American University of Beirut

About FAS

​​​​​​​​​​​​​We nourish an environment that encourages the free exchange of ideas, critical thinking, and community engagement. We are the nucleus of research innovation, spearheading breakthroughs in the natural and quantitative sciences and laying the foundation for a better future.

We are the Faculty of Arts and Sciences.

Mission Statement

The Faculty of Arts and Sciences embodies AUB’s core commitment to the liberal arts and sciences. It offers undergraduate and graduate programs in the arts, humanities, and social, natural, and mathematical sciences, and is dedicated to advanced research in all of these domains. Through its freshmen and general education programs, it is the university’s principal gateway to higher studies and professional education. The faculty, through its teaching and research, promotes free inquiry, critical thinking, academic integrity, and respect for diversity and equality.


​Building upon its rich tradition, the Faculty of Arts and Sciences is determined to position itself at the heart of free inquiry in the Middle East. Free and critical thinking is central to the faculty’s teaching, its research, its engagements with the wider community, and its commitment to the thoughtful transformation of all of its activities and structures. The faculty’s enhanced unde​rgraduate programs will graduate innovators with a breadth of vision who can be agents of positive change wherever they live and work. The faculty will strategically expand its graduate offerings, especially in areas where it can make a distinctive contribution, and it will educate graduate students who are themselves producers of knowledge. The faculty will be recognized internationally for the quality of its research and creative activities in the humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, mathematical sciences, and interdisciplinary areas, whether undertaken in response to regional and global needs or to human curiosity and imagination. The faculty will provide a vital forum for open discussion and engage contemporary issues in ways that resonate far beyond our campus walls.

Historical Background

The Faculty of Arts and Sciences was established in 1866, the same year in which the Syrian Protestant College, now the American University of Beirut, was established. On December 13, 1866, the first class was held, attended by sixteen students, and in 1870, the first five students graduated. Arabic, which was the language of instruction since the inception of the college, was replaced by English in 1882. In 1900, the School of Commerce was established, and was later incorporated into the Faculty of Arts and Sciences.

AUB in general, the Faculty of Arts and Sciences in particular, have survived many crises since 1866 including two world wars, regional and local wars, student strikes, and economic crises. In spite of all these hardships, the faculty has continued to develop and to maintain its high academic standards.

In the mid-1970s, the University undertook a major planning exercise, which was known as the Horizon 2000 Plan, aimed at reorganizing the university as a whole. Several changes were introduced in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences as a result: a number of departments and programs (fine and performing arts, religious studies, and European language and literature) were cancelled, and a few others were either merged (e.g., psychology and sociology/anthropology) or became independent from the faculty (e.g., education and the University Orientation Program). In the past few years, the faculty has attempted a major self-review, particularly in its academic programs, faculty composition, and graduation requirements. Several master's degree programs were introduced (e.g., computer science and financial economics), or re-introduced (e.g., Middle Eastern studies) and a separate department of computer sciences was created. Furthermore, the faculty is the major contributor to the Center for Advanced Mathematical Studies, a research center of the university, established in 1997. In 2000, the School of Business, which was part of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, became an independent school, and Education became once more a department in Arts and Sciences. In fall 2001, the Central Research Science Laboratory was established to promote scientific research in the faculty and at the university at large. Currently, the faculty offers four PhD programs (in Arabic language and literature; Arab and Middle Eastern history; cell and molecular biology; and theoretical physics)​

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​“A liberal arts education, with emphasis on the humanities, natural sciences, and social sciences still represents the surest path to the formation of a well-rounded individual, a global citizen who dedicates him or herself to helping humanity.”

- AUB President Fadlo R. Khuri​​

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