Jewish Studies Collaborative Programs
The Centre for Jewish Studies offers collaborative graduate degrees at the M.A. and Ph.D. levels. The purpose of the collaborative degree is to institutionalize, enhance, and ensure the provision of a well-rounded training in Jewish Studies. Both in the M.A. and Ph.D. collaborative programs, an effective balance is struck between the need for disciplinary depth and the need for interdisciplinary breadth. On the one hand, future scholars and teachers in the field of Jewish Studies must be grounded in a particular discipline and master its methods, theoretical frameworks, and body of knowledge. On the other hand, students of any particular aspect of Jewish Studies, e.g., modern Jewish philosophy, Second Temple literature, or medieval Jewish history, would suffer both intellectually and professionally without exposure to the breadth of Jewish civilization. They would suffer intellectually because sophisticated understanding of any one of the major subfields of Jewish Studies—the study of texts (biblical, rabbinic, philosophical, theological, literary, etc.), the study of contexts (historical, social, political, etc.), and the study of concepts (creation, covenant, messianism, etc.)—requires some knowledge of the others. They would suffer professionally because academic positions in Jewish Studies programs throughout North America assume that job candidates are familiar with many aspects of Jewish civilization outside of their particular discipline and area of specialization. This process of broad, interdisciplinary learning is offered to Master’s and Doctoral students in the various fields of Jewish Studies at the University of Toronto. Upon successful completion, students receive, in addition to the degree in their home department, the notation "Completed Collaborative Program in Jewish Studies."
"It is impossible for me to overstate the importance of the Jewish Studies Program at the U of T for my development as a scholar. When I first began my undergraduate degree, I regarded it as a tiresome, but necessary, prerequisite for law school. It was the faculty of the Jewish Studies Program who, by communicating their enthusiasm in scholarship, gave me an interest in my degree. For students at most universities, receiving individual attention from professors during the undergraduate years is unusual. My experience in the program was otherwise. No fewer than four faculty members gave me the individual attention which I needed to develop the textual and scholarly skills necessary for work in the field of Jewish studies. Their encouragement gave me the confidence to embark upon a wide range of original research projects. I am now in the doctoral program in Near Eastern Studies at Princeton University in which I study the cultural interactions between Jews and Muslims during the Middle Ages. The skills and knowledge which the Jewish Studies Program at the U of T have given me continue to enrich my research."
2005, Alan Verskin, Ph.D. candidate, Near Eastern Studies, Princeton University
"The Jewish Studies program at U of T has given me the opportunity to apply a serious philosophical rigor to my interest in both Jewish civilization and Jewish text. The strengths of the program are many and I have been able to mine these resources in order to build my own repertoire of language skills, historical insight and critical methodology to conducting my own research. With the sheer number of professors available and representing as diverse a range of interests as Spinoza and Mendelsohn to Jacobi and Kant, Levinas and Derrida to Strauss and Maimonides as well as having a large base of faculty interested in the relevance of Ancient Judaism and Hellenism to the development of Rabbinics, the program has provided my with a particular toolbox that I think any Graduate student in the field requires in order to truly develop a sound background to continue in this field of study."
2008, Paul Egan Nahme, Ph.D. candidate, Department for the Study of Religion, University of Toronto