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Programs and Deadlines
About Penn Abroad
American University of Beirut (BBT)
Beirut, Lebanon (Fall Spring Academic Year Outgoing Program)
Program Terms: Fall,
Budget Sheets Fall,
Fact Sheet:
Language of Instruction:
Arabic, English
Language Prerequisite:
No previous study
Minimum Cumulative GPA: 3.0
Credit Available For:
College, Huntsman
Type of Program:
Direct Enrollment
Application Deadline:
Fall/Year: February 15, Spring: October 1
Program Description:


Program Snapshot

(click on the links highlighted in blue below to learn more)
The Academic Program
  • Direct Enrollment through the American University of Beirut
  • Fall Semester: Late August to Mid-December
  • Spring Semester: Mid-January to Mid-May
  • Minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 required
  • 1 area studies course in language or culture required
  • Previous study of Arabic recommended, but not required
  • The university offers on-campus housing. Students are required to live in on-campus housing.
The City of Beirut
  • Capital of Lebanon and largest city within Lebanon 
  • Located on Lebanon's Mediterranean coast
  • Official language is Arabic, however Lebanese Arabic, French and English are also spoken in Lebanon
Special Features
Offers classes in Standard Arabic and Lebanese colloquial Arabic
Financial Matters
Penn Resources

The Academic Program

The American University of Beirut (AUB), top-ranked in Lebanon and #2 in the Arab Region (QS World Rankings, 2015), was founded in 1866 and celebrated its 150th year in 2016. AUB has a student body of approximately 8,000 and offers more than 130 degree programs across six faculties including:  Agricultural and Food Sciences, Arts and Sciences, Engineering and Architecture, Health Sciences, Medicine, and the Suliman S. Olayan School of Business. All courses at AUB are taught in English except for courses in the Arabic department or other language departments. 

Penn students at AUB elect courses from the regular general course offerings and integrate into courses alongside degree-seeking AUB students. Penn students normally select courses that contain a Middle Eastern focus including Arabic language courses. Students who wish to take courses in general subjects that are not specifically related to the Middle East must ascertain that relevant Penn departments will recognize them for Penn credit. 

Course Load

Penn Abroad participants must maintain a full course load for their period of study abroad, which is typically 4-5 courses at AUB. 
All students must take at least one course in Modern Standard Arabic. 

Grading Scale

AUB uses a 4.0 grading scale. For additional information on the AUB grading scale, please follow this link

As on all Penn Abroad programs, grades are recorded on the Penn transcript and are calculated in the cumulative grade point average. The pass/fail option can be exercised according to the Penn on-campus policy of your home school.

Learn More About the American University of Beirut

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  • Minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 required
  • 1 area studies course in language or culture required
  • Previous study of Arabic recommended, but not required
  • Penn students normally select courses with a Middle Eastern focus, including Arabic language courses

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All Penn Abroad students are required to live in on-campus housing provided by AUB. AUB offers both male and female dormitories. There is a housing application process and students are encouraged to complete the housing application (separate from the program application) as swiftly as possible in order to ensure that on campus housing is secured.

The AUB Student Housing website includes details on the different dormitory options available to students during their term abroad. 

The City of Beirut

Beirut is both the capital and largest city in Lebanon with over 2 million residents in its metropolitan area. The city is located at the tip of a peninsula that protrudes along the center of the Lebanon’s coastal border, and is surrounded by the Mediterranean Sea. As one of the oldest cities in the world, estimated to have been settled over 5,000 years ago, the city maintains a rich history which includes Arab, Ottoman and French rule before Lebanon gained its independence in 1943. The city is also thought to have hosted one of the world’s first law schools, before it’s abandonment towards the end of the Roman Empire. Now Beirut still stands as a hub for archaeological research, architecture, language study, Islamic and Middle Eastern studies and many other subjects that are all enhanced by the cities rich history.

The city of Beirut is filled with cultural diversity, making it a great location for history, culture and language study. The Beirut Central District, located on the eastern shores of the Beirut, acts as the economic core for the city boasting hundreds of café’s, retail stores and a growing number of banks and corporations along with the Beirut Port and Beirut Marina. Dispersed throughout the city, are popular art galleries and museums that represent the culture and history of Beirut and Lebanon.

The American University of Beirut
The American University of Beirut (AUB) was founded in 1866. The school enrolls over 8,000 undergrads and graduate students and is commonly considered the number one university in Lebanon. AUB is made up of six schools, separated by field of study. The university is a hub for both Arab and Middle Eastern studies, and a popular destination for archaeology, biomedical and environmental research.

The urban, 61 acres campus is located in the Ras Beirut quarter of the city and overlooks the Mediterranean Sea. The campus is comprised of 64 buildings along with several dormitories and libraries. The campus also hosts a private beach, bird sanctuary, tree repository, and a world renowned archaeological museum. Separately AUB also has research centers throughout Lebanon, which includes a 247 acre research farm located in a Beirut suburb for the school of agriculture.

AUB’s main campus is conveniently located next to Beirut’s Hamra shopping district, and not far from Beirut’s touristic downtown district. The campus itself is fully accessible to students with disabilities and host a number of student resources such as a campus bookstore, health center, cafeterias and other useful services.

Special Features 

AUB offers courses in both Modern Standard Arabic as well as Lebanese Arabic. For additional information, please follow this link  

Financial Matters

Students are charged Penn tuition and student fee (called study abroad fee the semester abroad) for all Penn programs.  Additional expenses will typically include items such as housing, meals, and airfare.  Please see the program budget sheet to determine other costs. 

In most cases, financial aid applies to Penn-approved programs.  Student Financial Services reviews program budget sheets each semester to determine how to appropriately adjust your aid package.  

Penn Resources

Students who study abroad are encouraged to take advantage of Penn's many resources for students, even if you haven't used them before going abroad.  There is an extensive list of resources on the Penn Abroad website that can help you to explore issues that might pertain to you and to help you prepare for a term abroad. 

In addition to these resources, we encourage you to reach out to a past program participant or ambassador to learn more about the program from a student perspective.

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