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Master's program in Judaic Studies begins this summer (Released: 4/5/96)

by Luis Mocete, Office of University Communications.

STORRS, Conn. -- A master s degree program in Judaic studies will begin this summer at the University of Connecticut through a consortial relationship with the University of Hartford, relying on additional faculty from Trinity College and Wesleyan University.

The program will be the first of its kind in Connecticut. UConn is one of about 30 universities in the country, including Brown, Harvard and the University of Texas, to offer a graduate degree in Judaic studies, according to Peterson's Guides.

UConn has recognized that most distinguished public and private universities have seen the need to incorporate an M.A. program in Judaic studies in order to incorporate a fuller range of disciplines in their academic offerings, said Arnold Dashefsky, professor of sociology and director of the Center for Judaic Studies and Contemporary Jewish Life. The new program is very consistent with the mission of enhancing the stature, image and quality of the University of Connecticut.

Since last fall, students have had an opportunity to take graduate-level courses in Judaic studies even though a master s program was not available. Now that the program will be offered, those students will be able to apply for admission. If accepted, the courses they have taken can apply toward their degree.

In order to be admitted into the program, students must meet the standards of the Graduate School and other standards established by the graduate faculty associated with the program. Students need six to 12 credit hours in Judaic studies at the undergraduate level and a minimum of four courses or 12 credits in Hebrew language. Students who have completed at least two courses or six credits may be admitted to the program but they must complete the required coursework prior to completing their master s. Six credits will be transferred from the University of Hartford.

The purpose of the program is to provide students, who have an interest in Judaic studies but were unable to pursue it at the undergraduate level, an opportunity to earn a degree in this field, Dashefsky said.

Coursework will be available in the Biblical, rabbinic, medieval, modern and contemporary periods of Jewish civilization. Over the course of the next two to three years there will be a dozen courses offered, primarly at UConn s West Hartford campus, covering these five periods.

Students enrolling now may pursue their degree part-time, but Dashefsky is optimistic that the program will be able to attract full-time students in the future.

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