MSc Program

General Information

This program is presently on hold and is not presently accepting applications.

Tel Aviv University and the Arava International Center for Agriculture Training (AICAT) are pleased to invite students to participate in a unique and innovative MSc degree in Plant Science, with an emphasis in Food Safety and Security.

The program is intended for students with relevant BSc degrees from recognized universities across the world. The program will be held over four semesters, with most of the studies taking place in the Arava. The summer semester will be an intensive session given in Tel Aviv. For most of the year, the students will live on farms in the Arava region where they will be able to gain hands-on experience 2-3 days a week as part of their internship arrangement for tuition assistance.

The program will work in close cooperation with the Agricultural Research and Development Center (at the Yair R&D Station). Some of the lecturers will be researchers from the Center and students will conduct their practicum research with the assistance of R&D researchers.

The program will be academically supervised by Tel Aviv University and is of an equivalent level to the Hebrew-speaking program. Many of the programs' lecturers are tenured faculty members of Tel Aviv University.

Our Partners

Tel Aviv University
Tel Aviv University is Israel’s largest university, attracting over 30,000 talented students and renowned faculty members from around the globe. The university has a strong interdisciplinary focus and collaborates closely with leading institutions worldwide.

Manna Center Program for Food Safety & Security
The International MSc Program in Plant Science is housed in the Faculty of Life Sciences and is operated by the Manna Program for Food Safety and Security at Tel Aviv University. The Manna Center Program seeks to bring together researchers from diverse academic disciplines to promote innovative research, to forge ties with professionals and academics around the world, and to prepare the next generation of scientists and policymakers to guide global food security issues.

The Yair R&D Center
The program works in close cooperation with the Agricultural Research and Development Center in the Arava. The Center is a leading scientific research and development center established in 1986, with the aim of advancing sustainable methods of cultivation in the arid region, raising the quality of the produce, finding new crops and opening new markets. This unique research institute combines practical research in the fields of sustainable agriculture, water management and aquaculture – providing critical knowledge to the regional farming community as well as to other countries around the world.

Program Schedule

October 2017: Arrival to Israel

October 2017-February 2018: Preparatory Semester
Preparatory studies in the Arava with a focus on: 
- Improving English abilities
- Refresher Plant Biology, Genetics, and Biochemistry courses

February 2018: Internal entrance exams. These special exams, administered by Tel Aviv University, will test the candidates' academic levels.

Candidates who pass the exams will be accepted to the MSc program.
March 2018-June 2018: First Semester - MSc studies in the Arava

July 2018: Second Semester - Food Safty and Security Summer Institute, will take place at Tel Aviv University and will be taken with other international students

October 2018-March 2019: Third Semester - MSc studies continue in the Arava

March 2018: Completion of MSc degree and Graduation

Details and Conditions of Acceptance to the Program

This program is presently on hold and is not presently accepting applications.

The program is open to excellent students who have completed an undergraduate degree in biology, agriculture or a related field. Prerequisites include undergraduate courses in plant biology, genetics and cell biology, and a minimum GPA of 80 on a scale of 100, 3.0 on a scale of 4.0, or equivalent (based on US standards). Exceptions may be made in the case of an exceptionally strong application with a lower GPA.

Candidates will have a personal interview with representatives of the program from Tel Aviv University and AICAT.

Application Process

1. Open a profile in the TAU International Student Portal and upload required documents. Student Portal link:
If there is any issue with uploading documents, please contact:
The following documents should be uploaded to the Student Portal by July 1, 2017.

  • Resume
  • University transcripts
  • University diploma
  • Academic letter of recommendation
  • Short (one page) essay in English explaining the student’s background, why are they interested in the program, and what they expect to do with the degree once completed
  • English proficiency exam results (TOEFL or IELTS) if university degree was not taught in English
  • Passport photo
  • Passport scan

2. Demonstrated Command of English: Since the program is taught in English, all applicants must prove their English-language proficiency validated through a TOEFL or IELTS exam. Please note that scores are usually sent out one month after the exam, therefore students must take the exam ahead of time.

3. Interviews: In June, representatives of Tel Aviv University and AICAT will interview qualified students who have submitted the required documents listed.


Preparatory Semester
Biochemistry and Genetics
Introduction to Plant Biology

Spring Semester
Principles of Experimental Statistics
Scientific Writing
Student Seminar
Structure and Function of Plant Roots
Photosynthesis - Theory and Practice

Summer Semester
Introduction to Food Security
Plant Response to Abiotic Stress
Food Security & Public Health
Bioethics and Biotechnology

Fall Semester
Developmental Plant Biology
Seminar - Selected Topics in Plant Sciences
Student Seminar
Marine Biology

* The program is without thesis and is subject to changes of the TAU


Dr. Hagit Kvitt
General Genetics
Subject:        General genetics –  Manna Institute ,MSc studies, Tel Aviv University

Residence:     Moshav Faran

Short Biography:
Marital status – married + 3
1993 – Move to Moshav Faran

Relevant Employment:
2014-               Lecturer at the Arava International Center for Agricultural Training

 Relevant Education:
1986-1989       BA in Animal Sciences, Faculty of Agriculture, Rehovot
1991-1993       Master's degree in Human Genetics, Hebrew University, Jerusalem.
1995-2007       Research on diseases in fish and reproduction of fish at the National Center for Aquaculture, Eilat 
2007-2014       PhD in marine biology, School of Marine Sciences, Haifa University



Dr. Effie Tripler
Essentials of fertigation, Roots, Structures and Function
Subject:         Lecturer on: Essentials of fertigation ; Roots, Structures and Function - MSc in Plant Science

Residence:     Moshav Ein Yahav

Marital status – married + 3
Resident in Arava since 2004. 

Soil and Water Scientist at the Central and Northern Arava R&D.
Lecturer at the Food Security program TAU-AICAT from 2014. 
Ph.D. From the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. 
Dr. Gidon Winters
Plant Biology
Subject:             Plant biology seminar, Marine biology and Practicum - MSc, Manna Institute, master's degree studies, Tel Aviv University

Residence:         Moshav Idan

Short Biography:
Marital status – married + 2

Relevant Employment:
2012 –               The Arava International Center for Agricultural Training (AICAT): Scientific Methodology
2011 -                Head of the Central Arava branch of the Dead Sea-Arava Science
                         Center, Hatzeva, Israel
2008 - 2010        Post-Doctoral research fellow, Institute for Evolution and Biodiversity, Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität, Münster, Germany.
2007 – 2008       Faculty member at the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies (AIES)
2002 - 2006        Teaching assistant at the Inter University institute for Marine Biology at Eilat, Israel
1998 - 1999        Education officer Tel Aviv University Botanical Gardens.
1996 - 1998        Education officer for the Israel Nature and Parks Authority (INPA), Nahal Me'arot Reserve.
1994 - 1998        Education officer for the Israel Society for Nature Protection.
Relevant Education:
2002-2008         Ph.D. (Plant Sciences), Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, Israel.
                        Thesis subject: Non intrusive techniques for monitoring the physiology of reefs – implications for reef monitoring.
1999-2000         Studying Environmental Law and Environmental Economics at the 
                        Arava Institute for Environmental Studies (AIES).
06-08/2000        Conservation Biology and Policy summer course at Duke Marine Lab, Duke University.
1998-2000         M.Sc. (Ecology and Environmental quality), Tel Aviv University,
                        Tel Aviv, Israel. Thesis subject: The use of pulse amplitude modulated (PAM) fluorometry in coral photosynthesis research.
1994-1998         B.Sc. (Biology), Haifa University, Haifa, Israel.
                        Teacher’s certificate (sciences, high school), Haifa University, Haifa, Israel.
Dr. Yael Bar Lavan
Plant Sciences
Subject:         Introduction to Plant SciencesMSc in Plant Science.

Residence:      Moshav Ein Yahav

Short Biography:
Marital status – married + 3
Resident in Arava since 1999. 

Relevant Employment:
Today -            Lab manager, Dr. Roi Gazit lab, Faculty of Health Sciences 
                       The Shraga Segal Department of MicrobiologyImmunology and Genetics, Ben Gurion University of the Negev
1999-2008        R & D Arava agriculture center. Conducting research of phytopathology in the laboratory and in the field.
                       Actual trials and responsibility for the technicians participating in the study.

    2014-present: Teaching- AICAT Study Center, Sapir (Central Arava) and Tel-Aviv University. Courses: Plant physiology, Seminar for M.Sc.          students.
   2010-2015:  Teaching assistant and supervisor in Plant Science lab (Course for B.Sc. students). Ben Gurion University.
   2013-2015: Teaching assistant in Genetic of Aging (Course for M.Sc. and PhD students). Ben Gurion University.
   2010-2013:  Teaching assistant in Plant Physiology (Course for B.Sc. students). Ben Gurion University.
Relevant Education:
2015 -                  Post Doc. - Ben Gurion University in Beer Sheva- faculty of life science.
2010 – 2015         Ph.D. - Ben Gurion University in Beer Sheva- faculty of life science.
                           Thesis title: Regulation of Cellular Protein Homeostasis in a Multicellular Organism
2000-2003            M.Sc. - The Hebrew University of Jerusalem- department Faculty of Agriculture: Advisor by Prof. Yaacov Katan and                                                                    Dr. Stanley Freeman.
1994-1997            B.Sc. - The Hebrew University of Jerusalem-Faculty of Agriculture Biochemistry and Food Science