Briefly about education in Israel

  • Education in Israel can be obtained online. For example, at the Open University of Israel, many students study remotely for bachelor's and master's degrees.
  • Price. Studying undergraduate studies in English costs from 6,000 USD to 25,000 USD per year. In the Master’s programs — from 25,000 USD to 40,000 USD for the entire academic period. On average, programs in Hebrew are half the price — from 3,000 USD/year in a Bachelor's program, and from 5,100 USD/year in the Master's program.
  • Preparatory programs. If a candidate does not qualify for admission to universities in Israel, they can undergo a one-year “Mechina” preparatory program. The program includes classes in Hebrew, English, and Mathematics. The average cost is 10,000 USD.
  • Language. Foreign applicants can study in Hebrew or English. But the English-language programs are 10 times less common than the Hebrew.
  • Visa. You need to apply for an A/2 student visa. To do this, you will need a medical policy for the entire period of stay, plus confirmation of sufficient funds to pay for tuition and accommodation.
  • Work while studying. A foreign student can work informally — caring for the elderly, packing food, cleaning up trash, washing cars. For official employment, you need to apply for a B/1 work visa.
  • Employment. To stay in the country for work, change the A/2 visa to B/1. To do this, you must first receive an invitation from an Israeli employer.
Advantages of studying in Israel
  • Assistance in adaptation. Preparatory courses and programs at universities will help you settle in a new country. There you will study Hebrew and the culture of Israel.
  • Flexible educational process. Students choose their own subjects and schedule. In many universities, it is possible to study during the summer holidays in order to shorten the time for obtaining a diploma. A Bachelor's degree program, for example, can be completed not in 3, but in 2.5 years.
  • Scholarships. There are over 30 government and independent scholarships in Israel. They can cover up to 50% of the tuition fees.
  • The high employment rate of graduates. 90% of graduates of Israeli universities find work in their specialty[1].
  • Multinational environment. In 2020, 20,000 people immigrated to Israel. Because of the vast number of migrants, 85% of the population speaks English[2].
Disadvantages and features of studying in Israel
  • High requirements for admission. You will need to speak Hebrew even for some English-language programs, finish school with good grades, prove solvency and pass difficult entrance exams.
  • There is no free education. Neither local nor foreign applicants can study for free at an Israeli university. Scholarships and benefits will not cover tuition in full.
  • Cost of education. The cost of higher education in Israel is not always quality-based. The price is determined by the origin of the applicant and the language of instruction. A program in English will cost twice as much on average as in Hebrew. And still, a foreign student will pay 25% more than a local resident for the same program.
  • Military operations in the region. Israeli universities are located in a relatively safe area. At the same time, political conflicts can cause discomfort to foreign students who are not used to frequent mock evacuations and military exercises.
  • The climate might be rough. The average temperature in summer reaches 40°C, and in winter it does not drop below 10°C.

Foundation — preparatory programs

There are three preparatory programs in Israel: "Mechina" and “Ulpan”. Their main goal is to help the student prepare for life and studies in Israel. They will receive intensive courses in Hebrew, local culture, English and Mathematics. But the role of the preparatory courses is not limited to this. Mechina, for example, is needed to make up for the academic difference between foreign and Israeli secondary education. A school graduate from a country where secondary education only lasts 11 years is obliged to undergo it. Only then will they be able to enter the first year of an Israeli Bachelor's degree program.

Depending on the type of program, the applicant will spend from 5 to 11 months in it. The tuition fee is, on average, 10,000 USD.

Vocational education

The vocational education system is divided into two branches — you can become a specialist in a technical college and even in high school.

Vocational education at school

In the senior grades, two directions are possible: to prepare for entering a university or to acquire professional skills. Future skilled workers from the 9th grade go to vocational schools. Children from 15 to 18 years of age study future professions in military academies, religious boarding schools, agricultural, technical, and general education schools.

Unlike the classical 12 classes of school education in Israel, in these educational institutions, a student can stay up to grade 14. This is necessary to master the profession. After receiving a professional degree, a graduate can enter a university. Most often, this is done by graduates of engineering and natural science schools.

A foreign applicant can enter an Israeli secondary school after grade 9. Get ready to study in Hebrew.

More about vocational secondary schools
  • Military preparatory schools train future support and technical staff required by the Israel Defense Forces.
  • Religious boarding schools promote the traditional Jewish way of life. They offer separate training for boys and girls. The secular educational program is complemented by an intensive study of religion. Religious disciplines account for 40% of the total workload.
  • Agricultural schools supplement basic education with subjects related to agronomy.
  • Technical schools train technicians and applied engineers.
  • General education schools offer training in various specialties: accounting, mechanics, electronics, hospitality, graphic design.

Vocational education in colleges

Here the specialty is studied at a deeper level than in high school. Designers, nurses, psychologists, and programmers are trained in technical colleges. Theory and practice are taught in equal amounts. For example, nurses study for four years, two of which are devoted to internships. Don't confuse technical colleges with academic ones. Academic colleges award degrees and technical ones give a professional qualification.

Usually, after a technical college, the student continues their education. You can go to a university or choose to narrow down your expertise — take a specialized course at the same institution.

Undergraduate programs in Israel

An undergraduate degree program is the first stage of higher education. A bachelor's degree can be obtained at all Israeli universities. You can apply for a bachelor's degree when you are between 18 and 27 years old. Most programs last 3 years. The duration depends on the specialty: it is necessary to study Engineering for up to 4 years, and Medicine — for 4.5. If you wish, you can take the "summer semester" and take some of the courses during the holidays. This will reduce the duration of studies by six months.

In Israel, you can study in English or Hebrew. Of the 2000 higher education programs in the country, 220 are in English. They are found in almost every university in Israel. Some institutions offer programs in which the student studies in English for the first year, and in the rest — in Hebrew.

Each university offers additional programs for international students. You can take a basic Hebrew or Arabic language course, study Jewish and Arab culture, and delve into the history of conflicts in the Middle East.

Classes are held 3-4 days a week, from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. The academic year starts at the beginning of November, and the "summer" holidays are in August, September, and October. Students choose the courses they will study and create the curriculum themselves.

Grading system
At the end of each semester, students take a written exam or write an essay. There are almost no oral exams. In Israel, a 100-point assessment system is used:
  • 100-95 — “Excellent”
  • 94-85 — “Very good”
  • 84-75 — “Good”
  • 55 — “Sufficient”
Students with a score of 54 or less can retake the exam only once. During the semester, attendance is strictly monitored. After missing more than three lectures, the student is not allowed to take the exam. This means that they will have to pay and take the course again.
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Graduate programs in Israel

Master's degrees are awarded by universities and academic colleges in Israel. Education in the Master's programs is divided into applied and research programs. Duration — 1 or 2-3 years, respectively. There is no need to defend a thesis in an applied Master's program. An example of such a program is the Master of Business Administration (MBA). Applied Master's graduates cannot enroll in doctoral studies, however.

But in the research Master’s, everyone has to defend a thesis. Because of this, training takes two years or more. During this time, the student scores academic hours, which are calculated according to the ECTS system adopted in Europe. You need to get 120 points. Most of the study time is devoted to doing independent work and attending classes lasting 6-7 hours daily.

Unlike the undergraduate programs, command of Hebrew is not required for a Master’s. You do not need to take preparatory courses and take a psychometric test.

Doctoral programs in Israel

After getting a Master's degree, the student continues their research project at a higher level. PhD can only be obtained at universities. The duration of training is from 3 to 6 years.

After doctoral studies, the graduate has the right to continue research activities at the university. They will be given a grant to work on a project without the right to parallel employment. They are allowed to teach, but for this, you need to know Hebrew.

Academic positions
  1. Assistant. Initial teaching position. To obtain it, you need a master's degree in the specialty. The assistant doesn’t need teaching experience.
  2. Senior lecturer. Requirements include PhD, plus several years of teaching and research work.
  3. Docent. A position acquired after defending a PhD thesis. A docent has the right to read lectures. Moving up the career ladder from a lecturer to a docent takes 3-6 years.
  4. Professor. Highest academic title. It is impossible to get it without a PhD.
The average salary of a professor in Israeli universities is 6,200 USD[3], which is approximately twice as much as the average salary in the country[4].

Work while studying in Israel

The A/2 student visa does not allow foreigners to officially work. If a student wants to work during studies, they must apply for a B/1 work visa.

Working with an A/2 visa

At job exchanges, you can often find advertisements for informal work, where you can get a job even without knowing Hebrew. Most often, students are offered a part-time job in call centers, markets or car washes. You can also take care of the elderly, take out the trash, and pack food. The average rate is from 7 USD to 11 USD per hour. However, such work is a violation of the law.

There are also alternative ways of earning foreign students — scholarship programs. Financial assistance is guaranteed to those students who work a certain number of hours in community service. For example: a scholarship from Mifal HaPayis, scholarship "FriendsofMedicine" at Tel AvivUniversity, the state grants for returnees and others.

Working with a B/1 Visa

It will be difficult to combine work and studies. Programs are time-consuming, strict grading systems and attendance control make it impossible to work while studying in some fields (e.g. in medical colleges).

It is important to remember that employers in Israel actually pay attention to college and university grades. If the GPA is below 80, many companies will not even consider the resume. At the same time, Israeli employers also value graduates with work experience. All other things being equal, preference will be given to those who have worked in their specialty during their studies.

There are programs where it is possible to combine work and study. For example, the graduate faculties of the Israel Institute of Technology (Technion). Its flexible scheduling system, which is largely controlled by the student, allows you to optimally allocate time. So, some students find work in their specialty already during the second year.

Most universities offer internships to international students in Israeli companies. Typically, an internship aims to let students put their theoretical knowledge into practice. Other successful students are invited by research centers of international corporations: Microsoft, General Electric, Google.

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Immigration to Israel

The best way to stay in Israel after graduation is to find a job while still studying. After the expiration of the A/2 student visa, the graduate must leave the country.

Therefore, already during training, it is worth thinking about employment and obtaining a B/1 work visa. Only the employer can submit a request for such a visa. In other words, the employer "invites" the student to work. The visa must be renewed annually.

Ways to obtain citizenship
Have Jewish roots. Children and grandchildren of Jews can obtain citizenship by kinship. These are "new repatriates returning to their historical homeland".
Marry an Israeli. You can do it in any country. The Israeli Ministry of Interior recognizes both heterosexual and homosexual marriages. To obtain citizenship, you need to prove that it is not a sham. Usually, it is enough to remain officially married for two years.
Convert to Judaism. Learn Torah and Hebrew, undergo a series of rituals, and pass an exam. The decision to convert a person to Judaism is made by a rabbinical court. The final rite is circumcision.
Undergo naturalization. An applicant for Israeli citizenship must have lived in the country for three years, have a steady income, own real estate, and speak Hebrew.

Job prospects and opportunities

Work in Israel. A foreign student needs to apply for a B/1 visa at the Israeli Ministry of Internal. But first, a request needs to be sent to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which can only be done by the employer. The visa is issued for a year and can be extended for up to 5 years.

Graduates of higher educational institutions find work in 90% of cases[1]. The most demanded professions: specialists in the fields of computer technology, business, marketing and education; also engineers and medicsf[5]. The average salary in Israel is about 3,200 USD/month[4]. The working week starts on Sunday and lasts 42 hours.

Work in Europe and the USA. The number of ECTS points on programs in Israeli universities may differ from European standards. This complicates the assessment of an Israeli degree in these countries. However, an Israeli diploma is recognized in the EU, CIS, USA, Australia, and some Asian countries. The most internationally prized graduates are Israeli mathematicians, physicists, chemists, engineers, and computer science specialists. This does not mean that a graduate of an Israeli university can easily find a job in any country. In some regions, the profession may not be in demand.

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