Academic Chair of the International MSc Program in Plant Sciences
Alon Samach, Associate Professor
The Robert H. Smith Institute for Plant Sciences and Genetics in Agriculture
Academic Program Head, International MSc in Plant Sciences
The achievements of Israeli agriculture are renown worldwide. At its inception, the country was largely arid, rocky, and overgrown with weeds, bare mountains, barren fields, infested marshes, and an undeveloped water supply. Some of the most basic foods were imported. Today, Israel is a fertile and blooming land that exports its own agricultural products and has become a leader in irrigation systems, groundwater management, crop production, horticulture, biotechnology, biological and integrated pest control, and more. Israel's agriculture is a showcase demonstrating the ability to work with nature in order to create a friendlier environment.
One of the key factors in Israel's agricultural success has been the close relationship between growers in the fields, research and development teams in industry, and the academic community. Constant mutual feedback makes research more responsive to real-life needs and gives those in the field the advantage of immediate access to new developments in the laboratories of academic institutions.
At the heart of this academic community is the Robert H. Smith Faculty of Agriculture, Food and Environment of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. The Hebrew University has the only Faculty of Agriculture in Israel, enjoying a unique status in the country. The Faculty acts as Israel's main source for the training of teachers, extension officers and researchers.
The international Master of Science in Plant Sciences prepares students to become leading professionals in present and future agriculture and adapt their new knowledge to local conditions in their home countries. Students will acquire advanced knowledge and skills in the scientific basis and principles of crop plant production, environmental impact of agricultural activity, analysis of specific cropping systems, seeking solutions to practical problems, either in scientific literature or by experimental approach, and adapting appropriate solutions to various situations.
The one-year program leads to a non-thesis M.Sc. Agri in the field of Plant Sciences specializing in field and vegetable crops. After successful completion of the first year, qualified graduates can be reviewed for admission to the thesis track for a second year of studies to earn a thesis degree, and continue for a PhD degree either in Israel or elsewhere. Upon completion of their studies, the majority of alumni return to their home countries, where they hold key positions in industry, education, academics, research, NGOs and government organizations.