A minor in Jewish civilization allows undergraduates to obtain an interdisciplinary perspective on Judaism and the Jewish people with particular emphasis on Jewish civilization and its interrelationship with other cultures.

Open to students of the School of Foreign Service, Georgetown College, McDonough School of Business, and Nursing and Health Studies, this is a program for individuals from all religious backgrounds or of none at all. It is appropriate for those with either a strong background in Judaism or none at all.

To apply for the CJC’s Minor program, please fill out this application form.

Though it is recommended that candidates submit their applications by the end of the spring semester their sophomore year, applications are accepted at any time.

*Minor candidates: please be aware that you will also need to fill out a “declaration of minor” form. See your dean for details.

Required Core Courses

Students must successfully complete the following courses:

JCIV-1990: Introduction to Jewish Civilization

This course will provide a holistic, multi-disciplinary approach to understanding Jewish Civilization, and will be taught by a different faculty member from the Center for Jewish Civilization (CJC) every week, each of whom will teach the area of their expertise. Students will learn the history of the Jewish people from ancient times to modern-day Israel, including in-depth coverage of the Holocaust and the development of Zionism. Students will learn about Judaism through major Jewish texts, denominations, holidays and life-cycle events – and about Jewish culture, through a global lens on Jewish literature, film and music. Students will learn about historic relations between Islam and Judaism, the Arab world and Israel, as well as how to think about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Students will also learn about Jewish engagement with American democracy, and global Jewish realities impacted by increasing anti-Semitism and white Supremacism in the 20th and 21th centuries. Having learned about the many foundational aspects of Jewish civilization, students will then have the opportunity to pursue further knowledge in any area of the course, through thematically-based classes at the CJC by any of the experts from whom they have learned. Professor Meital Orr will be the point of contact for students in the class, and help guide them through this multi-disciplinary journey. Please direct all questions and inquiries to her. For further information, please see our course listings.

JCIV-4960: Senior Colloquium

Seniors completing the CJC minor must participate in a colloquium in either the fall or spring semester of their senior year and prepare either a capstone project (either a traditional thesis or a creative project) in a topic pertaining to Jewish Civilization.

For the Senior Thesis: Students are required to write a research paper of 25-30 pages on a topic related to Jewish civilization, prepared under the supervision of a faculty member associated with the Center for Jewish Civilization, the Visiting Professor of Jewish Civilization, Goldman Visiting Israeli Professor, or if appropriate, special permission may be granted by the program director for another Georgetown faculty member to serve as an advisor. Upon completion, seniors will present their research at the annual senior thesis colloquium, where a prize (the Margot Gottesman Award) is given to the most outstanding paper.


Students must take a minimum of four electives or courses offered by the Center for Jewish Civilization. Up to four Hebrew courses are eligible as electives.

Additional electives may be approved by the program Director, but must make a significant contribution to the understanding of Jewish civilization.

*Minor Candidates: please note that courses may not be double-counted toward certain majors – you should meet with your dean to confirm whether or not this applies to your major.