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​Ph.D. Studies – Direct track

​Program Highlights

​Outstanding students may submit a request to join the direct track towards a Ph.D. degree after successfully passing a screening examination, the purpose of which is to verify the ability and preparedness of students for doctoral degree studies, without submitting a Master's thesis.

Conditions for applying for the screening examination

  1. Completion of all master's courses with an average of 90 or above within the time period determined according to the program in which the student belongs to: Students in dedicated direct track programs (Abisch Frenkel, MD-PHD and Marom) must submit their application to move to the direct track by the end of the first year **. Students in the regular master's program can submit their application by the end of four semesters from the beginning of the master's, and no later than that. *
  2. The student must have experience in research within the framework of the master's degree and have in-depth knowledge of his work.
  3. The student’s supervisor recommends the transition to the direct track.
    Students who meet these conditions and wish to move on to the direct track should submit a formal application to the department secretariat. The application will include:
    • The student's request to move on to the direct track to a doctorate.
    • A letter of recommendation from the supervisor for the student to move onto the direct track.
    • Abstract of the student’s research work (not to exceed 2 pages).
  4. If the chair of the track/teaching division finds the student appropriate for applying to the direct track, he will send a written recommendation to the chair of the advanced studies committee.
  5. After receiving approval from the chairman of the advanced studies committee, the student may continue to the screening exam
* Exceptional cases in which an application may be submitted even after the end of 4 semesters:
  • Health circumstances of the student him/herself or of a first-degree relative (spouse, child, or parent of the student) that forced the student to be absent from the laboratory for at least two months. In this case the student will submit a detailed application along with documents backing up the application and a supervisor recommendation. The extension option will be up to one additional semester only.
  • Other exceptional circumstances that will be examined in detail.
** Regarding the Rotation course (94862) for MD/Ph.D and Marom students - these students may submit the application for transfer to the direct track, even if they have not yet submitted the paper or have submitted but have not yet received a grade in the course, provided their average even without the course is still over 90. The grade for the course must be received by the time of examination. It is clarified that a student who passes the exam and has not yet received a grade in course 94862 will not be able to continue with the transition process.

Important clarifications

For all students, the deadline for submitting the application for transition to the direct track for the following year (regardless of the program in which the student is) will be August 14. This date is set to allow enough time to evaluate the student's candidacy, appoint a committee, for the student to study and prepare the articles for the exam. The transition, preparation of certificates and completion of full registration of the student for the doctorate prog, shall all be completed before the opening of the new academic year (October).
(Graduate students in the regular program who started their studies in the second semester will contact the secretariat regarding the deadline for them to submit the application).
A student shall not be allowed to take the exam for the direct track without being a registered student at the university. Therefore, it is mandatory to complete the entire transition process to the direct track by October, which is the beginning of the new academic year.
Any student who is not registered as a university student is barred from working in a laboratory. An un-registered student is not covered by insurance if an accident should occur.
Payment of the doctoral scholarship will be possible only as from the date of admission to the doctorate prog. and in accordance with the date which appears on the letter of acceptance from the Authority of research students. Until the day on the letter of acceptance, the student will be considered a masters student for all intents and purposes. No doctoral scholarships will be awarded retroactively for the period prior to the transition to the direct track.
If a student fails to complete the transition to the direct track by the start of the new academic year, the student will need to register as a graduate (masters) student again for another semester (semester A) with all that entails (paying tuition on a graduate tuition form and the option to receive a scholarship only as a masters student).
Only in very exceptional cases, where the student and the supervisor believe that the student will not be able to meet the schedule of the transition to the direct track (especially in the designated programs), the student and the supervisor must submit a formal and reasoned request to the student secretariat. The request will be reviewed and if approved, the student will register as a masters student for another semester (semester A), including payment of tuition for this registration, and by the end of semester A will complete the transition to direct track so that in semester B he can be fully registered as a doctoral student.

Composition of the examination committee

The head of the teaching division/track appoints a group of three examiners, one of whom serves as head of the examination committee. The student’s mentor is not an examiner and is not present at the examination. The two other appointed examiners (who do not serve as head of the examination committee) give the student (ahead of time) 1-3 articles to present at the examination. (In addition, a topic or question can be given) The examination includes all the articles and topics the student received.
The student together with the examiners will coordinate the time and date of the examination.

Role of the head of the examination committee

The head of the examination committee is responsible for creating a relaxed atmosphere and proper orientation of the discussion, and for the active participation of all the examiners in the discussion.

Structure of the examination

The exam lasts about an hour. In the first part (15 minutes) the student will present the research project, which he performed or was a partner in the laboratory, and will be asked questions about the project. In the second part the student will be tested on his proficiency and understanding of the articles.


The examination is graded only as: qualified or not qualified.
The committee will recommend a transition to a doctorate (=qualified), if the student's skills and scientific experience are appropriate. If it is not recommended (=not qualified) to go on to a doctorate, the committee will suggest that the student complete a master's degree.
There is no option to retake the direct track examination.