American University of Beirut

PhD Program in Arab and Middle Eastern History

Admission Requirements

Admission to the doctoral program is competitive and selective and is dependent upon the recommendation of the Department of History and Archaeology and the approval of the faculty Graduate Studies Committee. Applicants normally hold an MA and have demonstrated outstanding academic ability (minimum average grade of 80 or its equivalent) and the potential to conduct scholarly research. In certain cases, BA recipients whose academic performance is superior (minimum average grade of 85 or its equivalent) will be considered for admission into the program. Depending on their point of entry, the completion of the program will extend between 3 to 5 years.

Financial Assistance

The university will cover the cost of tuition and will provide stipends to PhD candidates in the form of Graduate Assistantship support on a merit or need basis. In addition to a housing subsidy, it will also assist in covering the cost of language education and research should this be sought outside the AUB campus. Student participation in scholarly conferences, which can lead to publications, is encouraged and will be supported financially.

Study and Course Requirements for PhD Candidacy

18 credits of graduate level courses are required for MA holders. 36 credits of graduate level courses are required for BA holders admitted directly into the program. The department may require students to take additional graduate or undergraduate courses if necessary. The language of instruction is English. Arabic, however, may be substituted for English depending on the area of specialization. Additionally, all students are required to attain working knowledge of either French or German and any other language required by their field of specialization. All students must submit a thesis.


In addition to computer and other technical facilities provided by AUB, students will have access to the department's private library as well as to the main University library. Jafet Library holds over half a million printed volumes, many of which relate to the history of the Arabs and the Modern Middle East. The University Library also owns over 1400 manuscripts, overwhelmingly concerned with matters pertaining to Islam and other aspects of Middle Eastern life and history. Its periodical subscriptions include approximately three thousand periodicals, of which 182 are in Arabic. The Library moreover has one of the largest and most complete collections of Arabic newspapers covering the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. To this must be added the vast array of primary and secondary material available on microfilm and microfiche and in a multiplicity of databases which are accessible to all AUB students. The Department also has an additional Faculty line for Visiting Professors: the Alfred H. Howell Endowed Chair.

For information on admissions to the PhD Program see AUB's Admissions website.

Graduate Curriculum in History

The graduate curriculum is subject to periodic departmental review. Overall, it is a flexible and individually-driven program, designed to build up a critical mass of knowledge based on the historical literature relating to the area of specialization. The curriculum adopts a problem-solving approach to historical research and writing, enabling graduates to think critically, work independently and take conscious ownership of their learning activity and align it with their own educational, academic and career aspirations.

Sample Course Selection

For a complete list of course descriptions please refer to the latest edition of the AUB Catalogue.

HIST 303/304 Graduate Seminar in Arab and Middle Eastern History

HIST 305/306 Graduate Seminar in European History.

HIST 321/322 The Arab Historians, I and II

HIST 323/324 Advanced Documentation and Research, I and II

HIST 325/326 Social and Intellectual History of the Arabs, I and II

HIST 327/328 Social and Economic History of the Modern Middle East, I and II

HIST 330 Advanced Historical Interpretation

HIST 331 Tutorial Topics in Arab and Middle Eastern History

HIST 332 Special Topics in History

HIST 480 Qualifying Exam Part I: Comprehensive Exam

HIST 481 Qualifying Exam Part II: Defense of Thesis Proposal

HIST 484/488 PhD Thesis ​

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