Semester Program

The JFS Semester program was created for students who want to study in Jerusalem.  It combines classroom study, guided research, excavations, and field trips.


At the heart of the program is a survey of the Bible that begins with the promise of Christ in the Old Testament and continues with the fulfillment of that promise in the New.  This is the Good News.  And we want to tell it well!

We will use the survey portion of the course as a framework for further study in the fields of theology, philosophy, history, archaeology, and geography.  Part of our classroom time will be spent reading and discussing source texts.  One of our goals will be to see how seemingly distant branches of learning relate to each other, sometimes in surprising ways. 

You can view a draft of the course syllabus here.

We will also introduce you to some of the excellent libraries and museums in Jerusalem.  Particular emphasis will be placed on honing the skills required to research a topic and defend a thesis.  One of the requirements for the course will be a well written and properly researched paper.


Digging an ancient mound is like looking at someone’s browsing history.  We may not have Google Analytics for the Bronze Age, but we have the ruins of cities that once flourished, were abandoned or destroyed, and rebuilt again.  Some ancient mounds have more than twenty distinct layers of occupation.  They preserve the ruins of temples, palaces, and tombs; the forgotten things that people once possessed and cherished.  They tell a story about civilizations and open a window through which to view our own time and place. 

By the end of your course of study, you will have learned how to recognize a Bronze Age gate when you see one and be able to distinguish a temple discovered at Arad from one discovered at Hazor.  You will become familiar with Jewish, Roman and Byzantine mosaics.  You will learn to identify artifacts, know where they were found and the historical epoch to which each belongs.  And you will learn about some of the controversies surrounding their interpretation.


We will retrace the route the patriarchs took through Canaan; see where David hid from Saul at Ein Gedi; and hike up to a Chalcolithic temple overlooking the Dead Sea.  We will go underground to see Jerusalem in Herod’s day and retrace the steps of Jesus during Passion Week.   These places are more than passing curiosities.  They are part of another journey we are on to a city that has foundations “…whose designer and builder is God.”

Click here for a sample itinerary.


We are limiting the group size and restricting enrollment.  This means we can move faster and go places larger groups cannot. We want to get off the beaten track!  Our accommodations in Jerusalem will be comfortable but not luxurious.  We recognize that students have limited resources and so we want to keep the cost down.  One way to do this is to introduce you to several of the very interesting food markets in Jerusalem and let you take turns buying and cooking meals for the group.  Not only will you save money, but you will also get to experience another side of Israel.  And you will make some friends along the way.

This will be a chance for you to unplug.  We are asking students to take a break from their Netflix and Instagram accounts… etc.  The program will require a lot of hard work and a willingness to serve.  But we hope that through it you will grow in your faith in Christ, and that your time in Israel will be a step towards preparing you to meet whatever challenges lie ahead.

Who should apply?


  • who are older than 18 and in their college or university years
  • who are willing to part with their cell phone for 3 months
  • for whom a day in the library is like an hour elsewhere
  • who do not only wish to have their needs catered to
  • who have a keen desire to learn, matched with an equal amount of commitment
  • who are self-motivated
  • who enjoy adventure and getting off the beaten path
  • who want to know Christ, no matter where they are at in their faith journey


Fall 2020

Sept. 1 – Nov. 30

Spring 2021

Nov. 28 – Dec. 9

Fall 2021

Sep. 3 – Nov. 26

The cost of the program is 9,600 USD.  The application deadline is three months before the start of the program.  Click here for more information on the application process.  We will have an application available in the Fall of 2019.  If you are interested, please sign up below and we will keep you posted.

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