International MA Program

Shipwreck and scuba divers on the background

The University of Haifa’s International Master’s Degree in Maritime Civilizations offers students an exceptional opportunity to learn about the history and archaeology of maritime societies, as well as the natural environment in which they developed and currently exist. Students will explore a variety of fields pertaining to maritime civilizations and the marine environment, including coastal and underwater archaeology and micro-archaeology, marine biology and ecology, maritime history, and maritime geology and geomorphology.

The interdisciplinary curriculum offers advanced courses and research training to students interested in exploring human-sea interactions in a dynamic learning environment. The learning experience combines classroom courses, day fieldtrips, hands-on laboratory practice, as well as field-based courses and research. Field activities are an integral part of the program. They expose students to hands-on applied science, a variety of research methods including modern approaches to micro-archaeology, first-hand acquaintance with the sea through research cruises and under-water excavations, and an introduction to the challenges of marine studies. Students will be required to participate in field activities. Special emphasis is placed on coastal settlements, harbors, ships and seafaring as part of the maritime heritage of the Mediterranean. The program also addresses the ecological and geomorphological dynamics in the eastern Mediterranean and their influence on the interaction between man and the sea in ancient and modern times. This program is based on active research carried out in the field and the laboratories at the Department of Maritime Civilizations and the Leon Recanati Institute for Maritime Studies. The language of instruction is English. Student experiences are available at the “Sea Us” blog.

  • To provide students with an understanding of the sea and maritime civilizations and to prepare them for research in their chosen areas of specialization;
  • To train a new generation of scholars, researchers and educators in the field of marine sciences;
  • To provide students with specialized knowledge of the relationships between humans and the Mediterranean Sea;To offer an outstanding academic program that combines classroom study with hands-on scientific exploration.

The program is taught within the framework of the Department of Maritime Civilizations, a unique institution that focuses on interdisciplinary studies through the combination of the humanities and natural sciences. It provides a comprehensive approach to the study of coasts and the sea. Joint courses combine history and archaeology; geomorphology and archaeology; and all fields are brought together during the yearly Departmental Research Cruise.

Link to the University’s International School

Link to the Department’s Facebook

Movie presenting the atmosphere of International Studies at the University of Haifa

The study program includes three core (required) courses (total 6 credits): Introduction to Maritime Civilizations A (covering the Bronze and Iron ages of the southern Levant, ca. 5000-500 BCE), Introduction to Maritime Civilizations B (covering the Hellenistic and Roman periods in the region, ca. 500 BCE-200 CE), and General and Coastal Geoarchaeology (covering general geology, coastal geomorphology and the interaction of these natural materials and processes in relation to formation and preservation of coastal and underwater archaeological sites and materials).

The program further includes a variety of elective courses, such as Submerged Prehistoric Settlements, Survey Methods at Sea, Ceramic Petrography and Maritime Trade, Research Cruise, Coastal and Underwater Archaeology Field School, and more. Additionally, students are required to take seminar courses and participate in field trips.

The program includes two tracks: All students start in “Track B” that is a one-year intensive study focused on courses (total of 36 credits). Those who choose to move on to “Track A” will complete 32 credits in their first year of studies and stay for additional two years in which they will conduct supervised research and write a thesis (dissertation). Selection of supervisor/s and research subject is done throughout the first year of studies. For faculty members and their research interests see below under “Faculty and Research”.

NEW! Certificate of Coastal and Underwater Excavator: The Department of Maritime Civilizations in the University of Haifa is the only is Israel that teaches coastal and underwater archaeology and conducts routine practical instruction of students in this field. The department has the option of certifying students formally, and with recognition of the Israel Antiquities Authority, as “Coastal and Underwater Excavators”. This is an elective option for students studying in the department and does not replace obligatory courses of the regular study program.

List of Courses 2020-2021

Contact us for more details on the study program and certificate – Dr. Nimrod Marom at

Faculty and Emeriti at the Department of Maritime Civilizations carry out a variety of research projects, some of them are reflected in classroom and field activities. Students at the program are encouraged to take part in ongoing research projects which may build towards potential thesis projects.

Faculty members


Dr. Gambash, Gil

1. Non-state agents and maritime logistics in antiquity: analyzing the part played by players not commissioned by the state in developing maritime logistics.
2. Grand strategy of ancient Mediterranean Empires: examining aspects of long-term planning and the allocation of resources by Mediterranean empires towards realizing goals related to the maritime sphere.
3. Connectivity and mobility in the Roman mare nostrum: revisiting Roman notions of the Mediterranean, and the complex relationship between sea-base connectivity and actual mobility.

Dr. Nantet, Emmanuel

1. Ancient ships, based on the study of written, iconographic and archaeological sources (shipwrecks).
2. Development of Nautical Heritage.
3. Ancient Metrology.


Prof. Shahack-Gross, Ruth

1. Formation processes of the archaeological record: the land-coast-underwater continuum (sites of Megiddo, Kabri and Dor).
2. Subsistence strategies and water management in the Negev Highlands: from the Bronze Age to the Early Islamic period.
3. Geoarchaeological research of prehistoric sites (Ein Qashish, Tabun, Newe David).

Prof. Shalev, Sariel

1. Ancient and traditional technologies.
2. Middle Bronze Age metals and metallurgy.
3. Obsidian trade in the Southern Levant.

Prof. Yasur-Landau, Assaf

1. Underwater archaeological surveys and excavations in the bays of Tel Dor: maritime interactions and structures from the Bronze Age to the Ottoman Period.
2. Excavations of the Middle Bronze Age Canaanite palace at Tel Kabri: Minoan style wall paintings and wine cellars.
3. Tel Achziv: underwater survey and publication of the Bronze Age and Phoenician remains exposed in previous excavations.

Ancient ship construction:

Dr. Cvikel, Deborah

1. The Ma‘agan Mikhael Replica project.
2. The Ma‘agan Mikhael B shipwreck: Transition in ship construction, seamanship and seafaring in the eastern Mediterranean in Late Antiquity.
3. The Akko Tower Shipwreck and its significance for the maritime history of Akko.

Marine ecoloy:

Dr. Angel, Dror

1. Biology & ecology of gelatinous marine zooplankton (jellyfish) in the eastern Mediterranean, with emphasis on jellyfish blooms.
2. Marine Aquaculture – how to farm the seas sustainably, understanding environmental impacts of aquaculture, development of innovative environmentally-friendly technology, offshore aquaculture.
3. Exploring the use of Citizen Science in marine environmental research – spreading the word and involving the public in what we do.

Maritime Law:

Dr. Khalilieh, Hassan

1. The freedom of navigation in Islamic customary law of the sea from the seventh to the late fifteenth century C.E., with emphasis on the Mediterranean Sea and Indian Ocean.
2. Early Islamic coastal defense system (Ribats) in Greater Syria and its expansion in North Africa and Andalusia.


Dr. Nimrod Marom

  1. Animal bone archaeology of Mediterranean communities.
  2. Human impact on fragile ecosystem foodwebs 


Prof. Artzy, Michal.

Prof. Mart, Joseph.

Dr. Sivan, Dorit

1. Coastal and underwater archaeological indicators for sea level changes in Israel and Greece.
2. Seismic and borehole based reconstruction of the Israeli coast in the last 125,000 years, in relation to human settlement patterns.

Prof. Spanier, Ehud

1. Ecology, behavior and behavioral ecology of lobsters with emphasis on slipper lobsters and their utilization by various societies.
2. Dangerous marine organisms in the Eastern Mediterranean and Northern Red Sea.
3. Behavioral ecology of muricid snails and their use in the ancient dye industries.


Admission Requirements and Prerequisites

  • Accredited BA degree, diploma and transcript
  • Preferred backgrounds include history, archaeology, ecology, biology and geology
  • A minimum of 3.0 GPA or 80% or equivalent
  • TOEFL scores (if native language is not English or candidates have not previously studied at an institution of higher education where the language of instruction is English). A minimum of 570 (paper-based test), 230 (computer-based test) or 89 (internet-based test)
  • Two letters of recommendation from an academic
  • Curriculum Vitae/Résumé
  • Copy of your valid passport & six passport-sized photos
  • Personal statement (500-750 words)
    Medical forms



International students must register through the International School. Apply for the program online here.

Israeli students must register online according to the University of Haifa regulations. Please click here for the link to the online registration.

To contact directly the coordinator of the Maritime Civilizations International MA Program, please email Dr. Nimrod Marom at