M.A. in Biological Thought

We invite you to visit the Biological Thought website (in Hebrew) where you will find current messages and updates in addition to the material here.

Introduction

The Open University offers a unique masters degree program in Biological Thought, which combines concepts from the life sciences with philosophical approaches. The program investigates the structure and nature of biological knowledge and the impact of life sciences on other areas of knowledge, on the environment, on society, and on humans.

Program study tracks

The MA Program in Biological Thought is offered in two tracks: A non-thesis track and a research-oriented track with a thesis.

Admission requirements

  • BSc or BA

  • Ability to fluently read and understand texts in English.

  • Qualifying courses in philosophy and/or biology, if deemed necessary by the application committee.

Application procedure

We strongly recommend that students begin the application process by contacting the programs advisors. Contact information can be found on the program website. Students may also apply directly through the Registration Center.

The application committee reviews each application and invites applicants for an interview. Students accepted to the program receive notification of acceptance, including any qualifying courses required before beginning their studies.

Program structure

The MA Program in Biological Thought is offered in two tracks: A non-thesis track and a research-oriented track with a thesis. All students in the program must complete ten courses (nine required courses plus one elective, for a total of at least thirty credits), write two seminar papers (ten credits), and submit either a final paper or a thesis.

The first part of the program spans four semesters and includes ten courses. During this period, students also write the first of two required seminar papers. At the end of the two years, students are allocated to one of the two tracks. Students in the non-thesis track participate in a third-year graduate seminar, submit a second seminar paper, and begin working on a final paper of limited scope. Research-oriented students in the thesis track submit a second seminar paper and begin working on their thesis.

Courses

At present, the program includes the following courses:

  1. Definition of Life (22000)
  2. Reduction and Teleology in Biology (22010)
  3. Vitalism, Mechanism and Organicism: Fundamental Concepts in the Study of Life (22003)
  4. Evolution and Creationism (22005)
  5. The Human Genome Projects: Genetics and Genethics (22006)
  6. Bioethical Issues: Animal Experimentation (22007)
  7. Humans, Nature and the Ecological Crisis (22008)
  8. A Critique of Alternative Medicine (22009)
  9. Sociobiology and Its Offshoots: Science in Controversy (22011)

In addition to the nine courses mentioned above, the student will select an additional course in consultation with a program faculty member.

Duration of Studies

The degree can be obtained within three years or can be extended up to 7 years of taking their first course in the program (not including qualifying courses).

Degree Eligibility and Final Degree Grade

Students are awarded a Master's degree in Biological Thought after writing a final paper and accumulating a minimum of 50 credits according to the following:

  • Completion of 10 courses (minimum 30 credits);

  • Writing two seminar papers (5 credits each);

  • Attending a third-year graduate seminar and submitting a final paper (10 credits).

Outstanding students who write a thesis need to accumulate a minimum of 40 credits, according to the following:
  • Completion of 10 courses (minimum 30 credits);

  • Writing two seminar papers (5 credits each).

The degree grade is a weighted average of the program components; if a thesis is submitted, it contributes 50% to the degree grade, and if a final paper is submitted, it contributes 20% to the final grade.

Program Team

Dr. Nurit Kirsh, program head                      email: nuritki

Advisors:

Dr. Sara Schwartz (972-2-6773328)             email: sarasc
Dr. Susie Fisher (972-9-7781766)                email: susiefi
Dr. Batya Zalinger (972-9-7781136)              email: batyaz