Internal Direct PhD Track

If you are a second year MSc student at the Feinberg Graduate School, you may want to consider the many benefits of the direct PhD track. The program is open to students in the regular MSc track who received approval for an MSc research proposal. It is suitable only for students who intend to pursue their research in the same group.


Nominations to this track may be submitted by advisors only. Applications are accepted during the second year of your MSc studies through September 30th.

Student status

Students who are accepted to the direct PhD track maintain their status as second year MSc students until all academic requirements for the MSc degree are complete and a PhD research proposal is approved.

PhD timeline

Your PhD studies will be shortened by one year (i.e. 42 months instead of 54 months).

Criteria for candidacy to the direct PhD track

The following are the criteria for acceptance to the program:

  • Letter of support from your advisor
  • Rotations evaluations (in chemistry and the life sciences)
  • GPA that is not lower than the GPA of your class


Submission of an MSc Thesis and PhD Research Proposal

If your candidacy is accepted for the direct PhD track, you must prepare and submit two different files simultaneously, and upload them using the FGS uploading service no later than October 31:

  • PowerPoint presentation representing your MSc thesis (saved in PDF format)
  • PhD research proposal (as described below)

PhD research proposal

As a PhD candidate, you will be expected to select a specific doctoral research topic (in consultation with your supervisor), prepare a proposal, and submit it to the Feinberg Graduate School. This should all take place within the probationary period, not exceeding one year from the start of your studies.

Technical Details

  • Your research proposal must be written in English (unless pursuing science teaching studies).
  • The length may not exceed ten pages, not including pictures, graphs and bibliography.
  • The font should be Times New Roman size 12, and line spacing should be 1.5.

Structuring the Proposal

Your research proposal should include the following sections:

  • Title page: Use one of two possible formats, one for the regular PhD track and one for the direct PhD track. For your convenience, provided herewith are WORD templates of the two title page formats: Regular PhD Track and Direct Track.
  • Abstract (half a page).
  • The subject of your proposed research.
  • Discussion of the known scientific background.
  • Objectives of your proposed research.
  • Methodsby which you intend to investigate the problems presented.
  • List of pertinentreferences.

Structure of the PowerPoint Presentation

The structure of the PowerPoint presentation should be somewhat similar to the structure of a thesis written in the regular format. It is recommended that the presentation include the following sections:

  • Title slide: Features (in Hebrew and English) the subject of the thesis, your name, name(s) of the advisor(s), date of submission and the sentence: “A thesis submitted for the degree of Master of Science to the Scientific Council of the Weizmann Institute of Science.”
  • Introduction: Includes scientific background and the identification of the open research questions in the field.
  • Goals: Provides a clear outline of your research goals and the underlying hypothesis.
  • Methods: Offers a description of the materials and methods used in the study.
  • Results: Describes the results that have been obtained thus far.
  • Discussion: Indicates the significance of the results that have been obtained thus far.
  • Literature: Cites relevant literature.

Note: You may also opt to submit your MSc thesis in a conventional format, in addition to the PowerPoint format.

Defense of the MSc Thesis and Discussion of the PhD Proposal

Defending your MSc Thesis (public oral defense)

You must conduct the public oral defense of your MSc thesis within thirty days of its submission. Coordinate the date of the public oral defense with the examiners and supervisor, and update the coordinator of MSc studies. The date must be publicly announced as a regular departmental or group seminar. The requirements for the public defense of an MSc thesis are as follows:

  • Deliver the presentation in English, unless you are a student of Science Teaching.
  • Prepare your presentation in the format of a conventional research presentation.
  • Be prepared to present for approximately thirty minutes.
  • Receive approval from the advisor, in advance, for the content of your PowerPoint.


Please note: Your examiners AND your advisor(s) should be present at the public oral defense of your MSc thesis.


Defending your PhD Research Proposal

Immediately after you complete the public oral defense of your MSc thesis, you will meet with your examiners (without your advisors) to discuss your PhD research proposal. Both meetings take place on the same day.


After the defense of your MSc thesis and the discussion of your PhD research proposal, your examiners prepare a report to send to the Board of Studies, recommending one of the following options:

  • Approval of your PhD research proposal and approval of a Master’s degree. You obtain the status of a second-year PhD student, as of the month after the proposal was submitted. You are required to complete all degree requirements within forty-two months, including the interim report, final report, the thesis itself and credit points.
  • Approval of a Master’s degree only. You are awarded an MSc degree, but are not permitted to continue as a student in the direct PhD track. Your candidacy for the regular PhD track will be considered. In this case, the Dean may require you to submit a thesis in the regular format in addition to the PowerPoint presentation, which you already submitted.

Note: In assessing the oral defense of your MSc thesis, your examiners award separate grades for the quality of the work presented and for the presentation itself. If the GPA for your coursework is lower than the GPA of the class for the same courses, your grade for the presentation will not be higher than 94.

Course Requirements

For the sake of good order and in order to prevent misunderstandings, students accepted to the Direct PhD track must double check their course requirements as PhD students immediately after their status is officially changed.

FGS Coordinators