The doctoral program is an important component of the Faculty’s research activities and graduate studies. Unlike bachelor’s and master’s degree programs, its main focus—in terms of requirements, goals, and measures of success—is first and foremost research. From an early stage in the program, doctoral students begin conducting cutting-edge research, under the supervision of a faculty member who specializes in that particular research field. In addition to the student acquiring first-rate advanced research skills, a successful doctorate is one that produces research results that expand the boundaries of scientific knowledge. Naturally, this kind of research is highly challenging, as it requires making progress in unmapped territory, where both the path and the outcome are uncertain. It poses open questions that have not been answered in the past, but also requires knowing which questions to ask. It demands deep and creative thinking; intuition; full comprehension of subjects at a level attained by few in the world; patience and tolerance; and a degree of faith. On the other hand, there is immense satisfaction to be gained from discovering new phenomena, finding new solutions, advancing scientific understanding, and making a contribution (however small) to humanity and the world. Doctoral studies are for those who enjoy the challenge and satisfaction of research; and both for those who see their future in academia and those who want to work in industry. Many jobs in today’s labor market, especially the more interesting ones, require strong research capabilities and clear evidence of related skills. The research groups at the Faculty of Data and Decision Sciences are among the leading groups of their kind in the world, and their members are at the forefront of their fields of research. The Faculty enjoys a strong reputation in both industry and academia, and thus graduates of the doctoral program have an excellent head start for launching their careers. The information provided here is a summary of the full body of information about doctoral studies at the Technion, and includes details that apply only to doctoral studies in the Faculty of Data and Decision Sciences. The Technion’s general and detailed policies regarding doctoral studies can be found on the website of the Technion’s Irwin and Joan Jacobs Graduate School . In the event of any inconsistency between the information given here and that on the Graduate School site, the latter is the definitive authority. For further information, please contact: Prof. Yair Goldberg, Vice Dean of Graduate Studies, Room 501, Bloomfield Building firstname.lastname@example.org Anat Kompel, Graduate Studies Coordinator, Room 202, Secretarial Center, Bloomfield Building email@example.com
A. Course of Studies
Doctoral studies take between three and five years (depending on the chosen track and on students’ rate of progress), and mainly focus on producing a research thesis under the supervision of a faculty member, who oversees the research study throughout. The process begins with the collection of necessary materials and preparation of a research proposal. In parallel, the supervisor forms a committee of examiners that will accompany the study from start to finish, serving as an assessment and advisory body. When the research proposal is ready, it is submitted to the committee and a candidacy examination is conducted, during which the committee assesses the proposal and the student’s readiness to independently carry out the research study.
After successfully passing this examination, the research stage of the doctorate begins. Research findings are presented in a thesis that is submitted toward the end of the degree. Students must also present their research in a seminar, and undergo an oral examination conducted by the committee of examiners.
Doctoral students also take courses as part of an individualized program of studies determined in consultation with their supervisor.
Study Tracks and Requirements for PhD Degrees
B. Study Tracks
This is the track taken by most doctoral students. It is intended for graduates of research-based master’s degree programs with high grades. Students invest most of their time in research, and are required to take a small number of courses.
The total length of the regular track is 42 months, plus a possible extension of 12 months.
Students in a research-based master’s degree program who have demonstrated talent and excellence in research and achieved high grades in their courses, and whose research topic can be expanded to the scope necessary for a doctorate, are eligible to transfer to the direct track, subject to the recommendation of their supervisor and the Technion’s Advanced Degree Committee.
Following this transfer, students have their status changed from master’s to doctoral students, the length of their degree program is extended, and a requirement for additional academic credits is set by the Faculty. Transfers to the direct doctoral track can only be made within the same unit in which the student is registered, and with the same supervisor.
The total length of the direct track is 60 months, plus a possible extension of 12 months.
This track is intended for students with very good academic attainment in their bachelor’s degree, whom the academic unit has identified as having potential for excellence in research, and for whom a member of faculty has agreed to act as supervisor.
Students are accepted into a master’s degree program, but with the aim of transferring to the doctoral program at an early stage of their studies. After this transfer, students have their status changed from master’s to doctoral students, the length of their degree program is extended, and a requirement for additional academic credits is set by the unit in question. Transfers from a master’s degree to a doctorate via the combined track can only be made within the same unit and with the same supervisor.
The total length of the combined track is 60 months, plus a possible extension of 12 months.
This is a track for outstanding candidates, reserved for students with a science or engineering bachelor’s degree who graduated with an average grade of at least 90, or who received a President’s Excellent Student Award during their last four semesters, and who have demonstrated outstanding research abilities during their undergraduate studies. These candidates are accepted directly into doctoral studies (unlike the direct and combined tracks).
The total length of the special track is 60 months, plus a possible extension of 12 months.
A. Application Requirements
Applicants must have a research-based master’s degree from the Technion or a recognized academic institution in Israel or abroad, and have an average grade and thesis grade of at least 80. In addition, they must have the agreement of a faculty member who is willing to act as their supervisor.
Registration for this track is carried out during master’s degree studies (usually after the first year).
Conditions for transferring to the direct track can be found
Combined Track / Special Track
Applicants must have completed their bachelor’s degree with an average grade of at least 90, or received the President’s Excellent Student Award during the last four semesters of their studies, and must have demonstrated exceptional research ability during their undergraduate studies. As in the direct track, candidates must first find a faculty member who is interested in acting as their supervisor and who supports their choice of this track.
Exploratory Research (thesis completion)
This option is for students who completed a non-thesis master’s degree, or students from abroad who completed a five-year degree program and want to continue to a doctorate. Students complete one or two semesters of limited research in order to demonstrate their abilities, and then progress to a doctorate, subject to assessment by an ad-hoc committee.
Further details can be found here
Registration is carried out online via the website of the Technion Graduate School.
- Two references must be provided, one of them from your master’s degree supervisor.
- The name of your proposed supervisor must be stated.
All applications are reviewed by a faculty committee that meets periodically to discuss candidates. In cases in which registration details are not sufficiently clear for a decision to be made one way or another, candidates will be invited to an interview. Notifications will be sent by the Technion Graduate School.
Students are usually required to take courses totaling 10 academic credits (in the regular track) or 5 credits (in the direct track). These must be defined as either graduate degree courses or courses for both undergraduate and graduate degrees (but may not be courses defined solely as graduate degree courses). Students’ course lists are determined in coordination with their supervisor.
Course registration: Important dates, including final registration dates for courses, appear on the website of the Technion Graduate School. Registration for courses is conducted via physical forms which must be signed by the student’s supervisor, and must then be submitted to the graduate studies coordinator. Further details are available here.
General Required Courses
Research Ethics: Doctoral students are required to take this online course (21800) before submitting their research subject or concise research proposal. Further details are available here.
Scientific Writing in English for Doctoral Students: Doctoral students must complete this course before the end of their third semester. The course “Expanded English” is a prerequisite for the course, and students who have not completed it and not received an exemption from it must take it first. Further details are available here
Doctoral students can take an exemption test after registering to the Scientific Writing Class. Upon passing the exemption test no further English requirements would be needed for the degree
The main requirement for doctoral students is completing their thesis. The required stages are as follows:
Establishing a Committee of Examiners
The supervisor will establish a committee of examiners to assess the student from submission of their research proposal to submission of their thesis. In addition to the supervisor, this committee will include four other examiners at the level of senior lecturer and above, of whom at least one is at an equivalent or higher academic level than the supervisor, and at least one is a an external examiner who is not a member of the Faculty.
Submitting a Research Proposal
Students are required to submit a concise research proposal within 11 months of starting the doctoral degree program (5 months for those in the direct track, and 18 months in the special track). This proposal will be distributed to the members of the committee of examiners.
This examination will take place around one month after submission of the research proposal. Its purpose is to examine the candidate’s approach to their research question and their knowledge of the research background and literature, and to assess the candidate’s suitability and fitness for undertaking doctoral research. The examination arrangements will be decided by the committee.
Delivering a Seminar Lecture
Students are required to deliver a seminar lecture on their research subject at an advanced stage of the research process, in the final year of their doctorate, and no later than two weeks before submitting their thesis. Instructions for delivering this lecture can be found here
Submitting a Thesis
After delivering a seminar lecture, students must submit their thesis to the Section for Concluding Students, according to the thesis submission guidelines on the Graduate School website. The thesis will be sent to the committee of examiners for review. In certain cases, a thesis may take the form of a collection of articles.
After the examiners have delivered their written opinion, and this has been confirmed by the dean of the Graduate School, an oral examination is conducted of the student’s research study. At the conclusion of this examination, the student’s final grade will be issued.
Further details can be found here
Weekly seminars are held in the Faculty across a wide range of research fields. Participation in seminars is recommended, even if you do not necessarily understand everything discussed, in order to gain awareness of the research being undertaken in the Faculty.
Further information about the Faculty’s various seminars can be found here
Doctoral students are exempt from paying tuition fees, and also receive a monthly scholarship calculated using scholarship units, with the value of one unit currently standing at between NIS 1,200 and NIS 1,300 (depending on the student’s stage in their doctorate). Doctoral students in the Faculty of Data and Decision Sciences receive at least five monthly scholarship units, with the final number determined in conjunction with the student’s supervisor, whose budget helps fund them. Scholarships are provided in order to allow students to focus fully on their studies and not have to work in other jobs, and thus in principle, students are not allowed to hold any other employment (except teaching at the Technion) without special permission. Scholarships are provided throughout the regular period of doctoral studies (not including exceptional extensions).
Further information about scholarships can be found here
B. Excellence Scholarships and Awards
Throughout the academic year, invitations are published for students to apply for external awards. In addition to recognizing students’ academic excellence, these awards generally include a financial component above and beyond the monthly scholarship. Selection of award winners is usually done in staggered fashion, with faculty candidates chosen first, followed by Technion candidates, and finally, the winning applicants.
We strongly recommend keeping track of these published invitations and submitting applications for as many awards as possible.
Further information about excellence scholarships and awards can be found here
Doctoral students may choose to work as auxiliary staff in the Technion Office for Academic Staff (as teaching assistants and occasionally as lecturers), for up to 1,100 employment units. To convert employment units into working hours, this table on the website of the Technion Teaching Staff Organization can be used (the table is in Hebrew).
Before each semester, students are sent a survey showing all the teaching assistant positions available for that semester, and inviting them to register for courses in which they would like to work as teaching assistants.
Students accepted as teaching assistants will need to fill out employment registration forms and submit them to the Teaching Secretariat. Questions about teaching assistant positions may be addressed to the Teaching Secretariat: 04-829-4447, firstname.lastname@example.org.