Why Study Physics?
Physics is the most fundamental science and the backbone of most exact sciences. It encompasses phenomena ranging from the scale of galaxies down to that of the smallest particles. It unravels the basic laws governing our reality but at the same time explores complex structures as those emerging in biology and condensed matter.
Physics has led to great discoveries such as relativity, transistors, LEDs, and lasers. The diverse set of tools physicists learn, enables them to tackle a large scope of problems in topics including health, finance, renewable energy, and artificial intelligence. Thus beyond being the first step in a potential academic career, the set of skills physicist acquires are well sought after in the industry.
Why study at HUJI?
The Hebrew University is ranked in the top 100 universities in the world and often ranked as the best university in Israel. It has the largest number of physics faculty members in Israel which contributes to the diversity and quality of topics being taught. The combination of world-renowned researchers, excellent students, and a unique intellectual atmosphere on campus makes it an obvious top choice for those seeking a degree in fundamental physics.
The Ph.D. program is a 4-year degree (sometimes extended to 5) in which students master a subfield of physics. Doctoral students perform research at the highest level, advancing the state of the art in their subfields. Upon successful completion, our Ph.D. students take their place among the nation’s scientific leaders, in both academia and industry.
Coursework. A small number of credits is required for the degree (about 12 credit points). Courses can be chosen from a changing list of graduate course offerings.
Research. Most of the student’s time is devoted to research, the results of which will form the basis for the student’s thesis. Research is divided formally into two stages. In stage A the student focuses on a particular goal, establishes a proof of concept, and makes a research proposal. In stage B, the student carries out comprehensive research based on this proposal.
Thesis. Towards the end of the degree, students will write a thesis summarizing their research (it may be a single document or, in some cases, a collection of published articles). The thesis is evaluated by the student’s advisor and external experts.
Admission is through the Authority for Research Students. In general, students should have completed an M.Sc Degree from the Hebrew University or comparable institution with a grade of at least 85 (applicants with lower grades will be considered on a case-to-case basis). Prior to admission, applicants must find an advisor from among the department faculty.
An option exists to transfer to Ph.D. studies during a research-oriented M.Sc degree.
After the Ph.D
Graduates of our Ph.D. program typically continue in academia or transition to careers in technology, finance, or higher education.
For those wishing to pursue an academic career, the next step after Ph.D. is to apply for “postdoc” positions in foreign (or, occasionally, other Israeli) institutions. Applications are usually made in the fall of the final year of Ph.D. studies. These positions are academic “internships”, in the course of which young researchers are expected to continue their professional development and conduct independent research. Ph.D. graduates may spend anywhere from two to six years (and sometimes more) in postdoc positions before seeking a permanent academic appointment. It is important to remember that a Ph.D. degree does not guarantee an academic career.
Outside of academia, our graduates are in high demand in technology, finance, and economics with typical salaries higher than most exact sciences and comparable to computer science.