Increase in humanities enrollment in current academic year at Hebrew University

Bloomfield Library for the Humanities and Social Sciences, Mount ScopusOctober 6, 2013: Mourning the decline in the study of the humanities in Israeli higher education has been shown to be premature — at least at the Hebrew University.

With the academic year beginning October 13, registration of new students for courses in the humanities is currently about 16 percent higher, on average, at the Hebrew University than it was last year at this time. The figure is 757 students this year, as opposed to 651 last year.

In the Department of Philosophy, the number of beginning undergraduate students registered is 84, compared to 63 last year, an increase of 33 percent. In the Department of History, the increase was 30 percent, from 49 to 64 students, and in the cognitive science program the number went up by 21 percent, from 62 to 75 students.

Even in those areas that traditionally have been small and intimate, there were increases. Examples: In the departments of Linguistics and of History of Art there was an 80 percent increase in each, with an increase from 20 students last to 36 this year in each area of them. The number of beginning students in the departments of Hebrew Language and Hebrew Literature doubled, going from eight students to 17. In the Department of Bible, the number went up 38 percent, from 13 to 18 students, and in the Department of Theatre Studies, the increase was 42 percent, from 12 to 17 new students.

Additionally, there was a 25 percent increase in the number of students who are registered for master’s degree studies in the humanities.

Dean of the Faculty of Humanities Prof. Reuven Amitai said, “The increase in the number of new students in the Faculty is testimony that in addition to the intellectual experience that study of the humanities provides, many young people understand that these studies can give them the tools for cultural thought and depth that will accompany them for their entire lives.

“It is no secret that that we have struggled recently with economic limitations, but in spite of this we have made major efforts to enroll many quality students in the faculty, and we are pleased that we have succeeded in the end. We must remember that we in the humanities are entrusted with the perpetuation of the entire human and Jewish cultural heritage, and we want to preserve, research and teach this.”

Source: Marketing & Communication, Hebrew University