Language of Instruction:
Master of Arts
Foreign affairs, relevant NGOs, journalism, academia
One year (three consecutive semesters)
August (Summer Ulpan, optional) or October (degree program); check the academic calendar
Bachelor’s degree, background in social sciences or humanities
May 15; late applications reviewed on a case-by-case basis
For financial information, see Tuition & Fees for Graduate students
Why M.A. in Israel Studies?
- Develop an in-depth, comprehensive understanding of the Israeli state and society while studying in the heart of Jerusalem.
- Learn from top scholars in Israel studies and be exposed to the latest groundbreaking research.
- Immerse yourself in the study of Modern Hebrew.
- Position yourself for a career in government, academia, or journalism.
Israel is home to a complex and diverse society that regularly faces social, political, and security challenges. In the M.A. in Israel Studies program, you’ll examine the historical processes that led to the creation of today’s Israeli society, the complicated relationships between the various groups that live side by side within the boundaries of the State of Israel, and the ways in which Israel copes with these challenges domestically and abroad. This prestigious program is offered by Hebrew University’s Rothberg International School (RIS) in conjunction with the Department of Political Science and the Department of Sociology and Anthropology.
Taught by world-renowned scholars, the program incorporates courses from a wide array of disciplines within the social sciences, history, and cultural studies. You’ll learn not only through academic studies and faculty-led tours, but also by delving into the complexity of Israeli society as it plays out in Israel’s capital, Jerusalem, via continued analysis of current events and developments that are central to the political and social debate. You will engage with the politics, media, and geography of Israel in a profound way and gain a thorough understanding of the relationships Israel maintains with its neighbors and other actors on the international stage. Additionally, you’ll have the option of gaining a comprehensive foundation in Modern Hebrew.
As a student in the M.A. in Israel Studies, you will take a combination of required courses and electives, including optional Hebrew language courses, over two consecutive semesters. You’ll also have the option of extending your studies for a third semester during the summer in order to complete an internship and internship workshop.
Modern Hebrew studies during the autumn and spring semesters are optional but are included in tuition. Participation in the Summer Ulpan (Hebrew language training) before the start of your program is not required but is strongly encouraged.
The M.A. in Israel Studies consists of 36 credits over two or three consecutive semesters.
Provided as an example only and subject to change:
- Israel: Politics and Society
- Introduction to the Anthropology and Sociology of Israeli Society: The Many Facets of Israel
- Spatial Planning in Contested Spaces: The Case of Israel and Palestine
- Social and Political History of the State of Israel from 1948 to Today
Recent elective courses include:
- Media, Culture, and Identity in Israel.
- Israel from a Gendered Perspective
- Israel’s Defense Policy: The Limits of Military Power
- The Holocaust and Beyond: Central Issues in History and Their Impact on Western and Israeli Culture and Society
- Israel, the West, and Radical Islam
- Religion in Israeli Society
- Palestinian Society in Palestine and the Diaspora: Trends of Social and Political Change
- Terrorism and Counter-Terrorism: the Israel-Arab Conflict and Beyond
You may select electives from among the courses offered in Israel studies and related HebrewU graduate programs with the approval of the academic head of the program. If you have a sufficient level of Hebrew, you may also choose from graduate-level courses offered in the Departments of Political Science, Sociology and Anthropology, Journalism and Communications, International Relations, and History.
At least two of the papers you will submit are seminar papers. For these papers, you will earn a total of 8 credits toward the 36 required for the degree.
Modern Hebrew Requirement
Knowledge of Modern Hebrew will give you critical access to Israeli society and primary source material. You’ll have the opportunity to study Modern Hebrew for 10 hours per week during the autumn and spring semesters. Modern Hebrew courses are optional and do not count as credit toward your degree.
If possible, we encourage you to obtain at least Level Gimel in Hebrew by the end of your studies, so that you can read contemporary texts in Hebrew. Learn more about the Hebrew levels.
While it is not required, we also strongly encourage you to attend the Summer Ulpan (intensive Hebrew language training) prior to the start of the autumn semester, as it will help you advance quickly through Modern Hebrew. This is particularly true for students who have little or no prior knowledge of Modern Hebrew.
Additional Language Studies
If you wish to study an additional language, you may do so with approval from your academic advisor. You may also request your advisor’s approval to use half of the credits you earn by studying an additional language toward degree requirements; such requests are assessed on a case-by-case basis. See our complete course catalog.
While it is possible to complete the M.A. in Israel Studies in two semesters (autumn and spring), you have the option to extend your enrollment in the program in order to participate in an internship during the summer semester (July and August).
The internship is accompanied by a mandatory internship workshop. The internship does not count for academic credit, but the internship workshop counts for two credits toward your degree.
The internship and internship workshop are designed to allow you to experience Israeli society firsthand by engaging with the social and political issues explored during your academic studies. Typical internship placements include NGOs, think tanks, and research institutes. You will be required to intern for a minimum of 16 hours per week during the seven-week summer semester, for a total of 112 hours. The internship is unpaid.
An internship coordinator will help you identify opportunities that align with your area of interest and meet the criteria for the internship. The internship option is contingent upon successfully interviewing with potential organizations, one of which must agree to accept you as an intern. While we cannot guarantee internship placements, your coordinator will work closely with you throughout the year to match you with a suitable organization. Students who have intermediate to advanced language proficiency in Hebrew or Arabic are likely to have a larger selection of possible placements.
At the conclusion of the internship and internship workshop, you will be required to submit an academic paper that reflects your observations and experiences.
As a student in the M.A. in Israel Studies, you are not required to write a thesis.
Optional Thesis Year
If you wish to write a thesis, you may do so by enrolling for an additional year (or more) at Hebrew University as a special research student in the Faculty of Social Sciences. You must complete all program requirements in the M.A. in Israel Studies before the Faculty of Social Sciences will admit you as a special research student. Admissions decisions for the optional thesis year are made by the Faculty of Social Sciences and are not guaranteed. Admissions is contingent upon academic performance, finding a thesis advisor, and meeting eligibility criteria for a research track in the selected department.
You must select an academic department in which to continue your studies and find a thesis advisor. You may inquire about writing a thesis in the following departments:
- Department of Sociology and Anthropology
- Department of Political Science
You should obtain current information from the department you select concerning the conditions for writing a thesis.
Should you be admitted, you may be required to take additional courses in preparation for drafting your thesis, according to the policy of the department where you will be hosted.
For more information about the admission procedures for a special research student, please contact Ms. Ellie Baras.
+ Faculty & Research
As a student in the M.A. in Israel Studies program, you will have the opportunity to study with an experienced group of faculty who lead research in a wide range of disciplines, including political science, sociology, international relations, communications, and Middle East studies. Prof. Paul Frosh, the head of the program, is a senior faculty member of the Department of Communication and Journalism. Prof. Frosh specializes in the aesthetics of visual and digital media, media and nationhood, consumer culture, and media industries. Prof. Gideon Rahat, who researches electoral reform in Israel and is a senior fellow at the Israel Democracy Institute, and Prof. Noam Shoval, the provost of RIS and an expert in the spatial geography of ancient cities such as Jerusalem, Nazareth, and Acre, also teach courses in this program.
Graduates of this program go on to pursue careers in foreign affairs, government administration, relevant NGOs, journalism, and academia.
+ Student Life
“Every course that I’ve taken here at RIS has intrigued me and deepened my quest for learning.
Jae-Ryoung Julie Lee of Korea
M.A. in Israel Studies (June 2017)
“In my professors, I found out that I had potential, that I could actually do something with my life, with my studies, that I should never settle for less than the very best I can achieve.”
Dina Nuri of Jordan
M.A. in Israel Studies (June 2017)
Extracurricular Activities & Student Support
HebrewU’s RIS offers a rich extracurricular activities program, including tours, cultural and social events, lectures, and more. We support you throughout your stay with us so that Jerusalem becomes your home away from home. Learn more about student life.
+ Dates & Deadlines
Apply by: May 15; late applications reviewed on a case-by-case basis
Arrive on campus by: Approximately one week before your program starts; specific dates will be sent to accepted students in the pre-arrival packet
Summer Ulpan (optional Hebrew language training): August-September; check the academic calendar
Program length: October-September; check the academic calendar
+ Costs & Scholarships
For financial information, see Tuition & Fees for Graduate students
Health insurance: As a full-time RIS student, you’ll receive health insurance for the duration of your enrollment for no additional fee. If you are arriving early or departing late, you may purchase extended health insurance.
Summer Ulpan: The ulpan is optional. The tuition fee is US$ 2,424 for international students and NIS 7,770 for Israeli citizens. Housing is available for Summer Ulpan students for a fee of US$ 1,640. Learn more about Summer Ulpan.
Housing: Housing is available for M.A. students. See additional housing information.
Fees & refunds: For a complete explanation of fees, please see our Fees and Refunds page.
A limited number of scholarships based on demonstrated need or merit are available. Please see our Scholarships and Financial Aid page for details.
To be eligible for acceptance, you must have the following:
- Bachelor’s degree in social sciences or humanities from an accredited institution of higher education recognized by HebrewU
- Minimum 3.2 GPA (82/100) or equivalent
- Demonstrated knowledge of English*
*You are required to submit one of the following:
- TOEFL score (minimum 573 paper-based, 230 computer-based, or 89 internet-based)
- IELTS score (minimum 7)
- Amir score (minimum 220)
- If you have completed a four-year degree taught solely in English at a recognized institution of higher education, you may request an exemption. You must submit documentation from your university verifying English as the language of instruction. Exemption is not automatic and is determined on a case-by-case basis.
We’re happy you’ve chosen to apply to Hebrew University’s Rothberg International School. Please see our application guidelines or apply online now.
Questions about the Curriculum
Email Prof. Paul Frosh
Academic Head of the M.A. in Israel Studies
Questions about Admission, Housing, and Other Practical Matters
Email the Division of Graduate Studies
Call us: +972 2 588 3184