Maimonides wrote his “Guide to the Perplexed” about ancient philosophy, but one of the most perplexing questions facing young Jewish scholars today is how to get through graduate school without going into debt. For our readers mulling careers in Judaic Studies, we’ve rounded up ten generous sources of funding and fellowships - so you can worry about your Yiddishkeit, not your utilities.
Each year, New York’s Center for Jewish History invites four doctoral candidates to spend a year doing research in its archives and those of its partners, which include the American Sephardi Federation, the American Jewish Historical Society, and the Leo Baeck Institute. Applicants must have completed all aspects of their graduate programs except for the dissertation. The Fellowship provides a $22,500 stipend.
Bustling research university Columbia offers a variety of graduate fellowships through its Institute for Israel and Jewish Studies. Students who are concentrating or writing dissertations in fields related to Judaism or the Middle East can apply to the Bloom, Hoffman, and Fromer Fellowships, which provide stipends of unspecified amounts. There are separate sources of funding for summer research and travel, and graduate students can also apply to funded Yiddish summer programs in Tel Aviv and Poland.
At Brandeis, the Near Eastern and Judaic Studies program allows graduate students to study a variety of topics, from European Jewish history to today’s Arab world. The university’s Master’s programs also offers joint degrees with subjects such as Gender Studies and Conflict Resolution. Once you’ve reached your dissertation year, you can apply to the Mellon Fellowship, which is open to all graduate students pursuing humanities degrees. The fellowship provides $20,000 in addition to separate summer and research fellowships, and candidates must be in their fifth or sixth year to apply.
The Association of Jewish Studies is dedicated to assisting the doctoral students who will “lead the field of Jewish Studies for decades to come.” Its yearly fellowship is open to any students in the final year of their dissertation and provides not only a stipend but mentorship and public speaking coaching, with each recipient expected to give a public workshop or lecture during the year. Once you’ve finished your dissertation, you can also apply for the Associations generous awards for first books and conference travel.
Founded in the 1800s to cultivate Jewish community leaders, the Wexner Foundation offers scholarships to graduate students preparing for careers as rabbis, cantors, Jewish professionals, or academics in the field of Jewish Studies. Funding amounts differ, but all scholarship recipients participate in four years of the foundation’s programming, which provides leadership training, mentoring, and networking opportunities.
Yale’s Judaic Studies department offers two two-year post-doctoral fellowships, one in Judaic Studies and the other in Jewish Thought. Graduate Fellows teach one course per year and are encouraged to conduct research using the university’s library and collections. With a vibrant Judaic Studies department that includes a Program for the Study of Anti-Semitism and well-funded summer programs, Yale is a great place to pursue a Jewish academic career.
If you’re currently working at the JCC or aspire to do so in the future, you’ll want to consider the organization’s graduate school funding opportunities. Students pursuing degrees in fields relevant to the JCC (including education, health and wellness, and administration) can receive up to $10,000 of funding per year in exchange for working with the JCC for at least two years after graduation. Full-time JCC employees can also apply for tuition assistance at part-time Masters programs.
These two fellowships provide five years of partial funding and teaching fellowships to students pursuing Judaic Studies degrees at the University of Michigan. They also provide up to $6,000 in funds for summer research and funds for conference attendance.
George Washington’s one-of-a-kind Master’s program includes coursework in education, cultural arts, and museum administration, preparing students for careers in Jewish museums, schools, and cultural institutions. The program focuses on hands-on learning and internship experiences. Donations from the Jim Joseph foundation cover 85% of tuition for many applicants.
The Windy City’s premier research institution offers a yearlong fellowship with a $27,000 stipend to doctoral candidates writing their dissertations in “any field related to Jewish Studies. But don’t take too long! Graduate students enrolled in the university for more than eight years aren’t allowed to apply to the fellowship.
This article is part of a Forward series on Jewish graduate studies. Find more stories in the series below.