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HEBREW AND SEMITIC STUDIES Minimum Degree Requirements and Satisfactory Progress

To make progress toward a graduate degree, students must meet the Graduate School Minimum Degree Requirements and Satisfactory Progress in addition to the requirements of the program.

Master’s Degrees:

M.A., with available tracks in Hebrew bible, and biblical Hebrew & Greek

Doctoral Degrees:

Ph.D., track in Hebrew Bible

Minimum Graduate Degree Credit Requirement

30 credits

Minimum Graduate Degree Credit Requirement

66 credits (36 credits beyond the M.A.)

Minimum Graduate Residence Credit Requirement

16 credits

Minimum Graduate Residence Credit Requirement

40 credits

Minimum Graduate Coursework (50%) Requirement

24 out of 30 total credits must be completed in courses numbered 700 or higher.

Minimum Graduate Coursework (50%) Requirement

51 out of 66 total credits must be completed in courses numbered 700 or higher.

Prior Coursework Requirements: Graduate Work from Other Institutions

Graduate Work from Other Institutions

With program approval, students are allowed to count up to 9 credits of graduate-level coursework taken during a UW–Madison undergraduate degree. Coursework earned five or more years prior to admission to a master’s degree is not allowed to satisfy requirements.

Prior Coursework Requirements: UW–Madison Undergraduate

With program approval, students are allowed to count up to 7 credits of graduate-level coursework taken during a UW–Madison undergraduate degree. Coursework earned five or more years prior to admission to a master’s degree is not allowed to satisfy requirements.

Prior Coursework Requirements: UW–Madison University Special

With program approval and payment of the difference in tuition (between Special and graduate tuition), students are allowed to count up to 9 credits of coursework numbered 300 or above taken as a UW–Madison University Special student. Coursework earned five or more years prior to admission to a master’s degree is not allowed to satisfy requirements. UW–Madison coursework taken as a University Special student would not be allowed to count toward the 50% graduate coursework minimum unless taken at the 700 level or above.

Prior Coursework Requirements: Graduate Work from Other Institutions

With program approval, students are allowed to count up to 9 credits of graduate coursework from other institutions toward the M.A. degree, the credits of which are counted in the tallies toward the Ph.D. Coursework earned five or more years prior to initial admission to the master’s degree is not allowed to satisfy requirements.

Prior Coursework Requirements: UW–Madison Undergraduate

With program approval, students are allowed to count up to 7 credits of graduate-level coursework taken during a UW–Madison undergraduate degree toward the M.A. degree, the credits of which are counted in the tallies toward the Ph.D. Coursework earned five or more years prior to initial admission to the Master’s degree is not allowed to satisfy requirements. However, this work would not be allowed to count toward the 50% graduate coursework minimum unless taken at the 700 level or above.

Prior Coursework Requirements: UW–Madison University Special

With program approval and payment of the difference in tuition (between special and graduate tuition), students are allowed to count toward the M.A. degree, the credits of which are counted in the tallies toward the Ph.D., up to 9 credits of coursework numbered 300 or above taken as a UW–Madison University Special student. Coursework earned five or more years prior to initial admission to a master’s degree is not allowed to satisfy requirements. UW–Madison coursework taken as a University Special student would not be allowed to count toward the 50% graduate coursework minimum unless taken at the 700 level or above.

Credits per Term Allowed

15 credits

Credits per Term Allowed

15 credits

Program-Specific Courses Required

All tracks require a fairly thoroughly regimented series of classes within the program, although the language classes (701–702, 703–704, 705–706) are run on a three-year cycle, one two-semester sequence must be taken for the M.A. A similar situation obtains for the book courses, of which students are required to take two sequences (743–744, 751–752, 754–755). Students must also take a one-credit tutorial in Historical Hebrew Grammar, a one credit tutorial in Biblical Hebrew Composition, a 2-credit seminar (951–959), and one of: Classical Hebrew Linguistics (623/723), Biblical archaeology (451), Classical Rabbinic Texts (448), or Medieval Hebrew Commentaries (460) [although neither of the last two have been offered recently]). On top of this fairly regulated, prescribed curriculum, students may take an additional two courses in the department. Given current staffing, it has been normal for these to be a second seminar (951–959) and a 799, the topic of which is agreed upon by the student and a professor (in Track I). Track II allows a bit more flexibility, since the student may take two classes in the Department of Classics.

Program-Specific Courses Required

Beyond the 30 credits taken for the M.A., Ph.D. students must take the remaining two sequences of language classes (701‚Äì702, 703‚Äì704, 705‚Äì706), whichever were not taken during M.A. coursework; in individual cases, permission may be given to study one of these languages independently. Students are also required to complete the third of the book sequences (743‚Äì744, 751‚Äì752, 754‚Äì755), whichever was not previously taken. Three other courses are necessary to complete coursework for the Ph.D.: (1) One independent study course (799) devoted to the reading list for the specialized exam in the Ph.D. prelims. The student is expected to produce a critical scholarly paper working from these readings, to be presented in the seminar (see next requirement); (2) One seminar (number 951 to 959), in addition to the two taken during the M.A. The student will present his/her paper from the 799 (see above), field questions, and receive critique. The seminar will also be the occasion to develop the prospectus on the dissertation that will be presented formally during the oral exam that is part of the prelims; and (3) Classical Hebrew Linguistics: Historical and Descriptive (623) or Biblical Archaeology (451), whichever was not taken for the MA.

Doctoral Minor/Breadth Requirements

Students must complete a minor consisting of at least 9 credits in another department, according to their specifications for a minor (external minor) or a minor consisting of at least 9 credits in one or more departments (distributed minor). Up to six credits may be in a different area of the Hebrew Department, namely rabbinics and medieval Hebrew. Selection of this minor requires the approval of the Graduate Program Director.

Overall Graduate GPA Requirement

3.00 GPA required.

Overall Graduate GPA Requirement

3.00 GPA required.

Other Grade Requirements

The Graduate School requires an average grade of B or better in all coursework (300 or above, not including research credits) taken as a graduate student unless conditions for probationary status require higher grades. Grades of Incomplete are considered to be unsatisfactory if they are not removed during the next enrolled semester.

Other Grade Requirements

The Graduate School requires an average grade of B or better in all coursework (300 or above, not including research credits) taken as a graduate student unless conditions for probationary status require higher grades. Grades of Incomplete are considered to be unsatisfactory if they are not removed during the next enrolled semester.

Probation Policy

The status of a student can be one of three options:

1. Good standing (progressing according to standards; any funding guarantee remains in place).

2. Probation (not progressing according to standards but permitted to enroll; loss of funding guarantee if the status remains in effect at the time of the guarantee’s enactment; students and faculty develop a specific plan with dates and deadlines in place in regard to removal of probationary status).

3. Unsatisfactory progress (not progressing according to standards; not permitted to enroll, dismissal, leave of absence or change of advisor or program).

The Graduate School regularly reviews the record of any student who earned grades of BC, C, D, F, or Incomplete in a graduate course (300 or above), or grade of U in research credits. This review could result in academic probation with a hold on future enrollment or in being suspended from the Graduate School. 

Probation Policy

The status of a student can be one of three options:

1. Good standing (progressing according to standards; any funding guarantee remains in place).

2. Probation (not progressing according to standards but permitted to enroll; loss of funding guarantee if the status remains in effect at the time of the guarantee’s enactment; students and faculty develop a specific plan with dates and deadlines in place in regard to removal of probationary status).

3. Unsatisfactory progress (not progressing according to standards; not permitted to enroll, dismissal, leave of absence or change of advisor or program).

The Graduate School regularly reviews the record of any student who earned grades of BC, C, D, F, or Incomplete in a graduate course (300 or above), or grade of U in research credits. This review could result in academic probation with a hold on future enrollment or in being suspended from the Graduate School.

Advisor / Committee

All students are required to conduct a yearly progress report meeting with their advisor and the other faculty member of the Hebrew Bible graduate program. In the first year, the meeting is scheduled to occur before the end of the spring semester. In the second year, the meeting is scheduled to occur before the end of the fall semester.

Every graduate student is required to have an advisor. An advisor is a faculty member, or sometimes a committee, from the major department responsible for providing advice regarding graduate studies. An advisor generally serves as the thesis advisor. In many cases, an advisor is assigned to incoming students. Students can be suspended from the Graduate School if they do not have an advisor. To ensure that students are making satisfactory progress toward a degree, the Graduate School expects them to meet with their advisor on a regular basis. A committee often accomplishes advising for the students in the early stages of their studies.

Advisor / Committee

All students are required to conduct a yearly progress report meeting with their advisor and the other faculty member of the Hebrew Bible graduate program. Each year, the meeting is scheduled to occur before the end of the spring semester.

Every graduate student is required to have an advisor. An advisor is a faculty member, or sometimes a committee, from the major department responsible for providing advice regarding graduate studies. An advisor generally serves as the thesis advisor. In many cases, an advisor is assigned to incoming students. Students can be suspended from the Graduate School if they do not have an advisor. To ensure that students are making satisfactory progress toward a degree, the Graduate School expects them to meet with their advisor on a regular basis. A committee often accomplishes advising for the students in the early stages of their studies.

Assessments and Examinations

M.A. exams are based on coursework and the M.A. Reading List. The exams are given at the end of the final semester of study for the degree, typically at the end of the summer of the second year. An exam can be taken no more than twice. M.A. candidates granted permission to advance to the Ph.D. program will take only the first exam, "Hebrew Texts and Grammar." Those pursuing a terminal M.A. must also complete exams B and C. For description of each exam and for more details, see the Hebrew and Semitic Studies Graduate Handbook for more details.

Assessments and Examinations

Within a semester of completion of the Ph.D. course requirements and the other foreign language reading requirements, the student will take a series of preliminary exams to demonstrate readiness for scholarly research. The exams are based on coursework and the PhD Reading List, which is updated annually. These exams may be retaken once at the discretion of the faculty, if the initial level of performance is unsatisfactory. For description of each exam and for more details, see the Hebrew and Semitic Studies Graduate Handbook.

Time Constraints

The program adheres to the regulations published on the Graduate School’s website for rules and regulations: https://grad.wisc.edu/acadpolicy/#timelimits. We have not recently had students take longer than three or four years to complete M.A. degrees, and, through institutionalization of the meetings policies and the 30-credit requirement, we have shortened the expected time-to-completion to two years, with three years as an effective outside limit.

Time Constraints

The program adheres to the regulations published on the Graduate School’s website for rules and regulations: https://grad.wisc.edu/acadpolicy/#timelimits. A candidate for a doctoral degree who fails to take the final oral examination and deposit the dissertation within five years after passing the preliminary examination may by require to take another preliminary examination and to be admitted to candidacy a second time.

Language Requirements

M.A. students must complete a minimum of 6 credits in a language sequence in a Northwest Semitic language outside of Hebrew (701–702, 703–704, or 705–706), as well as at least 14 credits in Hebrew-based corpora and language (two sequences of 743–744, 751–752, or 754–755, plus 2 credits of Historical Hebrew Grammar and Biblical Hebrew Composition). In addition, Greek is required as an auxiliary language for the Hebrew-based corpora classes (for all tracks), and for whatever courses are taken by students working in Track II.

Language Requirements

Ph.D. students must complete a minimum of 6 credits (normally 9, except in very special circumstances) in a language sequence in a Northwest Semitic language outside of Hebrew (701–702, 703–704, or 705–706), as well as at least 23 credits in Hebrew-based corpora and language (three sequences of 743–744, 751–752, or 754–755, plus 2 credits of Historical Hebrew Grammar and Biblical Hebrew Composition, plus Hebrew Linguistics [723]). In addition, Greek is required as an auxiliary language for the Hebrew-based corpora classes (for all tracks), and for whatever courses are taken by M.A. students working in Track II. Finally, candidates must have a reading knowledge of German and either French or modern Hebrew; often, this means taking additional classes to bolster students’ competence in these modern research languages.