Graduate Program (2021-2023)
A session delivered by the TL Debate Commitee
The TLG Program (Background and Criteria)
The Lebanese American University (LAU) has launched the Tomorrow’s Leaders Graduate (TLG) Program funded by the U.S. Department of State, Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI).
The Program spans over a period of two years with the purpose of equipping graduate students with the professional experience needed to advance their academic knowledge and engage in research that furthers the professionalization of emerging leaders while supporting and increasing scholars’ knowledge in gender issues in specific in their various fields of study.
Who Can Apply?
To be eligible to apply, you must:
- Be a citizen of Algeria, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Syria (residing outside of Syria), Tunisia, and Yemen
- Be committed to completing your Master’s degree within two years (Starting Fall 2021)
- Be committed to pursuing evidence-based research with impact on public policy and work as part of your Master’s program.
- Demonstrate academic excellence (maintain a minimum GPA of 3.0 throughout the academic years)
- Demonstrate financial need status per MEPI and LAU’s financial aid policies, which can be found here. Applicants should be underrepresented or economically deserving students and should submit the relevant financial aid application as per the below.
Note: American citizens and Green Card holders are not eligible to apply.
What Does the TLG Program Cover?
If you are accepted, the program will cover the following:
- Full coverage of all applicable charges for enrollment, tuition, and fees.
- University Medical insurance coverage.
- A monthly living allowance.
- One laptop for the duration of the program.
- A yearly book allowance.
- Student housing.
- Two roundtrip tickets to the student’s home country.
- Exposure to, and engagement in, different community development projects and/or internships in the host country, and/or their home countries. Through such projects and internships, TLG students learn about different forms of public and civic- engagement actions, to apply such learning back in their respective countries.
- Academic advising, mentoring services, and learning services.
- Professional training on leadership and gender ;
- Opportunity to participate in the new Tomorrow’s Leaders College-to-work Pipeline as a part of the consortium between LAU and the Georgia Institute of Technology.
Eligible Research Programs at LAU
- M.A. in Applied Economics - 30 credits (Beirut Campus)
- M.A. in Education – 30 credits (Beirut Campus)
- M.A. in Interdisciplinary Gender Studies - 30 credits (Beirut Campus)
- M.A. in International Affairs - 30 credits (Beirut or Byblos Campus)
- M.S. in Biological Sciences – 30 credits (Beirut or Byblos Campus)
Master of Arts (M.A.) in Applied Economics
The Master of Arts (MA) in Applied Economics provides interested candidates with an in-depth understanding of economic theory and applied quantitative methods.
The program prepares future professionals for jobs as applied economists in the private and public sectors. The student will learn how to gather, read, and assess economic data, as well as to conduct relevant policy analyses that are most valued by businesses, organizations, and policymakers. The program is also designed to be an intermediate step to the Ph.D. in Economics or related fields.
Youth and Female Economic Exclusion in the Middle East
Overview: The Department of Economics is the largest department in Lebanon in terms of full-time faculty members. Members of the Department have published extensively on the economics of the Middle East and have conducted numerous consultancy assignments with local, regional, and international organizations on economic problems afflicting the region. Moreover, the department edits the international journal Review of Middle East Economics and Finance. It is noteworthy, that members of the department received a substantial research grant funded by the European Commission entitled the SAHWA project “Researching Arab Mediterranean Youth: Towards a New Social Contract” (www.sahwa.eu). A unique dataset on Arab youth resulted from this project. We envisage exploring this unique dataset with the current and incoming MEPI-TLG cohorts.
Research Focus: The objective of this M.A. in Applied Economics is to understand the drivers of economic exclusion in the Middle East focusing on Arab countries. Namely, the focus will be on the following drivers: unemployment and in particular youth unemployment, low female labor force participation in the context of improved female educational attainment, poverty, and marginalization. The Department of Economics will recruit under the MEPI TLG program a diversified group of future leaders from underprivileged backgrounds. The two-year program’s expected outcomes include equipping students with the necessary skills to tackle real-life economic problems through course work, internship, research work, graduate assistantship, and engagement in departmental and university life.
Program Requirements: 9 courses (27 credits) are required for the degree in addition to a capstone project (3 credits) described as follows: The Applied Economics Project course is a research project written under the supervision of a faculty member. Students are required to use economic models and tools to tackle an applied economics problem. Students are then required to present their work in a forum open for economics faculty and graduate students.
Master of Arts (M.A.) in Education
The master’s degree program is for students who wish to study a particular field in education, acquire a general theoretical background for past and future field experiences, or develop new skills for use in professional work in the field of education.
The program was designed for educators who would like to remain on the cutting edge of information, technology, and policies affecting the field of education. Some educators merely want to update their teaching and counseling strategies, research skills, or management techniques needed to play a unique role as teachers, counselors, special educators, administrators, and material developers in leading educational institutions in Lebanon and the Arab world.
Empowering MENA Women to become Leaders in STEM Education
Overview: Literature and economic policy reports show that the imbalance in the gender composition of STEM student body and workforce is negatively affecting the economy and the fulfillment of the job market needs. The extent of this imbalance varies depending on many factors. These include, but might not be limited to historical, religious, cultural, socio-economic, and educational factors. It is important to have a deeper understanding of those factors as they specifically pertain to each country and culture. In Lebanon and the MENA region, social, cultural, and religious values, together with strong parental influence weigh heavily on male and female youth choices of their fields of study and subsequently their careers. The educational system itself is also a main factor. Studies show that instructional approaches and teachers’ differential interactions with boys and girls in the classroom affect females’ self-image and evaluation of their own abilities to engage in scientific activities or to use technology efficiently. While Lebanon is starting an endeavor of reviewing its curricula, more research is needed to inform the long-due review and pinpoint the inequity problems in the curricula and textbook, as well as the inconsistencies and alignment problems.
Research Focus: This program aims to contribute to the preparation of STEM educators who are aware of gender inequities and differences in learning styles, and trained to raise and empower a responsible generation of young women who will confidently engage in STEM fields. There will also be a research agenda for the TLG students that will have a rich applied research component. Some of the research focal areas that students could choose include the following research questions:
- How do secondary students choose whether they would like to pursue STEM-related tracks at the secondary level in Lebanon and/or the MENA region? To what extent does gender play a role in shaping their decisions? To which extent do perceived gender stereotypes play a role in the choices made?
- Is there any correlation between secondary students’ gender patterns in scientific tracks at the secondary level and gender patterns in STEM-related departments at the tertiary level?
- What are the levels of teachers’ consciousness on gender issues and of their awareness of gender stereotypes in the textbooks that they use? Do they take any action in their classrooms or unconsciously perpetuate the status quo? To what extent do they aim for gender-inclusive education? What are their perceptions when it comes to gender-inclusive education?
- Investigating the instructional approaches used in schools, in Lebanon and/or the MENA region, to teach STEM subjects. Do these approaches use diverse methods to address gender differences?
- Exploring, developing, and testing gender-inclusive approaches to teaching and learning STEM subjects, suitable to MENA-region K-12 educational settings, and taking into consideration the cultural, religious, economic, and educational factors that lead to gender disparities in the STEM fields.
Program Requirements: 8 courses (24 credit hours) are required for the degree. Additionally, by the end of the program, students are required to work on a 6-credit thesis reporting original research work in the field and in line with empowering MENA women to become leaders in STEM education.
Master of Arts (M.A.) in Interdisciplinary Gender Studies
Bringing Gender into the Core of Public Policy: A Participatory Approach
Overview: The M.A. Program in Interdisciplinary Gender Studies serves as a concrete embodiment of one of LAU’s values, namely promoting gender equality and empowerment of women and girls. The program focuses on gender, the socially-constructed understandings of what it means to be female or male, and how understandings of gender affect people across all social categories. This program is built on a foundation of equality, human rights, and social justice. As such, it is inclusive in nature and combines both academic rigor and social activism. By scrutinizing the power differential between females and males, students begin to understand the intersection of other inequalities. Graduates of this program can pursue careers in governmental organizations and ministries as well as national, regional, and international agencies focusing on gender across a broad range of sectors.
Research Focus: Under the theme of “Bringing Gender into the Core of Public Policy,” TLG students will be exposed over two years to diverse perspectives on how issues of gender affect public policy and visa- versa. Students will be prodded to think critically about and conduct research on the links between gender and public policy. Issues to explore include: 1) What actors design public policy in the Arab world in various realms? 2) Is there a gender balance among public policy architects? 3) How well are women voices incorporated in formulating policies? 4) How are women impacted by policies; and what are the lingering built-in biases that detract from their inclusion? 5) How can policies be redesigned to ensure the full participation of women at all stages of the policy process? The expected outcomes Upon graduation include the following:, students are expected to (1) analyze public policy processes and their impact on young Arab women; (2) accumulate knowledge about major approaches in the study of public policies; (3) Understand how gender is relevant for public policy processes in the Arab world and beyond; (4) Propose solutions to improve the formulation and implementation of policies; (5) Produce research papers on the nexus of gender and public policy and (6) Execute a capstone project in which students explore one of the questions raised above.
Program Requirements: 8 courses (24 credit hours) are required for the degree in addition to an Active Learning and Research course (6 credits) described as follows: This course entails an internship placement and an Active Learning Report. The latter report is analytical and is equivalent to a thesis. It requires students to combine the theory learnt from the lectures and the experience acquired throughout the Internship.
The major is strongly supported by and linked to AIW .
Master of Arts (M.A.) in International Affairs
Fostering resilience & wellbeing in post-Arab Spring Societies: Pathways & Opportunities
Overview: The M.A. Program in International Affairs seeks to prepare students to become effective professionals and leaders in national and international institutions while upholding the highest intellectual and ethical standards; dedication to public service and international cooperation; and understanding among people. An M.A. in International Affairs prepares students for a variety of professions including diplomacy, work in international organizations, journalism, research, and politics. Besides, many graduates also pursue Doctoral degrees in Lebanon, Europe, and North America.
Research Focus: MEPI TLG students will grapple throughout the two-year program with the following core thematic approaches that are rooted in “real life” problems: (1) Identify forms of chronic marginalization and their implications; (2) Understand the impact of policies and legal systems on low female participation in politics; (3) Understand the factors underlying the state’s limited capacity to deliver collective goods; (4) Identify the implications of risks such as radicalization, gender-based violence, and displacement for citizens with an emphasis on women, the youth, and vulnerable communities; and (5) Critically engage with the literature on fostering resilience by exploring the policy and grassroots adaptive mechanisms that seek to boost societal and individual “robustness.”
Program Requirements: 8 courses (24 credit hours) are required for the degree in addition to 6 credits for the thesis. The extra-curricular component of the M.A. is described as follows: To meet the goals of a graduate degree, the program encourages students to get engaged in a large variety of extra-curricular activities that take place on and off-campus. Students have the opportunity to participate in conferences, workshops, simulations organized by the school, departments, and affiliated institutes and centers, especially the Institute of Social Justice and Conflict Resolution and the Institute for Migration Studies.
Master of Science (M.S.) in Biological Sciences
Evaluation of the Current Status and Molecular Characterization of Toxoplasma gondii and its Effect on Women in Lebanon and Other MENA Countries
Overview: Toxoplamosis is caused by Toxoplasma gondii, an obligate, intracellular protozoan parasite. T. gondii imposes a threat to pregnant women as it can cause severe consequences in newborns such as brain or ocular tissue damage, mental retardation, deafness, and psychomotor impairment. Transmission of T. gondii is usually through the consumption of fruits, vegetables, raw or undercooked meat, or water contaminated by the feces of an infected cat. With the absence of national surveillance programs for incidences of toxoplasmosis in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, scarce data exist on the seroprevalence of anti-T. gondii IgG in the region. Alarmingly, in Lebanon, a recent study suggested a prevalence rate as high as 87%, greatly exceeding worldwide occurrences. Therefore, we aim at building a regional database that encompasses all recorded cases of T. gondii seropositivity by obstetricians, encompassing Lebanon, and other MENA countries. Representative samples will be subjected to molecular characterization through whole-genome sequencing (WGS) to gain a better understanding of the genetic background behind the pathologies caused by this parasite. The obtained results will be used to establish guidelines to help in reducing infections especially in pregnant women and decrease the prevalence and burden of T. gondii in the region. Our research group focuses on the use of WGS (e.g. Tokajian et al, 2015; Tokajian et al, 2016; Tokajian et al, 2017), and other molecular typing approaches to study human bacterial and parasitic pathogens (Hasartani et al, 2014; Salloum et al, 2016) making this research project another challenging milestone aiming to better understand the burden and pathogenomics of toxoplasma in the MENA region.
Research Focus: Toxoplamosis is caused by Toxoplasma gondii, an obligate, intracellular protozoan parasite. T. gondii imposes a threat to pregnant women as it can cause severe consequences in newborns such as brain or ocular tissue damage, mental retardation, deafness, and psychomotor impairment. Transmission of T. gondii is usually through the consumption of fruits, vegetables, raw or undercooked meat, or water contaminated by the feces of an infected cat. With the absence of national surveillance programs for incidences of toxoplasmosis in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, scarce data exist on the seroprevalence of anti-T. gondii IgG in the region. Alarmingly, in Lebanon, a recent study suggested a prevalence rate as high as 87%, greatly exceeding worldwide occurrences. Therefore, we aim at building a regional database that encompasses all recorded cases of T. gondii seropositivity by obstetricians, encompassing Lebanon, and other MENA countries.
Program Requirements: 8 courses (24 credit hours) are required for the degree in addition to 6 credits for the thesis. The expected outcome of the study is to establish a database that builds a comprehensive overview of taxoplasmosis, its burden, and its impact on fetal and maternal health in the MENA countries.
To apply, complete and submit parts A & B below:
- Email all the below required documents (make sure to attach in the email each requested document type as a separate attachment) to: firstname.lastname@example.org
1. Completed Admission-Application Form.pdf by March 2, 2021
2. A recent passport-size photo.
3. Identity card or passport (should be the same as the nationality to be used in the registration process at LAU).
4. Educational certificates or diplomas (Bachelor, License, etc).
5. Official transcript(s) of grades from all colleges or universities attended.
Upon acceptance, applicants will be requested to present the official transcript(s) in a sealed envelope(s).
Failure to declare enrollment at other institutions could result in an invalidation of admission, and any credits or degrees earned.
6. Personal Essay, of at least 1,000 words, describing your background and reasons for pursuing graduate studies, how your character and experiences have formed you into someone who will contribute positively and effectively to not only the department but also the academic discipline as a whole. Provide details of social, educational, cultural, or economic obstacles you have overcome in your journey. Please highlight what is unique about you and how you will advance diversity within the institution.
7. A research statement describing your research interests and professional goals, how you plan to accomplish them, and why one of the five programs is best suited for you to do so. Be specific about your specialized interests within your major field and how it relates to the description listed in the below programs description and research focus. Identify how this opportunity could contribute towards addressing local, national, and regional problems relevant to the region. Be clear about the kind of program you expect to undertake, and explain how your study plan connects with your previous training and future goals.
8. Recommendation letters from two professors who are familiar with your academic performance.
Recommendation letters could be sent by your professors directly to email@example.com
9. Certificate(s) of employment with a CV, if you have relevant work experience(s).
10. Official scores of English proficiency test (depending on the university/college attended) by submitting one of the below:
a. Internet-based TOEFL (IBT), with a minimum score of 90. The code for LAU is 2595. The institutional TOEFL is not accepted.
b. Academic IELTS with a minimum score of 7.
Applicants with Internet –based TOEFL (IBT) scores between 80 and 89 and IELTS scores of 6.5, have to register for ENG009
Remedial English, a three-credit course, or retake and pass the English test within the first year of enrollment. IBT and IELTS
Scores below 80 and 6.5 respectively are not acceptable.
N.B. English proficiency exams may not be required from applicants from universities recognized by LAU where the language of instruction is English.
B. Download and complete the compulsory financial aid application
1. Fill out the TLG Financial Aid Application.pdf (March 2, 2021)
2. Send a hard copy of the completed and signed application along with all the required documents by certified mail to the address below before March 2, 2021 and indicate “MEPI TLG Applicant” in the subject line.
Lebanese American University
Financial Aid & Scholarships Office
P.O. Box 13-5053
Chouran Beirut: 1102 2801
Application Deadline: March 2, 2021
What is the process used to evaluate potential candidates?
In addition to the general admissions requirements, short-listed TLG students will need to demonstrate academic literacy and research potential via a thorough interview process.
The interview will be necessary to:
- Identify academic literacy: Potential candidates may be asked to read an academic paper before the interview and discuss insights.
- Identify research interests and knowledge base: They need to clarify their research interests and connect them to the approved TLG research proposals in their particular field.
- Connect their interests to specific course content: Applicants may be requested to identify one course they are particularly interested in and justify their interest.
- Discuss their research experience: Applicants may need to identify one particular written work or research output they recently completed and critique its strengths and weaknesses.
- Exhibit leadership potential: At any point in the interview, applicants may need to participate in a debate through a thought experiment to gauge their reasoning process and ethical awareness.
Programs Description and Research Focus
- Applicants who demonstrate academic excellence should express how they wish to develop their knowledge in one of the five programs, obtain substantial advanced practical experience, and further their capacity to be community or business leaders who contribute on the regional level.