Jewish Studies Administered Research Grants

Each fall and spring the Jewish Studies Program offers Goldfein Research Awards, Brenner Special Opportunity Awards, and Schwartz Awards to both undergraduate and graduate Penn students to cover research projects and study programs in or related to Jewish studies. Students can apply for funding to support travel, research material and other assistance related to the research. 

These research grants have been made possible by the generosity of the Philip E. Goldfein Scholarship Awards in Jewish Studies, the Raymond and Ruth Brenner Grants in Jewish Studies, and the Louis Schwarz and Elaine Friedman Schwartz Memorial Fund. The Louis Schwartz and Elaine Friedman Schwartz Memorial Fund was established in December 2015 by James E. Schwartz in honor of his parents.

Applicants for summer funding should apply at the spring deadline in March.

Research grants will be administered according to the following guidelines:

  1. The project must represent original research or scholarship. 
  2. Grants will be made only for research that is conducted after the proposal has been approved. 
  3. Students awarded these grants are expected to document their research in the form of a progress report of not more than 500 words, which must be approved and signed by the project recommender.
  4. Types of expenses to which the funds may be applied include travel to libraries, museums, archives, and research sites; research equipment and supplies, including books, films, and photocopying. All original receipts must be submitted within thirty days of return from travel. 
  5. All independent research projects must have a faculty advisor, and should be part of an academic course of study at Penn.

Application Procedure

  1. Prepare your proposal in consultation with a prospective faculty advisor. Your proposal should take the following form:
    1. Completed Research Award Application Form
    2. Short Abstract (Detail the nature and aims of the project, and its significance for the applicant's program of study; no more than two pages) 
    3. Academic Transcript (unofficial transcript is suitable) 
    4. CV (no more than two pages) 
    5. Itemized budget for all costs and expenses, indicating any other sources of support
  2. Request a letter of recommendation from your faculty advisor. These letters should be sent directly to the Jewish Studies Program:
  3. Proposals, letters of recommendation, and applications must be submitted electronically to: DEADLINE: MONDAY, MARCH 25, 2024.This deadline is firm; no applications will be received after this date.

Proposals will be reviewed by a faculty committee designated by the Director of the Jewish Studies Program. Students whose projects are approved may want to register for the Senior Research Seminar (JWST 390) in the following semester.


Jewish Studies Administered Prize

Samuel and Esther Goldin Endowment Award

Each spring, the Jewish Studies Program awards the Samuel and Esther Goldin Endowment Award. This annual prize recognizes an outstanding thesis or research paper in the field of Jewish Studies. Preference will be given to students majoring or minoring in Jewish Studies at the University of Pennsylvania, but any senior research essay by a Penn undergraduate (senior) that reflects research in and deep engagement with Jewish texts, religion, history, literature, politics, or culture will also be eligible for the prize.

Essay Deadline: Email your essay to: by March 18, 2024, by 5:00 PM.


Various other Prizes

The Moshe Greenberg Prize is presented annually to a graduating senior whose knowledge of Hebrew was acquired at Penn and who shows exceptional proficiency in the language. The prize is named in honor of Moshe Greenberg (1928-2010) who taught Hebrew and Biblical Studies at Penn from 1954-1970 and wrote his textbook Introduction to Hebrew here. He was Ellis Professor of Hebrew and Semitic Languages and Literatures at Penn from 1964-1970 and then became Professor of Bible at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem until his retirement in 1996.

The Judah Goldin Memorial Prize for Excellence in Advanced Hebrew Studies is presented annually to a student majoring in Hebrew & Judaica whose knowledge of Hebrew was acquired before coming to Penn and who excels in advanced courses studying Hebrew literature in the original. This prize is named for Judah Goldin (1914-1998), who was Professor of Postbiblical Hebrew Literature at Penn from 1973-1985.

Merle Saunders Schaff Memorial Awards of $200 are offered each spring for the best essay (or comparable expression) demonstrating creative thinking on any subject related to the archaeology of Ancient Israel or to Judaic religious thought through the Middle Ages. A special prize of $500 will be given for a suitable essay in the area that led the donor to establish the prize, namely, connections between Celtic Christianity and the religious culture of the ancient Hebrews. Essays should be submitted to the current undergraduate chair in the Religious Studies Department.

The Workman's Circle/Arbiter Ring Prize is an award for excellence in Yiddish Studies presented to a student each spring by the Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures.