Jewish, Islamic and Near Eastern Studies (JINES) is an interdisciplinary degree whose purpose is to explore the historical experience, literary, religious and cultural expression, and political and material life of the Jewish, Islamic and Near Eastern civilizations.
This degree is unique in the United States because it integrates Islamic and Jewish studies. Whether you favor the study of language, literature, religion, history, or politics, you will find in our courses a way to deepen your appreciation of these complex and diverse societies and cultures. You will also be encouraged to explore the interaction of Jews and Muslims with neighboring societies and cultures in the Middle East, Europe, North Africa, and other parts of the world.
- To convey an appreciation for the complexities, depth, diversity, and cultural richness of Jewish and Islamic civilizations in their historical context from antiquity to present.
- To explore the interaction of Jewish, Islamic and other Near Eastern societies and cultures with neighboring peoples both within and outside the Middle East.
- To encourage mastery of the primary languages and literatures in which Jews and Muslims have expressed their cultures.
- To prepare students for graduate or professional studies in these or related fields.
Majoring in Jewish, Islamic and Near Eastern Studies
To complete a major in Jewish, Islamic and Near Eastern Studies, a student must select one of three tracks and fulfill the following course requirements:
For Jewish and Near Eastern Studies
- two years of Hebrew language
- 24 units at the 300-level or above, of which 3 must be in the Islamic experience
For Islamic and Near Eastern Studies
- two years of Arabic language (Persian, with permission)
- 24 units at the 300-level or above, of which 3 must be in the Jewish experience
For Comparative Jewish and Islamic Studies
- two years of one language in one tradition and one year of another language in the other tradition
- 24 units at the 300-level or above, of which a minimum of 9 units must be in the Jewish experience and a minimum of 9 units in the Islamic experience
For all majors
- Introduction to Jewish Civilization and Introduction to Islamic Civilization
- a combined capstone course/senior seminar
- students are strongly encouraged to take at least one course in history, one in literature or cultural studies,
- and one in religious studies
Minor in Jewish, Islamic and Near Eastern Studies
Students wishing to minor in Jewish, Islamic and Near Eastern Studies must complete 15 units in at least five courses, one of which must be Introduction to Jewish Civilization or Introduction to Islamic Civilization. For further details about the minor, see the Undergraduate Programs booklet, or visit our website.
Career Options & Further Education
Our majors and minors have gone on to do many things after graduation. Many have entered professional schools in such fields as law, journalism, education, the rabbinate or ministry, government, and communal or social work. Others have gone on to do graduate work in either Jewish or Islamic studies or in related disciplines. Still others have combined their interest in Jewish, Islamic and Near Eastern Studies with careers in business, medicine, or scientific research. All have found the major to have been an intellectually and emotionally rewarding experience and an important component to their overall development.
Consider Senior Honors
If you would like to work toward senior honors, plan to consult with your faculty advisor early in your junior year. Your advisor can help ensure that you take appropriate courses that would prepare you for writing your thesis.
Students majoring in Jewish, Islamic and Near Eastern Studies are encouraged to participate in the
Washington University Study Abroad program. The University currently sponsors a pre-approved program of study at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, the American University in Cairo, and the University of Haifa. Study abroad options also exist in Beer-Sheba, Tel Aviv, Prague, and Beirut.