M.Sc.

The M.Sc. Program is a 2-year graduate degree that aims to give students a broader and deeper knowledge of contemporary mathematics, and to expose them to mathematical research.

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What is an M.Sc. for, and is it right for me?

Through its combination of advanced courses and thesis work, an M.Sc. degree provides students the opportunity to deepen their knowledge of modern mathematics and experience mathematical research. The degree has benefits both for students who are thinking of continuing to a Ph.D., and for those who plan to work in the private sector in technological, financial or educations industries, where advanced mathematical knowledge is highly valued.

Students who are considering doing an M.Sc. are often concerned about whether they will succeed. Such self-doubts are natural, given that the B.Sc. curriculum only reaches as far as mid-20-th century mathematics, and students may feel they are still very far away from current topics and research. To address this gap we offer a structured program of advanced courses, together with individual guidance by an advisor. It is also worthwhile to remark that self-doubt is not an indication of future failure. In fact, many of our faculty have experienced similar doubts during their graduate studies.

Admissions

Admission is decided on a case-by-case basis based on academic background. As a rule, applicants should

  • Hold a B.Sc. in mathematics from the Hebrew University or an equivalent institution.
  • Have a grade average of 85 or higher in their B.Sc.
  • Have successfully completed all the so-called semi-required courses in the HUJI B.Sc. program, or equivalent courses at other institutions.
Students who do not meet these criteria should direct inquiries to our graduate advisors.
 

Program Variants

  • The department offers two variants of the M.Sc. Program:
     
  • Research-oriented degree. The program consists of a combination of courses and thesis work. The thesis may be an original contribution to research, or an in-depth study of a significant modern result. This degree option is suitable for students who would like to experience contemporary mathematical research close-up and is the appropriate choice for those who may want to continue later to a Ph.D
     
  • Non-research degree. Does not require a thesis and is based entirely on coursework. It is suitable for students who aim to pursue employment as researchers outside academia or whose focus is more on the applied side and less on research.

Program structure

  • Basic Notions courses. The main course requirement of the degree consists of three or more “Basic Notions” courses. Each of these provides a thorough introduction to a chapter in modern  mathematics. The Basic Notions courses are intense courses consisting of lectures, recitation classes and homework assignments.
     
  • Other coursework. In addition to the Basic Notions courses, the M.Sc. degree requires additional credits, which may come from the graduate problem solving seminar or from a changing selection of advanced topics courses. These courses may be taken at any point in the degree, but students typically take most of their elective points in the second year, focusing in their first year on Basic Notions courses and one or two topics courses.
    A list of advanced courses given this year can be found here.
     
  • Advisor and Thesis. (research-oriented degree only) Towards the end of the first year of study, students should choose an advisor and begin work on their thesis. 
    Thesis submission system.
     
  • Oral examination. To complete the degree all students must pass an oral exam, taken after all other degree requirements have been completed. The student is expected to show proficiency in a broad range of topics from the B.Sc. by answering questions presented by a panel of three faculty members (one of whom is the student’s advisor, if applicable). Students in the research-oriented degree also give a brief presentation of their thesis.

Usually most courses are done in the first year, and the secound year is mainly devoted to working on the thesis.

Finding an Advisor

There are two main things to look for when searching for an advisor:

  • The student should find the advisor research interests interesting
  • The student and the advisor should have “compatible personalities”

Regarding the first criteria, we recommend that students enroll in elective courses during the first year and in that way will have a better understanding of modern subjects. It is also recommended to meet with more than one potential advisors. 

 

Transfer to Ph.D. program

Students who have completed the course requirements of the research-oriented M.Sc. degree with sufficiently high grade may, subject to approval by their adviser and the department, transfer directly into the Ph.D. program. Instead of a thesis they submit a research plan for their Ph.D. studies.

Financial Support

M.Sc. students typically receive financial support consisting of a scholarship and an income earned from working in the department. In most cases, the combined gross income is roughly either 5,250 or 6,530 NIS/month, depending on whether the scholarship is at the standard or increased level, and assuming employment at the usual 50% time; of this, only the earned income, approximately 3000 NIS, is taxed.

Scholarship:

Scholarships (Melagot) provide direct financial support, contingent on continued academic performance and the fulfilment of some conditions. The default scholarship is roughly 2250 NIS/month. Outstanding students may receive an increased scholarship of roughly 3530 NIS/month. Scholarships are payed monthly for the duration of support (including summer months).

Scholarship Eligibility:

  • First year: Students regularly admitted into the MSc program by are eligible for a scholarship. Eligibility of students accepted under exceptional circumstances is reviewed on a case-by-case basis.
  • Second year: Students must have successfully completed all first year course requirements and must have paired with an adviser to begin their thesis work in order to be eligible for a scholarship. it is not necessary for the work to have progressed beyond the first stages.
  • Beyond 2nd year: A 5th semester of support is approved on a case by case basis. Scholarships can be extended longer than this only in rare cases.
  • Increased scholarships for outstanding students: Strong students may receive increased support, as outlined above. The criteria vary from year to year but typically include the top 30% of students, based on the departments evaluation of their academic achievements. Increased scholarships continue through the second year, provided that the student has successfully completed at least 20 course credits in the MSc program in his first year. Students who did not receive increased scholarship in the first year will be re-evaluated for the second year and may be found eligible for increased scholarship.
  • Outside employment: In order to receive a scholarship, students must devote most of their time to their studies. In particular, they must report any employment outside university, and this employment must be limited to no more than one day per week.

Employment in the department: Students who are interested in additional income may be employed as teaching assistants in the department. Work typically includes grading and guiding students during office hours, workshops and homework reviews. In special cases, teaching of recitation classes may be possible during the second year.

Appointments are usually for periods of either 6 or 12 months and are renewed throughout the course of a student’s studies. The salary for an 11-hour work week is roughly 3000 NIS/month for the duration of the appointment. In practice, over the period of a 6 months of appointment, work is assigned only during the 13-14 weeks during which the semester is ongoing, so that on average this pay is for a 5-6 hour work week.

These conditions are formally for 50% time devotion to work, other level of appointment are sometimes possible. Students who are employed at the 50% level are eligible to have their full tuition paid by the university.