American University of Beirut

Department of History and Archaeology

Chairperson:Sader, Helene S.
Professor Emerita:Seeden, Helga
Professor Emeritus:Samir Seikaly
Professors:Genz, Hermann P.; Sader, Helene S.; Saliba, George
Associate Professors:Khuri-Makdisi, Ilham; Newson, Paul G.
Associate Professor of Practice:Panayot, Nadine
Assistant Professors:Abou Hussein, Tarek A.; Armstrong, Lyall R. ; Malleson, Claire​

The department offers programs leading to the BA, MA and PhD in Arab and Middle Eastern History. The department also offers programs leading to the BA and MA in Archaeology. For admission and graduation requirements, refer to the faculty and department web pages.

MA in History

Mission Statement

By means of a broad and diversified curriculum, our graduate program introduces students to the richness and complexity of Arab and Middle Eastern history. That program is intended to develop not only essential knowledge of the past, but also awareness of the methodological and theoretical complexities involved in the study of history as a discipline in the humanities. Students are motivated to be reflexive, to read, research and write critically, analytically and without prejudice or preconceptions.


Students registered in the master’s program in history are required to take a minimum of 21 graduate credit hours and to present a thesis based on independent research.

Doctor of Philosophy in Arab and Middle Eastern History

Mission Statement

The doctoral program in Arab and Middle Eastern History aims to create top-rank professional historians. Students in this program will acquire critical, interpretive and research skills, which will enable them to achieve excellence in their chosen field of specialization.

Learning Outcomes

Upon receiving their degree, graduates of the program will be equipped with the methodological, language and research skills that will qualify them to serve as academicians or professional researchers in local, regional and international universities; in other advanced centers of higher learning in their fields of specialization; or in related cultural and inter-disciplinary studies. Their training will enable them to become eligible for administrative, journalistic, diplomatic and non-governmental posts as well.

Admission Requirements

Admission to the doctoral program is competitive and selective and is dependent upon the recommendation of the Department of History and Archaeology and the approval of the faculty Graduate Studies Committee. Applicants normally hold an MA and have demonstrated outstanding academic ability (minimum average grade of 3.3 or its equivalent) and the potential to conduct scholarly research. In certain cases, BA recipients whose academic performance is superior (minimum average grade of 3.7 or its equivalent) will be considered for admission into the program. Depending on their point of entry, the completion of the program will extend between 3 to 5 years.

Financial Assistance

The university will cover the cost of tuition and will provide stipends to PhD candidates in the form of Graduate Assistantship support on a merit or need basis. In addition to a housing subsidy, it will also assist in covering the cost of language education and research should this be sought outside the AUB campus. Student participation in scholarly conferences, which can lead to publications, is encouraged and will be supported financially.

Study and Course Requirements

18 credits of graduate level courses are required for MA holders. 36 credits of graduate level courses are required for BA holders admitted directly into the program. The department may require students to take additional graduate or undergraduate courses if necessary. The language of instruction is English. Arabic, however, may be substituted for English depending on the area of specialization. Additionally, all students are required to attain working knowledge of either French or German and any other language required by their field of specialization. All students must submit a thesis.

Admission to Candidacy

See section entitled Admission to Candidacy on page 70.

Graduate Curriculum

The history graduate curriculum is subject to periodic departmental review. Overall, it is a flexible and individually-driven program, designed to build up a critical mass of knowledge based on the historical literature relating to the area of specialization. The curriculum adopts a problem-solving approach to historical research and writing, enabling graduates to think critically, work independently and take conscious ownership of their learning activity and align it with their own educational, academic and career aspirations.

Course Description

Following is a list of existing graduate courses offered by the department:

MA in Archaeology

Mission Statement

The graduate program in Archaeology provides students with advanced working knowledge and critical understanding of the methodological and theoretical principles of archaeological investigation and fieldwork. In addition to developing essential knowledge about the material and cultural roots of past societies, the program enhances student awareness about the value and relevance of Lebanon’s and the region’s archaeological heritage.


Students registered in the master’s program in archaeology are required to take a minimum of 21 graduate credit hours and to present a thesis based on independent research.

Course Description

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