Brandeis University

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#15, overall score 72.33/100

Fun Fact:

There are seven buildings on campus named Shapiro, including the Shapiro Residence Hall and the Shapiro Brothers Residence Hall.

Why should Jewish students attend Brandeis? “With the two dining halls at Brandeis offering kosher food, one of them designating half of it for kosher and the other having a kosher deli, combined with vacations being centered around the Jewish holidays, Brandeis is a place highly conducive to lead a Jewish life. Being a small campus located in relative isolation in Waltham, Massachusetts, Brandeis is also well suited for personal growth during one’s four years in college. The Chabad House, located off campus, is an attractive destination for students seeking a spiritually energizing, intellectually challenging and emotionally stimulating experience. Being independent from the university provides the Chabad House a latitude to offer students opportunities that speak directly to their needs and interests. Founded in 2001 by Peretz and Chanie Chein, and still under their direct leadership, Chabad has become the pulse of Jewish life with the largest Shabbat dinners, holiday and educational programs at Brandeis, including Shabbat Across Brandeis, the Chabad Club and the legendary Purim Party. Chabad looks forward to welcoming you!” - Chani Chein, co-director, Chabad House at Brandeis

“Brandeis is one of the most dynamic, spirited, diverse and stimulating Jewish communities in the world. Hundreds of people share a communal meal every Friday night and regardless of background or level of observance, Shabbat at Brandeis is a full day of meals and singing. During the rest of the week Hillel is welcoming and non-exclusive, offering social activities, learning, daily services, abundant kosher food options, dialog groups and service opportunities. There is also off-campus Greek life and a Chabad house, and Brandeis boasts several world-renowned centers and institutes for Israel and Jewish Studies. Students leave Brandeis with a strong network of Jewish mentors and friends.” Rabbi Seth Winberg, Executive Director, Brandeis Hillel & Senior Jewish Chaplain, Brandeis University


  • Location: Waltham, Mass.
  • Region: New England
  • Campus type: Suburb
  • Public/Private: Private
  • Undergraduate enrollment: 3,608
  • Jewish undergraduate enrollment: 1,600
  • Jewish population share: 44%
  • Student origin: 29% in-state / 71% out-of-state
  • Student newspaper: The Justice
  • NCAA Division: III
  • NCAA team: Judges
  • Ultimate Frisbee teams: TRON / Banshee

COST & AID Score: 1.67/15

  • Score: 1.67/15
  • Tuition: $53,582
  • Room & board costs: $14,906
  • Average annual scholarship/grant package: $33,455
  • Average loan debt: $33,522
  • Starting median salary: $55,300
  • Scholarship for Jewish students: Edward Fein Scholarship

ACADEMICS Score: 13.33/20

  • Score: 13.33/20
  • Acceptance rate: 34%
  • Student/faculty ratio: 10:1
  • Median SAT range: 1280-1470
  • Jewish Studies program: Yes
  • Jewish Studies major: Yes
  • Hebrew major: Minor

ISRAEL Score: 17.67/20

SAFETY Score: 7.67/11

  • Score: 7.67/11
  • Anti-Semitic incidents in 2017: 1
  • Campus crime rate: 2.09/1,000 students (medium low)
  • City crime rate: 12.37/1,000 people (low)
  • LGBT center: Yes

JEWISH LIFE Score: 32/34

  • Score: 32/34
  • Hillel: Brandeis Hillel
  • Chabad: Chabad House at Brandeis
  • OU-JLIC: Yes
  • Jewish fraternities: AEPi, ΣAM, ZBT
  • Jewish sororities: SDT
  • Jewish dorm: Every dorm
  • Jewish a capella groups: Manginah, Ba’note
  • Can you get kosher food on the school meal plan? Yes
  • Active Hillel clubs: 24
  • Hillel Friday night services: 4
  • Average Shabbat attendance – Hillel: 400
  • Synagogues within 10 miles: 29 (6 Orthodox, 9 Conservative, 14 Reform)
  • Eruv: Yes
  • Most famous Jewish alum: Debra Messing
  • Most unique/noteworthy club: Hillel Theatre Group produces three shows each year, including a “24-Hour Musical” that is cast, rehearsed, produced, and performed in 24 hours. The fall production is either by a Jewish playwright or touches on Jewish content. And in the spring musical, all students who audition are cast. For all three productions, no auditions, rehearsals, or performances conflict with Shabbat and holiday celebrations/observances. Over 400 students participate each year.
  • Where do Jewish students come from? All over the country.
  • Kosher food details: Kosher food is available 21 meals a week, served every day in the Sherman Dining Hall and available in the Usdan Student Center.

What Students Say:

“There are many Jews at Brandeis so there are many different Jewish communities. Although Hillel definitely has the most sway over Judaism at Brandeis, there are other options.”

Do you attend this school? Do you want to tell us more about what life there is like? Take our survey here, and your feedback could be featured in next year’s guide! And if you’re a student or campus professional, join our online community Jewish Campus Confidential, and apply to become a Forward Campus Ambassador.

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