American Univesity of Beirut

 RCODE Program Description and Admission Requirements

​​​​​​​About the Program​

The MS in Rural Community Development is an interdisciplinary program, which explores the social, political, economic and ecological dynamics of rural development in the Global South with specific reference to the Middle East and North Africa region. By combining insights from politica​l economy, sociology and ecology, it aims to provide students with adequate analytical and practical tools to:

  • understand the key challenges facing rural societies such as poverty, malnutrition, health, management of key natural resources (land and water), deterioration of eco-system, food insecurity, climate change;
  • design research in rural settings through both qualitative and quantitative methods; and
  • design adequate forms of policy interventions and development practices to address existing and emerging socio-ecological challenges in the rural milieu.

The core program emphasizes community and participatory development, rural and agricultural policies, agrarian change, gender issues, social analysis of communities, environmental transformations, design and planning, program development and non-profit management, and community action research and skills for community change. Through hands-on learning and a thorough exploration of rural development as a field of study, policy and practice, the program prepares students to address issues of rural development in the region.

Program Objectives​

The MS in Rural Community Development prepares students to address the existing and emerging challenges of rural development in the region and across the Global South. Upon completing the program, students will be able to

  • ​​​​​​​​​​​​​understand the multidimensional or multi-faceted nature of rural development and explain the inter-linkages among its components;
  • discuss the main theories and approaches to rural development and agrarian transformation​;
  • identify the main challenges to rural development and design strategies and interventions specific to regional and national needs. 
  • utilize quantitative and qualitative methodologies to conduct research in rural settings and evaluate rural development strategies, policies and programs.
  • gain knowledge to improve prospects of rural development and build their capacities in community development to better design, manage, follow up, evaluate, and monitor the projects either in the public or private sector locally, regionally, and internationally; and
  • undertake careers in development agencies, governments, NGOs, and civil society organizations concerned with rural development.

Program Duration

The MS in RCODE is a two-year program including the summer terms, equivalent to twenty-four months.

​Admission Requirements

T​his program is primarily designed for professionals and graduates who wish to work in rural development. It is specifically designed to impart subject matter specialists with a holistic perspective, and to help them place their specializations within the context of sustainable livelihoods.

Those interested in entering the program may be recruited from related disciplines including agriculture, nutrition and food sciences, and health and social sciences and other fields. Individuals with community service experience are especially encouraged to apply.

Admission requirements to the program are the same as outlined in the FAFS graduate students’ manual. Admissions to the program are decided by the FAFS graduate committee and the RCODE interdepartmental committee.

In brief, to be considered for admission to RCODE, applicants must hold a bachelor’s degree from AUB or its equivalent from a recognized institution of higher learning.

Applicants to the graduate program, other than AUB graduates and graduates of recognized colleges or universities in North America, Great Britain, Australia, and New Zealand, must meet the Readiness for University Studies in English (RUSE).

A score of 550 on the English Entrance Examination (EEE), or 600 on the paper-based Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), or 250 on the computer-based TOEFL or 97 on the Internet-based TOEFL, or 7.0 on the International English Language Testing System (IELTS), or 500 on the Verbal Part of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE), or 25 on the Verbal Part of the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) is required for admission of new applicants to graduate study, or prospective graduate study, from recognized institutions of higher education. An applicant is considered for admission as a regular student to RCODE if s/he meets the following minimum admission requirements:

  • An undergraduate average of at least 80 percent (or standardized equivalent from other institutions of higher learning) in the major field of study and a cumulative average of at least 75 percent (or standardized equivalent) for all work done at the undergraduate level leading to a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent from AUB or other recognized institutions of higher learning.
  • Students who hold a minor in a field of specialization with at least 80 percent average may be considered for admission as regular students in that field.

Please refer to the below important links to guide you through the graduate application and admissions process:

Online Graduate Application:

 Frequently Asked Questions for Online Graduate Applications:  

Graduate Council Webage:​​​

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