Yiddish Studies

Program Category: Non-Degree Programs

Director of Graduate Studies: Jeremy Dauber

The graduate program in Yiddish Studies began at Columbia in 1952 under the leadership of the renowned linguist Uriel Weinreich and reached international acclaim as the most important and influential center of research into the Yiddish language, Yiddish literature, and Yiddish culture. Under Weinreich and his successor, Marvin Herzog, Yiddish Studies at Columbia were located in the Department of Linguistics and were offered in close conjunction with the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research. As of 1989, graduate studies in Yiddish literature, linguistics and culture are directed by an Interdepartmental Committee on Yiddish Studies.

Columbia University offers the MA, MPhil, and PhD degrees in Yiddish Studies. Applicants to the program must apply for admission to, and register as students in, one of the participating departments, usually the Department of Germanic Languages. Other participating departments are HistoryMiddle East and Asian Languages and Cultures, and Religion; in these departments students will be required to satisfy degree requirements set by the departments as well as those set by the Interdepartmental Committee; in Germanic Languages, only the Interdepartmental Committee’s requirements must be met. Upon admission, each student will be assigned an advisor from the Interdepartmental Committee who will consult with the student about his or her individual program of study.

Special Admissions Requirements: 

Students are expected to have a high degree of proficiency in reading, writing,and speaking Yiddish and English; previous work in Hebrew, German, and/or a Slavic language is highly recommended, though not required. Applicants are admitted as candidates for the MA degree and as potential candidates for the MPhil and PhD degrees. Continuation of study beyond the MA degree is not automatic, but must be authorized by the Interdepartmental Committee.

Deadline to apply: See participating department’s specific deadline.