Skip Search
Rothberg International School The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Skip Main bar
Main bar

First-Year Study Abroad Program (First-Year and Gap Year Students)

This option is specially designed for first-year students, whether they plan to continue their studies in Israel or back home. Students may enroll for the entire year or for either the autumn or spring semester. A variety of first-year courses are offered in the areas of Israel and Middle Eastern studies, Religion, Brain and Behavioral Sciences, and Environmental Studies.




Students benefit from regular meetings with the First-Year Advisorwho helps them organize their studies and adapt to university life in Israel.


The First-Year Study Abroad Program provides a solid initiation into academic study, and the credits earned are transferable to many colleges and universities. Upon successful completion of the year-long program, students may be admitted to universities and colleges in in North America with advanced standing.


All First-Year students participate in the First-Year Seminar. This seminar provides first-year college students with a strong foundation to assist in the transition from high school to college.  It provides academic and social support while strengthening the students' skills in academic research and writing. The seminar also affords students the opportunity to interact and form a community with fellow students and the administration.



Studies begin with the mandatory September Undergraduate Ulpan or Winter Ulpan. Afterwards, First-Year students may choose between two tracks as detailed below 

(Credits are drawn from the following requirements): 


Standard Track (15 credits):  

Volunteer Track (12 credits) 

o    Weekly volunteer project  and monthly group meeting  (no credits for volunteering)


Volunteer track:  

The volunteer track allows students to replace one elective course with the option to participate in a group volunteer project with other First-Year students. Students will volunteer once a week at a community service organization and will meet on monthly basis to reflect on their experience and discuss how the organization impacts on Israeli society. Students do not receive academic credit for their participation in the project. 


Application Deadlines


Full Year / Autumn Semester  

Spring Semester  


May 31 

November 15  

Late applications are accepted subject to the approval of the Program Director.  


Applications can be made through the RIS website at: Please note on the application that you are applying for the First-Year Study Abroad Program.

The Israel Universities Option (IUO)
Students in the First-Year Study Abroad Program who plan to do a degree in Israel join the IUO, which prepares them for academic study in the country and enables them to apply for admission to bachelor's degree programs at the Hebrew University and other Israeli institutions of higher learning.


Qualified students who wish to pursue a science major in Israel must join the Preparatory ProgramMechina at the beginning of the academic year. Other students may join the IUO Humanities or Social Sciences track either at the beginning of the year or following their first semester. During the year, IUO students take 6-14 hours of Hebrew a week, depending on their level. Most IUO classes are taught in Hebrew. The IUO is offered in conjunction with the RIS Preparatory ProgramMechina and follows its requirements and calendar. For further information, visit the Preparatory Program–Mechina website.

PrintTell a friend
© All rights reserved to The Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
Jump to page content