Lebanon has had many cultural influences over the years and some higher education institutions reflect that since there have been schools set up by American missionaries and in the French mandate between the 19th and 20th century. Nevertheless, Lebanon has gained its independence in 1943 and the curriculum was changed to focus on Lebanese history and culture. The Ministry of Education and Higher Education (MEHE) is responsible for regulating policies for tertiary education in the country. In addition to regular education, Lebanon provides support for Palestinian and Syrian refugees and approximately 150,000 children have been admitted to public schools. Higher education is available at universities, universities colleges or universities institutes. There is only one public institution, the Lebanese University which accounts for 39% of all students enrolled in tertiary education in Lebanon. For further information on Lebanese higher education, the Ministry of Education’s website is available at https://www.mehe.gov.lb/.
The educational structure in Lebanon is influenced by the Arabic, French and American structure. For this reason, it is not always clear what every institution offers. All three cycles are available: Bachelor’s - Master’s - PhD in English; licence – master - doctorat in French; بكالوریوس – ماجستیر – دكتوراه in Arabic. Some institutions use the ECTS credit system, but Lebanon has a personalised system and credits are awarded based on the length of the course. Nevertheless, first cycle programmes last between 3 to 4 years, second cycle programmes between 1 to 2 years, and third cycle programmes between 3 to 5 years. Integrated courses are available in Medicine which last for 6 years. Lastly, students can continue their studies after secondary school in a higher professional education programme for 2 or 3 years where they earn a professional diploma.
Admission to higher education requires evidence of a secondary school leaving certificate which in Lebanon is represented by the Baccalauréat. International students need evidence of other equivalent qualifications. Some institutions might require other examinations such as exams or interviews. It also depends on the education system that the institutions follows. For postgraduate studies, students will be required to have been awarded previous relevant degrees in higher education. Teaching is provided in English at many institutions, but French is also a popular choice. The school year starts in mid-August and ends at the end of May.
Tuition fees are calculated based on credit points. In general, the minimum of 24 credits per year cost between $8,000 to $12,000.
Information for International Students
A visa is compulsory for foreign students who wish to study in Lebanon and have been accepted into a place. Your passport is required as well and needs to be valid for at least six months after you return to your country from Lebanon. For European Union students, a visa can be obtained at the Beirut airport. Otherwise, you need to contact Lebanon embassies in your country or go on their website. In terms of living costs, it is relatively expensive to live in Lebanon. The annual expenses for a single person are between $5,000 to $8,000, depending on where they are staying. Accommodation is limited, but youth hostels are a popular choice at the moment.