University of Haifa logo
  • Tuition Fee:
  • / Year (International)
  • Foreign: $ 9.78k / Year (International)
  • Languages of instruction:
  • English

    Photos of university / #university_of_haifa

    The program builds on the scholarly excellence, rich curriculum and unique institutional resources the University of Haifa offers in the fields of Jewish and Israeli history, Middle Eastern politics and society, and on the successful experience of international academic collaborations.

    Courses will be subdivided into the following three academic categories:

    • History of Zionism and the State of Israel, 1881-1967

    • Jewish Diasporas in the 20th Century: A Transnational Perspective

    • Contemporary Israel: Sociology, Minorities, Law, and Culture

    History of Zionism and the State of Israel, 1881-1967

    Students will be acquainted with the main trends in Zionist ideology and its key thinkers, the evolution of the Zionist ideas over time and the criticism and internal debates that have accompanied Zionism from its inception. Students will learn the ways in which the Yishuv (the Jewish community in Palestine) and later, Israeli society, has been consolidated through succeeding widespread waves of immigration, starting with the period of the first Aliyah until the first two decades of the State of Israel.

    Jewish Diasporas in the 20th Century: A Transnational Perspective

    One of the distinctive qualities of the program is that it encourages its students to examine Israeli history within the context of twentieth-century Jewish history and to think more seriously about the mutual – complex and ambivalent – interrelations between the State of Israel and the Jewish Diaspora. Courses included in this category will examine the histories of the major Jewish communities in the English-speaking world, Central and Eastern Europe, North Africa and the Arab world. Students will learn about the far-reaching transformations which shaped the Jewish world during one of its most turbulent centuries, and the dynamic processes which continue shifting old balances and reshaping the landscape of the Jewish world.

    Contemporary Israel: Sociology, Minorities, Law and Culture

    Students will learn about the social structure and tensions in contemporary Israel, its political system, legal institutions and its multicultural character. In addition, faculty-led field trips and tours will give students the opportunity to become acquainted with Israel’s landscape and geography, and meet weekly with representatives from different sectors that make up Israeli society: Palestinian-Israelis, Druze, the national-religious, ultra-Orthodox, Russian immigrants, Ethiopians, residents of development towns, kibbutz residents and the veteran population.

    Track A* involves preparation of a research thesis and consists of 32 credits, including four core courses, four elective courses and three seminar papers.

    A thesis, which is normally completed in the year following the completion of coursework, is required for those students planning to continue on to doctoral studies in Israel. A thesis is an independent research project and the pace of progress depends largely on the student's efforts. Students who complete their thesis later than one semester after the completion of their coursework, may be expected to pay an additional fee as detailed by the Graduate Studies Authority.

    *The ability to pursue the thesis track is dependent upon the student's ability to find an appropriate advisor.

    Track B consists of 40 credits (without a thesis), including four core courses, six elective courses, three seminar papers and a final exam.


    The final grade will be assessed as follows:

    • 30% seminar papers
    • 30% course grades
    • 40% final examination

    Course List:Fall Semester

    American Jewish Women and the Zionist Enterprise

    Dr. Esther Carmel-Hakim

    The Zionist enterprise is multifaceted. In this course we will study the feminist aspect and the profound involvement of Jewish women’s organizations: Hadassah, Pioneer Women, National Congress of Jewish Women, and Mizrachi Women. We will discuss the personal contribution of women leaders and pioneers in various areas: Henrietta Szold, Lilian Freiman, Sophie Udin, Golda Meir (Myerson), Rosa Welt Straus, Nadia Yehuda, Paula Ben Gurion, Batya (Bessie) Gotsfeld, Dorothy Bar Adon, Deborah Kallen, and others.

    This course focuses on American women who chose freely to immigrate to Israel - not as a result of poverty or anti-Semitism - and remained here despite the difficulties they experienced, resisting temptations to return to the affluent society which they left. This made them unique among other Zionist women, and the implications of this constitute the focus of the course.

    Mandatory Palestine, 1918 – 1948 Or: How Was the State of Israel Created?

    Dr. Nimrod Hagiladi

    When the British conquered Palestine from Ottoman rule in 1918, they found a partially developed land, a population numbering about half a million people (including 50,000 Jews); a population that still suffered the horrors of the First World War in Palestine. Thirty years later, in 1948, when the British Mandate in Palestine ended, the population was four times larger, the Jews numbered 650,000, the country's economy were relatively modern and industrialized, and after a violent confrontation between Arabs and Jews, the State of Israel was established. How was it that these changes took place during such short period? This course will review the thirty-year history prior to the creation of Israel in 1948. We will try to answer the question: why and how did the Zionists succeed in building a national home and how the relationships between the Jewish and Arab communities were formed. Using primary and secondary sources, it will review social, economic, military and political issues which influenced the development of Jewish settlement, and saw the emergence of Palestinian national identity, the creation of Israel and the Palestinian refugee problem, and the unfolding of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Using a variety of historical sources, including period newspapers and film, memoirs, monographs, biographies, and field trips to point of interest of the mandatory period, we will deepen our understanding in this formative period of Israel.

    Judaism as a Question

    Dr. Amos Morris-Reich

    Through close readings and discussions of the works of several 20th century writers, we will think about “Judaism as a question.” Rather than discussing religious, political, or ideological strains of modern Judaism or Jewry (such as Zionism or Diasporism; Orthodoxy or Reform; Marxism or Communism, etc.), the course intends to inquire into experiential dimensions of Jewish identity in literary, theatrical, and cinematic works. We will read various texts written by authors from different historical, cultural, and geographical Jewish backgrounds, such as Franz Kafka, Harold Pinter, Paul Auster, and Hanoch Levin, with the goal to extract direct and implicit references to Jewish existence in the modern world. In our reading and discussion, we will attempt to analyze whether and how Judaism as a question expresses itself in their works, and how this could help to form a deeper understanding of the Jewish experience in the modern world.

    Spring SemesterNationalism, Zionism and Israeli Archeology

    Dr. Judith Bronstein

    The characterization of the Land of Israel as the Land of the Bible and its sanctity for three major monotheistic religions has placed it at the forefront of archaeological and historical studies. In this highly religiously emotional and often volatile region the study and display of archeological sites and artifacts has been influenced by religious and political aims, and the historicity of the past has been either turned towards learning about earlier cultures or has been used to bestow authenticity to religious and national claims. These are the central issues which this course aims to examine.

    Israeli & American Politics in Comparative

    Dr. Ariel Zellman

    One of the most characteristic themes in Israeli politics is that of Israel's uniqueness, in its security needs, in its cultural and political identity, and in its relationship to the international community. This widespread perception of separateness readily contributes to and is at least partially constituted by the state's history of strategic insecurity and political isolation in the Middle East as well as its characteristic form of democratic governance. So too, the United States is often characterized as an "exceptional" country, unique both in its political development and presumed global mission of democracy promotion. The objective of this class is to critically examine the assumption of these two countries as "cases apart" and the degree to which their "unique" characteristics may be understood as "normal" politics both in reference to each other and in the world at large. To do so, students will engage with a range of academic and popular readings on a diversity of major subjects related to each state's politics and the American-Israel relationship.

    A Social History of Palestinian Society, 1900-1948: A Study Tour

    Dr. Na’ama Ben Ze’ev

    Social history is interested in daily life, in the diverse social strata and their interrelations. It studies mainly the life and experience of common people, the “subaltern” – those, who did not belong to the political, military or economic elites, and who left little, if any documentation of their lives. The course will deal with the main social developments experienced by Palestinian society from the last phase of the Ottoman reforms, through the British Mandate to the 1948 war and the Nakba. The discussion will focus on such themes as migration and urbanization, the life of workers and the emergence of labor unions, the crisis of agriculture, land dispossession, aspects of law and legislation, the expansion of education and literacy, women activity in the public sphere, the emergence of a popular national movement, and the rebellion of 1936-1939. We will tour sites in northern Israel that are related to Palestinian history in order to look at some material evidence for the living conditions during the first half of the 20th century: Haifa, Nazareth, Acre, Yezre’el Valley (Marj Ibn ‘Amer) and Wadi ‘Ara.

    Judaism as Question
    Dr. Amos Reich, (see above)

    M.A - Campus (Field trip: two days and one night)Summer SemesterIsraeli Society, Culture and Politics

    Dr. Asaf Shamis

    The course will familiarize students with the many faces of Israeli society, culture, and politics. By reading scholarly and literary works, as well as a variety of primary sources, students will develop a firsthand and compound understanding of the Israeli experience. Some of the questions we will focus on will include: What are the relationships between the different collectivities comprising Israeli society? How does the Israeli political system work? What are the major trends in contemporary Israeli culture? What is the relationship between state and religion in Israel? What are the influences of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on Israeli society? By the end of the course, students will gain an in-depth knowledge of Israel and acquire the theoretical tools to study it.

    Israel and the Differing Perspectives of Radical Islamic Movements

    Dr. Liad Porat

    Many radical Islamic movements have principally directed their struggle against secular Arab regimes. However, additional Middle Eastern Islamic movements have dedicated the majority of their resources to the ongoing war against Israel. Both of these types of Islamic movements seek to change the current political realities and the policies inspired by them. Radical Islamic movements are seeking legitimacy and justification through their practical and ideological positions vis a vis Israel and the Jews. This course will deal with the political and ideological discourse of Islamic political movements in the Middle East and analyze the similarities and differences between them.

    Israel Stories: Page, Stage, and Screen

    Dr. Miryam Sivan

    Stories both reflect and mold our world. And all cultures tell stories to themselves and to others because all people tell stories. Narrative is a fundamental human cognitive ability that enables us to process and make meaning from what we see and experience around us. Within its storylines and frames, we move from the concrete to the abstract, weaving together what is seen, what imagined, what feared, desired, what is difficult to comprehend. Whether meant to be read alone, read aloud, performed or watched on stage or screen, stories function as an entertaining and educative means of introducing people to the beliefs, practices, politics, and mores of a group of people. Stories are windows that allow us to peer into, to move into contact with a particular society.

    In this course, we will read and watch contemporary stories by Israeli Jewish and Arab writers and film directors. Thiswill allow a more nuanced and multifaceted understanding of Israel's complex history of identity, place, community, and landscape -- and its continual metamorphosis through time. We will read poems, stories, plays, and novels, we will watch films. All these stories will provide us with an opportunity to not only examine literary, aesthetic, and cinematic qualities, but as importantly, will help us gain insight into the contemporary cultural and political contexts in which these works have been created.

    Second Aliyah Campus (three meetings in class and two days campus).Prof. Gur Alroey

    University requirements

    Program requirements

    An undergraduate degree in the humanities or social sciences from a recognized university in Israel or abroadA minimum of 3.0 GPA, 80% (Israeli system) or equivalentOfficial transcript of BA degree and copy of undergraduate diplomaTOEFL scores (if applicable)*Two recommendations from relevant academic faculty membersStatement of Intent/Personal Essay (500-750 words)Curriculum Vitae/RésuméMedical forms (international students only) Students who have not completed the required credits in history during their undergraduate studies, will be requested to take relevant courses. Each case will be considered on its own merit. *TOEFL Scores:Candidates, who have not previously studied at an institution of higher education where the language of instruction is English, or who are not native English speakers, must submit official TOEFL scores or the equivalent. This requirement applies to both Israeli and international candidates. The minimum TOEFL score required for admission is: 570 on the paper-based test, 230 on the computer-based test or 89 on the internet-based test. Contact the admissions office for information regarding exemptions from the TOEFL.Exceptions to the admissions requirements:Under certain exceptional circumstances, the committee may be willing to consider applicants that do not meet the minimal admissions requirements. Such applicants may submit a request for special consideration explaining why they believe their application merits consideration despite their not meeting the minimum requirements. The request must be submitted in writing and approved by the committee before a full application is submitted. The committee will not review applications not meeting the requirements unless a request for special consideration has been approved. English Language Requirements TOEFL paper-based test score : 570 TOEFL iBT® test: 89

    There are a variety of financial aid opportunities available to students who are interested in studying at the International School at the University of Haifa. For a complete list, please look under the "Finances" tab that you will find on the left side of every page of our website. Click on "Financial Aid" and a full list of potential scholarships will open. Scholarship eligibility considers factors such as length of program, merit, financial need, and nationality, so you will need to review the list to determine for which scholarships you are eligible.

    Similar programs: