Studies at the Open University The Open University of Israel

Regulations Pertaining to Graduate Studies

All graduate studies are conducted in Hebrew

Rules and regulations pertaining to Master's degree studies at the Open University are listed below. These regulations are valid for all the Master's degrees conferred by the Open University, although there may be changes and adjustments depending on the specific program.

Introduction

The Open University offers programs of study leading to a Master's degree (M.A., M.B.A., M.Sc.) in the following fields: Business Administration,note 1 Democracy Studies (Interdisciplinary),note 1 Education with areas of specialization in “Learning Technologies” and in “Learning Systems”, Biological Thought, Computer Science,note 2 and Cultural Studies.

Some of the programs offer a thesis track for outstanding students.

The method of study, distance learning, is primarily based on self-study of written material together with additional components such as face-to-face meetings, computer-mediated communication, assignments and exams. In general, studies rely heavily on self-study and computer communication, enabling continuous, asynchronous contact with the faculty and the academic team. This type of communication constitutes a virtual alternative to the campus environment necessary for advanced degrees.

Several face-to-face meetings take place during the semester for the purpose of meeting with senior faculty members or for workshops and presentation of papers. The meetings are usually held in central Israel.

Application, Admission, Registration

Application
Students interested in studies towards a Master's degree at the Open University should complete an application form or contact the Registration Center or the Information Center (telephone: 972-9-7782222 or via the Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system: 972-9-7781111). The completed form should be sent to the Registration Center along with the following original documents: CV, degree certificate of prior academic studies including a detailed transcript, and payment of registration fee. Details regarding registration can be found here (in Hebrew).

Admission
The application form along with the accompanying documents should be submitted to the departmental Master's degree committee. The committee will consider each application and will summon the applicant for an interview or request additional material if necessary. The committee may make one of the following recommendations:

  1. Accept the applicant as a degree candidate in a Master's degree program.
  2. Accept the applicant as a degree candidate in a Master's degree program and require qualifying courses.
  3. Accept the applicant to a Master's degree program with probationary status, specifying conditions required for transition to degree candidate status.
  4. Reject the applicant.
  5. Refer the applicant to a certificate studies program (e.g., in Computer Science).

Admission decisions 1-3 are valid for two years from the date of notification. Students who do not enroll in a Master's degree program within this period will be required to resubmit their application.

Admission requirements
Candidates must have a Bachelor's degree from an accredited academic institution in Israel or abroad and meet the admission requirements of each program. The programs differ with respect to the required undergraduate discipline: only students with an undergraduate degree in the same discipline to which they are applying for graduate studies, or a compatible discipline, may apply to disciplinary programs (e.g., Computer Science). The interdisciplinary programs (e.g., Democracy Studies) are open to students with undergraduate degrees in various disciplines. Most students admitted to interdisciplinary programs will be required to complete qualifying courses depending on their undergraduate degree.note 3

Conditional admission
In certain cases, the departmental committee will consider Master's degree applicants who do not meet the admission requirements. Conditions for transition from "probationary" status to "degree candidate" status are generally adapted to each applicant and provided in writing. The most common condition is a higher average grade in certain qualifying or required courses than the requisite threshold grade. Applicants admitted prior to receipt of a Bachelor's degree must meet all undergraduate degree requirements.

Admission to individual courses
Students who are not registered as Master's degree students may enroll in graduate level courses, subject to the approval of an authorized Master's degree advisor from the relevant discipline. If the number of students in the course is limited, preference will be given to registered graduate students.

Tuition
Graduate students pay tuition separately for each course, including seminars, the final project and the thesis, as specified in the section on Registration, here (in Hebrew). Receiving a degree from the Open University is conditional upon the payment of at least a minimum of 12 tuition units. Students who have completed the requirements for a degree but have not yet paid the minimum tuition requirement will be required to pay tuition even if they have completed their studies. Only after payment will they be eligible for the degree. This requirement applies to students beginning their studies in Fall 2008.

Qualifying courses and undergraduate studies accredited in the graduate program do not count toward the 12 tuition units required for the degree.

Master's degree students are eligible for grants according to criteria determined by the Dean of Students.

The departmental Master's degree committee
The departmental Master's degree committees deal with all aspects of graduate studies: admission, accreditation of prior studies, approval of programs of study, etc. Students must apply in writing to the Secretariat of the departmental Master's degree committees, The Registrar's Office, The Open University, POB 808, Raanana 43107, Israel.

Registration
Students accepted for graduate studies will receive a notice together with registration forms. Registration is in accordance with accepted Open University procedures, here (in Hebrew), through the Registration Center.

Accreditation of Prior Academic Studies

The departmental Master's degree committee will consider accreditation of prior studies of students who took graduate courses relevant to the Master's degree program at another academic institution. Students may submit a request for accreditation of prior studies, accompanied by relevant documents, to the Graduate Studies Secretariat of the Registrar's Office. The criteria for granting accreditation differ for each program.

Students who wish to ensure in advance that they are granted accreditation for prior studies at another academic institution must apply to the departmental committee. In the Biological Thought and Democracy Studies programs, applications should be made to the program advisor.

Decisions regarding accreditation will be provided in writing. Students who have applied for accreditation or plan to do so, and have not yet been informed of the committee’s decision should not register for courses with overlapping content to courses that they have studied in the past, in order to avoid paying fees for changing or canceling registration as a result of the committee’s decision.

Graduate Degree Requirements

Degree requirements

a) The student must accumulate credits from among the graduate courses offered, as specified in each program. In some programs, students may accumulate credits from among advanced undergraduate Open University courses. The maximum number of accumulated credits permissible for these courses is determined in each program.
b)In some programs, the student must submit a final project (theoretical or applied) or a thesis.

Qualifying studies
The departmental Master's degree committee will design, if necessary, an individual program of qualifying courses for the student, from among the Master's degree courses or advanced undergraduate courses. The committee may exempt Master's degree students from the prerequisites to the required qualifying undergraduate courses. Qualifying courses will not count as advanced undergraduate courses that can be taken in the framework of the graduate degree.

Students who are required to take only one qualifying course may begin their graduate studies and concurrently take the qualifying course (except for students in the Biological Thought program).

English language requirements
Students who have not met the undergraduate English language proficiency requirements must fulfill the requirements, as specified here, prior to enrollment in a Master's degree course or in an advanced undergraduate course.

Academic counseling
All students admitted to a Master's degree program are advised to contact one of the Master's degree academic advisors in the relevant discipline for assistance in course selection, designing a program of study and selecting the topic for the final paper or thesis. Some programs may require additional counseling at a later stage of the program.

Program of Study - Approval and Changes

The student’s individual program of study note 4 must be approved by an authorized Master's degree advisor. The departmental Master's degree committee will decide when the program should be submitted for approval. Students who wish to change their program of study should submit a request to the departmental Master's degree committee. The committee will consider the student's request and decide whether to approve it.

An approved program of study is valid for three years. Changes in the prerequisites of courses included in a student’s program of study entails changes in the program to include the new prerequisites when the student enrolls in these courses. Approval of a program of study does not exempt students from course prerequisites. In addition, in the event that the University no longer offers courses included in a student's individual program of study, the student will be required to select alternative courses.

Examinations and Assignments

Most graduate courses have a final examination at the end of the course.

a) Examination dates and entitlement to sit for examinations - In most graduate courses students may take the examination on only one date note 5 in the semester in which the course is taught or in the next semester in which the course is offered.
b)Improving a grade - Students who have passed a course may attempt only once to improve their course grade, with the approval of an advisor, during the same semester or on the examination date of the next semester in which the course is offered.
c)Improving the final degree grade - The Open University enables students to improve their final degree grade by taking examinations in up to two courses. A fee will be charged for the additional examinations. Requests should be submitted to the Registrar's Office. The most recent grade will be considered the final grade. The final degree grade cannot be changed or modified after the certificate of degree entitlement has been conferred. Grades can be improved only in courses offered when the student wishes to take the additional exam. If a course has been rewritten, students will take the exam on the material in the rewritten course, and will be awarded the current number of credits (even if the course awards fewer credits than the course originally taken). In addition, students must apply to the departmental Master's committee in advance, to ensure that their program of studies will not be affected by the change.
d)Failing a course - Students who fail a course once may re-enroll in the course. Students who fail a course twice will not be permitted to re-enroll in the course. Only in certain instances, and with the approval of a advisor,note 6 will students be permitted to take the examination again without re-enrolling in the course.
e)Appeals - Appeals on assignment grades should be submitted in writing to the course coordinator. Appeals on examination grades should be submitted in writing to the Registrar's Office.

Final Project

In programs that require a final project, students should finalize the topic in the later stages of the program,note 7 but no more than six months after completion of all courses. After deciding on the topic and the assignment of an advisor, the student prepares a proposal. After the proposal is approved by the advisor, the student submits it to the departmental Master's degree committee for approval.

Students must register for the final project within two months of approval of the proposal and no later than six months after completing all courses for the degree. The registration procedure for the final project can be found here (in Hebrew).

The final project may be prepared over a period of one year. In certain instances, the departmental Master's degree committee may extend the deadline.

Students may only change the topic of the final project with the approval of the departmental Master's degree committee.

Students submit four copies of the completed paper to the departmental Master's degree committee. In some of the programs, students are required to lecture on the topic of the paper and demonstrate knowledge of the topic and related topics. In these programs, the grade on the final project is weighted as follows: written paper - 80%, lecture - 20%.

Thesis

Some programs offer a thesis track intended for outstanding students. Students may submit an application to the thesis track after fulfilling the conditions of the program for which they are registered. At this stage, students who answer the criteria may prepare a proposal with the help of a supervisor from among the Open University faculty who is willing to advise them. The supervisor may be from another department at the Open University or from another university. Students who cannot find a supervisor may turn to the departmental Master's degree committee for help.

Acceptance into the thesis track is conditional on finding a supervisor and approval of the topic. After formulating the proposal and acceptance into the thesis track, students write the thesis. In addition to the supervisor(s), an external reader is assigned.

Students must register for the thesis within two months of approval of the proposal and no later than six months after completing all courses for the degree.

Termination of Studies

Students who fail three courses will not be allowed to continue their studies.

Students who suspend their studies of their own volition for a period of more than two years are required to submit a request to the departmental Master's degree committee to resume their studies. The committee will consider the request on the basis of the student's academic achievements and additional information submitted by the student.

Degree Eligibility

Students will be eligible for a degree subject to fulfillment of the following conditions:

a) The student has completed all qualifying courses (if required).
b)The student has successfully passed all courses in the approved program of study.
c)The student has written a final paper or thesis, presented the paper to the appropriate forum and received a grade higher than the threshold grade of the specific program.

Degree Grade

Calculation of the final degree grade differs from program to program (as specified in the various Master's degree requirements). In general, the grade is based on course and seminar paper grades as well as the grade on the final paper or thesis. In calculating the student's grade point average, all courses in the Master's degree program carry the same weight (irrespective of the credits granted, and including advanced undergraduate courses completed as part of the student's program of study).

Students will be awarded a Master's degree with distinction if their average grade for courses is 90-94 and the grade on the final paper or thesis is 90 or above, or if their average grade for courses is 95 and above and the grade on the final paper or thesis is 90-94.

Students will be awarded a Master's degree with highest distinction if their average grade for courses is 95 and above and the grade on the final paper or thesis is 95 and above.

 

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note 1 Program also offered to students abroad.

note 2 Most of the courses in this program are also offered to students abroad.

note 3 The Open University reserves the right to reject applicants, even if they meet the admission requirements.

note 4 The program in Biological Thought does not have an individual program.

note 5 Except in courses in Democracy Studies (Interdisciplinary) and in Education, in which there are two sittings for examinations.

note 6 In Computer Science – by approval of the departmental Master's degree committee.

note 7 In the program in Computer Science, students are advised to find a project advisor early in their studies.

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