• RA’ANAN BOUSTAN: Ph. D., Religion, Princeton University, 2004. Ancient Jewish history; History of late antiquity 310.825.1977; boustan@history.ucla.edu
  • JESSICA GOLDBERG: Ph.D., History, Columbia University. 2006. Medieval history; Jewish history; History of medieval trade, business, and industry; Definitions of regions and regional identity in Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages 310-206-6860; goldberg@history.ucla.edu
  • DAVID N. MYERS: Ph.D., History, Columbia University, 1991. Jewish, Europe, Modern Jewish intellectual and cultural history; History of Jewish historiography 310-825-1883/310-825-3780; myers@history.ucla.edu
  • SARAH ABREVAYA STEIN: Ph.D., History, Stanford University, 1999. Jewish history; Sephardic studies; Yiddish and Ladino speaking diasporas; Jewish cultural diversity in the modern period 310-825-4153; sstein@history.ucla.edu


The Jewish history field at UCLA aims to provide students with a broad training in Jewish intellectual, cultural, and social history. Students can draw on the riches of a large and diverse History Department as well as a nationally recognized Center for Jewish Studies.

Faculty members in the Jewish history field are Jessica Goldberg, associate professor of medieval history and the current field coordinator; Ra‘anan Boustan, associate professor of ancient Mediterranean religions; David N. Myers, professor of Jewish history; and Sarah Abrevaya Stein, professor of history and Maurice Amado Chair in Sephardic Studies.

Students in this program can acquire familiarity with all periods of Jewish history, from antiquity to the modern age. At the same time, faculty members believe strongly that Jewish history is best studied in its various historical contexts. Consequently, students are required to pursue course work in both Jewish history and fields related to their particular area of focus (e.g., Ancient, Medieval, European, Middle Eastern, American).


Incoming graduate students are expected to have a strong background in Jewish history or related fields, as well as competence in one or more foreign languages.

For further information about our program, please contact Jessica Goldberg at goldberg@history.ucla.edu or the History Graduate Office at gradoffice@history.ucla.edu.

Requirements for the Doctorate in Jewish History


Students must pass departmental examinations in at least two foreign languages which are to be determined in consultation with the student’s adviser. The exam will be administered by a faculty member and proctored by the History Graduate Office. The student will have 90 minutes for the exam and they are allowed to bring their own dictionary. Students should consult with their primary adviser in the first year of graduate study to determine the course of language preparation most suitable to their research interests.


Candidates for the Ph.D. must meet (a) the special requirements for admission to the doctoral program listed on the Department’s website under Academics/Graduate/Admission Information; and (b) the general requirements set forth under the Graduate Division. An excellent command of English, spoken and written, the ability to read at least two additional languages relevant to your area of research, and an acquaintance with general history are expected of all candidates. Students are required to complete at least one continuing two-or three-quarter seminar, or alternatively, a continuing sequence of at least two graduate courses. This seminar or sequence must include completion of a substantial research paper based on primary sources.

Doctoral Written and Oral Examinations

Before admission to candidacy, students must pass written and oral examinations. Working closely with a qualifying examination committee provides students with the rare chance to immerse themselves in the scholarship with which their research and teaching is to be engaged. Students with outstanding incompletes will not be permitted to sit for these exams.

After intensive preparation with all four members of their qualifying exam committee, students will take a written examination in their primary field and an oral examination in all their fields, presided over by all four of their faculty mentors. One of these examiners must be a member of the faculty from a department other than History; this allied field must be comparable in size and scope to the other three.

The written qualifying examination is normally prepared and administered by the chair of the committee in consultation with at least one additional advisor. The written examination is evaluated by at least two members of the committee. In most cases, the oral examination will be held shortly after the written examination or, at the discretion of the doctoral committee, as late as six months after the written examination. The written qualifying examination must be passed before the oral qualifying examination can be taken.

The members of the doctoral committee determine whether or not an examination may be repeated (normally only once), based on their prognosis of the student’s potential for successfully completing both the written and oral examinations in a timely manner not to exceed one calendar year. The written qualifying examination is not to exceed eight (8) hours and must be turned in to the Graduate Adviser’s Office no later than 5:00 pm of the day of the examination.

Dissertation Prospectus and Prospectus Defense

Roughly a quarter after completing qualifying examinations (written and oral), all students must write a dissertation prospectus (which could be written for credit as a history 596 or 597) expected to contain: (a) a full statement of the dissertation topic; (b) an historiographical discussion of the literature bearing on the topic; (c) a statement of the methodology to be employed; (d) a survey of the sources sufficient to demonstrate the viability of the topic; (e) a proposed timeline for completion. The prospectus must be approved by the dissertation adviser. After initial approval by the adviser, copies will be given to each member of the dissertation committee for discussion at the prospectus defense (see below). A student’s dissertation committee, typically constituting four faculty members (two from Jewish history, one additional History Department member, and one member from outside of History), need not be identical to a student’s qualifying exam committee.

All students will undergo a prospectus defense. Present at the defense will be the student’s advisor and all members of the dissertation committee. The dissertation prospectus defense presents an opportunity for the entire committee to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of the proposed project, and to generate a clearly defined research program. For more information, please see the Graduate Student Intranet.