Tel Aviv University launches International graduate School of Social Sciences

New school will boost the impact of Tel Aviv University, the social sciences, and the state of Israel in a range of areas critical to human welfare.

 International Graduate School of Social Sciences (photo credit: CHEN GALILI/TEL AVIV UNIVERSITY)
International Graduate School of Social Sciences
(photo credit: CHEN GALILI/TEL AVIV UNIVERSITY)

The Faculty of Social Sciences at Tel Aviv University, under the leadership of its Dean, Prof. Itai Sened, is launching a new initiative that targets the global arena: The International Graduate School of Social Sciences. The school will offer a range of MA programs in the English language for students from all over the world and host leading international experts, researchers, and lecturers. Full activities will commence in October 2022 at the beginning of the 2022-23 academic year.

The school’s first guest who arrived this week is Prof. Paul Romer from NYU, 2018 Nobel Prize Laureate in Economics, and one of the world’s most inspiring thinkers in his field. Prof. Romer is a staunch supporter of the new initiative and has agreed to lead the school’s excellent cohort of visiting scholars. During his current visit, he will conduct workshops for outstanding students and young faculty, deliver a lecture to the Friends of TAU, and give an interview to well-known Israeli journalist Guy Rolnik. 

The school serves as an umbrella for the faculty’s five existing international MA programs – Developing Countries (sustainable development), Migration Studies, Conflict Resolution and Mediation, Security and Diplomacy and Cyber Politics and Government – which are annually attended by about 150 students, both international and Israeli. Five more programs will be added in the coming years, including Climate, Trauma, and Public Health, bringing the number of students to approximately 300 every year. Upon graduation, most alumni will join various international organizations and NPOs working in the fields they had studied. 

Prof. Itai Sened (Credit: TAU)Prof. Itai Sened (Credit: TAU)

Prof. Sened believes that the new International Graduate School of Social Sciences, in its very essence, manifests Israel’s leadership in many arenas related to the social sciences. “Everyone talks about the hi-tech nation,” he says, “but we have a great deal more to offer. Israel has accumulated immense knowledge and experience in many non-technological areas, and Israeli expertise is in great demand all over the world. Our school’s programs will address many of these disciplines, making the vast knowledge amassed here at TAU and throughout the state of Israel accessible to the entire world.” 

The school’s wealth of MA programs will be complemented by a unique track to the Ph.D.: ten outstanding undergraduates completing their BA at the Faculty of Social Sciences will be admitted to an accelerated Ph.D. program, which includes a scholarship for the entire period of studies, a co-supervisor from a leading university abroad, and a year of studies at the supervisor’s institution. 

Academic faculty will benefit from the dynamic two-way flow of scholars generated by the school, with Israeli lecturers and researchers visiting top institutions all over the world, and their colleagues from other lands (20-30 every year, 2-3 at any given time), coming here to conduct research and teach in the various international programs. 

At present, the Faculty of Social Sciences is negotiating a range of student exchange agreements with several world-leading academic institutions, including the Johns Hopkins University branch in Bologna, Northwestern University in Illinois, Science-Po in Paris, and EUI (European University Institute) in Venice. 

Prof. Sened: “The new International Graduate School of Social Science reflects the vision of the President of TAU: enhancing TAU’s visibility and leadership in the international arena. On the one hand, we attract students from all over the world, who wish to benefit from the knowledge accumulated here in Israel, and specifically at TAU, in the social sciences. On the other, we essentially ‘bring the world’ to Israeli students and faculty – in the form of world-class lecturers, researchers, and supervisors from around the globe.

"In this way, we reduce the regrettable ‘brain drain’ and encourage our excellent students and researchers to stay here with us. Ultimately, thanks to its dynamic entrepreneurial spirit, the International Graduate School of Social Science will become an international hub for the exchange of ideas and growth of knowledge in many areas of the social sciences that are at the heart of the human experience and critical challenges of our times.”