American University of Beirut

The University

The American University of Beirut (AUB) is a private, independent, non-sectarian institution of higher learning founded in 1866. It functions under a charter from the State of New York and is governed by a private, autonomous Board of Trustees.

The university has six faculties: Agricultural and Food Sciences, Arts and Sciences, Engineering and Architecture, Health Sciences, Medicine (including the Rafic Hariri School of Nursing), and the Suliman S. Olayan School of Business. At present, AUB offers programs leading to Bachelor, Master, MD, and PhD degrees.

The university became co-educational in 1922. The language of instruction is English.


Degrees awarded by the American University of Beirut are officially registered with the Ministry of Education and Higher Education in Lebanon and with the New York State Department of Education in the United States. AUB is accredited as an institution by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE), - 1007 North Orange Street, 4th Floor, MB #166, Wilmington, DE 19801, 267-284-5011. The MSCHE is an institutional accrediting agency recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education and the Council for Higher Education (CHEA). MSCHE accreditation is an expression of confidence in AUB’s mission, goals, resources and performance based upon periodic internal and external assessment. The university was first accredited in June 2004, and this accreditation was reaffirmed in 2009, 2014 and 2019.

Six of AUB’s faculties/schools have earned accreditation from relevant accrediting bodies as listed below. In many cases, AUB’s faculties/schools are the first or the only ones of their kind outside of the United States to have programs accredited by US agencies:

The Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences’ undergraduate Nutrition and Dietetics Coordinated Program (NDCP) was the first nutrition and dietetics program in the Middle East to receive US accreditation, in 2013, from the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND), which is the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics’ accrediting agency of nutrition education programs. The program secured full re-accreditation, for the maximum allowable time of seven years, in 2017. In September 2021, the Department of Landscape Design and Ecosystem Management at FAFS secured accreditation of its Bachelors of Landscape Architecture (BLA) program from the Landscape Architecture Accreditation Board (LAAB), which is the academic arm of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA).FAFS’ BLA program is the first and only such program to secure LAAB accreditation outside the USA, worldwide. This accreditation is for the maximum allowable duration of 6 years, and will be renewed subject to another review in 2027.

The Maroun Semaan Faculty of Engineering and Architecture’s BE in civil engineering, BE in computer and communications engineering, BE in electrical and computer engineering, and BE in mechanical engineering were accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) in 2010, with retroactive effect to 2008; renewed in 2016. MSFEA’s undergraduate program in chemical engineering was also accredited by ABET in 2016 with a retroactive effect to 2013.

The Public Health Program at the Faculty of Health Sciences received its initial accreditation in 2006 from the Council on Education for Public Health, an independent agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education that accredits schools of public health and public health programs. In 2012, the program was reaccredited for a seven- year term. In December 2019, the CEPH Board voted to renew the accreditation of the program for another seven-year term, ending in 2026. The accredited Public Health Program includes the Bachelor of Arts in Health Communication, Master of Public Health, Master of Science in Epidemiology, Master of Science in Environmental Health, and the Ph.D. in Epidemiology,. In March 2021, the CEPH Board granted accreditation for the FHS undergraduate Environmental Health Program (BSc in Environmental Health), ending in 2026. The Public Health Program will start preparations for re-accreditation by AY 2023-24 with the aim of securing a decision by 2026. The FHS public health program was the first to be accredited by CEPH outside the Americas and it remains the only CEPH- accredited program in the Arab region. Internationally, it is one of only nine non-US public health programs to hold CEPH accreditation. This has allowed FHS to become a full member of the Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health and to join the Delta Omega Honorary Society in Public Health, which are recognitions of academic excellence limited to CEPH-accredited schools and programs.

The Faculty of Medicine was granted full accreditation effective January 1, 2019 and for a period of six years by the Association for Evaluation and Accreditation of Medical Education Programs (TEPDAD) International Medical Education Accreditation Council, the authorized medical school accrediting body of the World Federation for Medical Education (WFME) based in Turkey. This accreditation places FM in compliance with the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates requirement. The Faculty of Medicine has received “initial” institutional accreditation from the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education-International (ACGME-I) in 2015 and currently have “continuous” accreditation till year 2024. After obtaining initial institutional accreditation, the Faculty of Medicine’s GME residency programs started applying for ACGME-I accreditation. Currently, 18 residency programs have received ACGME-I accreditation (Anesthesiology, Dermatology, Diagnostic Radiology, Emergency Medicine, Family Medicine, General Surgery, Internal Medicine, Neurosurgery, Neurology, Obstetrics & Gynecology, Ophthalmology, Orthopaedic Surgery, Otorhinolaryngology, Pediatrics, Plastic Surgery, Psychiatry, Radiation Oncology and Urology).

The Rafic Hariri School of Nursing became the first nursing school outside American territories to have its BSN and MSN programs accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) in 2007 (reaffirmed in 2012). The BSN and MSN programs were reaccredited for 10 years effective March 7, 2022 – December 31, 2032.

The Suliman S. Olayan School of Business is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB International). It was the first school of business in Lebanon to earn this accreditation in 2009 (reaffirmed in 2014 and 2019). The school of Business boasts a portfolio of AACSB accredited programs that include the following: Bachelors in Business Administration (BBA), Masters in Business Administration (MBA), Online Masters in Business Administration (OMBA), Executive Masters in Business Administration (EMBA), Master’s in Finance (MFIN), Master in Human Resource Management (MHRM) & Master’s in Business Analytics (MSBA). On September 2022, the programs offered at American University of Beirut - Mediterrano (Bachelors in Business Administration–Management (BBA); and Master’s in Business Analytics (MSBA)) were included among the accredited programs.

Mission Statement

The American University of Beirut (AUB) is an institution of higher learning founded to provide excellence in education, to participate in the advancement of knowledge through research, and to serve the peoples of the Middle East and beyond. Chartered in New York State in 1863, the university bases its educational philosophy, standards and practices on the American liberal arts model of higher education. The university believes deeply in and encourages freedom of thought and expression and seeks to foster tolerance and respect for diversity and dialogue. Graduates will be individuals committed to creative and critical thinking, lifelong learning, personal integrity, civic responsibility and leadership.


In 1862, American missionaries in Lebanon and Syria, under the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, asked Dr. Daniel Bliss to withdraw from the evangelical work of the mission in Lebanon to found a college of higher learning that would include medical training. It was felt that this college should have an American educational character, should be administered independently from the mission, and should be maintained by its own funds. Dr. Bliss traveled to the United States in the summer of 1862 to solicit funds for this new enterprise. By August 1864, he had raised $100,000 but, because of inflation during the Civil War, it was decided that he should raise a sterling fund in England to start the operations of the college, leaving the dollar fund to appreciate. After collecting £4,000 in England, Dr. Bliss traveled to Beirut in March 1866.

On April 24, 1863, while Dr. Bliss was raising money for the new school, the State of New York granted a charter under the name of the Syrian Protestant College. The college opened with its first class of 16 students on December 3, 1866.

The cornerstone of College Hall, the first building on the present campus in Ras Beirut, was laid on December 7, 1871, by the Honorable William E. Dodge, Sr., then Treasurer of the Board of Trustees. At the ceremony, President Daniel Bliss expressed the guiding principle of the college in these words:

“This college is for all conditions and classes of men without regard to color, nationality, race or religion. A man, white, black or yellow, Christian, Jew, Mohammedan or heathen, may enter and enjoy all the advantages of this institution for three, four or eight years; and go out believing in one God, in many gods, or in no God. But it will be impossible for anyone to continue with us long without knowing what we believe to be the truth and our reasons for that belief.”

College Hall and the first medical building were completed and put to use in 1873, and the bell in the tower of College Hall pealed for the first time in March 1874. However, College Hall was extensively damaged by a savage explosion in the early morning of November 8, 1991, and the building had to be demolished. It was later rebuilt, and the new College Hall was inaugurated in June 1999.

Since the earliest years, the university has continually expanded and developed new faculties and programs. In 1867, it started the School of Medicine. Four years later, in 1871, both a school of pharmacy and a preparatory school were added. The latter became independent in 1960 and is now known as International College. In 1900, the university established a school of commerce which was later incorporated into the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. In 2000, it regained its independence and was later named the Suliman S. Olayan School of Business. When the hospital (currently the American University of Beirut Medical Center) opened in 1905, a school of nursing—today the Rafic Hariri School of Nursing—was also established. In 1910, the university opened a School of Dentistry, which operated for thirty years. In the early years of the 1950s, several program expansions took place. The Maroun Semaan Faculty of Engineering and Architecture was established in 1951; the Faculty of Agriculture—now the Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences—first opened its doors in 1952; and the School of Public Health—now the Faculty of Health Sciences—was founded in 1954.

On November 18, 1920, the Board of Regents of the University of the State of New York changed the name of the institution from the Syrian Protestant College to the American University of Beirut; other charter amendments expanded the functions of the university.

At the end of June 2018, the number of degrees and diplomas awarded since June 1870 totaled 96,691.

PresidentDr. Daniel Bliss1866–02
PresidentDr. Howard S. Bliss1902–20
Acting PresidentDean Edward F. Nickoley1920–23
PresidentDr. Bayard Dodge1923–48
PresidentDr. Stephen B.L. Penrose, Jr. 1948–54
Acting PresidentDr. Constantine K. Zurayk1954–57
PresidentDr. J. Paul Leonard 1957–61
PresidentMr. Norman Burns1961–65
PresidentDr. Samuel B. Kirkwood1965–76
Interim PresidentDr. James Cowan 1976–77
PresidentDr. Harold E. Hoelscher1977–81
Acting PresidentMr. David S. Dodge1981–82
PresidentDr. Malcolm H. Kerr 1982–84
Acting PresidentDr. Samir K. Thabet1984
PresidentDr. Calvin Plimpton1984–87
PresidentDr. Frederic P. Herter1987–93
PresidentDr. Robert M. Haddad1993–96
PresidentMr. David S. Dodge1996–97
PresidentDr. John Waterbury1998–08
PresidentDr. Peter F. Dorman2008–15
PresidentDr. Fadlo R. Khuri2015 –​

Marquand House, completed in 1879, is the campus residence of the president of the university. All presidents have lived there during their presidencies, except for Dr. Calvin Plimpton, Dr. Frederic Herter, Dr. Robert Haddad and Mr. David Dodge.

Three presidents died while in office: Dr. Howard Bliss, Dr. Stephen Penrose and Dr. Malcolm Kerr. Dr. Kerr, the ninth president, was assassinated outside of his College Hall office on January 18, 1984.

Non-Discrimination Notice

AUB is committed to the principle of equal opportunity and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, age, national or ethnic identity, sex, gender or gender identity, marital status, disability, genetic predisposition or carrier status, alienage or citizenship status, political affiliation, or any legally protected characteristic, in its programs and activities to the fullest extent permitted by Lebanese law. This includes prohibition against sexual harassment and sexual violence as mandated by Title IX of the U.S. Education Amendments of 1972. Inquiries or complaints may be addressed to the university’s Equity/Title IX Coordinator at or +961-1-350000 ext. 2514, or to the Office of the President, College Hall, 5th Fl., Beirut, Lebanon. You may also contact one of AUB’s Deputy Title IX Coordinators representing each faculty/school and several key units. A list is available at Student inquiries related to disability accommodations or special learning needs should be addressed to the Accessible Education Officer in the Office of Student Affairs at or ext. 3246. For AUB’s full policies, visit

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