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
Application: US$ 80
Tuition: US$ 17,000
Housing: US$ 7,600
Summer Ulpan Tuition (optional): US$ 2,425
Summer Ulpan Housing (optional): US$ 1,640
Why M.A. in Israel Studies?
- Develop an in-depth and comprehensive understanding of Israeli state and society in the heart of Jerusalem.
- Study under top scholars in the field of Israel Studies and be exposed to the most up-to-date and 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 must 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 Department of Sociology and Anthropology.
Taught by world-renowned scholars, this program incorporates courses from a wide array of disciplines in social sciences, history, and cultural studies. You’ll learn not only through academic studies and faculty-led tours, but also through opportunities to delve into this complexity 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 – as well as gain a thorough understanding of the complicated relationship Israel maintains with its neighbors and other actors on the international stage. Additionally, you’ll gain a comprehensive foundation in Modern Hebrew.
As a student in the M.A. in Israel Studies, you will take a combination of required courses, electives, and Hebrew language courses over three consecutive semesters. You are required to complete two levels of Modern Hebrew by the end of your studies. Participation in the Summer Ulpan (Hebrew language training) before the start of your program is not required, but is strongly encouraged because it allows you the opportunity to advance quickly in Modern Hebrew.
The M.A. in Israel Studies consists of 42 credits over 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
- Touring Israeli Society: Jerusalem Majolica – Communities, Identities, and Intergroup Relations
- Media, Culture, and Identity in Israel
- Social Media and Blogging in Israel: Theory and Practice
Recent elective courses include:
- Social and Political History of the State of Israel from 1948 to Today
- 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
- Theories and Approaches in the Study of Political Violence and Terrorism
- International Security Regimes in the Middle East
- Religion in Israeli Society
- Jewish Lifecycle through Israeli Film
- Palestinian Society in Palestine and the Diaspora: Trends of Social and Political Change
You may select electives from among the courses offered in Israel Studies and other 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 towards the required 42 credits of the degree.
Modern Hebrew Requirement
You are required to pass two levels of Hebrew beyond the level at which you entered the program. (For example, if you started the program at Level Bet, you are required to complete Levels Bet and Gimel.) Modern Hebrew courses taken to fill the requirement do not count as credit towards the degree. If you complete additional levels of Hebrew beyond the requirement, you may request approval from your academic advisor to apply half of the credits earned from the extra Hebrew courses towards your degree’s credit requirements. Such requests will be assessed on a case-by-case basis.
You are strongly encouraged to obtain at least Level Gimel in Hebrew by the end of your studies so that you have the ability to read contemporary texts in Hebrew. Learn more about the Hebrew levels.
While it is not required, we strongly encourage you to attend the Summer Ulpan (intensive Hebrew language training) prior to the start of the program as it allows students to advance quickly through Modern Hebrew. This is particularly true for those who have little or no knowledge of Modern Hebrew.
Additional Language Studies
If you wish to study an additional language, you may do so with your academic advisor’s approval. You may request approval from your academic advisor to use half of the credits you earn towards your degree requirements. Such requests will be 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 of the Faculty of Social Sciences. All program requirements in the M.A. in Israel Studies must be completed before the Faculty of Social Sciences will admit special research students for studies.
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. You may be required to take additional courses in preparation for drafting your thesis during the extended year, as per the policy of the department where you will be hosted. During your extended year at Hebrew University, you will be required to complete all levels of Modern Hebrew (through Level Vav).
For 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 have the opportunity to study with an experienced group of faculty who are leading researchers from a wide range of disciplines: political science, sociology, international relations, communications, and Middle East studies. Prof. Michal Frenkel, the head of the program, specializes in Israel’s transformation due to globalization, gender inequality in Israel, and foreign influence on Israeli society. Prof. Gideon Rahat, who researches electoral reform in Israel and is a senior fellow at the Israel Democracy Institute, and Prof. Noam Shoval, 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
Tuition for this program is US$ 17,000 for one year. See below for other estimated costs for graduate students:
|Category||Estimated Annual Cost
|Application (non-refundable)||US$ 80|
|Board (utilities and food)||US$ 7,500|
|Books and supplies||US$ 1,000|
|Personal expenses and leisure||US$ 4,000|
Health insurance: As a full-time RIS student, you receive health insurance for the duration of your enrollment through RIS 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 for international students is US$ 2,425, while the tuition fee for Israeli citizens is NIS 7,770. Housing is available for Summer Ulpan 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 can request to be considered for 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. Michal Frenkel
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