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Department of the Languages and Cultures of the Near and Middle East

BA Hebrew and Israeli Studies

Programme Code: QTY6 BA/HElsrSt Duration: 4 years


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2016 Entry Requirements

  • A Levels: AAB - ABB
  • A Level language preferred
  • IB: 35 (6/6/5)
  • Access to HE: Minimum of 30 Level 3 Credits at Distinction
  • Scottish Highers: AAABB
  • Scottish Advanced Highers: AAB
  • Irish LC: 340 points from 5 Higher level subjects at grade C1 or above
  • Advanced Placement: 4 4 5 (Two semesters - UCAS Group A) plus US HSGD with GPA 3.0
  • Euro Bacc: 80%
  • French Bacc: 14/20
  • German Abitur: 2.0
  • Italy DES: 80/100
  • Austria Mat: 2.0
  • Polish Mat: Overall 75% including 3 extended level subjects

Minimum Entry Requirements: Languages at SOAS are taught ab initio, and no prior knowledge of Modern Hebrew is required

Subjects Preferred: A good pass in a foreign language at A-level, or equivalent, is preferred

Interview Policy: Candidates with 'non-standard' qualifications may be invited for interview

Start of programme: September

Mode of Attendance: Full Time

The degree is intended to give students a solid grounding in Israeli Hebrew, familiarity with the major types of Modern Hebrew literature and a broad knowledge of the historical, political, religious and cultural background. Intensive study of Modern Hebrew language and literature is a compulsory feature of the degree.

The syllabus can be tailored to individual needs by selecting options from the wide range of Hebrew and Hebrew-related courses taught in the NME Department, elsewhere in the School and in the Department of Hebrew and Jewish Studies at University College (UCL). In addition up to two open option units in other subjects may be selected from other course units taught in the School.


Learn a language as part of this programme

Degree programmes at SOAS - including this one - can include language courses in more than forty African and Asian languages. It is SOAS students’ command of an African or Asian language which sets SOAS apart from other universities.

The single-subject degree is a four-year programme in which students take sixteen course-units. 

In the first year students normally begin the study of Modern Hebrew language and take introductory courses in literature, culture and religion. 

The second year offers a continuation of language study in combination with the study of Israeli literature and a course on Zionism. A fourth course is taken in an approved unit of the student's choice.

Students are required to spend the third year at the Rothberg School for Overseas Students in the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, where they continue the study of language and a range of Hebrew-related subjects. In the event of interruption of the year-abroad programme a similar programme of study is arranged in London. 

In the fourth year students write an extended essay and continue the study of Modern Hebrew literature. A fourth-year advanced language course is highly recommended, leaving the student free to choose an approved unit to complete the syllabus.

Students who already have prior knowledge of Modern Hebrew are tested on registration and may be permitted to begin language study at an appropriate higher level.

Year 1
Core Course
Compulsory Courses
Optional Course

Choose one course from the list of hebrew-related courses OR an open option

Year 2
Core Course
Compulsory Courses
Optional Course

One further unit from the list of Hebrew and Hebrew-related courses OR another approved open option course unit

Year 3

Students will spend a year abroad at Hebrew University of Jerusalem. They will learn about Israeli society, the history of modern Israel (1881-1973), and modern Hebrew Literature.

Year 4
Core Course
Compulsory Courses
Optional Courses

Three units from the list of Hebrew and Hebrew-related courses (one of these is usually Advanced Modern Hebrew language). Or two units from the list of Hebrew and Hebrew-related courses and one other approved open option course unit.

List of Hebrew and Hebrew-related courses
Hebrew language and literature
History, politics and culture
Extended essay
Open Options

N.B. Entry on to optional courses is at the discretion of the course convenor.

SOAS Open Options

Of special interest are:

UCL Open Options

Hebrew and Hebrew-related courses run by the Department of Hebrew and Jewish Studies, UCL, are available as options on the SOAS degree. A full list of courses can be obtained from UCL www.ucl.ac.uk.

Programme Specification


Teaching & Learning

Year abroad

Students are required to spend the third year of the programme at the Rothberg School for Overseas Students in the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Pre Entry Reading

  • Israeli Founders and Sons, Amos Elon
  • A Textbook of Israeli Hebrew, H. Rosen
  • The Penguin Book of Hebrew Verse, T. Carmi
  • Modern Hebrew Stories, (Bantam dual language book)
  • Israel, Martin Gilbert
  • The Making of Modern Zionism, Shlomo Avineri
  • One Palestine, Complete, Tom Segev


As a student specialising in Hebrew and Israeli, you will gain competency in language skills and intercultural awareness and understanding. Familiarity with the region will have been developed through a combination of the study of language, literature and culture (which can include literature, film, music, art and religion) of various parts of the Middle East.

Graduates leave SOAS not only with linguistic and cultural expertise, but also with a portfolio of widely transferable skills which employers seek in many professional and management careers in both business and the public sector. These include written and oral communication skills, attention to detail, analytical and problem-solving skills, and the ability to research, amass and order information from a variety of sources.

A number of graduates of this programme have found jobs in Israel. Others have entered the diplomatic service, the media, education, business the city and the tourist industry.

For more information about Graduate Destinations from this department, please visit the Careers Service website.

A Student's Perspective

What SOAS offers is the lectures with world-class academics, who give you not only a thorough knowledge on the subject, but also stimulate you for individual thinking and make you enjoy the course.

Sergiusz Scheller