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Undergraduate Minor

Please click here for the Israel Studies minor information guide.

Minor Advisor: 
Professor Paul Scham

4130 H.J. Patterson Hall

New for Fall 2017: Scholarship for Israel Studies Minor! Click here to learn more.

Application requirements:                     

  • 30 credits completed


  • 15 (9 at upper level)

Required courses:

  • ISRL342/JWST342/HIST376:
    History of Zionism and Modern Israel (or equivalent)
  • ISRL448:
    Seminar in Israel Studies
  • Middle East Studies Requirement  
    (See sample list below)
  • Electives  
    (Two courses, see samples below)

Required Courses


  • ISRL342/JWST342/HIST376
    History of Zionism and Israel

Every fall

  • ISRL 448: Seminar in Israel Studies

Every semester

  • One course in the area of Middle East studies (listed below)

As available



Elective Courses (at least 6 credits; availability changes frequently)


  • ISRL 289I
    The Israeli/Palestinian Conflict: Fundamental Questions

Every fall

  • HEBR 111, 112, 211, 212
    First/second-year Hebrew language.
    (No more than 3 credits of language instruction below the 300 level may be credited toward the Minor.)

Each yearly

  • ARAB 104, 105, 107, 204, 205, 207, 304, 305
    (subject to the same credit limits). 

Normally given in many sections yearly

  • JWST 304
    Critical Approaches to Israeli Culture

Approximately every other year

  • HEBR 313, 314
    Third-year Hebrew language

Each yearly

  • HEBR 381, 382
    Fourth-year Hebrew. Hebrew Cultural Studies/Israeli Media
    (in Hebrew)

Each yearly

  • JWST 478
    Readings in Modern Hebrew
    (if topic appropriate: must be approved)


  • JWST 471
    Modern Hebrew Literature in Translation


  • Special Topics in Israel Studies:

Expect approximately four courses per year

  • ISRL 249 Special Topics in Israel Studies
  • ISRL 349 Special Topics in Israel Studies
  • ISRL 449 Advanced Special Topics in Israel Studies

Special topics offerings in recent years have included:


    • Israeli Cinema
    • Immigration and Ethnicity in Israel
    • Israel, Politics and Society
    • Women and Gender in Israel
    • Jewish Communities under Islam
    • The Israeli Economy
    • Israeli Folklore and Popular Culture
    • Religion and Politics in Israel
    • Living Jerusalem
    • Museums, Memory and Interpretation of History: America and Israel


  • JWST488
    Independent Study in Israel Studies

Occasional/As needed

Other courses as appropriate and approved by the advisor
(including courses approved for Maryland Study Abroad programs)



Middle East Studies Requirement

Students must take one of the following or an equivalent course. Other courses may be substituted in consultation with the advisor. Students may also take one additional course from this list as an elective for credit toward the Minor.




  • ARAB 221
    The Arab World Today through Readings in Translation


  • HIST 120
    Islamic Civilization


  • HIST 314
    Crisis and Change in the Middle East

One prior course in History

  • HIST 392
    History of the Contemporary Middle East


  • HIST491
    History of the Ottoman Empire


  • GVPT 455
    Contemporary Middle Eastern Politics

GVPT 280 or 282

HIST, COMM, GVPT, and SLLC all regularly offer special topics courses on the Middle East, and will continue to do so.


  • Coursework must include least 9-upper division credits, of which six must be taken at the University.  These would include credits earned in UMD study abroad programs as applicable.
  • A student may use a maximum of six credits (or two courses) to satisfy the requirements of both a major and a minor. Courses completed in one minor may not be used to satisfy the requirements in another minor.
  • Up to two courses may be taken at another university if the courses are approved in advance by the Minor Advisor as substantially similar in quality to these and the subject matter is relevant.  These would include credits earned in non-UM study abroad programs as applicable.
  • No courses with an earned grade below “C-” (1.7) may count towards a minor for students matriculating during the Fall 2012 or later. For students matriculating prior to Fall 2012, no courses with an earned grade below “C” (2.0) may count towards the minor.


The Israel Studies Advisor is Professor Paul Scham.  He  will meet with students each semester. 

Each semester the Advisor, in consultation with the interdepartmental faculty advisory committee, will produce a list of courses currently offered, with particular attention to special topics and other exceptional courses.  Other courses may be applied to the Minor with the approval of the Advisor.

Recruitment and Enrollment Management

1. Prospective Minors must submit applications to the Advisor. Applications to the Minor will be accepted beginning October 1 in the Fall Semester and March 1 in the Spring Semester for enrollment in the following Semester.

2. Students must have

a. Completed ISRL342/JWST342/HIST376 (or equivalent) with a grade of C (2.0) or higher.
b. Completed at least 30 credits hours of undergraduate study prior to application.
c. Been admitted into the Minor prior to the completion of the final six credits of the Minor.

3. Up to 25 students will be enrolled annually as Minors on a first-come, first-served basis.

4. Enrolled minors will be required to meet with the advisor annually during the Fall or Spring registration periods. Students who fail to meet with their advisor or who fail to pursue their course of study may be unenrolled.


4137 Susquehanna Hall | 301.405.9413 |

2011, The Joseph and Alma Gildenhorn Institute for Israel Studies