FAQ - Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion
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The Top Questions About Applying

1.  How do I apply?
Visit our apply page and get started today!

2.  Should I go straight to HUC-JIR after college?
This is a personal choice. Feel free to contact Admissions to explore your options.

3.  What are my chances of getting in?
It all depends on you – the first step is to make sure that the program you are applying for is the right fit for you and you meet the admissions requirements.

4.  How much will it ultimately cost?
Read about our Financial Aid and Scholarships and Tuition and Fees.

5.  Will I get a job when I graduate?
For graduates of the full-time residential programs, we can offer a vast alumni network, partnership with professional associations, and career counseling to help you find the right position.

6. What are HUC-JIR's Policies and Expectations?
Check them out here.


Preparing to Apply

1. Are there particular subjects that you recommend I study in college?
We encourage you to take as many Hebrew and Jewish Studies courses as possible which will provide you with a good basis for your graduate studies. Many of our programs have Hebrew requirements.

2. What are your application procedures?
If you are ready to start applying for the coming academic year, you may begin your application. The Rabbinical Program and programs of the Debbie Friedman of Sacred Music require a consultation with a member of the Admissions staff or Program Director. Though not required, the other academic programs of HUC-JIR encourage you to contact us to express your interest and to answer your specific questions.


Application Requirements

1. What are the basic requirements for all of your programs?
A Bachelor's degree from an accredited institution. A Master’s degree is highly desirable when applying to the School of Graduate Studies’ doctoral program. A minimum undergraduate grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale. An above-average score on the Graduate Record Exam (GRE). (The GMAT is required for the dual Jewish Nonprofit Management/MBA program.) For the Cantorial program, students are also required to demonstrate musical competence. This is defined as a trained singing voice, undergraduate major in Music (preferred), competence in sight-reading, ear training, keyboard harmony, music theory, and some piano skills.

2. Are factors other than GRE scores and GPA important in admissions decisions?
In addition to GPA and GRE/GMAT scores, letters of recommendation, one's autobiographical statement, essays, and a personal interview
are considered in making admissions decisions. For cantorial applicants, there is a musical audition and exam. For applicants to the School of Graduate Studies, a graduate-level writing sample is required. While a personal interview is not required one may be arranged by request. Each applicant is evaluated individually, based on your grades, demonstrated leadership, knowledge of Jewish community, and commitment to scholarship.

3. Can I be exempt from the GRE requirement?
Candidates with a prior degree from HUC-JIR, Ph.D. or Masters degree (post-Bachelor) from an accredited institution that required a GRE score for admission may be exempt from submitting a current GRE score. Please email admissions@huc.edu with a request to exempt from this requirement. Candidates applying to the Pines School of Graduate Studies Ph.D. program must have a prior degree from HUC-JIR or Ph.D. from an accredited institution that required a GRE score in order to request exemption.

4. What is the Hebrew Requirement?
Entering students in most programs are required to demonstrate capacity in the Hebrew language comparable to one year of college-level Modern Hebrew. To fulfill this requirement applicants to the Rabbinical and Cantorial program must pass a Hebrew Capacity Exam (HCE) in order to matriculate. The exam is taken at the time of the admissions interview. For the Executive Masters in Jewish Education program and the Masters of Educational Leadership program, students must have Hebrew capacity equivalent to one year of college-level Modern Hebrew demonstrated on a transcript or passing a proficiency exam in order to graduate from the program. One may enter the program without a solid Hebrew foundation but will need to take Hebrew to fulfill the one-year minimum requirement. The Hebrew requirement for the Pines School of Graduate Studies Ph.D. program is a minimum of two years of Biblical Hebrew, and 1 year for the MAJS program (though 2 years is recommended).

5. Do you have an intermarriage policy?
We recognize that in today’s Reform and liberal Jewish communities there are many passionate, knowledgeable leaders who demonstrate a strong commitment to the Jewish people. However, at this time applicants who are married to or in committed relationships with non-Jews will not be considered for acceptance to the Rabbinical and Cantorial programs. This policy does not apply to the academic programs of the Zelikow School of Jewish Nonprofit Management, School of Education programs, the academic programs of the Pines School of Graduate Studies, nor the Doctor of Ministry in Interfaith Clinical Education for Pastoral Ministry Degree.


Program Details

1. How many spaces do you have for each program?
HUC-JIR is open to accepting all qualified students. There is no set class size each year, rather, each applicant is evaluated individually for admission. Admission to the School of Graduate Studies is highly competitive and space is limited.

2. What is the length of study at HUC-JIR?
The Rabbinical and Cantorial programs are each five years in length. The Graduate Studies PhD program typically takes from 5-7 years to complete. Graduate Studies Master's degree programs are two years in length. Our Education programs are two or three years in length. The Jewish Nonprofit Management program (single or dual masters with USC) is fourteen months in length for the single Masters program. The dual Masters programs with USC are twenty-four months in length. The DeLeT Fellowship is a thirteen month program.

3. Can one be admitted to the rabbinical program without an undergraduate degree in Judaic Studies or Religious Studies?
There is no preferred academic major, though a strong liberal arts background is encouraged. In the Cantorial program, significant study of music is strongly recommended; a major in Music, however, is not required. Many of our finest candidates are those who have achieved undergraduate academic success in whatever discipline they have studied.

4. Do I have to be Jewish to be admitted to HUC-JIR?
The majority of the degree programs at HUC-JIR do require applicants to identify as Jewish. The exceptions are in the Pines School of Graduate Studies to earn an MAJS or PhD, the Doctor of Ministry in the Interfaith Clinical Education for Pastoral Ministry Program and the Zelikow School of Jewish Nonprofit Management.  These programs welcome students from all religious backgrounds.

5. Is it required that I study in Israel?
Students in the Rabbinical School and Cantorial School are required to spend their first year of study at our Jerusalem campus in Israel. We consider the Year-in-Israel program an integral part of students' educational experience both for the sense of community it builds and for the understanding of the State of Israel that it fosters. However, students with advanced Hebrew language ability who have already spent an extended period of time living in Israel may be exempted from the Year-in-Israel requirement by examination. The Zelikow School of Jewish Nonprofit Management has a three-week Israel seminar. There are various opportunities for students in the Pines School of Graduate Studies to study in Israel or participate in archaeological excavations in Israel.

6. What are the job prospects for a graduate of HUC-JIR?
Graduates of our Rabbinical Program work in a variety of settings. Upwards of 80% of our graduates serve in Reform congregations, some serve in Hillels, as chaplains in various settings, as leaders in Jewish communal organizations, while others continue their studies working toward a PhD. Positions are readily available, and HUC-JIR assists students through a formal placement process for congregational jobs in the approximately 900 congregations of the North American Reform movement. Graduates of our Cantorial Programs, likewise, have a formal placement process. All graduates of our Schools of Education are assisted in placement by the school in conjunction with the National Association of Temple Educators (NATE). Our graduates earn competitive salaries with substantial benefits packages. A majority of graduates of the Pines School of Graduate Studies go on to academic positions at colleges and universities around the world. In their job searches, graduates of the Jewish Nonprofit Management program usually go through the national organization of the agency for which they wish to work. While there is no formal placement process, the directors of HUC-JIR's program are well connected and able to help graduates find positions. We are proud to have a high job placement rate. Our graduates work in federations, Jewish community centers, Jewish family services, residential and day camps, bureaus of Jewish education, congregations, and many other organizations in over 60 cities throughout the world.

7. If I get accepted may I defer my admissions?In some rare cases, the College-Institute will grant deferments with the permission of the Office of Recruitment and Admissions.