Detail of Torah Ark
Oxford has been an important centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies since the sixteenth century, when the Regius Professorship in Hebrew was established by Henry VIII in 1546. There are unrivalled collections of Hebrew manuscripts and printed books in the Bodleian Library, and students from all over the world come to Oxford for graduate studies.
As the disciplines of Hebrew and Jewish Studies have developed, different approaches and fields of study have evolved and the university’s courses in these fields have constantly been revised to keep up to date with recent developments. We offer a broad range of subjects, starting with study of the classical Hebrew language and the Hebrew Bible, and ranging through all other aspects of ancient, medieval, early-modern and modern Jewish history, culture and society. The University’s posts in the Faculty of Oriental Studies reflect this diversity and together form the Oxford University Hebrew and Jewish Studies Unit, housed in the Oriental Institute. The Unit’s staff offers an exceptional quality and breadth of expertise to enable students to develop areas of particular interest.
There are many reasons to consider pursuing graduate work in Hebrew and Jewish Studies at Oxford. Resources for graduate work in these fields combine the university’s venerable tradition in this area with a vibrant teaching and research environment which spans almost the entirety of Jewish history and culture. We offer a number of one-year and two-year taught graduate degrees, from the ancient to the modern period, as well as the D. Phil research degree. In addition to the Bodleian Library, the collections of the Muller Library of the Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies at Yarnton Manor are an exceptional resource for Jewish studies. The Centre also hosts many visiting scholars in Hebrew and Jewish studies from all over the world, adding to the breadth of the Jewish studies community at Oxford. Regular seminars, lectures and special events in Jewish studies are held throughout the academic year, and graduate students are encouraged to attend and participate in these.
The Faculty of Oriental Studies is home to a community of about 200 graduate students, and Jewish studies students benefit also from the presence of students in cognate disciplines in other university faculties. Because doctoral students will normally have attained a masters degree, either at Oxford or elsewhere, many of our masters students are in fact in preparing for subsequent doctoral research. One of the primary advantages of studying in a collegiate university such as Oxford, and one of the hallmarks of our system, is that students receive a great deal of close personal attention from faculty. While your academic progress is carefully monitored and guided throughout your course, you will at the same time be given considerable latitude to pursue your own intellectual (and other) interests.