Jewish Studies Certificate

Click here for a printable Jewish Studies Certificate worksheet to help track your progress.

Distribution of Credits

1) HEBREW: 1 Hebrew course (3-5 credits) at level of Hebrew 2 or above

2) JEWISH STUDIES COURSES: 3 courses (9-10 credits) in Jewish Studies; up to 2 of these can be Hebrew courses.

(A non-JS course that has significant JS content can count for one of these with approval of the Undergraduate Advisor.)

3) CAPSTONE: 3 credits of a capstone project, additional advanced coursework, or experiential learning through one of the following: 

  • JS 1900 Internship
  • JS 1903 Directed Research
  • JS 1904 Undergraduate Teaching Assistantship
  • JS 1905 Undergraduate Research Assistantship
  • advanced work in Hebrew at Hebrew 5 or beyond 
  • submission of a capstone research paper on a JS topic written for a major or another certificate AND 3 credits of a JS course at the 1000-level 

4) PORTFOLIO ESSAY: 1 credit of JS 1901 Independent Study taken in final semester of work for certificate (can be concurrent with capstone) in which student develops reflective essay and portfolio of work in Jewish Studies under direction of certificate advisor.

Total credits: 16-20 depending on initial Hebrew placement (Hebrew 1 and Hebrew 2 are each 5 credits)


  • at least 9 credits must be taken at Pitt 
  • no credits for the certificate may be taken pass/fail except JS 1900, JS 1904, JS 1905, which are traditionally on a credit/fail basis
  • placement in Hebrew for attainment of certificate based on written test and an oral interview


Director of Jewish Studies
Professor Rachel Kranson

Recent Capstone Topics

  • "Echoes of the Holocaust in Generation Y"
  • "Pope Pius XII and the Jews of Pittsburgh"
  • "Purity and Pleasure: The Bathhouse and Mikvah in Late Antiquity"
  • "The Kaddish in Reform Judaism: Growing Emphasis on Communal Mourning"
  • "The International Response to the Nazi Annihiliation of Lidice"
  • "Gender Neutral Prayer in Reconstructionist Judaism"
  • "US Adaptation of Israeli Film and Television"
  • "Suburbanization and the Urban Synagogue"
  • "The Israeli-American Relationship in the Pittsburgh Chapter of the Zionist Organization of America"
  • "Conflict among Religious Communities in Beit Shemesh"
  • "Israelis in Pittsburgh"
  • "JFilm: Pittsburgh's Jewish Film Festival"
  • "History of the Amidah Prayer"
  • "Rabbinic Law and Roman Law on Marriage: A Comparison"
  • "Psychological Impacts of the Holocaust on Jewish Identity"