The Department of Psychology at the American University of Beirut offers BA and MA degrees in psychology. The psychology undergraduate and graduate programs provide students with the scientific methodologies to enhance their understanding of human behavior, the critical thinking skills necessary to evaluate scientific and popular claims concerning behavior, and the application of psychological principles to personal and social issues locally, regionally and globally. Psychology faculty in the department help students learn that human thought and behavior is lawful and multiply determined, and that the governing principles of mental processes and behavior can be understood in the same way that the physical world outside the mind is understood.
How did we get here?
The first psychology course, Mental Science and Logic was taught in the 1887-1888 academic year. In the absence of a separate psychology department, psychology courses were housed in different departments such as philosophy for the next seven decades. An independent Department of Psychology in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences was created in 1951, with E. Terry Prothro serving as its first Chair. Preeminent full-time or visiting faculty during the Golden Age of the psychology department included Professors Prothro, Levon Melikian, Lutfy Diab, Ernest Dalrymple Alford, Wayne Dennis, and H.C. Lindgren. In 1976, the Department of Psychology lost its independence and a psychology program offering BA and MA degrees was subsumed (along with Sociology, Anthropology and Mass Communication) under the umbrella of the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences (SBS). The Department of Psychology regained its independent status in 2011, with Professor Shahé S. Kazarian serving as its first Chair.
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