Master of Arts in Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies

Department of Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies, Faculty of Humanities

Starting from October 2019-2020



  • One-year program with an option for two year thesis track.
  • Integrate into Israel society
  • Option to learn Hebrew or Arabic
  • Practical, hands-on experience
  • Middle Eastern Encounters with different cultural, religious, and national groups around Israel  

Program description

The program provides instruction, training, and first-hand acquaintance with Middle Eastern affairs and offers academic instruction and mentoring, professional training and opportunities for close cultural encounters in the rich and dynamic setting of Haifa.


Promoting Middle Eastern Encounters along both time and space – including religious, cultural, political, ideological encounters. The city of Haifa, in general, and the campus of the University of Haifa, in particular, are a living laboratory where religious and ethnic groups, such as Jews, Muslims, Christians and Baha'is, as well as Druze, Bedouin and Circassians live, interact and study side-by-side, constituting a micro-cosmos of the Middle East.


The Department of Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies aims to accommodate an international community of students from related disciplinary backgrounds, provide academic resources, develop and lead academic inquiries, explore the role of civil-society institutions, and endorse a vibrant and stimulating intellectual experience under the supervision of a team of leading professionals.

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What you will study

This is a unique program with a mixed curriculum of academic instruction and hands-on experience in matters pertaining to the cultural, religious, and political aspects of the past and the contemporary issues affecting the region.

The staff of the program is composed of Israeli experts on the Middle East, and involves academic field trips throughout the program.At each site, students will receive a guided tour, a lecture from the local leadership, and conduct discussions with local community members. Through these encounters, students will learn about the history, present concerns, and visions of local communities. The program provides hands-on access to what it means to be living in the Middle East.

Courses bring insights into a range of fields and disciplines, such as sociology, economics, culture, religion and history, as well as politics equip students and future Middle East scholars with the tools necessary to better analyze and understand events in the modern Middle East.

Upon completion of the program, graduates will be awarded an MA in Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies.

For full curriculum information please click here.

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  • Undergraduate degree in Middle Eastern Studies
  • GPA: 80%, 3.0
  • TOEFL scores (if native language is not English or candidates have not previously studied at an institution of higher education where the language of instruction is English). A minimum of 570 (paper-based test), 230 (computer-based test), or 89 (internet based test)
  • 2 Recommendation Letters
  • Personal Statement (up to 1,500 words)
  • Additional documents may be required. Contact us for more details. 

*Students without relevant academic background will be required to take two pre-requisite courses:


1. Introduction to the History of the Middle East
2. Introduction to Islam 

To Inquire about relevant courses, please contact us at

Check application deadlines.


For international students tuition and fees for the full academic year is $US 10,630*. The fee breakdown appears below: 


Tuition  $9,700
Service Fees (Security, Library, Health Insurance, etc.)  $930
TOTAL (in US Dollars) $10,630

There is a non-refundable $100 application fee per academic year for the program.

Dormitories are available for $450 per month.

* Final tuition for the next academic year is updated each August. For more information on the cost of our programs, dormitories, etc. and payment instructions please click here

* This information is relevant only for International Students


The program offers a Non-Thesis Track which lasts for three consecutive semesters over 12 months. In addition a Thesis Track is offered, which takes five semesters over 24 months. 

Core Courses:

Arab-Jewish Relations in Mandatory Palestine

Politics, Culture and Society in the Middle East

Current Affairs Seminar

Field Trip Seminar: Minorities in the region of Haifa and Galilee

Civil Society Organizations dealing with Israel's Minorities and Peripheral Groups

Iran in the Middle East: A Continued Quest for Hegemony

Historiography and Research Methods

Elective Courses:

Islamic Fundamentalism in the Arab World

Syria: History, Politics, and Society

In addition to the mandatory courses, the program will also enable students to acquire proficiency in either Arabic or Hebrew during the course period, which will allow them to take better advantage of their stay at the University of Haifa. *Language classes will be held in the morning before the regular classes.

For more information regarding language programming, please click here.


*Please note that these courses are offered at an additional cost and are not included in the tuition fees.


Dr. Uriel Simonsohn, the head of the new program, received both a bachelor's and master's degrees from Tel Aviv University, he continued to a second master's and PhD from Princeton University in the United States. He has been a lecturer at the University of Haifa's Middle Eastern & Islamic Studies department since 2013.  


Dr. Simonsohn’s academic interests pertain to the individual and shared histories of confessional groups from as early as the Christianization of the Roman Empire to as late as the high Middle Ages in the vast region between the Iberian Peninsula and the Iranian plateau. He is particularly interested in examining the ways in which individuals and groups sustained their confessional identity in the context of their affiliation to a plurality of social circles. His publications touch upon the various encounters between the adherents of the three monotheistic traditions in cultural, religious, and social intersections. Currently Dr. Simonsohn is working on two research projects: the role of women as agents of religious knowledge and practice in the early Islamic period, and the role of converts to Islam as cultural brokers.


Dr. Simonsohn teaches classes on state and society in the classical Islamic period, conversion to Islam, Muslim – non-Muslim relations in Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, and holy men and women in the three monotheistic traditions. He will teach the Muslims, Jews, and Christians in the Classical Islamic Period course in the international program.



A full list of faculty staff can be found here




Scholarships are available for exceptional applicants. International school may offer scholarships for early applicants. Learn about application deadlines here.
Information on other scholarships and financial aid can be found here.



"Pursuing postgraduate studies at Haifa University department of History of the Middle East is unique experience which will undoubtedly help my professional experience in the future. I am grateful for the opportunity and highly recommend it to students wishing to study the history of this region."

Meir Javedanfar, Ph.D Candidate