Photo by Rachel Edelstein.

While continuing to cut back across academic divisions, UCSC has approved a B.A. program in Jewish studies as the newest addition to the humanities division.

The Jewish studies program has offered a minor in the study of Jewish culture at UCSC since 2000. Now interested undergraduates will be able to choose a major in Jewish studies.

The Academic Divisions received a $3.3 million budget cut for the 2010-11 school year, marking the third year in a row of deep cuts. The humanities division, home to the new Jewish studies major, has received a cut of approximately $1.1 million in the past three years.

Jewish studies has been able to grow due to private funding and grants the program has received.

Alma De Castro, newly elected Student Union Assembly commissioner of academic affairs, is in favor of the addition of new areas of study, which increases the diversity of academic programs on campus, she said.

“I love the fact that we have Jewish studies now,” De Castro said. “The more diversity we can get in our classes and programs, the better.”

Further expansions to similar programs may be in UCSC’s future. UCSC is currently the only UC without an ethnic studies program.

De Castro said the SUA and Academic Senate are working to finalize a plan to develop the program by fall of 2011.