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Jerusalem, Israel

A United States Department of State Travel Warning is currently in effect for Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza. State Department Travel Warnings may be viewed at the United States Department of State website. Students are advised to read the Travel Warning carefully and to also read the Country Information Sheet for Israel. The State Department issues Country Information Sheets for every country of the world with information on such matters as the health conditions, crime, unusual currency or entry requirements, any areas of instability, and the location of the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate in the subject country. 

Program Site: The Rothberg International School (RIS) at the Mt. Scopus campus of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (HUJ). RIS welcomes over 1,200 study abroad students each year to pursue coursework while discovering the Israeli people, geography, culture, and politics.

Eligibility: All USC applicants must have completed at least one semester of college-level Hebrew (or the equivalent) or be enrolled in Hebrew I at the time of application. All applicants must have a minimum 3.0 USC cumulative GPA.

Description: Israel is a complex country that really must be experienced firsthand to be even partially understood. Jerusalem is known for its rich history and holy sites. Sacred to Judaism, Islam, and Christianity, the city draws millions of tourists and worshippers a year from all over the world. Beyond its ancient foundations Jerusalem is a thriving metropolis where one can find tradition and innovation, the religious and the secular.

Academics: All students attend an intensive three-week Hebrew language course, or Ulpan, prior to the beginning of the semester. Those with very advanced Hebrew are exempt. Year-long students attend the Ulpan in September, prior to the start of the fall semester in October.  Spring semester students attend the Ulpan from late January through mid-February, prior to the start of the spring semester in late February. After the Ulpan ends, students are enrolled in the regular Undergraduate Study Abroad program (fall/spring), the Spring in Jerusalem honors program (spring only), or the Dynamics of the Middle East--DOME--program (spring only).

Students in the regular Undergraduate Study Abroad program must take Semester Hebrew and at least one regular HUJ course (taught in either English or Hebrew) in addition to Engish-taught courses at RIS. In regular HUJ courses there is likely to be a mix of Israeli and international students. In RIS courses, which are all taught in English, the students will be international students from around the world. RIS courses and HUJ courses operate on a slightly different academic calendar. USC students in the regular Undergraduate Study Abroad program must plan on staying in Jerusalem until late June, as that is when the regular HUJ exam period ends.

RIS offers courses in the interdisciplinary areas of Judaic, Israeli, and Middle Eastern & Islamic Studies.  Specific academic disciplines offerd in those areas include archaeology, history, international relations, law, literature, philosophy, political science, and religion.  RIS also offers courses in neuroscience and psychology. Examples of such courses are Trauma and Resilience, Military Psychology, and Psychology of Migration. In addition, students can take Arabic (several levels are available) at RIS.

Students planning to study in Jerusalem in the spring may qualify for the Spring in Jerusalem program,   an honors program for students with a GPA of 3.5 or higher. Students in this special program take at least two courses from a special list of advanced HUJ courses offered in English in areas such as environmental studies, urban and regional studies, brain research, behavior and genetics, Islamic and Middle East Studies, history of the Jewish people, and the study of rationalilty. Students take the balance of their courses at RIS. Students on this program are not required to take Semester Hebrew. 

Students who are interested in politics and society in the modern Middle East may apply to the Dynamics of the Middle East (DOME) program, which is available only in the spring. Students take a core course in Middle Eastern studies, a thematic seminar on the Middle East, and RIS courses related to the region. Students on this program are not required to take Semester Hebrew, but are strongly enouraged to take Hebrew, Arabic, or both.

Course Load and Credit: Students may earn between 16 or 17 USC units for the spring semester (inclusive of the Ulpan) and between 31 and 33 units for the year (inclusive of the Ulpan). NOTE: Ulpan credit and Semester Hebrew credits do not correspond to USC units on a one-to-one basis. More information on how many courses students take and how many USC units they can earn per course is available at the USC Dornsife Office of Overseas Studies.

Activities and Other Program Features: The RIS Office of Student Activities organizes a wide array of extracurricular programs including a Galilee/Golan weekend, a Sea-to-Sea hike, a trip to Eilat, meditation workshops, yoga and belly dancing classes and much more. Students may also join sports clubs on campus. Numerous volunteer opportunities are available; in past years students have worked as nurse's aides in a hospital, 'big brothers' to disadvantaged children, English tutors, and medics in Magen David Adom stations. Internship opportunities are also available in a wide variety of institutions.

Accommodation: Students are housed in the Scopus Student Village located next to campus. Each student is allocated a single room in a suite containing five bedrooms, a living room, dining area, kitchen, and bathroom. There is no meal plan available.

Dates: Full academic year or spring semester. The academic year runs from September to June. The spring semester runs from January to June. Students interested in attending only for the fall semester may do so only with approval from the USC Dornsife Office of Overseas Studies.

Estimated Semester Cost:
Additional Expenses*........$9,853

Cost Updated: 5/28/15
Text Updated: 9/26/15

*Additional expenses include estimated costs for airfare, room and board, books and supplies, health insurance, and personal expenses (which can vary greatly from student to student). USC financial aid, scholarships, and tuition remission may be applied to program costs. Please visit the Office of Overseas Studies for more detailed cost information.

HUJ Rothberg International School (RIS) - Undergraduate Semester Abroad Program
UJ RIS Undergraduate Semester Program - Course Finder
HUJ RIS - Spring in Jerusalem Honors Program
Hebrew University of Jerusalem (HUJ) Courses Taught in English