Israel Studies

University of California, Berkeley

About the Program

UC Berkeley’s Israel Studies Minor offers an institutionalized path to gaining an expertise in Israel studies. The minor reflects the rich and multidisciplinary nature of the academic field of Israel studies, intersecting the social sciences and humanities as well as law, business, science and technology. Moreover, the minor allows students in diverse disciplines — from liberal arts to engineering — to gain expertise in the study of Israel, complementing their primary fields of study.

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Minor Requirements

General Guidelines

1. To declare the minor, please schedule a meeting with the Israel Studies advising team.

2. All minors must be declared before the first day of instruction of their Expected Graduation Term (EGT).

3. Students must complete 20 total units consisting of two upper division core courses and three upper division electives. An additional core course can be used as an elective.

4. A maximum of one Hebrew or Arabic language course can be used toward the elective requirement.

5. A minimum grade point average (GPA) of 2.5 is required for courses used to fulfill the minor requirements.

6. Prerequisites for Professor Ron Hassner’s courses will be waived for students in the minor.

7. Students must adhere to the College of Letters & Science's course overlap rules.

8. Students cannot petition for unaffiliated UC Berkeley courses to count toward the minor.

9. All minor requirements must be completed prior to the last day of finals during the semester in which you plan to graduate.

10. The minor is open to enrollment for all Berkeley students.


Students must complete 20 total units consisting of two upper division core courses and three upper division electives. An additional core course can be used as an elective. A maximum of one Hebrew or Arabic language course can be used toward the elective requirement.

Upper division core courses
POL SCI 191Junior Seminar (Israel: Politics and Society)4
HISTORY 175EHistory of Modern Israel: From the Emergence of Zionism to Our Time4
LEGALST 174Comparative Constitutional Law: The Case of Israel4
POL SCI 124BWar in the Middle East4
Elective courses

Upper division elective courses are subject to change based on visiting faculty, with six to twelve courses offered yearly. Please visit for up-to-date course information.

ANTHRO 189Special Topics in Social/Cultural Anthropology (The Politics of Trauma)4
ARCH 139Special Topics in Architectural Design Theory and Criticism (Learning from Jerusalem: Society and Space in a Shared City)1-4
ARCH 139Special Topics in Architectural Design Theory and Criticism (Modern Urbanism)1-4
COM LIT 100D/JEWISH 120AIntroduction to Comparative Literature (Crossing Borders, or, How to Translate Hebrew Literature?)4
COM LIT 155The Modern Period (Israeli Literature: Is There Such a Thing?)4
EDUC 150/JEWISH 122Advanced Studies in Education (Religion and Spirituality in Education: Israeli and American Cases)3
LEGALST 190/JEWISH 122Seminar on Topics in Law and Society (Gender, Religion, and Law: The Case of Israel)1-4
LEGALST 190Seminar on Topics in Law and Society (Memory in Legal Principle & Process)1-4
HEBREW 1AElementary Hebrew5
HEBREW 20BIntermediate Hebrew5
HEBREW 100AAdvanced Hebrew3
ARABIC 1AElementary Arabic5
ARABIC 20AIntermediate Arabic5
ARABIC 100AAdvanced Arabic3

Student Learning Goals

1. Gain a broad understanding of Israeli history, politics, law, and society, including complex issues like immigration to Israel, religion and state, and minorities.

2. Cultivate a rigorous understanding of the multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary study of Israel.

3. Foster strong critical thinking and communication skills to grapple with complex challenges facing Israeli society.

4. Learn to integrate diverse and competing perspectives when studying Israel and the region.

5. Develop skills to examine the Arab-Israeli conflict with nuance, complexity, rigor, and compassion.

Academic Opportunities

Berkeley Global Internship Program in Israel

The Global Internship Program in Israel runs yearly from late June to early August in Haifa, Israel. Participants gain academic credit, first-hand knowledge, connections, and international work experience through an academic internship in a social sector field of interest. Generally, participants intern at local nonprofits, public projects and grassroots organizations working in the fields of social change, such as women's rights, education, or immigration. Learn more here.

Winter Trip to Israel: Battlefields of the Holy Land

Every spring, students from U.C. Berkeley and Stanford University are invited to apply to participate in Ron Hassner's "Battlefields of the Holy Land" fall seminar. The twenty students selected for the program — ten from each campus — meet during the fall semester to study the military history of the Levant, including some of the oldest and most significant battles in recorded history. Learn more here.

Undergraduate Fellows Program

During their time in the Undergraduate Fellows Program, students create robust academic programming around topics of their choice while working closely with professors, lecturers, and researchers in an intimate and casual setting. Fellows attend regular workshops focused on professional development topics and work closely with a mentor from the Institute’s community of fellowship alumni. Learn more here.

Funding for Student Research

The Helen Diller Institute is occasionally able to provide ad-hoc support for UC Berkeley affiliated undergraduate, graduate, and faculty research projects in Jewish Law, Thought, and Identity, and in Israel Studies. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis and decisions are made based on available funds. Learn more here.

Events, Lectures, and Colloquia

The Helen Diller Institute also hosts dozens of lectures and programs every academic year, many of which are open to the public. We provide the UC Berkeley campus community with colloquia, symposia, and workshops which explore Israel studies and contemporary Jewish issues. See a list of upcoming events here.

Contact Information

The Helen Diller Institute for Jewish Law and Israel Studies

R239 Law Building

Berkeley, CA 94720-7220

Phone: 510-643–0501

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Executive Director

Dr. Rebecca Golbert

Phone: 510-643-0501

Assistant Director for Student Engagement & Programs

Matthew Gordan

Executive Director

Dr. Rebecca Golbert

Phone: 510-643-0501

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