Expand mobile version menu

Rabbinical Studies

Program Description

Just the Facts

Rabbinical Studies. A program that prepares individuals for ordination as Rabbis. Includes instruction in Talmud, Halacha, Liturgy and Rituals, Rabbinical Thought, Jewish Ethics, Jewish Education, Pastoral Counseling and Homiletics.

This program is available in these options:

  • Associate degree
  • Bachelor's degree
  • Graduate Certificate
  • Master's degree
  • Doctoral degree

High School Courses

See the high school courses recommended for programs in this career cluster:

See the high school courses recommended for programs in this pathway:

Related Careers

Check out related careers

Additional Information

To become a guide of Judaism, you will need to study at a rabbinical school. If you want to study Judaism, but don't want to become a religious leader, you may also consider a Jewish studies program.

A Jewish studies program is usually found in an arts or humanities faculty. Programs cover many areas -- languages, literature, history, religion, archeology, philosophy, sociology -- as they relate to the Jewish experience.

Before enrolling, high school students should take Hebrew, says Steven Fine, a professor at Baltimore Hebrew University in Maryland. He also recommends that students visit Israel.

But B. Barry Levy, dean of religious studies at a university, adds that many students start with little prior knowledge and still do well in the program. "If one cannot take Hebrew and Jewish studies courses in preparation, the best thing to do is study world history and world literature, particularly in the geographic areas populated by Jews," he says.

Communication, writing and thinking skills are extremely important, adds Levy.

Jewish studies programs have changed considerably in the past decade. "There has been an explosion of literature on all aspects of Jewish studies," says Vicki Caron, a Jewish studies professor at Cornell University. "As a result, courses are more specialized than they used to be."

For example, Caron teaches a very specific course on modern French Jewish history. Also, she says, there are considerable resources for teaching the Holocaust and the history of Zionism (the movement to establish the Jewish state of Israel).

In addition, Jewish studies are no longer seen as being just for Jews. Levy's program offers a course on the Holocaust. Most students in this class are not Jewish.

The requirements are stricter for students considering becoming a rabbi. To enter a rabbinical school, first and foremost, you must be Jewish. This is very unlike Jewish studies, where people of all faiths take courses.

Rabbinical school is a five-year graduate program. That means entering students must hold an undergraduate degree. They may choose to do it in a field such as Hebrew or Jewish studies, or a different field.

The Jewish Theological Seminary in New York City also requires students to have completed a year of study in Israel and have taken one year of college-level Hebrew. In addition, once accepted into a rabbinical program, graduate students will spend a year of their five-year program in Israel and will also complete an internship.

The heart of the curriculum is the study of the classical texts of Judaism -- Torah and commentaries; rabbinic literature, including Talmud, codes and Midrash; liturgy and literature.

Besides eventual ordination, graduates of the rabbinical schools will also be awarded a master of arts in Hebrew letters.


Occupational Outlook Handbook
For more information related to this field of study, see: Rabbis

Judaism 101
An online encyclopedia of Judaism

Coalition for the Advancement of Jewish Education
Dedicated to teaching Judaism


  • Email Support
  • 1-800-GO-TO-XAP (1-800-468-6927)
    From outside the U.S., please call +1 (424) 750-3900
  • North Dakota Career Resource Network
    ndcrn@nd.gov | (701) 328-9733