Revolution in Engineering and High-Tech Education

For the second consecutive year: Engineering is the most popular major in Israel


Prior to opening the 2019-20 academic year: The Council for Higher Education (CHE) publishes data on the 2018-19 year – Segmentation of undergraduate students

One in four students – more than 50,000 – in Israel are studying engineering, computer science and mathematics

  • For the second consecutive year, engineering (35,041 students) has overtaken social sciences (34,324). For decades, the social sciences have been considered the most sought-after majors.
  • Within a decade: 80% increase in the number of computer science students. In 2018-19, 16,780 students studied computer science (including mathematics and statistics), compared with only 9,122 in 2009-10.
  • Over the last the decade, there has been a decline of approximately 20% to 25% in the number of students majoring in law and business administration, which were considered highly desirable programs at the beginning of the decade.
  • Decline in the Humanities: CHE is advancing a program to promote the humanities, including their integration with other fields of study.

Chairperson of the Planning and Budgeting Committee (PBC), Prof. Yaffa Zilbershats: “The new data shows that we have accomplished our mission, and thanks to incentives given to academic institutions and the expansion of infrastructure, we were able to revolutionize the subjects studied in Israel – many students are choosing the challenge of high-tech studies. This significant change in the academic system will have a major impact the Israeli economy, too. In collaboration with academic institutions, we are determined to continue the trend, to promote entrepreneurship and innovation in Israel and to integrate academia and industry.”

Deputy Chair, Prof. Ido Perlman: “The past decade has been characterized by significant increases in the number of engineering and computer science students, along with a decline in law and business studies. These trends are due, inter alia, to market forces as well as our promotion of the national program to strengthen high-tech professions. We will soon complete the Humanities Promotion Program, and will also work to integrate the humanities into other fields of study and make them accessible to many students.”

Data for 2018-19 – Segmentation of Undergraduate Students

  • The data does not include the Open University

An impressive achievement for the national program for strengthening engineering and high-tech majors: New data from CHE for the 2018-19 academic year shows that this is the second consecutive year in which engineering studies have the highest enrollment in Israel (35,041 students, representing 18.4% of the total enrollment).

Engineering studies have overtaken the social sciences (34,324 students, representing 18% of the total enrollment), which were considered the largest field of study in Israel for many years. The strengthening of high-tech subjects was also reflected in an impressive 80% increase in the number of students studying mathematics, statistics and computer science (16,780 students in 2018-19 compared to 9,122 students in 2009-10).

Weighting the data shows that more than one in four undergraduate students (over 27%) in Israel are studying engineering and computer science, mathematics and statistics (51,821 students out of 190,648).

It should be emphasized that as part of the multi-year program to strengthen high-tech education and in accordance with the government’s decision on the issue, PBC budgeted incentives worth several hundred million shekels to academic institutions for the absorption of students and faculty members, as well as constructing and upgrading research and educational infrastructure. Furthermore, PBC supports opening innovative academic programs in high-tech fields. CHE expects the trend to continue and expand in the years to come.

  • Note: Engineering include the following fields: Electrical Engineering and Electronics, Computer and Software Engineering, Information Systems Engineering, Civil Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Chemical and Materials Engineering, and Industrial and Management Engineering, as well other types of engineering.

The figures also indicate that over the decade, there has been a decline of approximately 20% to 25% in the enrollment in Law and Business Administration majors, which a decade ago were considered the most highly sought-after professions. Enrollment in Law dropped from 15,790 in 2009-10 to 12,223 in 2018-19, and Business Administration dropped from a peak of 23,232 students in 2012-13 to only 18,711 students in 2018-19.

The downward trend in the Humanities: CHE hopes to complete the program for the promotion of Humanities at universities in the near future. The program will make these subjects accessible to a wide range of students and help them integrate into varied fields of study.

CHE emphasizes that technological changes require the academic world to make the necessary adjustments, and instead of the traditional division into various faculties, the academy should work to break down barriers and create interdisciplinary programs that will provide graduates with diverse tools. For example, students studying high-tech, business economics and economics will also be able to include courses in philosophy, literature and art, history, cultural studies, and more, in their degree program.