Israel Study Abroad Program in Jerusalem
About The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Shalom! We're delighted that you're considering IFSA-Butler's program at the Rothberg International School, Hebrew University of Jerusalem (RIS) for your semester or year abroad. Hebrew University is one of the Middle East's most prestigious universities, and it's located on Mount Scopus in the ancient, intriguing city of Jerusalem. Few other locations can rival this program for an amazing study abroad experience.
What The Hebrew University of Jerusalem has to offer
CoursesWhat is Ulpan?
All students, except those students taking the Arabic Immersion program, are required to participate in the Ulpan course, which is an intensive Hebrew language instruction course that begins before the semester starts and continues throughout the semester.
Summer Ulpan proceeds the fall semester, usually in August or September, and Winter Ulpan runs from mid-January to mid-February prior to the start of the spring semester. During the pre-semester, both programs involve 100 hours of intensive Hebrew language instruction designed for visiting and new students. There are generally special activities during the programs that complement the course. Once a semester begins, the contact hours for Ulpan reduce to eight to ten hours per week.
Students complete a placement test prior to their arrival on campus and are placed into one of six levels of Hebrew. Please note that the completion of one level during the program is equivalent to the completion of two to three semesters of Hebrew language study in the United States.
Are there any required courses?
What subjects can I study?
Visit the Hebrew University of Jerusalem Rothberg International School (RIS) online course catalog for a list of possible courses
What courses am I eligible to take?
What if I need to take a required course?
Course RestrictionsAll courses are offered within Hebrew University's Rothberg International School (RIS). Only students with advanced Hebrew language skills may take courses within other departments at Hebrew University. Enrollment in any course is subject to available space, as well as the satisfaction of prerequisites.
Enrollment in courses will take place once you arrive on campus.
How many courses am I able to take, and how do I determine U.S. semester credit hours?
Each program of study has a set course load that can be found under the description of the program. At RIS a full course load for general study students consists of 15-18 U.S. semester credit hours per semester or 30-36 U.S. semester credit hours per year. Students who are not enrolled in the Arabic Immersion program are required to take the Hebrew language Ulpan, which is worth 5 U.S. semester credit hours. General Study students will continue with a Hebrew language course during the semester, which is worth 6 U.S. semester credit hours.
Since the majority of courses taught within RIS are worth 3 U.S. semester credit hours, general study students normally take three additional courses each semester in order to be enrolled in a full course load. Please see the Programs of Study tab for information regarding each program at RIS.
How many total credits will I earn?
What are the registration conditions?
You should also be aware that you may be charged additional fees by your home institution take or process additional credits. Taking less than a full course load may jeopardize your student status and result in personal academic repercussions and/or loss of financial aid.
The study preference form is not a registration form; it is a guideline to let RIS know which program you are choosing or the subjects you are interested in studying. You should discuss your course selections with your academic advisor at your home institution and have several backup choices approved. You will be officially registered for programs, but registration for specific courses will take place once you arrive on campus.
What do I need to know about exams?
How will my home university know what my classes were and what grades I received?
Programs of Study
Arabic Immersion Program
This program is based on the total immersion in constant and exclusive use of Arabic in its native social and cultural environment. The focus will be on Modern Standard Arabic, which is the formal language used in books, newspapers, news broadcasts and formal speeches throughout the Arab world. Students also will learn the foundations of the Palestinian dialect spoken in the Palestinian areas of the Middle East.
Participants in this program of study will receive 17 U.S. semester hours of credit based on the following structured course program:
Core course in Arabic (176 hours total for 12 U.S. semester credit hours)
Islamic Belief and Practice (45 hours total for 3 U.S. semester credit hours)
Co-Curricular Activities (2 U.S. semester credits)
Students who choose the Arabic Immersion program are not required to participate in the Ulpan program. However, both IFSA-Butler and the Rothberg International School encourage students to consider participating in the Ulpan program in order to gain an useable command of the Hebrew language.
Students who successfully participate and complete this program will also receive a certificate of completion.
Please Note: Art Jerusalem fall semester participants will be required to stay until the end of January in order to complete the semester. Students studying for the year must stay until the end of June.
Combine artistic training along with university study through the Art Jerusalem option. Students participate in the Ulpan program and select one of the following tracks of study:
Candidates for this either the Art Specialization or Art Academic programs are required to submit a portfolio and one additional recommendation. Please be sure to download the Art Specialization form for detailed information and instructions for applying for either of these programs. Students in these tracks may also request to study in one of the Bezalel art departments:
Students who wish to explore the world of art and design without focusing on a particular area do not need to submit a portfolio and will study under the auspices of the Fine Arts department at RIS.
Please note: Dance Jerusalem fall semester participants will be required to stay until the end of January in order to complete the semester. Students studying for the year must stay until the end of June.
Students interested in dance have the unique opportunity to study on a joint program between the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance and the Rothberg International School (RIS). Dance Jerusalem allows a student to train in the areas of Classical Ballet, Contemporary Dance (including Ohad Naharin's Gaga), Choreography, Repertoire and Improvisation. Students create, rehearse and perform works with outstanding Israeli composers and choreographers.
Participants also will participate in the Ulpan program and participate in a Dance Repertoire Workshop. Students take 9-10 U.S. semester credits at the Jerusalem Academy of Music and 6 credits at RIS each semester.
Participants in Dance Jerusalem typically do not participate in Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance performances. Because performances are scheduled in the spring semester, we recommend this option for the year or fall semester only.
Candidates for this program are required to audition. Please be sure to download the Dance Jerusalem supplemental form for additional application instructions.
Dynamics of the Middle East
Dynamics of the Middle East: Politics and Society (D.O.M.E.) is one of the newest programs at RIS. The program will draw from the renowned faculty of the Hebrew University in the areas of history, religious studies, sociology, political science, international relations, Middle East studies and Arabic language.
In addition to the Ulpan, participants in this new track of study take the following courses:
o Palestinians: Modern History and Society (3 credits)
o Belief and Ritual in Early Islam (3 credits)
o Introduction to the Arab-Israeli Conflict (3 credits)
o The Middle East: Rapprochement and Coexistence (3 credits)
o Gender and the Middle East (3 credits)
o Theories of International Relations and Realities of the Middle East (3 credits)
o Regional Cooperation in the Middle East (3 credits)
o Modern Hebrew (6-7 credits)
o Colloquial Arabic (3 credits)
o Modern Standard Arabic (independent study worth 3 credits)
Film Jerusalem combines professional training in film production, academic study and exposure to Israel's challenging social, historical and cultural environment. The program offers advanced study in the theoretical and practical aspects of documentary filmmaking, and students carry out their own productions under the guidance of the school's professional staff.
In addition, students choose from a wide range of academic courses in Israeli and Middle Eastern studies, comparative religion, behavioral sciences, and Hebrew or Arabic language.
Additional Materials Required
Spring Honors Program
The Spring in Jerusalem Honors Program is for students in their third or fourth year with a GPA of at least 3.5. This program allows students to study together with Israelis in advanced level courses taught in English, and it includes other program options listed below.
All students will participate in the Winter Ulpan program prior to the start of the semester (January-February) and will take two classes taught in English at Hebrew University. It is optional to continue with Ulpan for the rest of the spring semester. Honors Program participants complete their enrollment by choosing one of the following options:
The spring semester ends at the end of June, so students must plan on remaining at the university until the program end date.
Please note: Jerusalem Sounds fall semester participants will be required to stay until the end of January in order to complete the semester due. Students studying for the year must stay until the end of June.
Jerusalem Sounds is a exciting program that allows a student to participate in a comprehensive music program in addition to taking classes offered at Hebrew University, Rothberg International School (RIS). Jerusalem Sounds is a joint program with the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance and RIS.
Classwork consists of individual instruction, workshops and performances in small and large ensembles and classes in Jewish and Israeli music. In addition to participating in the Ulpan program, study abroad students participating in the Jerusalem Sounds study program will take the following:
Candidates for this program are required to audition and submit two additional recommendations from music instructors. Please be sure to download the Jerusalem Sounds recommendation form and the supplemental form for instructions and additional application information.
Journalism & the Media in Contemporary Israel
This program is designed for students majoring in journalism or communications or a related field. Students will have the opportunity to explore the role of journalism and the media from both the domestic Israeli and international perspectives. Participants will examine the central issues related to the fields of journalism and the media in Israel, as well as benefit from Israel's unique position in drawing journalists from all over the world.
As a core component of the program, students will meet with Israeli and foreign journalists who will share their experience and knowledge.
A media internship will provide hands-on experience in the field.
Please note that this special program is available during the spring semester only. Below are the key components of the program:
Judaism and Christianity in Late Antiquity
This program is designed to provide insight into the origins and early development of Christianity in the Holy Land and the relations between Judaism and Christianity during this formative period. Through the disciplines of history, archaeology, Biblical studies, geography, literature and comparative religion, classes examine the context in which Christianity emerged and evolved over the following centuries.
This program gives students have the opportunity to study the Bible in the land of the Bible and is designed to facilitate a deeper understanding of the Biblical text and narrative while making use of contemporary Hebrew research.
In addition to participating in the Ulpan program, students choose three courses from the following list for a total of 9 U.S. semester credits:
The program offers a unique hands-on guided laboratory research experience that is integrated with cutting edge courses in three sub-fields: molecular neuroscience, bioengineering and systems biology. Research projects and courses will focus on the fundamental understanding of cellular decision-making in health and disease. Research projects range from the mapping of transcriptional networks, innovative devices, high-speed three dimensional and super resolution imaging, to developmental biology and micro-environmental control of bacterial populations.
GPA requirement: 3.2
Housing OptionsWhat are my housing options?
Students at Hebrew University live in the Scopus Student Village, located on Mount Scopus and a short walking distance from campus. Living in the student village not only offers an independent setting but also is an important part of the study abroad experience. You will have the chance to make new friends from all over the world, as well as share experiences with Israeli students. Live in the student village includes the following features:
What is living in Jerusalem like?
All accommodations are self-catering. No meal plans are available, though numerous student-friendly cafeterias and restaurants are available on and near campus.
Is my housing included in the program fee?
Please keep in mind that while IFSA-Butler guarantees housing, we cannot guarantee your preferences.
Do I have to pay a housing deposit?
Is Internet available?
Do I need to bring my own bed linen and kitchen utensils?
Living and Studying Abroad in Jerusalem, Israel
Dates & Fees
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* All fall semester students in the Art Jerusalem, Dance Jerusalem, Jerusalem Sounds, Quantitative Biology and Film will have exams February 1-5 and the program ends on February 6. Fall classes end on February 22.
All spring semester and academic year students in the ArtJerusalem, DanceJerusalem, JerusalemSounds, Quantitative Biology, Film and Honors program will have exams June 28-July 2 and the program ends on July 3. Spring classes end on June 25.
** Fall semester and academic year Arabic Language Immersion students who are not taking Ulpan must arrive in Tel Aviv on October 16 for IFSA-Butler orientation and will move into housing on October 18.
Your program end date may change due to circumstances beyond IFSA-Butler's control. Upon arrival at your host university, be sure to verify your exam schedule and program end date. We also strongly recommend that you investigate fees and penalties associated with your airline tickets in case you need to make date or route changes.
The final performance for students participating in the spring semester Dance Jerusalem program is June 28. The program ends on June 29 and students may depart on that day.
Program housing is available only until the date listed as “Program ends” on the calendar.
Exams must be taken where and when scheduled. Under no circumstances may students request that an exam time be changed.
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Academic Year and Fall Payments Due: July 1
Program Fee Bills
† Housing Deposit
Personal Cost Estimates
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These figures are designed to assist students with financial planning but are only estimates based on past students' experiences at the current exchange rate. They do not include any entertainment or vacation travel costs.
The above numbers are general estimates of expenses during a program abroad. We recommend taking into account your current spending habits, the cost of living in your host country and the current exchange rate. Your IFSA-Butler program advisor can be helpful as you attempt to work on a personal budget for your experience abroad.
Personal Miscellaneous: Covers general expenses of college life, including course supplies, photocopying, toiletries, snacks, personal care, etc.
All costs are in U.S. dollars.
Note: Applicants to this program must submit two letters of recommendation.
To apply to the Hebrew University of Jerusalem program, use our easy online application.
You must also return your academic statement and resume. See the Academic Statement and Resume subtab on this page.
Applicants interested in special Programs of Study must submit additional forms. These forms can be found in each Special Program's subtab on this page.
We must receive these materials before we can send your application to Hebrew University for an admissions decision. They can be sent to IFSA-Butler via email, fax or regular mail. Please submit these forms with the remainder of your program application.
If you have already started an application to the program, you can track which forms IFSA-Butler has received by logging into the student portal.
Forms for Special Programs
Students interested in applying for the Art Jerusalem, Dance Jerusalem or Jerusalem Sounds options must also complete and return the following forms:
Academic Statement and Resume
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem requires an academic statement of 300-500 words and a resume from all applicants. Your academic statement will aid the Admissions Committee in evaluating your application.
Please respond to one of the following three questions, and be sure to relate your essay to your program of study and your academic goals. Remember, respond to only one of these questions, not all three.
Students applying to study at Hebrew University are also asked to provide a copy of their resume. Please send both the academic statement and your resume with the other forms for this program.
Meet Your IFSA-Butler Team
IFSA-Butler has a dedicated team of staff who are here to help students prepare for their program in Israel:
Director of Student Services Chris Harrison assists with the application process and is here to answer program, cultural and academic questions before departure. Chris lived abroad in Coleraine, Northern Ireland for several years, and has traveled extensively throughout the U.K., Ireland, Australia, New Zealand and the Middle East. In 2000, Chris joined IFSA-Butler as a program advisor in order to help students study abroad and experience new cultures, and she continues to be responsible for programs as well as IFSA-Butler student services worldwide. Contact Chris at the email link above or at 800-858-0229 ext. 4215.
Program Advisor David Watkins assists with the application process and is here to answer program, cultural and academic questions before departure. David can be reached at the email link above or at 800-858-0229, ext. 4229. David graduated from the University of Cincinnati with bachelor’s degrees in international affairs and political science. He studied abroad in France, Israel and the West Bank, and began a study abroad program with IFSA-Butler in Egypt during the spring of 2011. After political evacuation from Egypt, he continued his studies in Morocco. David currently advises students planning on studying abroad in England and Australia.
Student Accounts Coordinator Becki Niccum assists with the financial side of study abroad and processes payments and invoices. Becki can be reached at the email link above or at 800-858-0229 ext. 3077.
Student & Parent Services Manager Donnetta Spears is available to both students and parents for travel questions and information. Donnetta has worked with IFSA-Butler since 2000, and she has traveled through parts of Europe, Latin America, Australia and New Zealand. As the mother of 4 college students (including one who studied abroad on an IFSA-Butler program), she has a deep understanding of the ins-and-outs of study abroad from a parent perspective. Donnetta can be reached at the email link above or at 317-940-4252.
Once abroad, our students are in the capable hands of our Israel staff, including Manager of Student Services Monica Wasserbach. Click here to read more about Monica.
View the embedded image gallery online at:
Supervised internships are available with companies, government offices and nonprofit organizations. Internships are worth 1 U.S. semester credit hour. More information will be coming soon!
Our summer program in Israel offers the choice of two tracks, Arabic Immersion or Summer Electives. Students earn 3-10 U.S. semester credits for the program and live in the university's centrally-located, secure campus housing. Click here for more information.