American University of Beirut

About Us


The discipline of psychology is dedicated to increasing the scientific understanding of behavior and mental processes at the intrapersonal, interpersonal and group level, and to the application of that understanding to enhance the functioning of individuals, groups, and society. In line with this mission, the Undergraduate Program in Psychology has a threefold mission: to advance and transmit knowledge related to the nature of psychological processes and functioning, to provide a strong foundation in the basic knowledge and skills necessary for research in psychology, and to sensitize students to the applications of psychology in the wider community. This mission embodies the main elements of AUB’s mission, which are to foster freedom of thought, respect for diversity, critical thinking, personal integrity, and civic engagement.​

Program Learning Outcomes

  1. Argue that psychology is an empirical science that seamlessly connects with other social and natural sciences and that it can be clearly delineated from pseudoscience and pop psychology.
  2. Demonstrate an attitude of critical thinking and objectivity with psychological knowledge, in contexts and towards authority.
  3. Demonstrate research skills in research design and validity, data analysis and interpretation, data reporting, and applied ethical standards.
  4. Explain substantive content in key fields of psychology including social and personality psychology, development and abnormal psychology, learning and cognition, as well as perceptual psychology and neuroscience.
  5. Effectively and fluently communicate psychological content in an oral presentation format and in writing (includes use of the Style Manual of the American Psychological Association).
  6. Apply psychological concepts, theories, and research findings in daily life and to solve problems.​

History of the department

In 1870, President Daniel Bliss recruited Professor Harvey Porter as a Lecturer in Mental Sciences and History to teach the first introductory psychology course in “Mental Philosophy”. In 1874, Bliss also published the first introductory psychology textbook in Arabic “Al Durus Al Awaliyah Fil Falsafah Al ’Agliyah” [Treatise on Mental Philosophy] covering such topics as sensation, perception, learning, memory, emotions, and dreams. In 1897, the introductory psychology course carried the title Psychology.  Psychology offerings such as Social Psychology and Psychology of Education multiplied, and key psychology faculty such as Harvey Porter, Laurens Hickok Seelye, Edward F. Nickoley, Bulus K. Khauli, and Habib Kurani made notable contributions to the university and academic psychology. Professor Seelye was the first AUBite faculty member to carry the academic title Lecturer in Psychology in 1919. In 1932, he authored the introductory psychology textbook, Problems of Human Personality.  In the absence of a separate psychology department, psychology courses were housed in different departments such as philosophy until 1951 when a stand-alone Psychology Department in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences was created with E. Terry Prothro serving as its first Chair.

During this ‘golden age’ of academic psychology at AUB, full-time and visiting faculty faculty such as Levon H. Melikian, Lutfy Diab, Ernest Dalrymple Alford, Umayma Yaktin, Wayne Dennis, and H.C. Lindgren provided courses in psychology leading to undergraduate (BA) and graduate degrees (MA), offered Student Counseling Services to university students, established the Center for Behavioral Research (CBR) as a psychology laboratory for human and animal studies, and produced scholarly work in developmental psychology, social and personality psychology, clinical psychology and experimental psychology. In 1976, the Psychology Department was subsumed (along with Sociology, Anthropology and Mass Communication) under the umbrella of the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences (SBS). The Department of Psychology regained its stand-alone status in 2011, with Professor Shahé S. Kazarian serving as its first Chair. Today, the department of psychology is one of the largest and fastest growing departments in FAS, with three established labs (cognition, vision and neuroscience) and a growing list of faculty and students.​

See 150 years of publications by AUB psychology faculty members, compiled by Prof. Shahe Kazarian​

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