be in Tanach or Talmud.

Students doing their M.A. in Tanach, Talmud or Jewish Philosophy are eligible for a 2 credit exemption. Any other credit requirements in Basic Judaic Studies must be completed in a field other than their degree.


Post-graduate Student Requirements

Post-graduate (Ph.D) students who completed one degree (B.A. or M.A.) in Bar-Ilan University are required to take 2 academic credits in any Basic Judaic Studies subject. Students who completed both their degrees in Bar-Ilan University are eligible for a full exemption.

Students who studied neither their B.A. or M.A. in BIU are required to take 4 academic credits in Basic Judaic Studies.

Students doing their Ph.D in Tanach, Talmud, or Jewish Philosophy are eligible for a full exemption from Basic Judaic Studies requirements.