Who can apply?
The students in our program traditionally come from a wide array of disciplines, including the sciences, the humanities and the social sciences. We also have students who are returning to their studies after having worked (or while still working) in industry, public policy, advocacy, the law, conservation, high-tech, and many other fields. We encourage diverse backgrounds in our students, and feel that it lends greatly to the enrichment of the learning environment. As diverse as the background of our students is, however, we do apply a rule: all applicants must have at least a first degree with high marks of excellence (whether in the Humanities, the Sciences, Engineering, or the Social Sciences). The language of instruction in the program is Hebrew.
Applicants should be advised that many of our students hold Masters degrees; however, strong candidates with Bachelor degrees are encouraged to apply.
How do I apply?
Applicants must apply both to Bar Ilan University and to the Program on Science, Technology and Society. Applications to Bar Ilan University are submitted on-line (Here for MA students, here for PhD students). This ought be done simultaneously to sending in your personal statement and information to our department.
Applications to the program should consist of:
1. A complete Curriculum Vitae.
2. A transcript of the courses you took and grades you received (גליון ציונים) in the most recent degree you completed.
3. An essay (of about 1,000 to 1,500 words) that describes and demonstrates your suitability for the program. The essay can be any one of the following (whichever best gives us a picture of who you are, and what you want to do):
An analysis of a technological artifact that is of particular interest to you. Try to go beyond what people do with an artifact and think what the artifact does to people and society (and perhaps the complex relationships between what people do with technologies and what technologies do with people and society). We are all fascinated by the latest gadgets, but keep in mind that a pencil is no less of a transformative technology than a smartphone, a bound book no less than a Kindle.
A description and analysis of a scientific development or discovery (in the past or today) that is of noteworthy importance.
An interpretation, evaluation, criticism or other engagement of a canonical text in our field (or, better still, of more than one of these texts, perhaps highlighting similarities and differences in perspective). You may choose from the texts you will find here, or may choose an alternative text from the fields of Science & Technology Studies, History & Philosophy of Science and Technology, Sociology & Anthropology of Science & Technology, Media Studies, etc.
A personal statement, describing your background, and how your studies in the STS@BIU program fits with what you have done in the past and what you plan to do in the future.
If none of these options are to your taste, you may ask and answer a question of your own devising. Just be sure that the question and answer tell us something about who you are, what interests you, and why you want to join our community as a student.
If all of this leaves you befuddled, feel free to consult with us before you begin to write. We are not trying to haze you. But because we accept only a few students each year, it is important that we find the ones who will thrive here, producing brilliant work, enjoying themselves as they do, and appreciating the brilliant work of the other students and faculty here.
Important: Before writing your essay, whichever it is, take the time to familiarize yourself with our field, to be certain that you understand what you're getting into. You can find a wealth of information on the internet, or can start with this brief descriptions of Science, Technology & Society (STS, which sometimes stands for Science & Technology Studies) and History & Philosophy of Science (HPS), our constituent disciplines.
Both the CV and the essay should be sent to Prof. Noah Efron, chair of the program (noahjefron [at] gmail.com). Admissions are on a rolling basis, which means that once we have the small number of excellent new students we are looking for, we no longer consider new applications. What this means for you is, the earlier you apply, the better your chances of getting accepted. Maybe this isn't fair, but then, when is life really fair?
Students of all backgrounds are encouraged to apply. A background in sciences, philosophy or history is considered an advantage. The program is for graduate students (M.A. and Ph.D.) only. There are three available courses of study:
M.A. studies - with a thesis requirement. For those with a B.A. or B.Sc. or Masters degree from an accredited institution of higher education in Israel or abroad in any field other than STS or history or philosophy of science. Standard length of the program is two years.
Combined M.A.–Ph.D. studies (maslul meshulav). For students holding a B.A. or B.Sc. of masters degree from an accredited institution of higher education in Israel or abroad in a discipline other than STS or the history or philosophy of science, and demonstrating exceptional potential. This program allows students to complete course requirements for a Master’s degree and then, instead of writing a master’s thesis, to submit a Ph.D. proposal. This proposal will be recognized to fulfill the requirements of a thesis, and once it is approved, the student will be granted a Master’s degree. She or he will continue immediately to work on their doctoral dissertation. Those wanting to pursue this course will need to pass an internal comprehensive examination that will determine whether they are eligible to continue for the PhD. Standard length of the program to Ph.D. is estimated at five to six years.
Ph.D. studies - For students holding a relevant master’s degree, as deemed by the faculty. Standard length of the program is estimated at four to five years.
When will I know the decision?
The Program Committee on Admissions will review the applications and invite suitable candidates for an interview. Acceptance will be on a rolling admissions basis, and applicants should be advised that admissions are competitive. The sooner the application is in, the sooner will we be able to invite applicants for an interview (which all suitable candidates will be offered). Applicants will be informed of the decision of the Program Committee on Admissions as decisions are reached.