Doctorate degrees in Israel are generally similar to those in other parts of the world, particularly Europe and North America.
As in other countries, a PhD in Israel is the highest level of academic qualification a student can achieve.
These degrees involve producing a thesis that offers an original and significant contribution to the advancement of knowledge in its field.
Studying a PhD in Israel does not require international students to have an understanding of Hebrew or Arabic. Most people who study in Israel will actually take classes that are taught in English.
The key objective of the PhD studies is to conduct original research, whether theoretical or experimental.
Students must prove that they are capable of carrying out a large-scale study of value to the academic community. This research should aim to significantly advance knowledge and understanding in the field and to be worthy of publication in a journal.
An Israeli PhD may involve some formal training and preparation before you commence independent research. Your supervisor will likely recommend a few courses for you to take as well as suggesting relevant books and articles for you to consult.
You will submit a research proposal that defines your project; this may be required prior to the formal application. If satisfactory your proposal will be approved by the university’s academic committee and you will begin work on your PhD topic.
Alternatively, some universities will accept your formal application without a research proposal as it will not be required until after the first year of study.
Once your place on the PhD programme is approved you may also try to apply for funding in the form of a fellowship or a grant.
How long is a PhD in Israel?
The common duration of doctoral study in Israel is four years. However, some universities tend to set a period that varies between four and six years.
The duration of studies is generally field specific, where typical progression towards a doctorate tends to be longer in the humanities and the social sciences than in the natural sciences and engineering.
Assessment and examination
A PhD in Israel is examined entirely on the quality of the thesis you submit and will be the main focus of your study.
Some universities in Israel may allow for a doctoral thesis to be written in one of the two following formats, although the first is most common:
- A thesis which is a continuous coherent composition, written by the student with the guidance of the supervisor, which presents the research in its entirety.
- A chapter-based thesis, which is composed of independent chapters that are the results of the same research project and that show a clear connection among them. The chapter-based thesis must indicate that the student is the primary or major researcher and writer of the work, under the guidance of the supervisor.
PhD theses on non-experimental subjects are normally approximately 250 pages or 100,000 words in length. Theses on experimental sciences, however, are normally just 100 pages or 40,000 words in length.
Theses will normally be evaluated by two referees and the academic supervisor. The process of the appointment of referees, the evaluation and the discussion of the evaluations might take between four and six months.
The examining referees are normally required to submit their written opinion within three months after receipt of the thesis for evaluation. Unlike in other countries, an Israeli PhD does not normally involve an oral exam or ‘viva voce’.
It is advised that PhD students who need a complete approval of their degree for a post-doc position or a job submit their thesis as early as possible.