Ranked one of the top 100 innovation universities in the world, Tel Aviv University (TAU) is Israel's largest institution of higher learning and the #1 choice for Israelis, with over 30,000 students studying in nine faculties and over 125 schools and departments. In addition to the allure of an outstanding education, young people flock to TAU to be part of the exciting non-stop Tel Aviv lifestyle.
Indeed, Tel Aviv has rightfully cemented its reputation as one of the most vibrant, intriguing and welcoming destinations in the world. It is the capital of the Start-Up Nation, brimming with creativity and entrepreneurship, a mecca for lovers of culture and fine gastronomy, and also a fun beach town that is home to many young people.
About 10% of the university’s total student population studies in English, the majority of them through TAU International. They are enrolled in more than 60 academic programs taught in English and reflecting the university’s commitment to a multidisciplinary learning approach – ranging from short-term summer courses and semester abroad programs to full Bachelor’s degrees, Master’s degrees, PhDs and
postdocs. TAU International students come from over 100 countries each year, with large contingents from North America, Western Europe, Asia, India and Latin America.
From the day they arrive, international students receive 24/7 support from TAU International’s on-campus Student Life Team. Staff members assist with housing and medical issues, and plan social and cultural activities as well as excursions throughout Israel. Some international students choose to live in the university dorms, while others prefer to live on their own off campus. “The experience exposed me to different research cultures and has given me useful contacts. Furthermore, living in Tel Aviv was absolutely incredible,” attests Morgan Gold from Canada, who took part in a summer research program in the sciences.
New Liberal Arts B.A. with Columbia University
Since 2012, TAU International has been offering a popular three-year Liberal Arts B.A. which enables English-speaking students to obtain a first-rate multidisciplinary education in the Humanities. Recently, Columbia University in New York City proposed that TAU International partner with the elite Ivy League school in a joint dual degree program – a four-year Liberal Arts B.A. The joint TAU-Columbia degree is being launched this October, with a first-year class of approximately 30 students who were carefully selected from a pool of 170 applicants. The students will study for two years at Tel Aviv University and then two more years at Columbia’s School of General Studies. When they graduate, they will receive degrees from both institutions.
“It is a hybrid program that merges the Israeli system with the American liberal arts tradition,” explains Prof. Bruce Maddy-Weitzman, Head of TAU’s International B.A. in Liberal Arts. During the first two years, at TAU, the students will study a core curriculum designed to hone important skills such as critical thinking and writing. They will also select a ‘major,’ a ‘minor’ and two other basic tracks out of eight options: Digital Culture and Communication, Entrepreneurship and Innovation, Life Sciences, Literature, Philosophy, Jewish and Israel Studies, Middle Eastern Studies, and Psychology. During their third and fourth years, at Columbia, the students will choose a ‘major’ such as Biology, Computer Science, Earth Studies, Economics, English, Film and Media Studies, Middle Eastern Studies, South Asian and African Studies, and others.
In addition to the undisputable benefit of obtaining two prestigious degrees, students in the TAU-Columbia program will have the advantage of being immersed in a global environment while living and studying in two of the most exciting cities in the world. Another important benefit is that students in the dual degree program will pay significantly lower tuition during the two years at Tel Aviv University ($15,000 a year) than they would if they were to study in the U.S. for all four years.
“So far, it’s a great partnership,” says Prof. Maddy-Weitzman. “We pride ourselves on being a small, intimate program on a large campus. We provide personal attention and individualized programming in a stimulating international environment.”
Electrical Engineering B.Sc. for International and Israeli Students
TAU International has been offering a full B.Sc. degree in Electrical Engineering in English for the past seven years. This upcoming academic year, the program will also be open to Israeli students for the first time. Tel Aviv University’s School of Electrical Engineering is one of the largest EE schools in Israel, with over 79 faculty members, 1,500 undergraduate students and 700 graduate students, including about 140 Ph.D. students. TAU’s English-language EE degree offers the same rigorous curriculum and requirements as the Hebrew program, but TAU International students enjoy much smaller classes and more personal attention.
“English is the official language of Engineering and every other word is in English anyways” notes Prof. Yosi Shacham, Director of TAU’s International Electrical Engineering Program, adding that he has already interviewed over 30 students who were accepted to the Hebrew program and are interested in studying in English instead. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the fall semester will be taught under a hybrid model, with as many in-person classes as possible alongside online classes.
The international students pursuing full Electrical Engineering B.Sc. degrees in English hail from all over the world, including India, China, Australia, Turkey, South American countries, South Africa, Europe and the United States. “We are unique in that we train engineers to work in a changing environment. When they graduate, they can hit the ground running and integrate quickly to the job market,” Prof. Shacham promises.
“Covid-19: From Crisis to Opportunity”
In addition to introducing new full-degree options in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, TAU International did not shy away from launching shorter summer programs either. In fact, the crisis actually presented opportunities for creative and innovative programming. One example is the successful online summer course that was launched in July: “Covid-19: From Crisis to Opportunity.” Open to TAU International students as well as to people all over the world interested in academic enrichment, over 80 students took part in the course via Zoom from Asia, South America, North America, and Europe. The interdisciplinary course was designed from scratch in record time, pooling the resources and knowledge of experts from many different faculties. Each session focused on a different aspect of managing the Covid crisis: disaster management, medical and public health challenges, economic consequences, environmental challenges, mental health, privacy issues, educational challenges, etc. Dr. Bruria Adini, Head of TAU’s Department of Disaster Management in the Sackler Faculty of Medicine’s School of Public Health, led the course, and each session included a guest lecture by a TAU professor whose field of expertise was the subject of that day’s session.
“We tried to touch upon the main systems that were impacted by Covid, including the opportunities that appeared as a result of the crisis,” explains Dr. Adini. Each of the 12 lessons was preceded by a short video specifically produced for the class, and all the lessons were interactive so that the students were fully involved despite the online format. During each lesson, the students were divided into breakout rooms where they were assigned tasks, later returning to a plenary session for a discussion with the rest of the class. For their final assignment, students analyzed one of the Covid challenges from several perspectives, and each paper was subject to peer review.
This successful summer course is just one more example of how Tel Aviv University International offers non-stop discovery in Israel’s non-stop city!
For more information about Tel Aviv University International and its programs, visit: international.tau.ac.il