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Jewish Studies

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Jewish Studies at Fresno State

The Jewish Studies Program encourages Fresno State students from all backgrounds to study the many dimensions of Jewish heritage and its contemporary contexts. Course offerings explore the diverse experiences, contributions, and challenges of the Jewish people, from ancient to modern times in Israel, and across the global locations of the Jewish diaspora, including the wider Middle East, Europe, North Africa, and the Americas. A focus on the vibrant traditions and practices of Jewish people – who are themselves a diverse, transnational, multi-cultural group – heightens sensitivity to minority perspectives, encourages interdisciplinary thinking, and sheds light on the impact of cross-cultural contact and exchanges. The Jewish Studies Program thus provides information, concepts, and approaches that can aid in understanding a range of comparative ethnic and religious minority identities. The program also raises awareness about the local Jewish community’s presence amidst the wonderful diversity of California’s San Joaquin Valley.

The Minor in Jewish Studies augments students’ major course work, and prepares students for graduate education, especially in history, Jewish Studies, international relations, religious studies, and philosophy, and professional training and careers in teaching, law, public sector administration, service and advocacy, foreign service and diplomacy, museums, religious organizations, business, human resources, and creative fields.

Students earn a Minor in Jewish Studies from the College of Social Sciences by taking courses in Jewish history, religion, culture, politics and/or Hebrew language and completing all courses with a grade of C or better. The Minor requires a total of 15 units from at least two disciplines, with a minimum of one lower division course (3 units) and two upper-division courses (6 units). The remaining courses (6 units) may be selected from any lower or upper-division electives.

Another option for students is to earn a Certificate in Jewish Studies, which requires taking four upper-division classes. 

Getting Involved

The Jewish Studies Program is affiliated with the Fresno State student club, the Jewish Studies Association.  Join the JSA on the Fresno State Student Engagement  page.

For more information about events, course offerings, and to join the Jewish Studies community of students, faculty, alumni, and people who support Jewish Studies in our area, check out JSA on Facebook.

To find out about enrolling in the Jewish Studies Program, please visit or contact Jewish Studies Program Coordinator Jill Fields. Jill's office is located at Social Sciences 123, phone 559.278.5414. Email her at

You can also call the Department of History at 559.278.2153.