Language of Instruction:
Master of Arts
Foreign affairs, relevant NGOs, journalism, academia
One year (two consecutive semesters)
August (Summer Ulpan, optional) or October (degree program); check the academic calendar
Bachelor’s degree in social sciences or humanities
March 25, 2020; late applications reviewed on a space-available basis
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.
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 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’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 taught in Hebrew 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.
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 us.
+ 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. Menahem Blondheim , the head of the program, is a senior faculty member of the Department of Communication and Journalism. Prof. Blondheim specializes in the role of communication in American and in Jewish history, as well as the history of media. 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
- Early Admissions: December 1, 2019 – January 13, 2020
- Regular Admissions: January 14 – March 25, 2020
Late applications will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.
A $1,500 discount will be granted to applicants to M.A. programs who complete registration by January 13, 2020 and pay tuition by April 22, 2020.
Applicants who do not submit the required supplementary documents by January 13, 2020 or who do not pay tuition by April 22, 2020 will not be eligible for the discount.
Arrive on campus by: Approximately one week before your program starts; specific dates will be sent to accepted students via email.
Summer Ulpan (optional intensive Hebrew language course): August-September, 2019; check the academic calendar for specific dates.
Program length: Two consecutive semesters (autumn and spring); October, 2019 – June, 2020; students have the option to extend their studies through the summer semester, for an extra fee. Check the academic calendar for specific dates. Students who wish to prolong their studies may enroll as M.A. Extended Year Students for an additional fee.
+ Costs & Scholarships
For financial information, see Tuition & Fees for Graduate Students.
Students enrolled in M.A. programs are eligible to receive health insurance for the duration of their program at no extra cost. Students who will be arriving early or departing late may purchase extended health insurance. See Health and Safety for more information.
The Summer Ulpan (an intensive Modern Hebrew course) is optional. Tuition for international students is US$ 2,425. Tuition for Israeli citizens is NIS 7,770. Housing is available for the Summer Ulpan for an additional fee of US$ 1,640. See Summer Ulpan Programs for more information.
A limited number of on-campus student apartments are available. The cost of housing for two semesters (October, 2019 – June, 2020) is US $6,180. See University Housing for more information.
Fees & Refunds
For a complete explanation of fees and refunds, see Tuition & Fees for Graduate Students.
A limited number of scholarships, based on merit or demonstrated need, are available. See Scholarships and Financial Aid for more information.
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 B average (85/100 or equivalent)
- Demonstrated knowledge of English
In addition to your online application, you will be required to submit the following documents:
- Academic Records: A Bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution of higher education with a B average (85/100 or equivalent) or above. Applicants must submit transcripts and diplomas from all prior academic degrees.*
- Proof of English Proficiency: A TOEFL exam score of 89 or above, IELTS exam score of 7 or above, Amir exam score of 220 or above, or Amiram exam score of 120 or above. **
- A CV and Statement of Purpose
- Two Academic Recommendations
- Photocopy of your Passport ID page
- A Medical Form and Disclaimer Form (US citizens only)- both forms may be downloaded from the application website.
All documents may be uploaded to your application directly or sent to firstname.lastname@example.org as email attachments.
* Students who submit scanned copies of their academic records may be accepted to the program conditionally, pending submission of original academic records.
** If you have completed a degree at a university at which English is the sole language of instruction, or if you have completed a degree in English Language and Literature, you can 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. Menahem Blondheim
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