The Davidson School Launches its Executive Doctoral Program

The William Davidson Graduate School of Jewish Education has long offered its students flexibility, giving doctoral candidates in New York City the option to study on a full or part time basis. The Davidson School has now taken this flexibility one step further by launching a new initiative for individuals seeking to pursue a doctorate in Jewish education within the constraints of a full work schedule—The JTS Executive Doctoral program.

Intended for working professionals from around the country, the Executive Doctoral program offers courses via intensive two-day seminars (on Sundays and Mondays) that meet twice during the semester at JTS. During the six weeks in between the seminars, online technology will be used to supplement the course work through assignments and readings. In this fashion students can earn six credits per semester toward their degree. In addition, participants may also choose to take distance learning courses offered by JTS as part of their program.

"The new Executive Doctoral program is modeled on similar, successful programs used elsewhere, including business and general education schools. There are many talented and serious Jewish educators who are so involved in senior positions in the field that it would be impossible for them to leave their jobs and spend a number of years in New York working on their doctorates,” said Dr. Barry Holtz, dean of The Davidson School and Theodore and Florence Baumritter Professor of Jewish Education.

From the first class in Research Methods to the dissertation defense, students in the Executive Doctoral program have a flexible schedule to work through the program on their own time. This approach gives students the opportunity to apply what they learn in their job settings. “It’s about relating the curriculum to their community and their lives as Jewish educators,” said Dr. Ofra Backenroth, assistant dean of The Davidson School.

Courses will be offered in a sequential order and newly learned research skills will be applied towards the papers and projects that the students will work on as they move through the program. “We want this to be practical and guided,” Dr. Backenroth said.

The requirements for the Executive Doctoral program are the same as those for the full-time program, but they can be spaced out over a longer time frame if students so desire. Each student must complete sixty three credits divided among the fields of Jewish education, research methods and Judaica content. Following upon the completion of course work students take a written comprehensive examination and write a doctoral dissertation supervised by one the Davidson School’s distinguished Jewish education faculty. Eligible students can apply for a small stipend.

With the incorporation of summer school programs and the ability to take classes at Teachers College of Columbia University, a JTS consortium school, students receive access to Davidson School’s full range of educational benefits and offerings. “The faculty is very excited to teach such experienced and motivated students," Dean Holtz said.

Applications are currently being accepted for the fall 2009 program (deadline for application is March 1, 2009), marking an exciting time in the future of The Davidson School and its far-reaching ability to help students across the United States achieve their goals.

To download an application, please visit

For more information, please contact Dr. Backenroth at: