The Weizmann Institute of Science is a world-leading research institute and graduate school, with MSc and PhD programs in Physics, Math, Biology, Chemistry, and Computer Science. It is located in Rehovot, Israel, a homely town within 25 minutes commute from Tel Aviv.
The faculty of physics offers PhD and MSc degrees in all major areas of research in Physics. Our students and postdocs enjoy a genuine international atmosphere, with all our lectures, research seminars, colloquia and administrative communication conducted in English. We aspire to educate the next generation of leading scientists and innovators in Physics, both in academia and in industry. We believe in achieving this goal by setting high standards to our students, while at the same time providing them with the top-notch learning and research environment needed to reach these standards and allowing each student to reach her or his full personal potential. The graduate programs at Weizmann are free and all students receive a fellowship.
We make a special effort to assure that the students and the postdocs are an essential part of the faculty. Their offices are mixed with the offices of the senior faculty members, who are readily available for scientific discussions and research in an environment with minimal bureaucracy.
For international students and postdocs, the institute operates a dedicated and highly experienced and super helpful international office (IO) team, which helps our students and postdocs coming from abroad with absolutely all matters related to the move to Israel and/or all matters of day-to-day life in Israel in general or around the institute in particular.
Thanks to the unique atmosphere at the institute, the high-end facilities, the general streamlined care our students and postdocs receive and the faculty’s highest standards, many of our people proceed to prestigious positions in academia in Israel or in other countries.
Our students are provided with a generous stipend and help with housing, allowing them to fully concentrate on their studies and research. All students who wish to do their MSc or their PhD at the faculty of physics should apply via the Feinberg school (see below). While BSc graduate students should apply generically and will have to pass an exam-like interview before they are accepted, PhD students should first contact the scientist(s) with whom they would like to work before applying. The faculty of physics accepts about 50 MSc and PhD students every year. Details on fellowships, the course of studies and all other conditions can be found at the Feinberg school website (see below).
The MSc program and how to apply
Applications to MSc program are accepted only through the online application form (also see contact details below). There is no application fee. Pay attention to the deadline for the application in the FGS pages - it is usually around the end of March. Some of the students will be accepted to the program on the merits of their application, while others will have to pass an interview (conducted physically at Weizmann or in an online meeting). Note that MSc students are accepted to the MSc program and not to a specific research group, which is to be chosen towards the end of the first year of studies.
The MSc program lasts 24 months and ends with the defense of an MSc thesis. The studies start in October. In the first semester (October – February), students take three obligatory courses in quantum mechanics (I+II, which includes introduction to quantum field theory) and statistical physics. In the second semester (March – July), students choose some of the elective courses (the list of courses can be found at the Feinberg graduate school website). Towards the end of the second semester, the students must select their scientific advisor for the thesis - see scientists and research fields in the faculty. The first year also includes one or two 3-week long projects in one or two of the faculty’s experimental labs. The first year ends with the submission of a research proposal.
During the second year, students continue to take elective courses, but focus mostly on the research. An MSc thesis is to be submitted 24 months from the studies start date, with an optional few-months extension. MSc thesis (circa 30 pages) is expected to be roughly equivalent to a paper in a scientific journal; in fact, many Weizmann students publish a paper or several based on their MSc research. The thesis defense is an oral presentation of the work in front of a committee and the MSc advisor. The MSc degree requires accumulation of 40 credit points of the courses.
Upon defending the thesis, student may continue to the PhD program, either in the same or in a different research group. A direct PhD track is an option for those wishing to continue their research in the same lab. Transfer to this track is done in coordination with the group heads during the second MSc year. In that case, there is no MSc thesis and no defense in the direct track, and the MSc studies are concluded with the submission of the PhD research proposal (see below). The PhD thesis is due 42 months after the beginning of the studies, and therefore the total duration of the direct track is one year less than the sum of separate MSc and PhD.
The PhD program and how to apply
To apply to the PhD program, students must directly contact the head of the research group they want to join - see scientists and research fields in the faculty. Generally, an MSc degree in Physics is a prerequisite for enrolling to PhD. Once the potential student and the advisor have reached an agreement to proceed with the recruitment, the student will have to apply online through the online application form (also see contact details below). Usually the student will have to pass an interview by a committee of two scientists from the relevant department (conducted physically at Weizmann or in an online meeting).
The PhD program lasts 54 months and ends with a PhD defense. During the PhD studies, students carry out research in their research group and/or lab, and in parallel complete several elective courses (12 credit points). Usually, three reports are due during the program: the proposal, the interim report, and the final report. These reports are presented to a thesis committee. A main aim of the thesis committee is to provide an oversight and to assert the well-being of both the student and his research as well as to monitor the progress, the scope and the risks.The PhD is concluded with the submission and the defense of the PhD thesis, within 54 months from the beginning of the studies.
PhD graduates or post-doctoral fellows who are interested in a post-doctoral fellowship at the faculty are requested to contact the scientist(s) with whom they would like to work - see scientists and research fields in the faculty. Details on fellowships and other conditions can be found at the Feinberg school website (see below).
Fellowships, insurance, housing, cost of living and language
The graduate programs at the Weizmann Institute are free, and all students receive a fellowship. The MSc fellowship is ~6kILS per month while the PhD fellowship is ~8kILS per month. A postdoc fellowship ranges between 9.5kILS and 12kILS per month, depending on the specific program. Precise information about the different fellowships can be found at the Feinberg graduate school website.
All international Weizmann students and postdocs have the (comprehensive) medical insurance costs fully reimbursed.
For foreign students, a local bank account must be opened (with the help of the IO team).
Students and postdocs are not allowed to have a side job outside the institute by both Weizmann internal rules and visa requirements, but they can work for an extra salary as teaching or grading assistants at the institute. These jobs are usually done by PhD and senior MSc students and sometimes by postdocs.
All foreign Weizmann MSc (PhD) students are provided housing in the dorms for up to 2 (1) years. Postdocs are provided housing in the dorms for up to 1 year. The housing facilities are further discussed in. They can also rent a room or an apartment in Rehovot, Tel Aviv, or somewhere else (without reimbursement).
Some figures for the sample monthly budget are presented below:
- Lunch at a Weizmann canteen: <30 ILS
- Weekly grocery shopping for one person: <300 ILS
- Studio in the WIS dorms, monthly rent: ~1400 (1900) ILS for MSc (PhD)
- A room in a 3-bedroom apartment in Rehovot, monthly rent + bills: ~1800 ILS
- A studio in Rehovot, monthly rent + bills: ~3500 ILS
- A room in a 3-bedroom apartment in Tel-Aviv, monthly rent + bills: ~3000 ILS
- A return student train ticket to Tel-Aviv: ~20 ILS
- Greater Tel-Aviv area (including Rehovot) yearly student transportation pass: ~1500 ILS
- Monthly cellular phone subscription with almost unlimited data plan: ~30 ILS
- Monthly Weizmann gym subscription: ~100 ILS
Finally, it is not necessary to know Hebrew to find your way around in Israel - most Israelis speak fluent English and are glad to help if needed. Knowing Russian is also useful. Nevertheless, the institute offers Hebrew lessons for those who are interested.