Faculty Regulations for Research Students
The Faculty of Social Sciences offers a doctoral research program. Registration and admissions are handled by the different departments.
PhD studies are divided into two parts:
Stage I Research Student—Supplementary studies, qualification exam (if applicable to specific department), selecting an advisor, approval of academic program, approval of members of the accompanying committee (if applicable to specific department), and preparation of PhD research proposal.
Stage II research Student—Research and writing of dissertation.
A student seeking acceptance to the PhD program will approach the research student committee in his or her department. This committee makes recommendations about accepting students to the research program, the contents of the study program, the selection of advisor/s, the composition of the accompanying committee, etc. This committee also makes recommendations regarding approval of the research proposal at the end of Stage I.
The department committee makes its recommendations regarding acceptance to Stage I and Stage II. These recommendations must be approved by the division committee, and if these decisions are not appealed, the committee presents its recommendations to the university committee. The university committee approves acceptance of the student to Stage I and Stage II.
The university research student committee sends students official notices of acceptance and completion of studies as appropriate.
There are two PhD study tracks: The regular track and the direct track. The accompanying committee procedures apply to both.
1. Terms of admission for Stage I students
Student eligible to apply:
1.1 Applicants with an MA from an academic institution recognized by the CHE, with a minimum average grade of 85, and an MA thesis with a minimum grade of 85. Some departments in the faculty have more rigorous admissions requirements.
1.2 Applicants with an MA from an academic institution recognized by the CHE, or from a recognized university in Israel or abroad, with a minimum average grade of 85, without a final thesis paper, may be accepted after completing the academic tasks required by the department committee. These tasks must include a research paper equivalent in scope to an MA thesis.
1.3 A student complying with admissions requirements who completed his or her studies in a different field will be required to complete a cluster of supplementary courses as determined by the department committee.
2. Requirements of Stage I Students
During the first year of studies, the student will be required to complete 8 - 9 credit hours of required courses, as well as supplementary courses in the discipline, determined on an individual basis, as determined by the department committee. Certain departments also require that the student pass a qualification exam. All courses must completed with a minimum grade of 85. Before the end of the first year the student must also submit his or her research proposal, signed by the intended advisor.
In special cases the division committee will allow a one-year extension, if the division committee so recommends.
Requirements of Stage II Students
3. Working with the Advisor
All students must comply with the guidelines determined by the supervisor.
4. Annual Progress report
The student must submit an annual progress report to the advisor. The advisor will sign the report and forward it to the division committee.
5. Duration of Studies and Research
The student must submit his or her PhD thesis within five academic years from the date he or she was accepted to stage I studies. This includes students provisionally accepted. Any exception to this timeframe must be approved by the division committee. No PhD thesis may be submitted less than one year from the date the research proposal was approved, unless the division committee has made a recommendation and the university committee has approved the recommendation.
6. Partial Publication
Pending advisor approval, a student may publish part of his or her research while it is ongoing.
7. Language of Submission
The PhD thesis will be submitted in Hebrew and will include an English abstract, equivalent to 5% of the scope of the paper. The division committee may approve submission of the thesis in a foreign language. In this case, the paper will include a Hebrew abstract, equivalent to 5% of the scope of the paper.
8. Oral presentation of the proposal and the final paper
To enrich academic discussion, the department committee encourages PhD students to present their research proposals and their final research in open forums, such as the departmental seminar.
Direct Track and Provisional Direct Track
Not all departments have a direct track program.
9. Terms of Admissions for Provisional Stage I Students
9.1 Students with an outstanding academic record from their BA studies from a CHL recognized institution of higher learning with a minimum final grade average of 90 may apply for admission to this track. Applications should be submitted to the department committee, who will then forward them to the division committee.
MA students who comply with these conditions who have not applied for the direct track may do so during their first year of studies.
9.2 Students with an outstanding academic record who have completed at least half of all course requirements by the end of the first year of the MA program, including required first-year courses, with a minimum grade average of 90, may apply for the direct track. The division committee may or may not approve a request for admission to the direct track, as per their discretion.
10. Requirements of Direct Track Students and Provisional Stage I Students
10.1 Course Requirements
Students in the direct track must complete at least two thirds of the course hours required for MA and PhD studies. Each department determines the exact number of required course hours. The student must complete at least half of the required course hours before completing provisional Stage I studies. The remaining course requirements must be completed by the end of the third year of PhD studies.
10.2 Students in the direct track must complete all course work with a minimum grade average of 85.
10.3 Toward the end of the second year of studies, the department committee will assess the student's achievements and proficiency and will decide whether or not to approve continued studies in the direct track.
10.4 Date for submitting the research proposal
10.4.1 Students accepted to the direct track as per item 9.1 must submit their research proposal no more than three years after beginning their studies.
10.4.2 Students accepted to the direct track as per item 9.2 must submit their research proposal no more than one year after beginning their studies.
10.5 Qualification Exam: A provisional Stage I student who has completed his or her studies to the satisfaction of the division committee, must take a qualification exam to assess his or her knowledge of the field of expertise and his or her ability to conduct independent research. The department committee will determine the date of the exam, the scope, its contents and form, and the specific examiners.
11. Approval of research proposal
11.1 Once the assessment of the judges has been submitted:
11.1.1 If no corrections are necessary, the department committee's recommendation will be forwarded to the division committee for approval.
11.1.2 If corrections are necessary, the division committee will be so notified, and the student will be allotted four months to make the necessary changes.
The department will forward the proposal to the division committee with a recommendation to approve or reject the proposal, within one year from the date the proposal was returned to the student for corrections.
11.1.3 Once the assessment process has been completed, two copies of the proposal will be forwarded to the division committee. All letters written to the department committee regarding the proposal should be included.
The division committee will examine the assessments. If deemed necessary, the committee will forward the proposal for further assessment, to either an internal of external judge.
11.1.4 Conditions for rejecting a research proposal
No research proposal will be dismissed without allowing the intended advisor the opportunity to express his or her opinion regarding the reasons raised for rejecting the research proposal.
Once the research proposal has been approved, and other requirements as per department have been met, the MA degree will be awarded as part of the direct PhD program.
Accompanying committee for PhD students
The regulations for the accompanying committee (see below) applies to the following departments in the faculty since March 2009: Psychology, Political Science, Sociology, Economics, and Labor Studies.
Definitions: Accompanying committee—as defined in section 12.4 below.
12. Requirements of Stage I students and establishing the accompanying committee
12.1 Upon acceptance to the PhD program, or as soon as possible during the first year of studies, the department committee will determine the student's advisor/s. The advisor must be at least a senior member of the faculty in the student's department of study.
12.2 Stage I students must complete 8 credit hours in the first year, in addition to completing all required supplementary courses and any other department requirements (for example a qualification exam). The department committee will approve the student's curriculum.
12.3 When the advisor has been appointed as per section 12.1, and no later than during the writing of the research proposal, the advisor together with the student and the department committee, will recommend members for the accompanying committee. The advisor will head the accompanying committee, and the committee's final members will be approved by the department committee and the division committee.
12.4 The accompanying committee will include, in addition to the advisor, between two to four members. The advisor will determine the number of committee members, in accordance with the topics covered in the research. Appointment to the accompanying committee must ensure:
A. Committee members will be Tel Aviv University faculty members or members of another research university with a similar or higher academic reputation in Israel or abroad.
B. At least one member of the committee will be a faculty member in a different department or a different university.
C. All members of the committee will be at least senior faculty members, in the standard track.
D. Should the division committee so approve, one member of the committee may be in the regular track, or a senior faculty member or above in the parallel or the accompanying track. This group may also appoint faculty members from other academic institutions in Israel or abroad. The university committee will be notified through the protocol of the division committee meeting.
E. The department committee will approve the accompanying committee members as per the above, and the final composition will be submitted to the division committee.
F. All committee members will declare (on a standard form) that they have no familial or personal relation to the PhD student and that they have no non-academic interest in the PhD thesis or the PhD student. The declaration will include a commitment to act as an active committee member, as required by regulations.
13. Approval of Research Proposal
13.1 Together with the advisor, the student will write the research proposal while consulting all accompanying committee members, and will submit the written proposal to the committee. While writing the proposal, prior to submitting said proposal to the committee, the student will meet at least once with those committee members that are in Israel, without the advisor.
The accompanying committee will convene and evaluate the student. At least three committee members will participate in this evaluation. If a committee member should be absent, he or she will forward a written judgement of the proposal referring to the points below, before the date of the exam. After the exam, the committee members will summarize their conclusions and decide:
- If the student exhibits sufficient proficiency in the research topic and in related fields
- If the student exhibits sufficient proficiency in research tools and relevant research methods
- If the research proposal is appropriate for the PhD degree
- If the student is capable of conducting the necessary research
- To approve the student’s continued studies and research as per the proposed plan
- To approve the continued research, after attaining the terms detailed in the evaluation.
- To submit a new research proposal, subject to a second evaluation
- To cease the student’s studies toward the PhD in this framework
13.2 It is recommended that once the student has made the required corrections as per committee members’ recommendations, the student present the proposal in a department seminar or other academic forum (in the department of Psychology PhD students are required to present their proposal in the PhD seminar).
13.3 Once the accompanying committee has approved the research proposal, the student will submit a copy to the department committee. The advisor will include the committee’s evaluation of the research proposal, and will summarize the accompanying committees work process up to this point (its comments, the student’s response, changes that were made). Members of the accompanying committee will sign this evaluation, and if a committee member is so interested, he or she may add a separate evaluation. The department committee will approve the research proposal, ensure that the student has completed all requirement as stated in section 12.3 and 13.2, and will forward a copy of the research proposal and the report written by the head of the accompanying committee to the members of the division committee, together with a recommendation to approve or reject the completion of stage I studies. The division committee will exam the material and decide whether or not to approve completion of stage I, and will forward this recommendation to the university committee for final approval.
13.4 In the regular track, a period of one year is allotted for stage I studies. In the direct track, a period of two years is allotted. If necessary, the division committee may offer a one-year extension, if recommended by the department committee. Once the proposal has been approved, the student will enter stage II of his studies.
Requirements of Stage II Students and Assessment of Thesis
14. The advisor and the accompanying committee will accompany the student while he or she is conducting research and writing the thesis. The student will comply with the advisor’s instructions.
15. Any change in the committee must be approved by the department committee and the division committee. When appointing a new committee member, the composition of the committee must remain as detailed in section 12.4 above.
16. The student will submit a written progress report, the goal being to inform the committee members of the student’s progress or any difficulties encountered. This report will be submitted no later than two years after the proposal has been approved. The committee will approve the report and forward it to the division committee. In addition, should any committee member request, a symposium will be held regarding the progress of the research, and the accompanying committee will submit a report detailing its conclusions and the recommended changes. Committee members are expected to raise their reservations or suggestions for alternative methods as early in the process as is possible. Should the accompanying committee not be in agreement regarding the suitability and the quality of the research, and committee members find themselves unable to reach an agreement about the necessary changes, these differences of opinion will be raised in the division committee. The division committee will decide on the best course of action in each case. Unrelated to the above progress report, each department will have a follow up procedure in which the advisor approves continuation of the research. A copy of this report will be forwarded to all members of the accompanying committee.
17. The student must submit his research thesis within five years of being accepted as a stage I student. The division committee must approve any deviation from the timetable. No thesis may be submitted less than one year from the date the proposal was approved, unless otherwise recommended by the department committee, and this recommendation has been approved by the division committee and the university committee.
18. The student will publish extensive excerpts from the research in peer-reviewed journals as much as his or her academic progress allows. In addition, the committee and the student will strive to construct the thesis in the form of a collection of articles, as per the existing university regulations and requirements, or that the thesis be written in a format suitable for academic publication. Nonetheless, not publishing the paper will not adversely affect the academic assessment of the thesis as a PhD thesis.
19. Based on the progress and the development in the research and in achieving the pre-determined goals, the accompanying committee will determine when the doctoral student may submit his or her thesis. The committee may recommend the thesis be submitted following the progress report, but no later than five years after beginning the research.
20. The research paper will be written in Hebrew. The division committee may approve submission in a different language. In this case, the paper will include an abstract equivalent to 5% of the thesis in scope in both Hebrew and the language of the thesis.
21. Once the thesis is completed, and with the advisor’s approval, the paper will be submitted to all members of the accompanying committee and a date will be scheduled for the student to defend his or her thesis. As a rule, the chairperson of the accompanying committee will have committee members sign a form ascertaining that they have read the final version of the thesis, approve the research chapter, and consider the thesis worthy, following the necessary corrections and changes, of being considered a PhD thesis. In addition, all committee members will add to this form a written evaluation of the thesis by the date of the defense. Afterwards the thesis will be submitted to the division committee and they will forward the thesis to an external judge (external to the university, according to university regulations for the accompanying committee), who was not involved in the advising process. This judge will maintain anonymity and submit his or her evaluation by the date of the defense. If the judge wishes, he or she may participate in the defense process. The judge will be notified of the date when the thesis will be submitted, and of the date of the defense, and will confirm his or her ability to comply with the schedule. Comments by the external judge will be forwarded to the students and to the advisor before the defense, and the student and the committee will respond to said comments during the defense.
A. At least three members of the accompanying committee will attend the defense (if a member is unable to attend, he or she will forward a written report to the head of the committee). Notification of the date of the defense will be given to the division committee, so that an observer on their behalf may attend. Following presentation of the research, the accompanying committee members will summarize their conclusions and:
- approve the thesis as it has been presented.
- require additional research or corrections that the advisor is authorized to approve, without re-submission of the thesis.
- conduct a second defense after the thesis has been edited.
- conclude student’s studies without awarding the degree.
B. After the necessary corrections required by the members of the accompanying committee have been completed, the committee will approve the PhD thesis by having all committee members personally sign a page to be included at the beginning of the paper, stating that the thesis complies with all academic criteria, and justifying the conferring of the PhD degree. Any committee member not present during the defense will forward a written evaluation of the thesis by the date of the defense, and will sign the final authorization, after corrections have been made.
C. The committee chairperson will forward a copy of the thesis to the division committee. The committee chairperson will include a summary of the committee’s evaluation of the thesis, the defense, and to the changes made following the comments of the accompanying committee. This summary will be approved and signed by all committee members.
D. Corrections requested by the external judge will be made at the same time and will be approved by the accompanying committee chairperson. It should be noted that university regulations allowing for anonymity apply to the external judge, and he or she submits the evaluation to the division committee and then re-evaluates the thesis if necessary.
E. After examining the reviews of the accompanying committee and the external judge, the division committee will decide whether or not to accept the thesis. Should the division committee decide to accept the thesis, they will forward it to the university committee.
F. Once the paper has been approved by the division committee, the paper will be presented to the departmental seminar or any other forum to be determined by the departmental committee. Notice of the presentation will be forwarded to all faculty and to all research students in the faculty.
22. As per the university senate decision from February 1, 2010, no PhD thesis will receive the grade “excellent.”
23. Guidelines for Submitting the PhD thesis
Information regarding financial aid is available for photocopying and binding the thesis from the Research Students Office at 03.640.8161.
Some departments require the student to submit four hard copies of the thesis, and some require the student to submit only two copies. Please verify specific requirements with your department.
The thesis will be temporarily bound, allowing for the insertion of changes and corrections, should this be necessary. The Social Science PhD thesis will be no longer than 100,000 words, including the bibliography. The thesis may be printed double-sided provided the paper is heavy enough not to affect legibility. The thesis will include an abstract in Hebrew and in English, which will not exceed 5% of the scope of the thesis.
The following documents must be submitted:
The student will submit three copies of an abstract of the thesis in Hebrew and in English. The advisor/s must sign one copy of the abstract. The abstract will not exceed three pages in length. The name of the student and the subject of the thesis will appear at the top of the page.
- A list of publications
- The student’s CV
- The student must make sure his or her files include authorization of required studies.
After the university Senate approves the conferral of the PhD degree, the research student will be required to submit two additional bound copies of the PhD thesis, together with a CD.
Instructions for final editing of PhD thesis
- Hebrew cover page
The first line should be centered and say “Tel Aviv University.” (no quote marks) The line below this should (centered) say “The Gershon H. Gordon Faculty of Social Sciences.” (no quote marks) The next line (centered) should say “The Department of XXX.” (no quote marks) The thesis title should appear ten lines below that (centered and bold). The student’s name should appear two lines below this (centered). The sentence [This thesis is submitted to the Tel Aviv University Senate in partial fulfillment for the PhD degree.] should appear at the bottom of the page (centered). The month/season and year of submission should appear at the bottom of the page, flush right (e.g. August 2002, or Spring 2003).
- The first page of the paper should be a replica of the cover page.
- On the next page, ten lines from the top of the page, will appear the name of the advisor/s thus: The current research was conducted under the advisement of Prof. John Doe. The names of the members of the accompanying committee will appear thus: Names of the members of the accompanying committee.”
- The following page, reserved for thank yous, is optional.
- The following pages (optional) should list the names of the tables, noting the page numbers on which they appear.
- The following pages (optional) should list the names of the illustrations, noting the page numbers on which they appear.
- The following page will list the table of contents. The main listings are the abstract, the introduction, methodology, results, and discussion. You may go into further detail in each section. Each separate experiment must appear in the table of contents.
- The abstracts, in Hebrew and English will summarize the research claims and conclusions. The abstract will be numbered separately using Hebrew letters or Roman numerals. Official page numbering will begin with the introduction.
- In the body of the paper: table titles must appear above the table, illustration titles must appear below the illustration.
- Sources in the bibliography and in the body of the paper must appear as per the accepted method in the department.
- The back cover of the paper must be in English, in the exact same format as the Hebrew cover page.
- The last page of the paper is an exact copy of the back cover.
- The page before the last will include the advisor’s name in English, in the English version of article 3 above.
- If the paper is in English (following approval), language instructions will be reversed. Only the back cover, the page before the last including the advisor’s name, and the abstract, will be in Hebrew.
- Do not include an article as is in the paper. You may add articles that have been published, or accepted for publishing, as an appendix to the thesis.
- If the research results are presented in several chapters, do not repeatedly describe the methodology in each chapter. Similarly, do not include a bibliography at the end of every chapter. This should appear in full at the end of the thesis.
Submitting a PhD Thesis Composed of Articles
- At least three original research articles (not review articles) have been published or accepted to be published in leading journals in the field, which conduct assessment processes.
- The student has made a significant contribution to the articles, he or she appears as the first author in these articles (unless names appear alphabetically, or the advisor is listed first).
- A thesis composed of articles may include one article in which the student’s contribution is equal to that of the other authors.
- An article with several research students as authors may appear in the thesis of two students only, on the condition that each student including the article in his or her thesis made a separate significant equal contribution to the research.
- Only articles published or accepted for publication after the student was accepted as a Stage I research student that are related to the research topic as approved in the research proposal may be included.
Submitting the Request
The request to submit a thesis composed of articles will include letters of explanation written by the student and the advisor, together with a copy of the articles.
1. The student’s letter will refer to the following:
A detailed description of the articles and where they were published, or accepted to be published. (A letter of acceptance from the journal must be included for articles not yet published.)
The order of appearance of the articles: how they create a continuous and logical work and answer the research hypothesis.
Additional chapters of results not appearing in the articles that should be included in the research paper.
2. The advisor’s letter will refer to the articles and the student’s part in each article as follows:
A. the student’s contribution to the research and to the writing of the article.
B. the student’s unique contribution to the article, when an article in the thesis has been written by an additional author who has made an equal contribution.
C. the quality of the journals in which the articles have been published. The rating of the journal must be included, along with the impact factor as listed in the Web of Science.
3. Recommendation of the division committee—The division research students committee will consider the request made by the student and the advisor. On approval of this request, the division committee will advise the university research students committee to allow for the submission of a PhD thesis composed of articles. The division committee will refer to the quality of the journals in which the articles were published.
Structure of PhD Thesis Composed of Articles
Once all studies and research have been completed, the student will submit the thesis composed of articles to the division committee in the following format:
1. An introduction which will refer to the following:
- a broad review of the general field of research and a presentation of the research goals.
- a general review of the articles and the contribution of the work to the general field of research, the connection between the articles and how they create a continuous and logical piece of work.
- if the work is experimental in nature, a description of the research methods not described in the articles, and if necessary, a more detailed description of the work methodology, including methods included in the articles.
2. The chapter of articles will include the articles, arranged according to order of research, when they are a single integrative research unit.
3. Additional results can be included in an additional chapter that includes additional relevant findings found by the student during research.
4. Discussion and Conclusion, as accepted in the field, will include
- a general and broad discussion of the research results and their significance.
- the significance of the results as presented in the article
- highlighting of the innovations and their contribution to the field.
5. A list of sources for the introduction and the conclusion, and other sources not included in the articles.
Language of the research paper
A PhD thesis composed of articles will be written in one language. It is to be submitted in accordance with item 76 of the university regulations. If the paper is submitted in English, a Hebrew abstract must be included, as required.
Evaluation of the paper
The evaluation process of the PhD paper composed of articles is the same as the process for other theses, as per item 77 of the university regulations. Nonetheless, because the format of this paper is unusual, a short explanation for the judges will be included. The judges will also receive a letter from the advisor detailing the student’s part in the articles.