American University of Beirut

Curriculum and Degree Requirements

​​Admission Requirements

Admission requirements to the program follow FAS admissions policies. Applicants are expected to have a BA degree in a social science field (broadly define) 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 experience is strongly recommended.

Applicants must have a strong academic record, two letters of recommendation (at least one must assess academic rather than professional abilities), and a statement 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 6 credit thesis or a final year 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.

Program Goals and Learning Outcomes

The PPIA program has two central objectives:

  1. Offer students the opportunity to deepen their conceptual, critical and practical knowledgeof public policy and international affairs.
  2. Provide students with the necessary professional skills, tools and networks to lead careers in public affairs.The program is centered on articulating public and international policy perspectives that are well contextualized in political, economic, social and even structural terms; incorporating the specificities and particularities of theArab world and its many constituents; and linking academia to the policy practitioner. Furthermore, it strives to increase interaction and knowledge production within a South- South context – a dimension largely deficient inthe Arab region.

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

  • Research Methods: Analyze qualitative and/or quantitative information while conducting research related to 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

Thesis and Project Tracks

Thesis Track: To follow the thesis track, students must first gain approval of a thesis proposal by a thesis committee that includes members of the PPIA program faculty and then defend the completed Master’s thesis.

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


This option for a final project allows MPPIA participants 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 withtin the allotted time period can petition to be allowed an additional semester subject to consent of his committee.


All students are recommended to take 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

Credit Summary

Credits required for graduation  (30 cr.)

Required core courses (3)    9 cr.
Additional PPIA courses (2)      6 cr.
Open elective courses (3)    9 cr.
Thesis (6 cr.) or Project (3 cr.) plus Internship (3 cr.)     6 cr.
​Credits required for graduation
​30 cr.

Required Core Courses (9 cr.)

PPIA 301    Public Policy and Practice    3 cr.
PPIA 302     International Affairs and Policy    3 cr.
PPIA 308    Research Methods     3 cr.

​Please note that Graduate courses are not being offered during the summer semester.

For more information please refer to our Program Catalog.​

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