The burgeoning environmental effects of population growth, technological development and overall lifestyle choices have resulted in a growing awareness of the need for more sustainable solutions. With a unique background in environmental studies and the sustainable use of limited natural resources in desert conditions, Ben-Gurion University is at the forefront of educational and research institutions as the ideal place for students to explore practical methods of sustainability and environmental management.

View a recording of our webinar featuring leading Israeli environmentalist Alon Tal and learn more about the Sustainable Development and Environment offerings at BGU! 

Why Study Sustainable Development and Environment at Ben-Gurion University?

  • Our Sustainable Development and Environment courses present a holistic and comprehensive viewpoint on Israel’s and the region’s environmental challenges, through the combination of past, present and future perspectives.
  • Touching on ecological, economic, social, cultural, demographic and political aspects, our courses offer students the opportunity to experience first hand the challenges of sustainable development in the Middle East, and their implications in other parts of the world, while being guided by top professors and researchers in the field.
  • BGU was ranked #24 in the world in the UI GreenMetric World University Ranking, which analyzes current conditions and policies related to Green Campus and Sustainability in universities all over the world.


  • To familiarize students with the social, developmental and environmental challenges facing Israel and the Middle East.
  • To equip students with the tools, training and experience to effectively analyze the complex interplay of factors promoting or hindering sustainable development in the complex socio-political Middle East and their application elsewhere in the world.
  • To improve students’ spoken and written Hebrew language skills both in and out of the classroom.
  • To provide students with a solid foundation in qualitative and quantitative research methods and practical experience and opportunities to implement those skills in intensive field study and a final research project.

Examples of Previous Courses:

  • Field Study Course
    Students will have the opportunity to make site visits and engage in field observations.
  • Research Seminar
    The seminar will provide a support framework for the student in research design, research writing and presentation of results. This is an opportunity for students who are interested in conducting research that can only be done in Israel such as working with particular communities or dealing with an issue specific to Israel and the Middle East. It can also act as a support for research the student is currently undertaking at his/her home university.
  • Overview of Environmental Issues in the Middle East
    The course explores the interactions among environmental, social and economic factors and how they impact humanity and the natural world with a focus on Israel in general and in the Negev in particular.
  • Desert Ecology
    The course presents the foundations of modern quantitative ecology within the framework of a desert environment. Basic theoretical concepts are combined with practical environmental challenges. As the course unfolds, more of the complexity and variability of ecological systems are presented and dealt with.
  • Water Resource Management in the Middle East
    The goal of the course is to provide students with an overview of the challenges facing policy makers and water experts in effectively managing resources and negotiating over equitable allocation. The course is an introduction to the major issues hindering or allowing for efficient water management in the Middle East. It concentrates on the Jordan River Basin (shared by Israel, the Palestinian Authority, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon) and associated groundwater resources and how these waters are managed and shared.
  • Environmental Policy in Israel
    The goal of this course is to introduce students to policy options for addressing environmental challenges at the local, national, regional and global scale. Using a variety of case studies, students open the ‘tool box’ of policy types, consider how they are applied and analyze their strengths and weaknesses.

Click here to view the current course offerings and their syllabi. Note that the course selection may change in future terms.

Albert Katz International School for Desert Studies

Students can also take courses (contingent on approval from the faculty) at the Albert Katz International School for Desert Studies located at the Sde Boker campus, approximately 40 minutes from Beer-Sheva. Courses may be taken in the following areas:

  • Introductory Courses:
    • Agriculture and Biotechnology for Sustainable Dryland Development,
    • Ecology of Drylands
    • Water Sciences and Technology
  • Environmental and Aquatic Microbiology
  • Drylands Environmental Studies
For more information on specific courses, please visit the Albert Katz International School of Desert Studies website.