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Bachelor of Hebrew Letters


Careers in Jewish Education, Community Services, Synagogue Administration, and Outreach work.

The B.H.L. Program offers a unique approach for the adult learner. The program is designed to accommodate the needs and schedules of adults. As such, it incorporates lectures, one-on-one tutorials, intensive learning modules, web-based learning, and individual study assignments.

Numerous classes meet in the daytime and evenings regularly over the course of a trimester, some will be tutorials led by M.H.L. students, and some – such as the Torah and Science Series,  the Jewish Learning Institute (JLI) lecture series and the History Series are intensive learning modules over a few extensive days or weeks.

Most courses are scheduled between September and June. Some cover the usual 12-week term, and others may meet for shorter time periods, from a three-day intensive to several weeks’ duration. All for-credit courses require outside work – readings, internet research, essays and other assignments – as well as evaluations of written and/or oral exams, term papers, essays, journals, and the like. Credits are assigned on the basis of 12 contact classroom hours (plus readings and other assignments) per credit hour, and each course may carry between one-half and three credit hours.


A full-time student will take at least twelve semester credit hours per 12-week trimester. Over four years, a student will complete 36 semester credit hours per year for a total of 144 semester credit hours, required for the B.H.L.  Each course will carry its own requirements: writing assignments and oral and/or written examinations.


Instructors will evaluate student learning each trimester on a scale of A, B, C, D, or F. An overall grade point average of C+ is required for the degree.  The B.H.L. is designed to meet both personal and professional educational goals of the student. In addition to affording “Jewish literacy”, the program will train students for careers in the Jewish world.

Upon completion of the degree, the student is qualified for work in synagogues, Jewish education, Jewish community institutions and outreach organizations.

Smicha Option (for male students only)

If the student is male, it is possible to pursue rabbinic ordination (smicha) simultaneously with the B.H.L degree. This is a four year program designed for students with modest preparation for rabbinical studies. In addition to training in textual studies, B.H.L. smicha students will gain needed language skills and may take courses designed for careers in the rabbinate, as well as general Judaic learning. The smicha option requires 144 semester credit hours plus rabbinic oral examinations. The program would likely take four or five years on a full-time basis, depending on the student’s background. Students successfully completing the B.H.L. with smicha and who have acquired the requisite language tools and textual knowledge base may apply to enter the M.H.L. program.

GRADES:  The work of each student is graded on the following scale: A (93 – 100%), A- (90 – 92%) Excellent; B+ (87 – 89%), B (83 – 86%), B- (80 – 82%) Good; C+ (77 – 79%), C (73 – 76%), C- (70 – 72%) Fair; D+ (67 – 69%), D (63 – 66%), D- (60 – 62%) Poor; F (below 50%) Failure; NC No Credit; AU Audit; P Pass; W Withdrawn without penalty or prejudice; I Incomplete work. Up to 30% of credits may be taken on a Pass/Fail basis.

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