Program Requirements

Students in the non-thesis track are required to complete a total of 36 hours of study, and students in the research track (thesis) are required to complete a total of 32 hours. Courses include seminars, mandatory and elective courses, and field projects.


Students in the non-thesis track are required to prepare a final assignment based on their fieldwork. Students in the research track are required to write a research thesis.


Each student is required to complete two seminars of 6-7 hours in total (one mandatory and one elective), 12 hours of mandatory courses, and 4 hours of fieldwork. Students in the thesis track are also required to participate in a thesis workshop. Students are required to take 14 hours of elective courses in the standard track and 6 hours of elective courses in the thesis track to complete the total requirement of 36 and 32 hours, respectively.


Mandatory courses will be concentrated in a single weekday and take place over 11-12 weeks per semester. Two additional days per semester will be dedicated to field trips and visits to relevant sites in Israel, where students will be able to witness first hand the deployment of innovative technologies and interventions related to sustainable development.


Electives can be chosen from dedicated courses that will be offered by the program, courses in other international programs in the university, or from courses in other faculties such as engineering, exact or life sciences contingent on relevance to development and approval by the program head.


Mandatory courses (12 hours)

  1. Sustainable Development - The Big Picture (3 hours)
    A global perspective on the main questions and challenges of sustainable development, covering technological, economic and environmental dimensions.

  2. Cultural and psychological dimensions of behavior change
    Adopting new habits, novel ways of functioning, and innovative technologies strongly depend on cultural differences, ways of thinking, and belief systems. Students will learn how to assess, chart, and guide the process of change based on system theory, positive psychology, and theory of change.

  3. Human, Society and Sustainable Development
    A series of multi-disciplinary guest lectures covering institutional, sociological, cultural, legal, and other dimensions of societal transitions.

  4. Social entrepreneurship for Sustainable development
    The course will train students in the practical aspects of project design and implementation in low-income settings. During the seminar, students will work in teams to design fieldwork around interventions and solutions studied in the fall-applied seminar. Topics will include entrepreneurship, project finance (including micro-finance), business models, monitoring and evaluation, working with communities, sustainability, and scalability.

  5. Quantitative Research Methods and Program Evaluation  


Seminars (2 out of 3 to be elected, 6-7 hours)

  1. Mandatory seminar: Project design and implementation (part 1 & 2) (2 hours each semester)
    The seminar will offer students an opportunity to develop close and hands-on familiarity with technologies related to sustainable development.

  2. Elective seminar: Challenges and Opportunities of Sustainable Development - The Israeli Drylands as a Microcosm (3 hours)
    A one-week intensive introduction to the program which will take place in the Arava, the southern desert of Israel. During the week, students will get to each other and become familiar with the challenges, varied cultural and social backgrounds, and innovative approaches to the sustainable development of drylands.

  3. Elective seminar in a developing country (2 hours)
    A One-week intensive seminar, which will take place in a developing country, with the local faculties and students.


* A student interested in taking all three seminars can apply to do so instead of one elective course.
* A student that will not participate in any of the elective seminars, will have to take a seminar relates to the Israel society.


Fieldwork (4 hours) (Summer Semester)

The challenges of sustainable development cannot be understood through classroom teaching alone. It is only through an intensive, direct experience that an in-depth understanding and practical experience can be gradually developed by students. The program, therefore, integrates a strong component of experiential learning in its curriculum that includes prolonged immersion in field sites, either in Israel or in sites in developing countries, where students engage in applied research and fieldwork. Students in the program form bridges between technology providers (including in Israel) and the realities of low-income communities by designing, adapting, and field-testing promising solutions that combine innovative technologies and business models.

Students are encouraged to conduct their fieldwork within existing sites where TAU faculty are working with local academic, government, NGO, and industry partners. In particular, projects run by the Nitsan Lab at TAU ( offer ample opportunities for students to get involved and try out their ideas in real settings in several dedicated sites in India and Africa.

Fieldwork typically lasts for 2-6 months and takes place in teams of 3-5 students. Program faculty closely guide all students throughout to ensure their work is impactful, rigorous, data-driven, and evidence-based.


Research Workshop (4 hours)

Research track only, Prof. Tammie Ronen and Dr. Ram Fishman.


Elective courses (14 hours in the regular track, 6 hours in the research track)

Elective courses will complete the required number of hours in each track. The courses can be elect from other departments or faculties with the approval from the head of the program. Students without a background in social science will have to elect at least one course related to social topics, for example:

  • Sustainability and Public Policy (the department of public policy)
  • Why Anthropology? (the department of Sociology and Anthropology)
  • Courses from the international English programs; Migration, Conflict Resolution, Crisis management, etc.


    Final grade

    Students must complete all hours to graduate – 36 hours in the standard track and 32 hours in the thesis track. The final grade in the research track consists of class grades (65%) and the grade of the thesis (35%). The final grade in the standard track consists of class grades (90%) and the grade of the final assignment (10%).




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