The B.A. in Hebrew course at Oxford lasts for three or four years, depending on whether a year is spent abroad at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. The primary aim of the course is to give all students a working knowledge of the main phases of the Hebrew language (classical, rabbinic and medieval, and modern), together with an introduction to the historical background and the most important literature of each period. The wide range of options available enables students to devote particular attention to any one of these areas if they so choose.
The course is structured in two main parts, with important University examinations at the end of each part. Since no previous knowledge of Hebrew is required, the first three terms are spent in intensive language instruction together with an introductory historical and cultural survey. This leads to the first public examination (Prelims), by which time students should have achieved a basic reading competence in the language, preparing them for the more advanced work which follows.
At this point students need to decide whether they wish to continue with Hebrew alone through to Finals or whether they wish to combine it with another related language as a subsidiary. This subsidiary can be Arabic, Egyptology, Aramaic and Syriac, Akkadian. It is also possible to combine Hebrew with Classics. Students on the B.A. in Hebrew may also spend one year abroad at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, making the whole course last four, rather than three, years. Even those taking the shorter, three-year course, are encouraged to spend at least one summer on an approved language course in Jerusalem. For more information on the Year Abroad, please refer to this webpage.
For further information please see the Course Handbook and Course Background documents, which are available here. The Course Handbook is a comprehensive introduction to all aspects of the BA in Hebrew. The short Course Background document provides preliminary information, including some suggested reading: