Although Israel is often portrayed as a discriminatory country that is always in conflict, in reality, the Jewish nation is one of the most developed and stable in the region. Israel is not only highly technologically developed but also has a great economy, an outstanding performance in international rankings, and an excellent system of universities. Israel is not only a good option to get a degree, but also to gain some work experience at one of the thousands of international companies located here.

With one of the largest numbers of startups in the world, Israel has improved its industrial and agricultural sectors dramatically, which has made the country the most advanced in the Middle East and Southern Asia. The country is also known for being the 5th on the planet for highly skilled employment (2017) and for having a great higher education system.

Actually, among countries that belong to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Israel was the second with the largest number of people that had finished their tertiary education. It is also the fifth country with the largest expenditure on education in the OECD.

So, how is possible that they have such a great performance in terms of education? Let’s take a look at the higher education system and cheap universities in Israel.

Universities and Colleges in Israel: How do they work?

Israel has nine universities and many colleges. Universities are all funded by the government while colleges are mostly private. Both of them are accredited to grant undergraduate, graduate, and postgraduate degrees.

Bachelor’s degree programs usually last for three years, master’s degree programs last for two years, and doctoral degree programs last for four years or more. When studying a master’s degree program there are two options: one that requires writing a thesis and one that doesn’t. The former option is for those who have the intention of continuing their education and getting a doctoral degree, and the latter is for those who won’t get a doctorate.

Israeli universities have high places in overall international rankings, but they usually perform better in STEM areas and subjects, since the country is known for its advanced technology.

Check Also: Available Programs for International Students


The language of instruction at Israeli Universities: Can I study in English?

Although the official language of this country is Hebrew, universities are trying to attract more international students and the government wants to double the number of foreign students by 2022. This is why most universities have degree programs completely taught in English (especially in the STEM area) and every year they design more of these.

In fact, in April 20119, 19 new master’s degree programs and seven new undergraduate programs that are completely taught in English were approved.

There’s also the option of studying Hebrew. Universities offer Hebrew courses in case you don’t know the language, and you’ll have many more options when choosing a program.


Admissions at Israeli Universities: Is it hard to be admitted?

Universities in Israel have a certain number of places for international students, especially in the case of programs in English. Admissions in Israel are highly competitive, but as an international student, your chances of being admitted increase if you make your application carefully.

Israeli universities usually consider your previous academic performance and your scores on standardized tests when reviewing your application. Israel has its own standardized test, called Psychometric Entrance Test, which is similar to the SAT and is used at all universities. It can be taken in Hebrew, French, Arabic, Spanish, Russian and a combination of Hebrew and English. You’ll have to take this test if you choose to study Hebrew.

In case you choose a program in English, most universities accept the results from standardized tests from your country.

The rest of the requirements will depend on the program but may include additional tests, essays, and interviews.


The cost of studying in Israel: How much will I spend?

Tuition fees will depend on the characteristics of the program you choose. If you are a full-time student, tuition fees would be between 7,000 USD and 15,000 USD per year at cheap universities in Israel. Part-time students would pay around 6,000 USD per year.

Regarding living costs, renting a one-bedroom apartment in Israel costs between 2,700 ILS (760 USD approx.) and 3,600 ILS (1,000 USD). You’ll get a better deal by getting a place at university dormitories. ILS is their official currency, the Israeli New Shekel.

As for transportation, you should budget around 60 USD. Eating at a local restaurant would cost around 15 USD.


Cheap Universities in Israel

1. Hebrew University of Jerusalem (HUJI)

Considered the best university in Israel, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (HUJI) started working in 1918. This cheap university in Israel is ranked as the 162nd best in the 2020 QS  World University Ranking, and between the 201st and 205th best universities in the 2019 Times Higher Education World University Ranking.

HUJI has more than 23,000 students that attend one of its four campuses located in the cities of Jerusalem and Rehovot.

It has seven faculties of medicine and dental medicine, agriculture, food and environment, humanities, law, science, and social sciences It also has a business school, a veterinary school, an institute of Jewish studies, and a school of social work. Visit their degree programs section to see which ones are available in English.

Visit their international student’s page and download their brochure to get details about admissions. They also have joint programs with universities in Singapore, Shanghai, and Berlin.

Tuition fees go from 5,600 USD to 16,000 USD per year. You will find more information here.


2. Tel Aviv University (TAU)

Opened in 1956, Tel Aviv University (TAU) is the biggest university in the country. Their facilities include 17 academic hospitals, 400 laboratories, over 300 research centers, and 18 performing arts centers.

TAU ranked as the 219th best university in the 2020 QS World University Ranking and between the 201st and 250th best universities according to the Times Higher Education World University Ranking.

It has eight faculties of engineering, law, arts, humanities, exact sciences, social sciences, life sciences, and management medicine. The university also has student dormitories. Housing fees per year go from 8,800 USD to 9,600 USD.

They offer two undergraduate degree programs in English: a bachelor’s degree in liberal arts and a bachelor’s degree in electrical and electronics engineering. They also have 15 graduate degree programs taught in English. Check the page of each program to learn about the admissions process and requirements. Applications include a 100 USD fee.

Tuition fees for undergraduate degree programs in English are 4,555 USD (bachelor in liberal arts) and 12,000 USD (bachelor in electrical and electronics engineering) per year. Graduate programs are much more expensive and go from 10,500 USD to 41,500 USD. Visit their international page to learn more.


3. Open University of Israel (OUI)

The Open University of Israel (OUI) is perfect for those who need a more flexible alternative. Founded in 1974, it is the largest in terms of the student population, with around 47,000 students.

This cheap university in Israel is known for not requiring a standardized test or minimum high school grades for being admitted, hence their name “open”. However, they suggest applicants discuss their applications with university counselors.

At OUI, students aren’t required to choose a program when entering. They can take courses freely so they can explore different paths. Additionally, the university is affiliated with other four Israeli universities so courses are transferable.

Another advantage is that OUI has over 50 teaching centers throughout Israel. They rely on distance learning, video calls, digital material, books, and group meetings for a big part of the teaching process. Learn more about their education system here.

It has four faculties of humanities, social sciences, sciences, and engineering. The only downside is that both undergraduate and graduate programs are only available in Hebrew, Russian, and Arabic. To learn more about admissions, click here.

As you don’t have to choose a specific program when you are admitted, tuition fees are calculated per course and not per year. So, costs will depend on the number of courses you take. If you’d like to learn more, contact them.


4. Bar-Ilan University (BIU)

The next university on our list of cheap universities in Israel is Bar-Ilan University. BIU focuses on research and was opened in 1955. It ranked between the 551st and 560th best universities in the 2020 QS World University Ranking and between the 401st and the 500 the best ones in the Times Higher Education World University Ranking.

With almost 20,000 students, BIU has eight faculties of medicine, Jewish studies, engineering, exact sciences, law, humanities, life sciences, and social sciences. It also has ten research centers and is affiliated with nine off-campus research centers.

All the details about admissions, requirements, language proficiency, and visa are available in their international students’ section. Click here to see their academic offer of programs.

In the case of undergraduate programs, tuition fees for international students are 13,000 ILS (3,700 USD approx.) per year. As for master’s degree programs, tuition fees are 17,500 ILS (5,000 USD approx.) per year. Contact them to learn more about payments and get more information here.


5. Israel Institute of Technology (Technion)

The Israel Institute of Technology or Technion was founded more than a century ago, in 1912. This cheap university in Israel ranked as the 257th best university in the 2020 QS World University Ranking and between the 301st and 350th best universities in the Times Higher Education World University Ranking. 

This university specializes in technology and has programs in the areas of engineering, medicine, science, and architecture. Unfortunately, programs here are taught in Hebrew, and you will have to take a language test even if you take the Psychometric Test.

They offer a pre-university program that includes Hebrew, English, math, and physics. It lasts for a year and is specially made for international students.

Visit their admissions section to learn more about requirements and entrance tests. Admissions to their medical school are completely different, so read that section carefully if you are interested in medicine.

They also have student dormitories. Rent goes from 700 ILS (200 approx.) to 2,900 ILS (820 USD approx.).

Tuition fees at Technion are paid in three installments of 3,750 USD and one of 3,250 USD throughout the academic year. This means that tuition is 15,000  USD. 


6. University of Haifa (HU)

With almost 20,000 students, the University of Haifa (HU) was one of the last ones in receiving full accreditation in 1972. It is placed between the 651st and 700th best universities in the 2020 QS World University Ranking and between the 601st and the 800th best universities in the Times Higher Education World University Ranking.

It is divided into seven faculties of education, law, natural sciences, humanities, social sciences, management, and social welfare, and health sciences. It also has an international school and a school of marine sciences. They have undergraduate in Hebrew, and graduate programs in English.

Tuition fees for full-time international students are 11,700 USD. Graduate programs cost between 5,000 USD and 9,700 USD.  Language courses and part-time students pay fees per semester. Click here to see more details about tuition fees. They also offer different scholarships in case you need financial aid and language programs in Hebrew and Arabic.


7. Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU)

Established 50 years ago, in 1969, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) has about 20,000 students and focuses on research. This cheap university in Israel ranked as the 419th best university in the 2020 QS World University Ranking and between the 601st and 800th best universities in the Times Higher Education World University Ranking.

It has five faculties of engineering sciences, natural sciences, business and management, humanities and social sciences, and health sciences. It also has a school of brain sciences three international schools of Israel studies, desert studies, and health.

In terms of research, BGU has seven research institutes and almost 40 research centers.

To learn about admissions, visit their international section and fill their eligibility form. Admissions include an application fee of 100 USD, except for the medical school, which has an application fee of 120 USD.

Tuition fees for undergraduate programs are 12,758 ILS (3,610 USD approx.). Master degree programs cost 34,485 ILS (9,800 USD approx.) for the complete program. Visit their tuition and fees page to get more details.


I hope that this article on the cheapest universities in Israel for international students was helpful. To know more information on studying abroad, check out the Available Programs for International Students.