Enrollment at a university in Israel is not possible after the 11th grade.Secondary education in the country lasts 12 years. Therefore, foreign applicants either have to study at a university in their home country or go through a preparatory program for a year in order to compensate for this yearly difference.
Our staff will walk you through the entire admission process: from choosing a university and preparing documents to enrollment and obtaining a visa. We are always in touch and ready to answer any questions. UniPage experts will always objectively assess your situation and suggest the most suitable university options.
All prices and requirements must be specified on the official websites of universities.
Admission to universities in Israel
How to choose a university
In Israel, you can receive higher education at:
Universities. Educationdoes not end with a bachelor's degree here. Many graduates go on to graduate school, choosing between research (thesis track master's program) or applied (non-thesis track master's program) directions. After obtaining a research master's degree, you can enroll in PhD programs. Therefore, if you plan to build an academic career, then choose to study at a university.
Academic colleges. Such institutions only offer bachelor’s and master’s programs. Usually, these are highly specialized institutions — for example, Tel Aviv College of Engineering has strong engineering specialties, while the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Danceis known for its performing arts. After receiving a bachelor's degree, most graduates search for a job. The rest pursue master’s degrees at a college or university.
Pedagogical colleges. If you want to become a teacher of any disciplineNatural and social sciences, arts, and physical education, consider a bachelor’s program at a pedagogical college.
This is a key criterion when choosing a university. It is important to determine which university is the strongest in your specialty. Subject ratings will help with this. Here are the best Israeli universities in certain areas:
Arts and humanities — the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Tel Aviv University
The language you want to study in will greatly influence your choice and preparation for admission. However, even if you choose Hebrew programs, you will still need to know English. Many universities include it as a mandatory requirement.
Enrollment at Israeli universities is only possible after numerous tests, exams, and preparatory courses. Usually, 11 months pass from the application date to university admission.
It is impossible to enter an Israeli university if you have only finished 11 grades, given that secondary education lasts 12 years in the country. As such, you have two options:
Consider the Mechina program — a preparatory course that focuses on language and general education. This program will compensate for your annual difference. Academic colleges sometimes accept students right after 11th grade, but they have their own annual preparatory programs that replace the Mechina.
Complete one year of university studies in your home country and later enroll in the first year of a bachelor’s program in Israel.
GPA from your previous education — 3.0 out of 4 or 80 out of 100
IELTS 6.0-6.5 / TOEFL iBT 80 / TOEFL (paper based) 550 for English programs*
Or results from the Yael Hebrew language test — Gimel (B1)For bachelor's programs or Dalet (B2)For master's programs
*Some universities require knowledge of English at the A2-B1 level, even for programs in Hebrew.
Summer language courses
To enter a Mechina program, you need an A2 level of Hebrew. If you do not at all know the language, you will have to take a summer language course at an ulpanLanguage schools in Israel. Courses last from 2 to 6 months and cost 1,500-2,500 USD.
Sometimes, universities ask prospective students to take an ulpan course even if they have already made up the yearly difference in education.
A psychometric exam is required for admission to bachelor’s programs. It tests knowledge of English, HebrewNot required for some programs, core subjects, and logic. Students can score from 200 to 800 points, where 400 is a passing score. A "brilliant" score starts at 750 points, with which you can enroll at medical colleges — universities with the highest level of competition.
The psychometric test can be taken in Hebrew, English, Russian, or Arabic. If you do not score the necessary points the first time around, retakes occur every six months.
Some universities require SAT or ACT scores instead of a psychometric test. GRE or GMAT scores may be required for master’s programs. Checking the exact requirements on the website of your chosen university.
In Israel, most foreign qualifications must be legalized. Diploma recognition is required for admission to bachelor's, master's, and doctoral programs.
Some documents go through a simple system of legalization: it is enough to translate them into Hebrew and notarize them. This happens with diplomas of secondary and vocational education.
Israeli universities have their own requirements for the assessment of foreign diplomas. Therefore, check with the admissions office on whether you need to legalize your documents, or if they can simply be translated and notarized.
Academic degree recognition procedure
Who needs it? Those who want to continue their education in Israel, particularly for a master's degree or to defend a dissertation. Recognition is also needed for work based on degree qualifications.
Who conducts it? The Ministry of Education, namely the Department for the Recognition of Foreign Academic Titles and Degrees.
What documents need to be prepared? Diplomas of secondary or higher education and a grade transcript. The list differs depending on the academic degree.
How long will it take? Up to 45 days.
Preparatory programs in Israel are called Mechina. They are attended by foreign students who need to improve their knowledge of Hebrew or English and compensate for any academic differences.
Prior to enrollment, prospective students need to complete 5 weeks of a language course at an ulpanLanguage schools in Israel. However, if you have at least a Bet (A2) level of Hebrew, then you can immediately enter a preparatory program.
Mechina programs can be completed at three universities and one academic college:
Israel does not have a centralized application system like the Netherlands or United Kingdom. Therefore, each university handles applications separately.
Applicants register on the university website, fill out an application form, and attach a photo and copy of their passport. The rest of the required documents are sent by email.
You will not be accepted into a bachelor’s program if you have only completed 11 years of secondary education. It will be necessary to compensate for the missing year through the Mechina preparatory program, which is advisable to complete at the university chosen for your bachelor's studies. If the university does not offer a Mechina program, contact the admissions office and ask which universities they cooperate with.
You must complete 2 to 6 weeks of summer courses at an ulpan before you can enroll in a preparatory program. This is a necessary measure in order to learn Hebrew up to the required Bet (A2) level. If you already know the language, then you do not need to take an ulpan course. As such, you can learn Hebrew on your own to save 2,000 USD.
Another option is to pursue a related bachelor’s program in your home country for one year. But even after that, you may be asked to take a summer course at an ulpan. This requirement is often found in humanities programs.
Applicants also have to take a standardized exam — usually, a psychometric test. It includes tasks in English and tests for quantitativeMathematics problems and verbalEssays and reading comprehension thinking. The passing score depends on the university, but the minimum threshold is 400.
Psychometric tests are a prerequisite for programs in Hebrew. They are also accepted for bachelor’s programs in English. Some universities, such as Technion, instead ask for SAT or ACT results.
Documents for admission:
High school diploma with a grade transcript (minimum GPA 3.0 out of 4)
In Israel, there are two types of master’s programs:
Research master’s — at the end of their studies, students write a master's thesis and go on to doctoral programs
Applied master’s — graduates do not write a dissertation and immediately enter the labor market
The requirements for admission to these programs differ from one another: applied programs often require work experience in the chosen field.
If you enter a new field that is not related to your bachelor's degree, then the university will send you to a supplementary program. It makes up for the academic difference. The duration depends on how many additional subjects you need to learn.
Depending on the university, there are other requirements:
Studying at an ulpanLanguage schools in Israel for 2-6 months
Consent of a supervisor to guide your research (especially when applying for a research master's program)
Until February 28 / March 15 / March 31Depending on the program
Basic requirements for admission:
Grade transcript (GPA — from 3.0 out of 4)
TOEFL iBT — from 90, or IELTS — from 7.0
Two recommendation letters
Also, depending on the university:
Work experience of two years
How to apply for a PhD
Only students who have defended their master’s thesis can enter a doctoral program. Therefore, it is impossible to enroll in PhD programs with an applied master’s degree, as students do not write a thesis. To enroll, you must complete a special training course and write a thesis.
Most admissions committees do not consider candidates whose average GPA was below 80% or who received below 85% for their thesis defense. But, there are exceptions — in rare cases, Israeli doctoral programs admit applicants who have not yet received a master's degree due to low grades. This is possible at Ben Gurion University — but only if the commission likes your research proposal.
Before submitting documents for a doctoral program, the applicant must find a supervisor. Information on supervisors is usually available on the faculty website of the chosen university. You can also download a request letter template there. When you have received a signed consent form from your supervisor, send it along with the rest of the required documents by email to the university.
Documents for admission:
Completed application form
Signed consent from a supervisor
Grade transcript (GPA of at least 80% and a master's thesis grade of at least 85%)
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Israeli student visa
To study in Israel, you need an A/2 student visa. To get it, you need to personally submit documents to the Israeli embassy and pay a visa fee of 45 USD. The term of consideration is from 5 days to 2 weeks.
A student visa is valid for a year. It allows you to repeatedly enter and leave the country. When the validity period ends, you can renew the document in Israel.