Frequently Asked Questions
Among the questions listed below, here are The Top Questions that are asked about HUC-JIR:
How do I apply?
That’s easy. Just go visit our apply page and get started today!
Should I go straight to HUC-JIR after college?
This is a personal choice. Feel free to contact Admissions to explore your options.
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 meet the admissions requirements.
How much will it ultimately cost?
Our Financial Aid and Student Billing Offices are right there with you to answer this question.
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 fit.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 School of Graduate Studies applicants, a graduate-level writing sample is required.. While a personal interview is not required one may be arranged by request.
- 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.
- Do I have to be Jewish to be admitted to the School of Graduate Studies?
The School of Graduate Studies was founded in the late 1940s as an interfaith institution. Students of all religious backgrounds are welcomed to apply for admission to the School of Graduate Studies.
- 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 as explained below.
- What is the length of study at HUC-JIR?
The Rabbinical and Cantorial programs are each five years in length.
Doctoral coursework takes an average of three years. Ph.D. candidates then have one year to complete candidacy exams. The Ph.D. dissertation takes an average of three to four years..
Three years is the minimum length for the Ph.D. degree in our Graduate Studies program,though most students take longer to finish their degrees.
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.
- What is the Hebrew Requirement?
Entering students in most programs are required to demonstrate proficiency in the Hebrew language comparable to two years of college-level Modern Hebrew. We do not need to see documented coursework in Hebrew; however, applicants to the Rabbinical program, Cantorial program, Rhea Hirsch School of Education, and the New York School of Education must pass a Hebrew proficiency exam in order to matriculate. The exam is taken at the time of the admissions interview.
For the Jewish Nonprofit Management program and the Executive Masters in Jewish Education program, students must have Hebrew proficiency 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 School of Graduate Studies is a minimum of two years of Biblical Hebrew.
- Is it required that I study in Israel?
Students in the Rabbinical School, Cantorial School, and Schools of Education (MAJE; MARE) are required to spend their first year of study at our Jerusalem campus in Israel. (For applicants to the New York School of Education, exceptions may be made for professionals currently working full-time in the field.)
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 School of Jewish Nonprofit Management has a three-week Israel seminar. There are various opportunities for students in the School of Graduate Studies to study in Israel or participate in archaeological excavations in Israel.
- 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.
- If I get accepted may I defer my admissions?
In some rare cases, the College-Institute will grant deferments with the permission of the National Office of Recruitment and Admissions.
- How much does it cost to attend HUC-JIR?
For the 2012-2013 academic year, HUC-JIR tuition is $21,000. A student's expected total cost of attendance varies by campus, due to differences in the cost of living in the cities in which they are situated. Tuition for the School of Jewish Nonprofit Management varies depending on the student's choice of school at USC for the dual degree.
- Do you award financial aid?
Generous financial aid is awarded annually, in the form of scholarship assistance, in cases of demonstrated need. Students may also be eligible for Federal Stafford Loans. More detailed information about financial aid for prospective students is available. Prospective students are also encouraged to contact the National Financial Aid Director at email@example.com.
The School of Graduate Studies grants two kinds of financial aid: scholarships, which defray the cost of tuition; and fellowships, which include tuition plus an additional cash stipend. Awards are based on merit and/or need. It is generally expected that students who receive financial support will continue to do so throughout their period of eligibility (normally four to five years). In addition to scholarships and fellowship support, the College-Institute offers many opportunities for student employment, including teaching assistantships, library and clerical work, and research assistantships. Students may also be eligible for Federal Stafford Loans.
- Do you have an intermarriage policy?
Yes. 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, Cantorial or Masters in Education programs. This policy does not apply to our Certificate in Jewish Education for Adolescents and Emerging Adults program, the DeLeT fellowship, the academic programs of the School of Jewish Nonprofit Management, the academic programs of the School of Graduate Studies, nor the Doctor of Ministry in Interfaith Clinical Education for Pastoral Ministry Degree.
- 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 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.
- Whom should I contact for more information?
We are delighted to know you are considering professional training with HUC-JIR. Contact the Admissions staff to help you get started. We hope you will be in touch. We look forward to getting to know you. For general inquiries, please contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org.