Study in Israel | Top Universities

Choose to study in Israel, and you’ll find yourself at the heart of a diverse, dynamic and constantly developing culture while engaging in a phenomenal academic experience.

In its mere 72 years of existence, Israel has fast developed into an economy renowned for its high-tech development, innovation and entrepreneurship – gaining the nickname ‘the Start-Up Nation’, with its own version of the US Silicon Valley, the Silicon Wadi.

Israel is especially known for innovation in the high-tech sector: it was ranked the 6th most innovative country in the world and contains the world’s highest investment per capita in start-up companies. This is pretty impressive considering its relatively small size and population. In recent years, Israel has also been touted as the world’s next major biotech hub.

As you’d expect with all this innovation and development going on, Israel has a strong selection of highly reputed universities – with strengths not just in science and technology subjects, but all across the academic spectrum.

Universities in Israel

Education is highly valued within the national culture of Israel, and its higher education sector has been praised for helping to encourage the country’s economic development and recent technological boom. The high quality of Israel’s higher education system was also recognized in the QS Higher Education System Strength Rankings, published for the first time in 2016, in which it ranks as the world’s 28th strongest national system.

There are nine universities in Israel, as well as lots of higher education colleges; the main difference is that the universities offer degrees all the way up to doctorate level. Courses are often taught in Hebrew, but many leading Israeli universities also offer English-taught programs.

Of Israel’s nine universities, six are featured in the QS World University Rankings® 2018. Here are the top four, all of which are in the global top 400:

Hebrew University of Jerusalem 

Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Ranked 145th in 2018, Hebrew University of Jerusalem is consistently Israel’s highest-ranked university in the QS World University Rankings. It was founded in 1918, making it the second-oldest of universities in Israel. The Hebrew University has three campuses across Jerusalem, and a fourth in the city of Rehovot, with around 23,500 students in total. Most full degree programs are taught in Hebrew, but there is also a selection of English-taught courses available, mostly at master’s level. The university’s Rothberg International School offers shorter study abroad programs, and the university is home to the world’s largest Jewish studies library. Hebrew University features in the QS World University Ranking by Subject 2017 in the top 50 for theology, divinity and religious studies and the top 100 for biological sciences.  

Tel Aviv University 

Tel Aviv University

Founded in 1956, Tel Aviv University is currently ranked joint 205th in the world. It has 28,000 students enrolled across nine faculties, making it Israel’s largest university. One of the most prestigious Israeli universities, it comes first in research output in the country and is ranked among the world’s best for 21 subjects, including the worldwide top 100 for archaeology and the top 150 for philosophy, computer science, psychology, mathematics and economics.

Technion-Israel Institute of Technology 

Technion-Israel Institute of Technology

Technion-Israel Institute of Technology is ranked joint 224th in the world and is the oldest university in Israel, founded in 1912. Located in the city of Haifa, its main language of instruction is Hebrew, but the international department of the university offers courses taught entirely in English. Technion is ranked among the world’s best for 17 subjects, with positions in the top 100 for both computer science and mathematics, and the university has been hailed as an Israeli version of the US’s Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

Ben-Gurion University of the Negev 

Ben-Gurion University of the Negev

Ranked joint 352nd in the world, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev is located in the city of Beersheba in southern Israel. Home to 20,000 students across three campuses, it’s also ranked 39th in the QS Top 50 Under 50, a ranking of the world’s leading universities under 50 years old. Ben-Gurion University was originally founded in 1969 as the University of the Negev, but was renamed after the founder and first Prime Minister of Israel, David Ben-Gurion, following his death in 1973.

The other two top universities in Israel to feature in the 2018 world university rankings are Bar-Ilan University (ranked in the 551-600 range this year) and the University of Haifa (ranked 601-650). Another Israeli university worth mentioning is the Weizmann Institute of Science. Although not included in the world university rankings as it teaches only at postgraduate level, the institute has a strong reputation in the sciences. It features in the QS World University Rankings by Subject in the top 250 for six science subjects, including the top 100 for biological sciences.

Find the best Israeli universities for your subject

Ready to study in Israel? Find out more about some of the country’s top universities and major cities.


Israel’s largest city by population (with around 850,000 residents) and the governmental seat, Jerusalem is located in the center of the country. Deeply historic, it’s considered one of the world’s oldest cities, and holds significance for three major world religions: Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Though chiefly known for its historical significance, it’s also home to many artistic and cultural venues, including the Jerusalem Biblical Zoo and the Jerusalem Cinematheque.

Jerusalem is home to several prestigious universities, offering courses in Hebrew, Arabic and English. This includes Israel’s highest-ranking and second-oldest university, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (145th in the QS World University Rankings 2018). Other institutes of higher education in Jerusalem include Al-Quds University (which also has campuses in Abu Dis and al-Bireh), and the Jerusalem College of Technology.

Tel Aviv


Israel’s second-largest city by population, and its largest metropolitan area, Tel Aviv is known for its nightlife, young population and 24-hour culture. It’s nicknamed the White City – a reference to the city’s UNESCO World Heritage Site, a famous collection of over 4,000 buildings designed in a unique Bauhaus style. Tel Aviv also has a reputation for technological research and innovation, and is Israel’s financial capital, home to the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange. With beautiful Mediterranean beaches lining its western limits, it’s pretty easy to see why Tel Aviv is one of the most-visited cities in the Middle East. 

Top universities in Tel Aviv include Tel Aviv University (ranked joint 205th in the world) and Bar-Ilan University (ranked 551-600), both of which offer English-taught programs.


Haifa is Israel’s third-largest city and largest port, located towards the north of the country and taking the role of the region’s cultural hub. Like Tel Aviv, Haifa has a Mediterranean coastline with beautiful beaches. It’s also close to the Carmel mountain range, and home to the Bahá'í World Centre, a UNESCO World Heritage Site renowned for its beautiful gardens (pictured). Technion-Israel Institute of Technology is joined here by the University of Haifa, as well as Matam, one of Israel’s largest high-tech research centers.

Be'er Sheva 


Also called Beersheba, Be’er Sheva is home to Ben-Gurion University, and is the largest city in the Negev Desert region, to the south of Jerusalem. Again, it’s a city packed with history and cultural diversity. It’s particularly known for its Bedouin market, which today sells a mixture of modern-day goods alongside traditional Bedouin crafts. Ben-Gurion has around 20,000 students, and like all Israel’s top universities, has a good selection of programs for international students.

One final student city to consider is Rehovot, about 20km to the south of Tel Aviv, which is home to the Weizmann Institute of Science. The Hebrew University of Jerusalem also has a campus in Rehovot, housing its faculties of agriculture, food, environment and veterinary medicine.

Find the best Israeli universities for your subject


Applying to Israeli universities

There is no centralized application system for universities in Israel, so you’ll need to apply directly to your chosen university, providing the required documents and following the instructions stated on the institution’s official website. You can find a list of programs taught in English on the Study in Israel website.

Israeli student visa regulations

To study in Israel, a student visa (A2 visa) is needed. Visa applications should be submitted to the nearest Israeli consulate at least three months ahead of intended arrival in Israel.

To apply for an Israeli student visa, you will need:

· A letter of acceptance from an Israeli university

· A passport valid at least six months beyond your intended visit duration

· Two passport-sized photos

· Proof of sufficient finances to cover the duration of your stay · A completed visa application form, available here

· Visa processing fee (US$46)

International students also need to have health insurance for the length of their studies. This may be provided by the university, included within the tuition fees, or it may be necessary to purchase insurance privately. It’s also important to note that undergraduate students are unable to work in Israel with a student visa. Post-graduate students can work on campus in their field of studies.

Tuition fees and living costs

Tuition fees in Israel vary depending on your level of study and university, but generally you will pay around US$4,500-15,000 per year at both undergraduate and postgraduate level. Living costs are also relatively affordable, with about US$10,500 needed for each year of study. Jerusalem and Tel Aviv will be the most expensive cities in which to rent accommodation.

Languages in Israel

The official languages in Israel are Hebrew and Arabic. English is also widely spoken, and is a compulsory subject in Israeli schools up to high school. Russian is also widely spoken, and Israeli society in general is fairly multilingual, with significant groups speaking many different languages from across Europe and Asia.

Israeli universities teach primarily in Hebrew, but many also offer a growing selection of English-taught programs. These range from short-term study abroad and exchange programs, to full degrees at both undergraduate and postgraduate level.


Israel has had its fair share of conflict over the years, but despite this reputation, the country attracted a record 4.5 million tourists in 2019, a testimony to the country being safe for travelling and living. According to OCED Better Life Index, Israel scores a 7.8 on personal safety index – which is better than majority of OECD countries.

Israel recognizes the importance of prioritizing safety, so measures are implemented accordingly and will be noticeable in public complexes such as shopping malls, train stations, and entertainment arenas. It’s advisable to be attentive to the current events to stay informed on heightened tensions.

Discover a range of scholarships to study in the Middle East 

Fast Facts

  • Population: 8.5 million (official estimate, 2016)
  • Official languages: Hebrew and Arabic. English is also widely spoken.
  • Currency: New Israeli shekel (NIS)
  • Largest city: Jerusalem, where the government is based
  • The world’s only state with a majority Jewish population
  • Created in 1948, as the result of a UN vote
  • Ongoing conflicts over land rights with Palestinians and neighboring Arab countries
  • Borders with Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, the West Bank, Gaza Strip, Mediterranean Sea and Red Sea
  • Ranked 17th in the world for innovation, in the UN World Intellectual Property Organization’s Global Innovation Report 2017
  • More venture capital per person than any other country
  • One of the world’s most educated countries; almost half (49%) of the adult population has attained tertiary education, compared to the OECD average of 34%.
  • Tel Aviv boasts one of the world’s largest gay pride parades, and the country has been named ‘gay capital of the Middle East’.
  • Voicemail technology was developed in Israel.
  • The Dead Sea’s surface and shore is the lowest elevation on earth, at 429 meters (1,407ft) below sea level.