Breaking Down the MA in Maritime Civilizations

upload_10_8_2015_at_10_39_38The one-year International Master’s Degree in Maritime Civilizations offers students an outstanding opportunity to explore the history, archaeology and fabric of maritime societies, as well as the natural environment in which they developed and currently exist. Students will examine a variety of fields pertaining to maritime civilizations and the marine environment, including coastal and underwater archaeology, marine biology and ecology, maritime history, maritime geology and geomorphology.

Eric Solie, originally from Fairbanks, Alaska is part of the first cohort of students now completing his second semester of the program. In an initial interview with him, he was full of energy and excitement about what he was experiencing. “We just took a field trip to the coast, visiting shipwrecks and ancient harbors. We were gone from early morning until mid-evening. We spent all day on out on the sea, diving through ruins and examining ships. It is a really special place here-the amount of history that is piled on top of each other all in one place is crazy.” Eric is most excited about the next phase of his MA program. This second semester consists of intensive underwater training followed by an individual research project. “The third semester contains no regular classes-everything is hands on focusing on a research project on an ancient harbor. The program provides the diving equipment, the boats; literally everything we need including the coast is right here.” Eric concluded.

The interdisciplinary curriculum offers advanced knowledge and research training exploring human interactions with the sea in a dynamic learning environment. Special emphasis is placed on harbors, ships and seafaring as part of the maritime heritage of the Mediterranean. Field activities are an integral part of the program. They expose students to hands-on applied science, a variety of research methods, a first-hand acquaintance with the sea and an introduction to the challenges of marine studies. The curriculum includes field trips as well as field-based courses and research. Students are also required to participate in a summer internship program during which they work on a field project under the guidance of a faculty mentor.

Another student, Jacob Vander, 22, from the University of Hawaii, came to the University of Haifa International School for his semester abroad where he interned in the Coastal Underwater Archaeology Lab under Assaf Yasur-Landau, the Program Director. He spent every spare moment he had at the laboratory and developed deep academic and personal ties to his mentors. Jacob’s responsibilities included cataloguing and categorizing pottery from current and previous excavations. “Not only has my time here reinforced the knowledge that this is the career that I want to pursue,” explained Jacob. His experience in the lab had a huge impact on his future. “More importantly, I was convinced within my first two weeks that this is the program where I want to pursue my masters in Maritime Civilizations,” he added. Now back in Hawaii, finishing up his undergraduate degree, Jacob has already submitted his application for this coming fall.

For more information about the MA in Maritime Civilizations at the University of Haifa, click here or email us at


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