Genetics (575) - Master's Degree            

About the program: The faculty members in the Genetics teaching program at the Hebrew University study genetics, genomics and epigenetics. Among the questions they investigate are: How are entire genes, chromosomes and genomes passed down from generation to generation? How is the genome packaged in the nucleus, protected by telomeres, and repaired following damage? How is the genome expressed and regulated, and how does such regulation enable the development of different cell types? Which and how genes affect traits or diseases? And how does evolution influence genetic and epigenetic variation? In addition to human cells and tissues, we use different model organisms from three different kingdoms - fungi, plants and animals - both at the level of the whole organism and at the level of the individual cell. During your postgraduate studies you will develop skills in problem solving, experiment planning, data analysis, writing and scientific presentation. Our graduates are employed in academia, research laboratories, genetic counseling and treatment, the biotechnology industry in the fields of medicine and agriculture, and more.


Admission requirements: Admission to the Genetics teaching program is open to students with a Bachelor of Science (B.Sc) degree with an average grade of 85 or higher. Admission to studies is conditional on finding a supervisor among the teaching program teachers. Students with a bachelor’s degree in natural sciences without a suitable background will be required to take supplementary courses. Students with a bachelor's degree in natural sciences with grades between 80 and 85 are also invited to apply for admission to a master's degree in genetics, after finding a supervisor, and their application will be discussed by the department's teaching committee. As a condition for admission, these students will need to complete 10 credits with an average score of 85 or more (the courses will be chosen by the head of the teaching program in coordination with the supervisor). Students who do not have a bachelor's degree in natural sciences (B.Sc) will need to complete 40 credits. The faculty rules regarding admission requirements can be found here.

Studies: The scope of studies for a master's degree is 30 credits, of which it is mandatory to take in the first year the course “Seminar in Genetics for Graduate Students - First Year” (88890) and in the second year the course “Seminar in Genetics for Graduate Students - Second Year” (88899). Except of these courses, each student must compile an individual curriculum from a large selection of courses (for the updated list of courses, click on the link "Genetics – Research Master’s track (4043)" which appears at the top of the page on the right and under the heading "Study Tracks" or here and adapt to the current school year). The curriculum must be approved by the head of the teaching program. It is also possible to take courses that are not on the list, with the approval of the head of the teaching program. The rules for the graduate courses can be found here.

Research: The most important component in graduate studies is a research project. The topic of the project is determined in coordination between the supervisor and the student. The duration of studies for the degree is two years. In exceptional cases, an extension is possible, with the approval of the head of the teaching program. At the end of the program the student must submit a final thesis for a master's degree as specified in the faculty guidelines. The work will be reviewed by the student’s supervisor and at least one other teacher, who will be appointed by the head of the teaching program. Students who have completed all the courses and wrote the dissertation will be assessed by an oral examination. The examining committee will include at least three examiners: the direct supervisor, the external reviewer of the dissertation and another examiner who participate in all the Master exam committees. The purpose of the exam is to test the student’s in-depth understanding of their research topic and their general knowledge in the field of genetics. Before the oral exam, the two non-regular members of the committee will send the student a question and an article to read. The student will present his or her research followed by questions about the articles. During the exam, the members of the committee will ask questions about both the research and general knowledge of genetics, depending on the topics that will be discussed. Further guidelines regarding the exam can be found here.

Final grade: The final grade for the degree will be determined at the end of the oral exam. The components of the final grade are the average grade of courses (40%), the grade of the thesis (30%) and the grade of the oral exam (30%).


Direct doctoral degree track: The Genetics teaching program encourages its outstanding students to apply for a direct PhD track (in which a Master’s thesis is not required). The transition to the direct PhD track is feasible for graduate students who have completed the course quota and have high potential of developing their work to the level required for a doctoral dissertation. A recommendation of the student’s supervisor and the head of the teaching program, as well as success in a designated exam are required for the transfer. The direct PhD track exam is conducted in a format similar to a Master’s oral exam. In preparation for the direct PhD track exam, the student will write a short document of up to 10 pages summarizing their research work and plans for the future. More rules regarding the exam for the direct PhD track can be found here.


Contact names:

Teaching & Students Secretariat (Silberman Institute of Life Sciences):

Sara Gavriel                02-658-5445

Keren Daniel              

Faculty curriculum office (Levy Building):

Shuli Cohen                  02-658-6722

Head of teaching program (Silberman Institute of Life Sciences 2-317):

Prof. Sagiv Shifman      02-658-5396

Master’s courses in the faculty are given in Hebrew unless a foreign student who does not speak Hebrew is taking the course. In such a case the course will be given in English.

Department Officials

Compulsory in the teaching programElective in the teaching programTotal for the degree (minimum)