American Univesity of Beirut

Department of Political Studies and Public Administration (PSPA)

​Geukjian, Ohannes
Professor:Khashan, Hilal A.
Associate Professors:Bahout, Joseph; Frangie, Samer;Geha, Carmen; Goodfield, Eric; Khodr, Hiba; Makdisi, Karim; Pison-Hindawi, Coralie; Reiche, Danyel
Assistant Professors:Geukjian, Ohannes; Haddad, Tania; Kosmatopoulos, Nikolas; Tell, Tariq
Lecturers:Al-Maleh, Rand; Awada, Ghada; Douaihy, Michel; Hussein Mansour, Mohamad; Maalouf, Rabih; Mirza, Zeinab; Mouawad, Jamil; Muhanna, Zeina; Nahhas, Charbel; Shaar, Rima; Smaira, Dima
Instructors:Ajamian, Melissa; Haidar, Mahmoud; Hankir, Samer; Haytayan, Laury; Shibli, Rabih; Pacoubian, Vera

The Department of Political Studies and Public Administration (PSPA) offers three graduate programs: one leading to the degree of Master of Arts in Political Studies (POLS), one leading to the degree of Master of Arts in Public Administration (PUBA), and one leading to the degree of Master of Arts in Public Policy and International Affairs (PPIA).

Graduate students in POLS and PUBA are required to complete 24 credit hours of courses (of which no more than 6 credit hours can be taken outside the major) and defend a thesis (worth 6 credits) in front of a thesis committee. PPIA students are required to complete 24 credit hours of courses (of which no more than 9 credits can be taken outside the program with the Director’s permission) and defend either a thesis (worth 6 credits) or a project (worth 3 credits) and internship (3 credits).

MA in Political Studies

Students majoring in Political Studies are required to take two core courses, which must include PSPA 300 and one of PSPA 301, PSPA 310 or PSPA 320. Students are encouraged to complete all core courses by the end of their second term. Other major courses can be taken from the following subfields: Political Theory: PSPA 301 to PSPA 309, International Politics: PSPA 310 to PSPA 319, Comparative Politics: PSPA 320 to PSPA 329, and Environmental Politics: PSPA 341 to PSPA 346. The remaining two elective courses can be taken within the major or any other relevant field (including a foreign language).

Course Descriptions

MA in Public Policy and International Affairs  

Program Goals and Learning Outcomes

Students who earn a Master's degree in Public Policy and International Affairs (PPIA) will be able to analyze the policy process in Lebanon and the Arab region within the global context. The PPIA program is professionally-oriented, that seeks to expose students to perspectives and approaches from practitioners in public policy and international affairs.

Upon successful completion of this interdisciplinary course of study, PPIA students are expected to able to develop knowledge and skills in the following core areas:

  • Research Methods: Identify essential research questions, design research proposals and conduct qualitative and/or quantitative research on public policy and international affairs.
  • Advanced Core Knowledge: Analyze core concepts, research and theories in relevant and multi-disciplinary areas of study in public policy and international affairs.
  • Scholarly Communication Skills: Demonstrate scholarly communication skills in clear, detailed and well-structured written and oral formats consistent with high standards of the social sciences and public affairs.
  • Professionalism and Ethical Research Conduct: Apply professionalism and ethical research conduct in the relevant areas of study.
  • Applying Research to Practice: Translating qualitative and quantitative research findings to policy and international affairs settings and general public.
  • Outreach to Policy Actors: Develop skills to inform and engage with relevant policy actors at the national, regional, and international levels.

Admission Requirements

Admission requirements to the program will follow FAS admissions policies. Admission to the MA in PPIA is restricted to the fall term. Applicants are generally expected to have a BA degree in a social science field (broadly defined) or one relevant to public policy and/or international affairs, or else professional experience in public policy and/ or international affairs as it relates to the Arab region. In all cases, a minimum of one- year work/policy experience is strongly recommended and more is encouraged.

Applicants must have a strong academic record, two letters of recommendation (at least one must assess academic rather than professional abilities), and a statement of purpose that clearly outlines applicant's background and goals. In addition, applicants are recommended to submit a relevant writing sample of no longer than 5,000 words.

Degree Requirements

The program permits full-time or part-time enrollments. To obtain a Master of Arts degree in Public Policy and International Affairs, the student must complete a minimum of 24 credits of graduate coursework and a thesis (6 cr.) or a final project (3 cr.) plus an internship (3 cr.). Course work must include the three core courses (PPIA 301, PPIA 302, PPIA 308) and two additional PPIA courses plus any three courses in PPIA, PSPA, or other program relevant to the student's program of study.

Credit Summary

​Required courses
Core courses (2)​6 cr.
PPIA 3081 Research Methods (or equivalent approved by director)3 cr.
Additional PPIA courses (2)6 cr.
Open Elective courses (3)9 cr.
Thesis (6 cr.) or (Internship (3 cr.) + Project (3 cr.))6 cr.
30 cr.

​Core Courses
PPIA 301​Public Policy and Practice
PPIA 302International Affairs and Policy

Thesis and Project Tracks

Thesis Track

To follow the thesis track, students must first gain approval of a thesis committee that includes members of the PPIA program faculty, and of the FAS Graduate Studies Committee, of a thesis proposal and then defend the completed Master’s thesis. Students are expected to uphold the highest standards of academic integrity, scientific rigor and professional relevance while presenting their findings. All accepted projects should be deposited at the library.

Project Track

Students are expected to complete an internship (3 cr.) plus a project (3 cr.).

This option for a final project allows students to investigate an issue of relevance to public policy or international affairs in line with their personal research interests. Each student is assigned a committee consisting of an advisor (first reader) and a second reader who jointly supervise and guide the student throughout. It is the responsibility of the student to select a topic and submit a project proposal to be approved by her/ his readers and then by the FAS Graduate Studies Committee. While the projects can be presented in diverse forms, students are expected to uphold the highest standards of academic integrity, scientific rigor and professional relevance while presenting their findings. All accepted projects should be deposited at the library. A student who is unable to finish the project within the allotted time period can petition to be allowed an additional semester subject to consent of his committee.


All project track students are required to complete an internship. Internships offer an exploration of public policy and international affairs through work experience in governmental, non-governmental, or private sector organizations. Students are responsible for securing their internships and having the PPIA program confirm that they meet AUB guidelines. Internships for credit require about 45 contact hours with about 90 hours of work beyond this (total 135 hours or about 10 hr/wk for 3 months). To register for internship the student must have his/her supervisor confirm to the PPIA program in writing at the beginning of the internships that the internships meets these guidelines. At the end of the internship, the supervisor must confirm in writing that these guidelines have been met. Upon completion, the student will write up a short report about the internship that will form a PPIA internship database. Internships can also be taken as an elective course for those on the thesis track.

Course Descriptions

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