• Israel
    • Tel-Aviv
Academic Year
Subject Areas
Archaeology Botany History

Program Details

Program Type
Direct Enrollment
Degree Level


Starting Price
Price Details
The 18,000 USD fees are comprised of:

1. A 15,500 USD fee, payable to the OSP, which includes two tutorial semesters, 8-10 field trips to archaeological sites such as Megiddo, and Ramat Rachel, medical insurance, student union membership, library access and student fees to the university.

2. A 2,500 USD fee, payable to the excavation site, which includes 4 weeks of field excavation, field classes, boarding and travel at either Tel Azekah or Tel Megiddo.
What's Included
Activities Classes
What's Not Included
Accommodation Meals
Aug 06, 2019
Nov 02, 2018
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About Program

The International Program in Ancient Israel Studies: Archaeology and History of the Land of the Bible by the Department of Archaeology and Ancient Near Eastern Cultures of Tel Aviv University, in collaboration with TAU International, is a unique program; allowing students from a variety of countries across the globe to study the Archaeology and History of the Land of the Bible – IN the Land of the Bible.

Throughout the duration of the program students are offered a unique window into the country’s perplexing and complex past via theoretical classes, field work experience, and guided tours to some of the most renowned excavation sites in Israel (such as Jerusalem, Ramat Rachael, Megiddo, Hazor, Dan, Beit Shemesh, Azekah, Beer-Sheba, Qumran, Masada, and Caesarea).

Video and Photos

Program Highlights

  • A unique apportunity to visit and participate in excavations in locations like Masadah, Jerusalem City of David, Megiddo, Azeka and many others.

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Program Reviews

4.75 Rating
based on 8 reviews
  • 5 rating 87.5%
  • 4 rating 0%
  • 3 rating 12.5%
  • 2 rating 0%
  • 1 rating 0%
  • Academics 4.75
  • Support 4.4
  • Fun 4.9
  • Housing 4
  • Safety 4.9
Showing 1 - 8 of 8 reviews
Brittany Payne
Yes, I recommend this program

An Experience I Will Never Forget

Studying at Tel Aviv University in the Archaeology and Ancient Near Eastern Cultures Masters Program was one of the best experiences of my life. This program provided a tough, but highly educational and relaxed atmosphere. Personally, I enjoyed the access we had as students to the many archaeological sites and resources that Israel has to offer. We were able to see many archaeological sites with personal tours from our professors and even directors of the sites. The hands on experience we gained after classes were also some of the best times I had in Tel Aviv. From digging at Megiddo to a month long excavation at Tel Azekah, this past year provided so much excitement and knowledge. This program will challenge you and your perception of history and archaeology. I have come away from this year with brand new eyes and a better way to interpret history.
This program has also helped to secure my future plans. Now that I have completed my masters, I plan on continuing in a PhD program in the states. I hope to become a professor and spend my summers as a field director, hopefully in Israel. It is all thanks to this program that I have that opportunity.
The best part of this year, though, were the connections and friendships I have made. My class was one of the best groups of people I have met. We bonded quickly and were able to help each other along the way. This program brings people from all walks of life together and I am happy to say I have friends from Israel, Europe, America, and even China now. We have this past year as a great memory where we studied together, laughed together, and maybe even cried together. We not only went to class together, but we went on tours together, excavations together, and hung out together outside of class. This past year was a truly remarkable time that I will never forget.

What would you improve about this program?
Communication is key and can always be improved. Especially in an International Program, I believe it would be helpful for the staff to look at other programs and how they are run in their students' home countries. There were times when we were confused as to what was happening, but overall once you are there for a few months you begin to understand the culture more and learn how to communicate your ideas and feelings better. It would be nice is there was a quicker transition however.
53 people found this review helpful.
Yes, I recommend this program

From Armageddon to Azekah: A Summer of Digging in the Field

Without a doubt, the highlight of my year studying in the International MA program was the time spent digging in the field. My summer was split between two of the most important excavations in Israel: Tel Megiddo and Tel Azekah.
Megiddo (or Armaggedon) is one of the most famous archaeological sites in the region. Occupying one of the entrances to the fertile Jezreel Valley, its prime location allowed the rulers of Megiddo to exert control over the main breadbasket of the country and the strategic north-south road from Egypt to Mesopotamia. His victory at the Battle of Megiddo in the 15th century BCE allowed Thutmose III to establish the Egyptian empire in Canaan. Several centuries later, the Israelites expanded from the hill country into the Jezreel Valley and incorporated Megiddo into a territorial kingdom. At the end of the 6th century BCE, the reformist King Josiah was killed at Megiddo by Egypt. These events all highlight the importance of Megiddo through the ages. The site is also given as the setting for the end of days in the Book of Revelation.
I was able to work in the area of the Iron Age gate complex. This “Solomonic” gate has been at the epicenter of the major debates surrounding Iron Age chronology and Biblical history. During the excavation season, we dug into the layers below the gate, allowing us to clarify its date and stratigraphic relationship with the rest of the site, and to locate earlier structures. As the flood of tourists peered under the shades at us, I felt incredible knowing I was contributing to one of the major issues in Israeli archaeology.
The best part of the time spent at Megiddo however, was the chance to work so closely with Israel Finkelstein. Prof. Finkelstein is one of the best archaeologists working in the world today. He not only revolutionized the field with his new theories and methods, but is also a kind and enthusiastic man who loves to engage with the students.
With only a week of rest between, I then headed to Azekah for four more weeks of digging. Azekah is another major site situated alongside the Valley of Elah, known as the location for the battle between David and Goliath in the Bible. Azekah offers a great opportunity to study the “border” zone between the Judahites and the Philistines. This dig also provided quality time for us to spend with Oded Lipschits, the head of the international program. Prof. Lipschits is also one of the most important archaeologists and Biblical scholars working today, and working with him outside of the classroom allowed us the chance to get to know him personally.
I was placed in Area S1 under the supervision of Alex Wrathall. Alex is one of the best and brightest young archaeologists working in Israel. Her enthusiasm added an element of fun, as everyday it seemed like digging was accompanied by constant laughter. It was probably the most fun I’ve ever had doing hard manual labor. It was also a great chance to spend quality time with my classmates. While we had spent lots of time together in the classroom, I felt like our time bonding in the field is what solidified our friendships for life.
One of the best parts of choosing to study at Tel Aviv was the ability to participate in multiple digs which are on cutting edge of archaeological research. Each season, the Tel Aviv University excavations are producing new materials from the field which change our understanding of the past. I was not only studying history, I was making it.

57 people found this review helpful.
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Yes, I recommend this program

Archaeology for Beginners

Advertised as a Master's Degree in a year, the academic program was mediocre at best and entirely geared towards people with no experience in archaeology. Often you are taught one style of thinking, and if you do not agree with the teachers you will not be well accepted. Often this means disagreeing with what is traditionally thought by other scholars in the world. Grades and work ethic mean almost nothing; deadlines come and go, often with no penalty. The actual material taught is sometimes interesting, sometimes completely irrelevant. The teachers are nice, but often don’t have time to meet or listen to your ideas. Sometimes they may disappear for months without a word. Communication between the faculty and students is extremely poor. There is almost no variety in classes from year to year; only 2-3 options for electives are given, and only if you continue to the thesis track in the second year. Often you feel like an undergrad. The thesis is billed as taking another year, but it can rarely be finished in another two years. Located in the 9th most expensive city to live in in the entire world, it is extremely difficult to live comfortably unless you are already wealthy, or are able to work. There are no options for TA-ship or other paid academic positions, as it is illegal to work in Israel as a student while not being a citizen. Funding and scholarships are also almost nonexistent.

The benefits of the program revolve around it being an archaeological program that studies material that is literally found next door. The teachers are the ones that are publishing on the material you study. Often you hear the latest news before it is published. Several times during the semesters you are taken on tours to sites you have studied, or you go to museums that have the artifacts that you debate about in the classes. One of my favorite rooms in the department houses many pieces of ceramics that the teacher will occasionally pull off the shelf to demonstrate something to the class.

If archaeology is your hobby, this is a great program. If you are interested in biblical interpretation and research, this is a great program. If you are looking to advance your academic career in the field of archaeology, it is probably better to look elsewhere.

What would you improve about this program?
More variety of classes and teachers. Better communication between the faculty and the students. More sophisticated analysis and research for the students.
58 people found this review helpful.
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Yes, I recommend this program

Learn Archaeology, discover Tel Aviv.

The masters program at Tel Aviv University provided me with the platform, networks, and mentors to launch an academic career in archaeology. The program finds a confident balance between ensuring students learn the details and nuances of ancient periods, and encouraging students to question and challenge ‘ historical norms’ and paradigms. The program offers unparalleled opportunities to visit the sites of biblical and historical narratives, as well as the chance to physically handle archaeological material.

Aside from the academic quality of the program, the support network associated with the program (Head of the Program, Program Director etc.) is terrific. The team at Tel Aviv University support students academically and socially, and ensure that we feel confident studying and living in Israel. Notwithstanding the academic benefits of the program, there is also so much to gain from living in Israel. The program is the perfect opportunity to explore the modern cultural melting pot that is Israel, and enhance your personal life experiences alongside your professional. Though the program is not easy, the journey and process of the International MA is well worth the challenge.

57 people found this review helpful.
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Yes, I recommend this program

Amazing opportunity and experience

Coming to Israel and studying at one of the top universities in Near Eastern Archaeology has been not only an wonderful experience but an amazing opportunity. I just finished my first year and as the oldest student in the MA program, in no way did I feel awkward sitting in classes with much younger students. The professors and staff are some of the nicest, knowledgeable, and most helpful of any I have encountered in my post secondary education. I came from a computer science undergraduate degree and an MA in Religious Studies; I had no prior experience or education in archaeology, but the program is setup to give you an intensive introduction and then build from it. Although I could have gone to a university in the US, being in Israel and having the opportunity to tour many of the archaeological sites, excavating at Masada and being able to excavate when other openings arise makes this experience even better. Living in Tel Aviv has been great, the people are friendly, the food is wonderful, and being close to the beach is just an added bonus. I would recommend coming to Tel Aviv and being part of the program to anyone seeking to broaden their knowledge and expand their cultural as well as their archaeological experiences.

57 people found this review helpful.
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Yes, I recommend this program

Life Changing!

I went to Israel because I loved the Hebrew Bible and wished to pursue further in this academic field. Tel Aviv was amazing and I sincerely believe that words could never capture let alone do justice to my experience. The program was academically stimulating and professors were so open and passionate that it was difficult NOT to be captivated. I write a short review only because I am still processing everything that has happened to me while I have studied at Tel Aviv. I suspect I will be "processing" all my life. Highly recommend this program to anyone looking for something extraordinary.

What would you improve about this program?
At times the professors are too busy for the students. But otherwise, no complaints.
50 people found this review helpful.
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Yes, I recommend this program

After First Year

Coming to Tel Aviv University has far exceeded my expectations when I began shopping for a program that would teach good processual archaeological skills. The professors grant quite a bit of individual freedom when it comes to research topics and are more than willing to aid in any questions that I or other students may have about our research endeavors. The program proves that it is globally ranked because our assignments ask us to analyze and write about reports of authors who work in this area and give feedback in our seminar classes. Additionally, the program offers tours to all of the major archaeological sites that we discuss in class and aids in contextualizing the history that we learn about. Not many other programs can offer such a rigorous academic threshold while also providing a fun learning environment when we have trips to sites. Additionally, I am happy to have great academic freedom which means that professors are more than willing to help in my research interests and goals. There are multiple opportunities for excavations outside of the field school component and these opportunities are helping to shape my future career. I am very happy and proud of the program at Tel Aviv.

What would you improve about this program?
55 people found this review helpful.
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Yes, I recommend this program

Fantastic Experience and Amazing People

I came to TAU for my Masters in Archaeology. It is a world renown program, ranked in the top 10 globally, and it shows. You learn from the top professors in the field, and get experience working on actual archaeological digs, even beyond those planned by the program. There is space to grow and find your niche in a fraternal environment. The campus of TAU is great, located in North Tel Aviv in an upscale neighborhood. The graduate dorms are apartment style and single occupancy, and the facilities are great. Although the campus is outside the city center, there are ample public and private transportation options.

60 people found this review helpful.

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