Jerusalem Center

Program Information

NOTE: Spots are still available for the 2015 Fall Semester Program (September 1–December 17). Applications will be considered on a space-available basis in the order received.

What are the features of a BYU Jerusalem Center program?

Through the Jerusalem Center for Near Eastern Studies, Brigham Young University offers students a remarkable opportunity for study on location in the Holy Land. A correlated curriculum of survey courses provides students with an introduction to biblical studies and in Near Eastern history, geography, culture, and current events. Classroom study is built around field trips that cover the length and breadth of the Holy Land and includes travel to Jordan and Turkey. The extended nature of this program provides an ideal environment to study the life and teachings of Jesus and the early apostles and prophets in their original settings. In addition, students have the opportunity to gain an understanding of the peoples of the Near East by living among them and comparing cultural and religious traditions and practices.

Each Jerusalem Center program includes the following:

  • Submission of an application and $150 deposit for placement.
  • An individual interview for final acceptance (by phone, if needed)
  • Submission of required materials and payments by appropriate deadlines.
  • A mandatory orientation meeting in Provo the day prior to departure
  • Group travel to Tel Aviv
  • A rigorous study and field trip experience in the Holy Land.

As you will notice, the Jerusalem experience begins before students actually reach the Holy Land. We wish to emphasize that each of the above items is an integral part of each Jerusalem Center program. Students will be expected to participate in all of these activities. Please make sure you are willing to commit to the entire package as outlined above before submitting an application. Additional details are included in Program Information for each program.

What are the approximate dates and costs of Jerusalem Center Programs?

2015 Fall Program: September 1–December 17
Applications currently accepted on a space–available basis in the order received.
Mandatory orientation meeting in Provo: Monday, August 31
Estimated program cost: $11,200

2016 Winter Program: January 5-April 21
Applications accepted July 6-17, 2015 (or until program is full)
Mandatory orientation meeting in Provo: Monday, January 4
Estimated program cost: $11,200

2016 Spring/Summer Program: April 26–August 11
Applications accepted November 2–13, 2015 (or until program is full)
Mandatory orientation meeting in Provo: Monday, April 25
Estimated program cost: $11,200

The preceding costs include tuition, books and fees, room and board, round-trip airfare from Salt Lake City, field trip expenses, medical insurance, and laundry. Personal expenses are not included.

What are the requirements for admission?

In order to participate in a Jerusalem Center Program, applicants must meet the following admissions criteria:

  • Eligibility is limited to continuing full-time students currently enrolled in a four-year undergraduate program at either BYU, BYU-Idaho, or BYU-Hawaii at the time of application, and during the program. This means attending at least two semesters of full-time study in each academic year.
  • In general, the Admissions Committee must be able to review successful completion of at least two semesters of full-time study prior to the interview for final acceptance. Please note the following:
    • AP and other "earned" credit does not count towards this requirement.
    • Full-time enrollment in online courses does not meet this requirement.
    • Transfer credit from full-time attendance at another university can be counted; however, transfer students must complete at least one semester of full-time study in residence at BYU, BYU-I, or BYU-H before they are eligible to participate.
    • If students have completed one semester of full-time study prior to going on an LDS mission, they could be eligible to apply just prior to their second semester. (For example, a student returning from a mission in the summer and enrolling for full-time study at BYU, BYU-I, or BYU-H during the Fall Semester, could apply during the summer and be accepted for a Winter Program. Attendance would be conditional on grades for Fall Semester meeting the minimum GPA requirement.)
  • Applicants must be progressing towards their first undergraduate degree, have a current and cumulative GPA of 2.5 or better in core academic courses and be in good standing (no academic or honor code warning, probation, etc.)
  • Applicants must sign the Center’s non-proselytizing agreement; agree to abide by the BYU Code of Honor and dress and grooming standards as well as any other special rules governing conduct and appearance while enrolled in a Jerusalem Center program; meet the Center’s application, informational and payment deadlines; and be able to actively participate in a rigorous field trip program.
  • Students who are married or pursuing graduate degrees are not eligible to attend

The above admission requirements are subject to change for future programs. Please review individual program information as it becomes available and prior to submitting an application.

How are applicants selected for admission?

The Jerusalem Center has a two-part admissions process:

Part I.
The Jerusalem Center accepts applications for placement during a two-week application window for each program. (Refer to specific program information for individual submission dates.) All qualified applications received or postmarked during those two weeks are considered on an equal basis. If, during the two-week period, more students apply than the Jerusalem Center can accommodate, students will be randomly drawn for Part II of the admissions process (or for the waiting list). In the event that both the randomly drawn list and the waiting list are filled, remaining applications will be returned. Applications received after the two-week window will be considered for Part II of the admissions process on a space-available basis and in the order received.

Part II.
Each applicant given placement in Part I of the admissions process will be interviewed for final acceptance. Applicants will be admitted for study at the Jerusalem Center based on their preparation for and ability to benefit from study at the Jerusalem Center as well as their ability to contribute to the success of the experience for others in the unique Jerusalem Center setting. Applicants on the waiting list will be interviewed as needed, or as space becomes available.

What classes are offered at the BYU Jerusalem Center?

Core Curriculum (15 credit hours):

  • Religion 303—Old Testament Studies (3 credits)
  • Religion 311—New Testament Studies of the Gospels (3 credits)
  • Near Eastern Studies 336—Ancient Near Eastern Studies (3 credits)
  • Near Eastern Studies 347—Arab and Islamic Civilization (2 credits)
  • Near Eastern Studies 349—Israeli and Jewish Civilization (2 credits)
  • Near Eastern Studies 395—Jerusalem Center Field Trips (1 credit)
  • Arabic 100 or Hebrew 100—Introductory language studies (1 credit)
  • Forum Assemblies - attendance is required

Electives (1-2 credit):

A selection of more specialized elective courses may be offered in such areas as religion, archaeology, geography, history, and culture of the Near East. The electives offered vary according to the expertise and interest of the current faculty members.

Is financial aid available?

BYU Jerusalem Center Financial Aid

The Jerusalem Center awards both grants and scholarships. Grants are based on financial need. Current FAFSA information is used to determine eligibility for a Jerusalem Center Grant. Scholarships are based on academic performance. To be competitive for a scholarship, students must have at least a 3.4 cumulative GPA and have completed at least 24 semester hours. AP credit does not count in this total.

Both grant and scholarship awards vary with the number of students who apply, and the funds available. Students may be eligible to receive both a scholarship and a grant; however, no student will receive more than 50% of the Jerusalem Center program cost through BYU funding (Jerusalem Center scholarships and grants, BYU scholarships, employee benefits, etc.). Government aid (Pell grants, Stafford loans, etc.) is not included in the 50%.

While Jerusalem Center financial aid is not a loan that must be repaid, recipients of financial aid are encouraged, if they are able in future years, to replenish the financial aid fund so that future students will also have financial aid available when they need it.

Other Financial Aid

BYU scholarships and faculty dependent benefits are applicable to the Jerusalem Center programs. Other financial aid (Pell grants, Stafford loans, etc.) can also be used. It is the student’s responsibility to communicate the amount of these awards to the Jerusalem Center office prior to the final payment deadline. These funds may then be deducted from the final payment.

It may be possible for BYU-I and BYU-H students who received university scholarships and/or government funding to use these funds to finance a Jerusalem Center Program through a Consortium Agreement between their own institution and BYU. Students should contact their individual financial aid advisors for more information.