The International Master’s Degree Program in Israel studies offers students the opportunity to partake in an in-depth study of the State of Israel covering periods of the beginning of the Zionist movement to the present day. The course aims to elucidate the theoretical underpinnings of the Zionist project, communities of the Jewish diaspora and their relationship to the modern state of Israel, and the deep complexities of Israeli society in light of its multicultural character.
Recent years have witnessed an unprecedented growth of scholarly interest in Israeli history, politics, society and culture. Numerous programs, research centers and chair endowments in Israel Studies have been established in North America and Europe, adding a new, fresh and innovative dimension to existing programs in Judaic Studies. The Israel Studies program is designed for students who wish to deepen their understanding of the experiences of the Israeli population from a range of perspectives, against the wider backdrop of twentieth-century Jewish history, Middle Eastern politics and society.
The program will examine Israeli society from a variety of perspectives, including Aliyah and migration; economics and politics; culture, religion, history and the ties between Israel and Jewish communities abroad. The one-year program is taught in English over three consecutive semesters from October through August. Students wishing to pursue the thesis track will be required to submit a research thesis within one year of completing their coursework.
The field campus is one of the highlights of the program. Students, together with academic staff, spend three days in one of the country's historically rich regions. Locations include the Lower and Upper Galilee, the Negev, Jordan Valley, Beit She’an Valley, Jerusalem and its surroundings. Students engage in an exploration the areas' complexities, of both the past and present. Students meet public figures and Israeli citizens with the aim of developing dialogue and familiarity with Israeli society. The cost of the field campus is included in the tuition fee.
Hebrew and Arabic language courses are also available to students who are interested. Upon completion of the program, students will be awarded an MA in Israel Studies from the Faculty of Humanities and Department of Israel Studies.
Graduates of the program will be well placed to continue academic careers in their home countries both in Middle Eastern studies and the growing field of Israel studies specifically. They will also find the use for their studies in the fields of diplomacy and journalism; working for a variety of Israel-related NGOs, and points of cultural exchange between Israel and the world.
For the most recent list of courses, course description and schedule, please visit the program website.
The director of the Israel Studies department, Professor Gur Alroey, is also the director of the Israel Studies and 20th– century Jewish Histories (ISJH) International MA Program and the chair of the School of History at the University of Haifa. During the years 2009-2011 Alroey was a visiting professor at the Taub Center for Israel Studies at NYU and Schusterman fellow at Rutgers University. He has also authored a number of books related to Israel studies in both Hebrew and English, such as Seeking a Homeland: the Jewish Territorial Organization and its Struggle with the Zionist Movement, 1905-1925; Immigrants: Jewish Immigration to Palestine in the Early Twentieth Century and Bread to Eat & Clothes to Wear: Letters from Jewish Migrants in the Early Twentieth Century.
To explore the rest of the faculty members and their specializations please click here.
Faculty scholarships are available up to $4,500US for eligible applicants. Please inquire when applying.
In both teaching and research, our department combines a strong emphasis on English and American literature and culture with a wider, comparative and interdisciplinary framework. Our approach to literature and culture is diverse, both theoretically and methodologically, and we examine literature and culture from a variety of cognitive, formalist, historical, sociological, and psychological perspectives. We also encourage combinations and interactions with other fields of study in the humanities and social sciences.
Our research strengths include 19th and 20th century American fiction, Native American and African American studies, cultural Zionism, Holocaust memory, Shakespearean and Renaissance drama, book history, comparative literature, and cognitive poetics.
Courses in the literature stream have multiple foci, ranging from major authors, genres, and periods, to the history of reading, psychoanalytic criticism, modern Jewish studies, cognitive poetics, and critical race studies. Our students acquire tools for literary analysis along with an understanding of developments in cultural and literary history, while honing their skills in both written and oral expression.
The M.A. program offers either a Thesis (research) track or a non-thesis (general) track. Both are two-year programs. All tracks have three objectives: (1) to expose students to current research topics in the field; (2) to engage students in academic discourse, research methodologies and critical reasoning; (3) to train students in academic writing and usage of professional literature. All tracks are designed to take two years. Additionally, the goal of the thesis track is that students conduct original research and contribute to scientific knowledge.
1. Thesis track
Literature students in the thesis track take a methodology course in their first year. Beyond this, students may choose freely from the MA courses offered. All MA courses are run as seminars. Students must write a long seminar paper in two courses of their choice.
Overall, students in the thesis track take 24 points (comprising 50% of the final grade). They also write a research thesis (12 points, comprising 50% of the final grade). Students are encouraged to attend the departmental seminar throughout their two years of study.
All research students are expected to choose an advisor and begin working on their thesis proposal (approx. 5-7 pages plus bibliography) before the end of the first year. The thesis advisor works closely with the student, preparing the proposal. Once it is approved another faculty member serves as a second reader, and the student is asked to "defend" the proposal in a three-way conversation, modeled on the PhD proposal "defense." This conversation results in approval or a request for revision. When the proposal has been approved by both readers, the student may proceed with his/her MA research.
2. Non-thesis track
Students in this track take 36 points (comprising 80% of the final grade) plus a final oral exam (comprising 20% of the final grade). This exam is based on a reading list grounded in, but broadening, the content of two courses taken during MA studies. The list is prepared in consultation with the teacher of each course. Students take the exam once they have completed and received grades for all of their course work. The oral exam is administered by the two teachers plus the MA advisor.