Israel approves 26 new English-language degrees, eyeing world's top minds

The degrees are in the fields of STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics), entrepreneurship and innovation, Judaism and Israel-related studies and the Middle East, among others.

Students at Hebrew University (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Students at Hebrew University
The Council for Higher Education (CHE) approved on Sunday the establishment of 26 new international undergraduate and master’s courses in English in a push to attract outstanding students to study in Israeli institutions.
The courses, seven for undergraduate students and 19 for master’s students, focus on fields of education where the CHE, the official authority for higher education in Israel, believes that Israeli academia has a relative advantage over other countries.
These include STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) studies, entrepreneurship and innovation, Judaism and Israel-related studies, the Middle East and Islam, agriculture, urban studies, environmental and natural resource studies, urban planning and design courses.
According to the council’s Planning and Budgeting Committee (PBC), international students represent only 1.4% of students in Israel, significantly below the OECD average of approximately 6%. This primarily stems from language difficulties, with most higher education degree courses taught in Hebrew alone.
Teams from the CHE are also working with relevant government bodies to remove visa and work permit-related barriers for partners of individuals who wish to study in Israel.
Launched in September 2016, the CHE’s current multiyear plan aims to more than double the number of international students in Israeli higher education institutions from 11,000 in 2017 to 24,000 by 2022.
“The PBC has strove to transform the State of Israel into a magnet for outstanding students from different countries worldwide: America, Europe and the Far East,” said PBC Chairwoman Prof. Yaffa Zilbershats. “To this end, we must ensure that there are attractive English-language programs to enable foreign students to study in Israel. This process will deepen relations between institutions in Israel and institutions abroad, strengthen Israel’s international reputation in the world and help develop international capabilities for Israeli students who will study together with foreign students in Israeli institutions.”
The English-language programs, the CHE emphasized, will be taught alongside similar Hebrew courses, and will be identical to Hebrew curricula in their academic level and scope.