Pursuant to notices in the press, we would like to provide an update about this topic.
The notifications alleging that the Hebrew University has decided to completely convert the curriculum to English are incorrect. We continue to be committed to teaching, research and public activity in the Hebrew language. At the same time, the University leadership recognizes the importance of advancing the University’s international academic standing. To that end, we must increase the number of top students from abroad who study at the University jointly with Israeli students, and continue to recruit and absorb leading faculty members from abroad, alongside top Israeli academics.
The University is acting to promote these two goals: advancing academic excellence and the preservation and development of the local culture – via the following four components:
- All studies for the Bachelor’s degree will continue to be conducted in Hebrew. English language studies at the Bachelor’s level are done in the framework of student exchange programs, through which our students study for one semester abroad at a leading University. In addition, students who begin in this academic year forward are required to take at least one English language course at the University, together with international students.
- Studies for the Master’s degree in the Humanities and Social Sciences will continue to be taught in Hebrew. A few special programs, which do not have an important local element, are taught in English. In a number of fields there exists, alongside Hebrew language study programs, similar study programs in English.
- Master’s degree studies in the experimental sciences will in part, in coordination with the relevant units, be converted into English. The Robert H. Smith Faculty of Agriculture, Food and Environment has already decided to convert their master’s programs to English, as has the Faculty of Dental Medicine and ELSC. In other units the policy continues that studies are in Hebrew, but in those courses where a student or faculty member who does not speak Hebrew is present, the language of study will be English.
- Doctoral theses may be written in Hebrew or in English, as per the choice of the student and with the approval of the faculty sponsor and the doctoral committee.
The University is proud of its vast contribution to the advancement of the Hebrew language and it is our intention to continue to act in this direction. Alongside this, thanks to the solid standing of the Hebrew Language and given the need to increase the number of students and faculty members from abroad who come to Israel, and in order to best prepare Israeli research students for the scientific world which is conducted in English, it is our intention to increase the number of courses and programs available in English, as mentioned above.
Barak Medina, Rector
Oron Shagrir, Vice-President for International Affairs