Ancient Israel: Archaeology & History of the Land of the Bible

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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). Students are also offered the opportunity to gain

Head of the International MA program in Archaeology and History of the Land of the Bible, and Head of the Sonia and Marco Nadler Institute of Archaeology: Prof. Oded Lipschits

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

Questions & Answers


based on 6 reviews
  • Academics 8.8
  • Support 8.7
  • Fun 9.5
  • Housing 8.7
  • Safety 9.5
Showing 1 - 6 of 6
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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.

How can this program be improved?
More variety of classes and teachers. Better communication between the faculty and the students. More sophisticated analysis and research for the students.
Yes, I recommend this program
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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.

Yes, I recommend this program
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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.

Yes, I recommend this program
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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.

How can this program be improved?
At times the professors are too busy for the students. But otherwise, no complaints.
Yes, I recommend this program
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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.

How can this program be improved?
Yes, I recommend this program
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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.

Yes, I recommend this program


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Tel Aviv University is Israel's biggest academic institution, comprised of a dynamic and diverse student body. It's faculty contains scholars and scientists that are renowned in their fields. Together, with 9 schools, 106 different departments and 90...