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Programs : Brochure

  • Locations: Beirut, Lebanon
  • Program Terms: Fall, Spring
  • Budget Sheets: Fall, Spring
Program Description:

BBT LogoAmerican University of Beirut

The American University of Beirut (AUB), top-ranked in Lebanon and #2 in the Arab Region, 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. All courses at AUB are taught in English except for courses in the Arabic department or other language departments. The urban, 61 acre 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.

For additional information, visit the American University of Beirut website
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 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 of Beirut is filled with cultural diversity, making it a great location for history, culture and language study.

Did you know…?

Souk El Tayeb (located in the Saifi Village parking lot) is Beirut’s first farmers’ market, which was started in 2004. The picture of diversity, containing a broad spectrum of Lebanon’s diverse faiths and rural regions, this is a great place to obtain local olive oil, tomatoes, cheeses, jams, breads, soaps, and more.

Notice to Applicants: The travel destination of this study abroad program is in a location currently on Penn’s list of Heightened Security Risk Regions.  Study abroad to this location is subject to review and approval by Penn’s Committee on International Travel Risk Assessment (CITRA). Please refer to Penn’s International Travel Guidance for more information.


The program at the American University of Beirut is for College credit only.

Minimum GPA Requirement: 3.0

Language Prerequisite: Previous study of Arabic recommended, but not required.
Additional Course Pre-requisite(s): Successful completion of 1 Area Studies course in language or culture by the end of the academic semester (fall or spring) prior to departure required.

Language of Instruction

English, Arabic


A full course load at the American University of Beirut consists of a minimum of 12 credits, equating to a minimum of four courses per semester. All students must take at least one course in Modern Standard Arabic. Penn students must maintain a full course load while abroad and may only enroll in courses at the undergraduate level.
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.

AUB Academic Calendar
AUB Course Catalog for Incoming Exchange Students
Grading Scale
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. Be sure to review Penn Abroad’s academic policies.

Grades are reported to Penn on the AUB scale and then converted to Penn grades according to the following grade equivalencies:
 AUB Grade Percentage Penn Grade Conversion
90-100 A
86-89 A-
84-85 B+
80-83 B
77-79 B-
73-76 C+
69-72 C
67-68 C-
63-66 D
0-62 F

BBT Special FeaturesOrientation Activities

All Penn students are required to attend the orientation activities organized by the American University of Beirut prior to the start of each semester. More information on AUB’s orientation activities can be found here.

Language Courses

AUB offers courses in both Modern Standard Arabic as well as Lebanese Arabic. More information can be found here.

Buddy Program

BBT Special FeaturesAll international students will be matched with an Office of International Programs (OIP) mentor before arrival on campus. OIP mentors are a group of AUB undergraduate and graduate students who serve as the international student support group on campus. Mentors guide international students during orientation week and plan social and cultural events throughout the semester. Read more about the OIP Mentor Program here.

Student Associations

Penn students studying at the American University of Beirut have access to a wide range of student activities and associations. More information can be found here.

BBT CampusParticipants must be willing to live under local conditions for students.

Penn students may choose from living in on-campus housing provided by the American University of Beirut, or in off-campus housing in the Gemmayze/Mar Mikhail quarter. Any other housing location will require written explanation and exact address, and approval from CITRA.
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.

Penn Abroad Financial Policies

Students are charged Penn tuition and academic fees for all Penn Abroad programs. Additional expenses will typically include items such as housing, visas, and airfare. Please see the program budget sheets below for more information. Be sure to review Penn Abroad’s financial policies.

Financial Aid and Study Abroad

In most cases, financial aid applies to Penn-approved semester abroad programs. Student Financial Services reviews program budget sheets each semester to determine how to appropriately adjust your aid package. Visit SFS's website for more information on how Financial Aid will work during your semester abroad.

Budget Sheets


Scholarship Opportunities

Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program: Competition for awards for study abroad, for US citizen students who are receiving federal Pell Grant funding at a 2-year or 4-year college or university. 

David L. Boren Undergraduate Scholarships for Study Abroad: Supports undergraduate study abroad focusing on geographical areas, languages, and fields of study deemed critical to US national security. (Excludes study in US, Canada, Western Europe, Australia, and New Zealand.) These US government grants entail a service obligation.

Please review the Penn Abroad application process, policies, and procedures.

To open an application or learn more about the program, please schedule an appointment with a Penn Abroad Global Programs Manager.

For a student perspective on life and academics in Lebanon, contact a Penn Abroad Past Participant.