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The Lebanese American University (“LAU”) is a nationally and internationally recognized not-for-profit, private American university chartered by the Board of Regents in New York and licensed by the Ministry of Education and Higher Education in Beirut.

It was founded by Presbyterian missionaries in 1924 as the American Junior College for Women. Built near the old lighthouse of Ras Beirut, the “college on the hill” overlooking the Mediterranean Sea has constantly evolved as it empowered generations of women through access to American-style higher education. Its first evolution came in 1948-49 as the college expanded into a four-year curriculum and became the Beirut College for Women. In the 1970s, the university became coeducational and transformed into the Beirut University College. The final chapter in its unique trajectory came in 1994 when the university expanded into a second campus and turned into a comprehensive university. 

At present, LAU maintains an enrollment of 8,700+ students, 2,000+ faculty and staff (full-time and part-time); two distinct operating campuses in Beirut and Byblos, Lebanon; an academic center and headquarters in New York City; and an academic medical center which includes two teaching hospitals. The university comprises seven schools serving undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral/professional practice students across more than 60 degree granting programs.

What makes LAU unique and special is its mission. The Lebanese American University is committed to academic excellence, student centeredness, civic engagement, the advancement of scholarship, the education of the whole person, and the formation of leaders in a diverse world.

As a result, the university embodies the heart, soul, and history of the country and region. Its survival and success, despite periodic conflicts and economic challenges, have strengthened the resolve of the university’s people and provided a beacon of hope for youth who seek to better themselves and their communities. Adhering to the highest standards of American higher education, LAU is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE) and recognized by the New York State Education Department. This acknowledgment affirms the university’s commitment to providing a rigorous academic experience that is both enriching and globally recognized. LAU employs the credit-based American system. The language of instruction is English except for courses in Arabic literature and foreign languages. The academic calendar is based on two semesters: fall (August through December) and spring (January through May). A module is also offered in the summer. Course work is measured in credit hours. The undergraduate curriculum includes a common base of liberal arts courses for all students.

The university’s mission is rooted in the principles of tolerance, diversity, and ethical leadership. LAU prepares students to contribute positively to both local and global communities. Through its dedication to student centered learning and community service, LAU continues to uphold its tradition of nurturing leaders who are ready to face the challenges of an ever-changing world.


LAU has two campuses in Lebanon: Beirut and Byblos. Steeped in history, both cities still bear traces of their ancient origins yet are distinctly modern. Through their libraries, athletic facilities, residence halls, theaters, laboratories, computer centers, and academic support services, the two campuses provide state-of-the-art infrastructure and a wealth of services that enrich the experiences of students, faculty, and staff.

The Beirut campus, the university’s first, is located in the Ras Beirut neighborhood within steps of the Mediterranean Sea, with 13 buildings ranging from traditional, Ottoman-style architecture to ultra-modern structures. The campus also hosts the Arab Institute for Women, which was founded in 1973 as the first institute of its kind in the Arab world. The Beirut campus is a green gem inside a bustling city and is valued by the LAU community, and indeed the nation, for evoking Lebanon’s heritage.

The Byblos campus, which began development in 1987, represents for many LAUers a combination of modernity, style, and cutting-edge learning. The campus, located near the ancient Phoenician port, has 19 buildings, all constructed with sustainability as well as aesthetics in mind. The campus is home to the health sciences schools, the cutting-edge Clinical Simulation Center as well as the School of Engineering and its high-tech laboratories.

In addition to the two campuses, LAU has expanded its facilities with a strategic presence in Manhattan, New York with a 2,400 square meter academic headquarters. Since 2014, this center has been offering courses in Arabic and holding cultural events. A plan to offer more courses in partnership with US universities is under development. The academic center, with the input of an advisory board, is working to amend the university’s charter so as to transform this location into a degree-granting micro-campus, with a view to hosting online and hybrid programs. 

LAU Medical Centers

LAU Medical Center-Rizk Hospital

LAU’s expansion into the field of medical education was buttressed by the acquisition of a majority shareholder position in the LAU Medical Center-Rizk Hospital. This large medical campus in the heart of Beirut is designed to support LAU’s schools of Medicine, Nursing, and Pharmacy while providing clinical facilities and services to the community.

LAU Medical Center-Saint John’s Hospital

Inaugurated in 2021, the LAU Medical Center-Saint John’s Hospital in the Jounieh/Byblos area adds an enormous value to the medical practice in a major part of the country. Managed and operated by LAU, it is the only university medical center in that region.

Key Lebanese American University Facts

The university’s significant impact is evident through its numbers: over 54,000 alumni across 78 nationalities, more than 8,700 students, and a vast array of extracurricular activities, supported by 1,057 full-time faculty and staff.

LAU’s commitment to accessibility and diversity has been demonstrated in the midst of Lebanon’s financial crisis during which the university delivered a $190 million financial aid program over the course of two years, unprecedented in the nation’s history, so that no eligible student would be turned away on the basis of need. 80% of LAU students benefit from one or more forms of financial aid. Through its endowments, LAU is able to rely on a safety net to address unforeseen issues and access additional resources to support vital areas of the university’s development.

Today, the Lebanese American University comprises seven distinct schools:


In both planning for its future as well as conducting its ongoing daily activities, LAU seeks to act in a manner that is guided by a deep-rooted sense of shared ethical values and aspirations. Built upon this foundation, Lebanese American University: