The Core Curriculum
The Core Curriculum at Bar-Ilan University is designed to give students the skills and intellectual perspective necessary to succeed, and provide a balanced academic perspective beyond your major.
What’s in the Core?
Since its inception, Bar-Ilan University has been committed to providing every Jewish student with basic knowledge of Judaism via a unique Judaic Studies core curriculum. It is our belief that familiarity with Jewish values and culture is the key to fostering Jewish unity, and commitment to the Jewish people and to the land of Israel.
In order to graduate from the Bar-Ilan University International B.A. Program, students must take fourteen (10) Judaic studies courses over the course of their degree.
Hundreds of courses
Taught by distinguished academicians and religious scholars alike, the Helene and Paul Shulman Center for Basic Jewish Studies offers hundreds of courses focused on Jewish history, the Bible and Talmud, Jewish art, Hebrew and Semitic Languages, and more. Teachers and Rabbis from a variety of different perspectives impart fundamental Jewish knowledge to religious and secular alike, in an atmosphere of mutual respect and intellectual inquiry.
Narrowing the gap
BIU narrows the gap between religious and secular Israelis and Jewish International students by giving them a common language, the language of Jewish tradition. The Center for Basic Jewish Studies presents these students – many secular, immigrant, or simply craving basic Jewish knowledge – with what may be their first and last chance at Jewish literacy. As Israel’s sole religious university, Bar-Ilan is the only university to do so.
Advanced Torah Studies
BIU students can enroll in the Jesselson Institute for Advanced Torah Studies Bet Midrash for men or Midrahsa for women to further their Judaic studies in more religious environment. Taught by a renowned staff of Talmedei Chachamim and Torah scholars, students choose between beginner and advanced tracks of study, depending on their religious background and knowledge. Jesselson Institute for Advanced Torah Studies participants are also eligible for needs-based, partial scholarships.
Ulpan – Hebrew Language Studies
Learning Hebrew is a critical part of the integration process into Israeli society. Through Hebrew-language Ulpan studies, students learn about and experience Israeli society, politics, and culture, while at the same time building the necessary language skills for success in both academia and the workforce.
Bar-Ilan offers six levels of Ulpan. Although all courses in the International B.A. Program are offered in English, and knowledge of Hebrew has no impact on admissions, students are required to take Hebrew-Language courses (Ulpan) until they reach a level four or five based on their competence at entry. While students are not required to take Ulpan through BIU, it is highly recommended. Students who choose to take Ulpan at an alternative institution will be required to take an exemption test before they graduate.
More Than A Language
Bar-Ilan University’s Ulpan focuses on more than just grammar. Ulpan students focus on the physical and cultural nuances of Israeli lifestyle, learning historical and current events, popular folk references, and about Israel’s many geographic and social landmarks.
Made for Academia
Unlike most Hebrew-fluency programs, BIU’s Ulpan teaches you more than just grammar and colloquialisms. Our curriculum focuses not just on modern usage and slang, but gives participants the skills necessary to write papers, analyze case-studies, and participate in Israeli academia. In fact, students who complete a level 3 competency can take any of Bar-Ilan’s 7,000 courses taught in Hebrew!
Preparing for the Future
It’s not by chance that BIU graduates have a higher rate of successful acclimation than any other International Program in the country. Ulpan is just one of the many ways we help guarantee your success after graduation, allowing you to live with Israelis, communicate with Israelis, and compete for the same jobs as Israelis, istead of being at a disadvantage due to the language barrier.
General electives give students the freedom to pursue interests that lie outside their major. They can be used to explore subjects introduced in a department course or even give students to opportunity to learn about a subject that sheds light on their major.
The amount of General Elective courses you are requred to take is determined by your major, on average approximately four (4) credits. Students can choose between a wide array of classes offered in English through the International B.A. Program or take one of over 5000 courses offered in Hebrew.
Employers value staff who have a broad-based education, as it allows them to be more adaptable in the everchanging workplace. General Electives offer students a wider view of the world, and help them become ready to succeed.
General Electives are not about a fixed selection of knowledge, and rather builds on your critical and analytical skills, and fostrs creative thinking. By taking a few courses outside of your main interests, you will be prepared for a life of thinking critically and creatively about who you are, what you want to be, and how to better the society in which you live.
One of the benefits of Bar-Ilan University is that you’re not limited to the resources of a small college. If the courses in the International B.A. Programs don’t interest you, BIU has more than 5000 other courses in 74 different fields of study, enough to satiate any student’s thirst for knowledge.