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Masters in Israel

by Charlotte Griffiths

Famous as a cultural melting pot and for its crucial place in different world religions, Israel is also a pioneer in modern science and research. Studying a Masters in Israel will allow you to make the best of both worlds.

Jerusalem’s sacred sites and Tel Aviv’s tech industry attract tourists and entrepreneurs alike - offering something for everyone in this small, yet diverse, nation state.

Israel supports its internationally renowned technology trade with world class education from prestigious specialised universities. International students from around the world head to the country in search of expert teaching, particularly in engineering and the humanities.

We've put together a detailed advice guide on everything you need to know about postgraduate study in Israel. However, if you already know your Red Sea from your Dead Sea and everything in between, you can start searching for an Israeli Masters degree here.

Why study for a Masters degree in Israel?

Israel is a hotbed and global hub for all major research areas, from Science and Engineering to Theology and Politics.

Did you know that Israel leads the world in solar energy development, geothermal energy and water conservation? Higher education plays a pivotal role in the economic and social development of the country and wider region.

How popular is Masters study abroad in Israel?

Israel is home to around 4,000 international students. This may not sound like a lot, but it reflects the specialisation at the heart of Israeli higher education. In fact, the expertise of many Israeli universities in technology research that has led the country to rival the USA for postgraduate recruitment in this subject area.

The most popular university for study abroad in Israel is the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, with 2,000 international students (50% of the country’s total).

Tel Aviv University and The University of Haifa are also popular institutions for postgraduate study abroad.

Universities in Israel: an introduction for postgraduates

University working days in Israel run from Sunday to Thursday, with Friday used to observe the Shabbat (the Jewish Sabbath, or day of rest).

While Israel’s official languages are Hebrew and Arabic, English is a compulsory subject in Israeli schools so many locals speak it to a high standard. Many Masters courses will also be taught in English.

Most Israeli students are over the age of 21 when they begin their studies, after completing compulsory military service. This can make the student atmosphere generally more mature than in British and North American Universities, which can actually suit postgraduate students.

The Council for Higher Education is the government run authority for Israeli higher education. It grants accreditation, authorizes the awarding of academic degrees, and advises the government on the development and financing of higher education and scientific research.

Public universities

Most universities in Israel are public institutions. The government funds 70% of public university budgets, with 20% coming from tuition fees and the rest from private sources.

Despite being largely funded by the state, public universities have control over their own teaching programmes.

Due to the small size of the country, there are only seven public Israeli universities that offer Masters programmes. However, each of the seven institutions has built a globally recognised reputation for their specific areas of study.

The seven state funded universities in Israel are:

  • Hebrew University of Jerusalem - comprises faculties which cover nearly all areas of scholarship, from art history to zoology, and home to Israel's National Library.
  • Tel Aviv University - Israel's largest university. Specialises in energy studies, health systems management and technological forecasting.
  • Weizmann Institute of Science – A postgraduate only centre of research, focusing on physics, chemistry, mathematics, and the life sciences.
  • Technion – Israel Institute of Technology - has graduated a high proportion of the country's engineers and architects. Plays a key role in advancing the country’s industrial development through its research into science and engineering.
  • Ben-Gurion University – encourage the social and scientific development of the country's desert region. It has made major contributions in desert zone research and medicine.
  • University of Haifa - offers Masters courses across many study areas, with a strong focus on religion and Middle Eastern socio-economic society. This includes a centre dedicated to the advancement of cooperation between Jews and Arabs in Israel.
  • Bar-Ilan University – Combining tradition with modern technology; heritage, religion and social sciences are key areas of postgraduate study.

The above public universities are consistently recognised through the world ranking tables of both The Times Higher Education and QS, demonstrating their high quality learning environments.

The Times Higher Education (THE) University World Rankings: Israel
University THE Ranking THE Asia Region Ranking
Hebrew University of Jerusalem 178 25
Tel Aviv University 201-250 22
Technion Israel Institute of Technology 251-300 31
Bar-Ilan University 401-450 75
Ben-Gurion University of Negev 501-600 -
University of Haifa 501-600 -
Information in this table is based on the 2015-16 Times Higher Education World University Rankings and Asia University Rankings 2015. Visit their websites for more information.

The QS University World Rankings: Israel
University QS World Ranking
Hebrew University of Jerusalem 148
Technion Israel Institute of Technology 198
Tel Aviv University 203
Ben-Gurion University of Negev 259
Bar-Ilan University 601-650
University of Haifa 701+

Information in this table is based on the 2015-16 QS World University Rankings Visit their website for more information.

Private universities

Israel’s private universities have largely emerged during the last decade and are often specialised in a certain area such as business or law. However, private universities receive no funding from the Israeli government, making tuition fees much higher than in public universities.

International universities

There are also thirty active campuses run by universities around the world. The majority are British and American universities and Masters programmes are available to students from both Israel and overseas.

What's it like to study at an international campus?

International campuses can offer the best of both worlds: the chance to take advantage of unique cultural experiences and research opportunities whilst drawing on the expertise of more than one university. Find out more with our guide to Masters study at international branch campuses.

Masters degree programme types and course structure in Israel

Regional politics, religion, and Middle Eastern society make for popular types of Masters study in Israel.

However, Israeli universities are superb for attracting postgraduates to study a Masters in engineering, science and technology in particular.

Course length

Israel has a two-semester academic year generally starting in September or October. However, some courses are available with a spring semester start in January or February.

Israel follows the model of European and American universities, with Masters programmes commonly lasting two years.

Applying for a Masters in Israel

To apply for a Masters degree in Israel you’ll need a relevant undergraduate degree. It is common for universities to expect a B grade average or 3.0 GPA (grade point average). However, some specific programmes may require higher grades.

For MBA applications to Business Schools in Israel, the GRE or GMAT test may be required.

Language requirements

Israel’s official languages are Hebrew and Arabic. Additional courses can be taken at most Israeli universities should you wish to study either language.

If English is not your first language and you wish to study an Israeli Masters degree delivered in English, you will likely need to submit a language test score.

Israeli universities will normally accept either the IELTS (International Language Testing System) or TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) tests.

Score requirements will normally be as follows:

  • An IELTS score of 6.5 or better
  • A TOEFL score of 570 (paper based) or 89 (computer based)

Want to know more about postgraduate language tests?

Academic language tests are a common part of applications for postgraduate study abroad, but they don't have to be confusing. Our guides to postgraduate language tests cover popular tests of English such as the TOEFL and IELTS.

Masters student visas in Israel

However, the majority of Masters programmes in Israel will take two years to complete. Therefore students will need to obtain an A2 student visa prior to arrival in Israel, in order to study there.

Visa application and fees

When applying for your A2 student visa, you will need to present the following documents to your local Israeli Embassy or Consulate:

  • A completed application form
  • Two current passport photos
  • An original letter of acceptance from an Israeli university
  • Passport valid for more than one year
  • A return flight ticket or itinerary
  • Proof of sufficient funds to financially support yourself while studying in Israel

There is a non refundable administrative processing fee of approximately US $29 (£19.50). The processing time is approximately 2 weeks.

The A2 visa is valid for one year at a time so you will need to extend your visa while you are in Israel.

The student visa allows for multiple entrances and exits to and from the country so you can travel or return home while studying, and be free to re-enter Israel.

However, the A2 visa and other student visas do not allow international students to work while studying in Israel.

Health insurance

International students are required to have health cover for the duration of their studies.

In some circumstances, the health insurance may be provided by your Israeli university as included within tuition fees. However, it may be necessary to purchase it privately so check with your institution before arriving in Israel.

Fees and funding for Masters degrees in Israel

Israeli universities have become global contenders in higher education; therefore postgraduate fees are generally expensive and similar to those in Europe and North America.

Israeli universities commonly list their fees for international students in the US Dollar as opposed to the local currency, the Israeli Shekel.

Application fees for Masters in Israel

The following fees are normally charged when applying for your Masters at an Israeli public university:

  • Application Fee (non-refundable): $80 (£54) per academic year.
  • Late Fee: $150 (£102) for payments received after the program payment deadline
  • Late Registration Fee : $20 (£13.50) for students who do not academically register by the deadline.

Tuition fees for Masters in Israel

A full year of Masters study in an Israeli public university can range from USD $8,000 to $18,000 (£5,580 - £12,555) for international students.

Tuition fees can normally be paid in several instalments to spread the cost.

Scholarships for Masters in Israel

Fortunately, international postgraduates have several opportunities to apply for both government and university allocated scholarships to subsidise their Masters tuition fees.

Government scholarships

The Israeli government offers full and partial scholarships to foreign students for one academic year of research studies.

In addition to covering your tuition fees in part or full, the scholarship also gives students a monthly allowance for one academic year, as well as basic health insurance cover.

For more details on the application process for a full or partial international scholarship, visit the government’s website .

University scholarships

Many Israeli universities offer scholarships to international students based on prior academic achievements.

Scholarships will often be offered to specific areas of study in the interest of the university. Therefore it is advised that you check with your chosen institution and faculty for what scholarships are on offer to international Masters students.

Student living costs in Israel

The cost of student living in Israel for internationals is deemed to be high, or comparable with Western Europe and North America. Housing in particularly is known to be fairly costly in Israel.

Student accommodation

It is common to find student accommodation on university campuses in Israel, or at least close by. While traditional student accommodation will be in the form of dormitories, some universities also have studio rooms available for international postgraduate students.

University accommodation in Israel varies greatly depending on which city your university is located.

For example, a University of Haifa dormitory can cost between US $320 - $450 (£220 - £315) per month, while Tel Aviv University accommodation can cost between US $600 - $800 (£415 - £555) per month.

However, these prices will usually include utility bills and local taxes.

Some international students might choose to live off campus. Rental costs will vary greatly so it is advised that you do lots of research to find where is best to rent, based on proximity to campus and cost. Your chosen university may be able to offer some informal advice on this to international students.

Living costs

It is common in Israel for goods and services to be listed in the US Dollar or the Israeli Shekel.

Israeli currency conversions
Shekel US Dollar GB Pound
ILS 1 £0.18 $0.27

The cost of living in Israel is generally deemed to be quite high and is comparable with Western Europe and North America.

However, each of the cities in Israel will have markets (or shuks) where you can buy local dishes and goods for low prices. Not to mention providing a great Israeli cultural experience!

Below are the average prices for groceries, monthly bills and leisure activities in Israel.

Item Price (ILS Price (£)
Milk (1 litre) 5.90 1.10
Loaf of bread (500g) 6.60 1.25
Potatoes (1kg) 4.10 0.80
Chicken breasts (1kg) 31.35 5.80
Rice (1kg) 8.35 1.55

Monthly Utilities
Item Price (ILS) Price (£)
Monthly travel pass 246 45.60
Broadband internet (10mbps, unlimited, Cable/ADSL) 79 14.65
Domestic utilities (Electricity, Heating, Water and Waste) 667 123.55

Item Price (ILS) Price (£)
Cinema ticket 40 7.45
Gym membership (monthly) 262 48.55
Cappuccino (regular) 12.30 2.30

Note Information in the above tables is based on crowd-sourced data collected by Numbeo. Figures are approximate and provided for comparative purposes only. They do not take account of student discounts and may vary over time or between cities.

After graduation: careers and opportunities with an Israeli Masters degree

In recent years, Israel has become a global leader in technology start-ups, making the career opportunities very attractive in this industry.

Innovation and entrepreneurship is everywhere you look in Tel Aviv, so if you’re an engineering or technology postgraduate, you might find that Israel is a great place to start your career.

Alternatively, if you’re looking toward a different sector, your university’s careers adviser will be able to assist you with local industry knowledge.

Ready to start looking for a Masters in Israel?

Hopefully this page has answered your questions about Masters degrees in Israel. If you're ready to start your postgraduate study abroad adventure, the next step is to search for a Israeli Masters degree.

Last updated - 19/05/2016

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