Over the past two years (2014–2015), Israel has experienced a two-percent drop in the number of academic graduates compared with 2013. The Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) noted on Monday that this is the first time in 20 years that there has been a reduction in the number of bachelor's and master's degrees, though the number of doctoral degrees awarded has increased by 4.6 percent.
In total, 73.5 thousand Israelis earned their degrees over the past two years. 40.9 thousand of those are from universities, 24.6 thousand are from academic colleges, and 8.1 thousand are from academic colleges for education. In the 2013/14 academic year, Ariel University was upgraded from a college to a university.
Women were the majority of recipients of bachelor's and master's degrees (59.8% and 61.2%, respectively) and just shy of half of doctoral degree recipients (49.7%). In the fields of engineering and architecture, women were a minority in all degrees.
According to the CBS, within a quarter of a century, the number of degree recipients in Israel rose by 4.8 percent in comparison with the 1989/90 academic year. During this period, the number of degree recipients rose drastically in all types of institutions, but while the number of graduates in academic colleges rose by 61.5 percent and in academic colleges for education by 12.3 percent, the numbers of university graduates grew a mere 2.9 percent.
The decrease in the rate of graduates in humanities-related degrees continues in bachelor's degrees, but they rose relatively for master's and doctoral degrees. 73.6% of bachelor's degree recipients from universities and academic colleges finished their studies within four years.
The most popular fields of study in Israel in the 2014/15 academic year were social sciences and humanities for bachelor's degrees. For master's degrees, the most popular fields were humanities, business management and management sciences, and for doctoral degrees, the most widespread fields were natural sciences and mathematics.
Of those who received degrees, the relative rates of Arabs were 10.2% of bachelor's degrees, 9.2% of master's degrees and 4.4% of doctoral degrees. These rates were higher than in the preceding year (9.7%, 8.7%, and 3.2%, respectively.)
In the 2014/15 academic year, 1.9 thousand (4.2%) of bachelor's degree recipients were ultra-Orthodox Jews, who constituted 1.5% of master's degree recipients and 0.5% of doctoral degrees. Within five years, the number of Haredi graduates rose by 3.4 percent. If the number of Haredi women who learn in religious seminars, which are not academic, then the increase is 2.4 percent over five years.
Of bachelor's degree recipients, 43.5% of university graduates had at least one parent with an academic degree, versus 34.1% of college graduates and 20.3% of graduates of the Open University.
During the 2014/15 academic year, 1.6 thousand persons received a doctoral degree. In comparison, in 1989/90, 450 persons received such a degree.