Students at Hebrew University.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
The Council for Higher Education approved on Tuesday evening the recommendations of the senior subcommittee for academic development and policy to allow academic institutions to grant doctoral degrees in specialized fields in cooperation with other institutions of higher learning.
“This decision will allow granting doctoral degrees to excelling students in specialized fields, beyond what exists at the universities, and will allow for training faculty in cooperation between universities and non-research institutions,” said Prof. Hagit Messer-Yaron, vice chairwoman of the Council for Higher Education.
This decision is the outcome of research conducted by the council that showed there are specialized fields that are lacking in research institutions that are accredited for third degrees. There are, however, non-research institutions that have developed expertise in programs such as design, composition, and dance.
Currently, students who complete their second degrees at the non-research institutions can pursue a third degree only outside of Israel or in a different field of study.
The council is interested in offering these students an alternative within Israel to pursue their studies at the highest level. The situation has also led to a lack of senior academic faculty in the fields in question, which this plan hopes to resolve.
The decision allows research institutions to award doctoral degrees in cooperation with the non-research institutions that have developed expertise, experience, and academic reputations in their fields.
The institutions will build joint doctoral programs that will base their academic and research foundations on the universities and their specialization and academic experience on the non-research institution.
The decision outlines prerequisite requirements, such as participating non-research institutions being permanently accredited to award second degrees.
Students will have two advisers – one from the university and one from the non-research institution. Both of the advisers must be at least senior lecturers in their institutions and both must be approved by the university.
To start a cooperative program, the university must submit a request to the council that details such things as the unique nature of the program and the added value a doctoral degree would bring to the field, how the program will be organized, the way in which the institutions will cooperate, admission requirements for students, the program’s contribution to Israel’s economy and society, and more.
The programs will be the academic responsibility of the university granting the degree, and the degree itself will be awarded under the university’s name, noting the cooperation with the additional institution.