American University of Beirut

University Preparatory Program (UPP)

Director:Harkouss, Samar
Harkouss, Samar; Rahme, Joseph; Sadaka, Nadine
Full-time Instructors:
El-Harake, Rima; Peltekian, Katia
Part-time Instructors:Almekkawi, Rola; Ramadan, Mahassen
Assistant Instructor:Nabbouh, Salam​

The University Preparatory Program (UPP) is a unit within the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. Its main objective is to address the specific English language needs of students who have completed high school with strong academic records but are unprepared to function in all-English curricula at the university level. The program also aims to develop the science and mathematics content competencies and computer skills of its students, as well as develop the requisite academic literacy, study skills, and information library skills needed for success in university studies.

UPP is a one-year program consisting of 25 contact hours per week. Its curriculum follows an integrated approach to the teaching of language skills (listening, speaking, reading, and writing) and a student-centered approach to the teaching of science and mathematics. Furthermore, the curriculum incorporates study skills, pronunciation training, and conversational English, depending on individual needs. The development of computer literacy, preparation for the critical reading part of the SAT reasoning test, and cultural orientation are also emphasized.

Applicants must have completed at least twelve years of schooling, or the equivalent, before beginning the program and must submit a UPP application with all supporting material. Completed applications are reviewed and students are notified of their acceptance or non-acceptance to UPP in due course.

Accepted applicants to UPP are assigned to a learning level based on their performance on a special English language test. This test measures the English language proficiency of learners and is used to place students into three proficiency levels. Other diagnostic tests specifically prepared for the program are used to determine the mastery level of various language skills and elements (listening, speaking, reading, writing, grammar, and vocabulary). In addition, applicants receive developmentally appropriate instruction based on their performance on science, math, and computer skills tests.

Promotion to a higher level is not automatic; learners must demonstrate that they have successfully met the instructional objectives set for the current level. The placement test may be administered again to serve as an indicator of the progress made by the learners over the period of one term. Successful completion of the program and admission to sophomore standing is determined on the basis of passing the UPP sequence of courses and attaining the scores on the TOEFL and SAT tests required for admission to regular AUB programs. Students wishing to enter the university with freshman standing must successfully complete the UPP sequence of courses. Furthermore, all UPP applicants to AUB must present a letter of good performance from the Program Director. They should also maintain a good attendance record. Students who miss more than one-fifth of the sessions of any section in the first ten weeks of the term (five weeks in the case of the summer term) will be dropped from the program.

It is important to stress that students are required to complete the program, even if they attain the needed TOEFL and SAT scores before the term is finished. Failing to complete the program jeopardizes students’ chances of admission to AUB.

The UPP also offers an Intensive English Summer Course for newly admitted graduate students coming from outside AU​B who have not fulfilled the English Language Requirement. This course (a minimum of 20 contact hours per week) aims at enabling these students to function effectively in all-English curricula.


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