TL Graduate Program (TLG)

Eligibility and Programs of Study

Step 1: Check if you are eligible

To apply for the program, you must meet the following eligibility criteria:

  1. Be a citizen of one of the following countries: Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Tunisia, Syria, Yemen, Iraq, and West Bank and Gaza (including Palestinians residing outside of the West Bank and Gaza).
  2. Be committed to completing your Master’s degree within two years, starting from the beginning of the academic year.
  3. Be committed to pursuing research that is based on evidence and has the potential to influence public policy.
  4. Demonstrate academic excellence by maintaining a minimum GPA of 3.0 throughout the academic years.
  5. Demonstrate financial need status as per the application requirements. Applicants should be underrepresented or economically deserving students. Applicants should submit the relevant financial aid application and provide the necessary documentation as specified in the application.

Note: American citizens and Green Card holders are not eligible to apply

Step 2: Choose your program of study

Eligible Research Programs at LAU (Beirut Campus):

M.A. in Education: Language, Culture, and Gender

M.A. in Education – 30 credits

Title: Language, Culture, and Gender

Project Description: Education in the MENA region has a significant role in safeguarding human security and advancing human rights. Education that draws upon the values of equity and social justice empowers people and breaks patterns of social reproduction. The proposal focuses on the sub-theme of Language, culture, and Gender within the scope of this program. There is a need for empowering minorities and encouraging disadvantaged groups to be heard by creating equal opportunities to all community members. In this project, our focus constitutes k-12 students belonging to minority groups. These include refugees, females, students who speak minority languages, and students with special needs. The MENA region lacks empowering educational policies for these minority students. The language needs of refugees and those who speak minority languages are not well addressed within k-12 educational systems in the region. Female students, on the other hand, continue to be misrepresented in STEM-related fields. These issues will be addressed and researched at length in the MA courses. We intend to design, research, and reimagine education in the MENA region through our three MA in Education Emphases, namely Teaching of English for Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL), Education Leadership and Policy Studies, and STEM Education. This proposal seeks to grow education leaders who can act as agents of social change through research and practice. Our target is to develop future leaders who can create equitable opportunities for learners. The proposal expects the MEPI TLG students joining the MA in Education to enhance their research and leadership skills as well as to develop their communication, collaboration, problem solving, and critical thinking skills through the 30-credit program and extracurricular activities.

Upon graduation, students will be able to:

  1. evaluate literature in one’s area of expertise, be it in the Teaching of English for Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL), Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Education, and Leadership and Policy Studies;
  2. evaluate curricula and resources for instructional effectiveness;
  3. implement evidence-based instructional strategies and data-driven decision making
  4. demonstrate compliance with ethical educational standards;
  5. conduct and evaluate educational research;
  6. engage in critical data-based reflection on educational theories and practices;
  7. produce research on instructional strategies designed to empower minorities and encourage disadvantaged groups to be heard through equal opportunities within learning communities.

Significance of the Project: By the end of the project, students will have knowledge of issues related to language, culture and gender that hinder disadvantaged groups from being heard. They will be prepared and committed to making a difference and leading the way towards positive change in this arena. They will also develop research skills, knowledge, and practice of qualitative and quantitative research methodologies.

The ultimate deliverables of the research work are: (1) a research report, submitted as a written thesis, and (2) a comprehensive presentation of the research objectives, background, methodologies, and results, in a public defense. Also, to maximize the program’s scientific impact and outreach, students will be invited to join the training and research projects of the Teacher Training Institute (TTI).  This will allow them to draft publishable papers that eventually may be submitted to good education journals.

The TLG students will also be required to propose and make public presentations within an Education forum or through LAU’s Teacher Training Institute. Presentations will be open to all interested, to raise, discuss and debate educational issues. These may be single lectures, part of a panel discussion, or workshop-style sessions.

M.A. in Interdisciplinary Gender Studies: Gender and Human Security in the MENA Region: Beyond Women

M.A. in Interdisciplinary Gender Studies – 30 credits

Title: Gender and Human Security in the MENA Region: Beyond Women

Project Description: In the wake of compounded crises that have shaken the globe and the MENA region — including the COVID-19 pandemic, protracted armed conflicts and collapsed economies — women, gender minorities, the disabled, and many marginalized and racialized communities find themselves insecure and vulnerable to increasing interlocking inequalities. Throughout the MENA region, a pandemic of gender-based violence unfolded in the shadow of the coronavirus pandemic, with reports of domestic and intimate partner violence increasing sharply. Women were disproportionately affected by the pandemic’s political, economic and social consequences, with most experiencing an acute increase in their housework, or reproductive labor, while simultaneously losing their work in the shrinking public sector and informal economies. Female domestic workers were especially vulnerable to the consequences of the pandemic, as they contended with further exploitation and other forms of abuse at the hand of their employers under lockdown. Members of the LGBTQI+ community were already insecure as they lacked the family support and connections necessary during such times of crises. Indeed, and for LGBTQI+ populations, ethnic minorities, domestic workers, migrant and sex workers, among others, weathering these compounded crises entailed its own gendered intersectional challenges. Effectively, the advancement of human security and human rights in the MENA region is inextricably linked with the advancement of gender.

The program adopts an intersectional approach to the study of gender, to guide students to think critically and widen their gender lens beyond the emphasis on women per se towards reckoning with gender minorities, men and masculinities, the displaced and refugees, the disabled, and many marginalized, racialized and classed communities, such as migrant and sex workers. Practically, the program relies on both learning within the classroom and outside by combining seminars and guest lectures with civic engagement opportunities, internships and training workshops. MEPI TLG students will be trained in the interdisciplinary theories and methods of Gender Studies through its two core courses. The program culminates with the writing of a research-based MA thesis on an original topic that the student chooses with the help of the thesis advisor. In the MA thesis, students draw on the knowledge gained from courses, the internship and enriching activities and utilize the research methods they learned in order to produce a theoretically-informed study that advances our understanding of a specific topic within the purview of the overarching theme. Upon graduation, students will:

  1. embrace a theoretical understanding of gender that is not based on a “true” or “false” nature or essence of women or men, or on biological sex more generally, but rather that showcases gender first and foremost as performative;
  2. develop an analytical framework to the study of gender in the MENA region that is intersectional in nature, with an emphasis on how interlocking systems of oppression, such as the prevalent legal, political and economic systems, inform and create experiences of inequality among those most marginalized in society;
  3. expand existing knowledge of the many gendered intersectional challenges facing human security, including questions of citizenship, sexuality, non-binary identities and non-conforming desire, gender-based violence, and labor (including the kafala system);
  4. explore how governments and civil society actors in the MENA region (on the local, national and transnational levels) respond to these manifold challenges through draft laws, media campaigns and long-term lobbying, with an appreciation of both their intended and unintended consequences;
  5. analyze how governments and civil society actors in the MENA region can promote laws, social practices and institutions that work towards social and political egalitarianism and eventually enhance human security for all;
  6. engage with stakeholders in the MENA region, including governmental and nongovernmental agencies (on the local, national and transnational levels), in order to recognize the gendered intersectional challenges facing human security and opportunities for change;
  7. write a research-based thesis that bridges research and policy engagement, in which students explore one of the following lines of inquiry: How do women, gender minorities or the disabled and other classed and racialized groups contend with the prevailing interlocking systems of oppression, such as discriminatory laws, sponsorship systems, sexually restrictive laws, gendered citizenship and gendered norms and mores? How do they make these interlocking inequalities their own; in other words, how do they live with them whether through so-called “passive resistance”, appropriation or maneuvers? Finally, how do such local actors and communities turn these gendered intersectional challenges into opportunities for change?

Significance of the project: The only program of its kind throughout the MENA region, the MA in Interdisciplinary Gender Studies will not only generate gender scholars from within the region, it will also contribute to a burgeoning literature on the intersectional study of gender. Students’ research will complement the nascent literature in the region on masculinities (Ghannam 2013), gendered experiences of disability (Alshammari 2019), and non-binary and non-conforming identities and sexualities (Mohamed 2015). This research will undoubtedly be mobilized to inform policy recommendations and theories of change. It will be used by local and national actors working towards human security and human rights. The program will give rise to a generation of change-makers who enjoy a wide perspective on gender with an insight into the very specific intersectional gendered challenges facing human security.

M.A. in International Affairs: The Role of Civil Society in Enhancing Human Security and Human Rights in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) Region

M.A. in International Affairs - 30 credits

Title: The Role of Civil Society in Enhancing Human Security and Human Rights in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) Region

Project Description:  The multi-dimensional crises that gripped the MENA region exposed major segments of the population to considerable levels of insecurity. Many individuals became jobless, experienced the erosion of purchasing power, and lost access to adequate housing, decent and relevant education and proper healthcare services. Many communities could not access basic infrastructure such as potable water, electricity and functional and affordable transportation systems. Despite these major setbacks, the years that followed the Arab Spring witnessed the emergence of a vibrant civil society. Undoubtedly, civil society actors have a major role to play in advancing human security and human rights. Civil Society groups are well positioned to develop and propose bottom-up initiatives that aim at empowering vulnerable groups, building capacity and laying the ground for more proactive citizen engagement with political, social and economic issues. In pursuit of these aims, civil society groups can work independently as well as develop partnerships with academics, the corporate sector, international organizations and agencies and national governments. In sum, the advancement of human security and human rights in the MENA region hinges on the presence of a vibrant civil society that is cognizant about the problems facing vulnerable individuals and communities; and committed to seek workable solutions to these problems. 

The program adopts a blended approach to learning that utilizes seminars, invited talks (featuring academics, professionals, and community leaders), civic engagement opportunities, internships, and training workshops. These activities are geared towards understanding the policies underpinning economic growth, social entrepreneurship, and inclusive institutional designs that are tailored to boost gender equality and the rights of gender minorities. The project’s products include a research thesis in which students will be urged to align their research with the overarching theme they have selected. Upon graduation, students will:

  1. understand the multi-dimensional nature of human security in the MENA region, with a particular focus on how war, civil unrest, protracted conflict, economic crises and the Covid 19 pandemic have collectively undermined the human security of citizens in the region;
  2. develop initiatives and articulate strategies to promote peace, democratic and inclusive governance, human rights, gender equality and rights, poverty alleviation and sustainable development;
  3. explore how societies and civil society actors in the MENA region (on the local, national and transnational levels) can engage in capacity building through sustainable projects that enable them to overcome the multiple challenges that MENA societies and citizens face;
  4. analyze how governments and civil society actors in the MENA region can design (or re-design) institutions in order to enhance democratic practices and a culture of inclusiveness, mutual respect, human rights (individual, gender and persons with disabilities) and more participatory political, social and economic frameworks for proactive citizens’ engagement and human security;
  5. engage with stakeholders in the region to identify the risks to human security and human rights, while exploring pathways towards long-term, sustainable and achievable policy outcomes;
  6. produce a research thesis, that bridges research and policy engagement, in which students explore one of the following lines of inquiry: How individuals in the post-Arab uprisings’ milieu, including the youth and vulnerable communities, have dealt with pressures emanating from marginalization, displacement, impoverishment and unemployment; and how local actors and grassroots communities have sought to foster empowerment by utilizing  strategies that, inter alia, address different forms of marginalization through inclusive policies and initiatives supporting individual and societal well-being.

Significance of the Program: Building on both academic and practitioner perspectives, this program will provide students with a rich understanding of the principal challenges facing the MENA region in the area of human security and human rights, with a special focus on the role of civil society actors in overcoming these challenges. The program encourages and mentors enrolled students to draw on the rich repertoire of theoretical, empirical and methodological knowledge generated by the fields of international affairs and political science with the aim of: (1) closely examining the principal challenges that MENA citizens face in the interconnected domains of human security and human rights; and (2) proposing well-studied initiatives to address these challenges. These initiatives aim at the empowerment of MENA citizens, especially women and vulnerable groups, e.g., refugees, economically disadvantaged communities, minority groups, LBGTQI+ individuals and individuals with disabilities. Through courses, enriching activities, internships and close interactions with faculty, professionals and civil society actors, the program edifies the analytical, research, communication and networking skills of students to become leaders in a rapidly changing world.

M.A. in Migration: Displacement, Access to Services and Gender

M.A. in Migration – 30 Credits

Title: Displacement, Access to Services and Gender

Project Description: Displacement in the MENA region poses a significant challenge for safeguarding human security and advancing human rights both inside and across international borders. Addressing displacement through an intersectional human rights lens that draws upon international standards, humanitarian values, and human rights principles empowers displaced populations such as refugees, Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and stateless people to overcome barriers on multiple levels. This proposal focuses on the sub-theme of “Displacement, Access to Services and Gender” within the scope of the general theme. There is a need for empowering IDPs and refugees across four important thematic areas: (1) access to justice; (2) access to healthcare; (3) gender inequalities and (4) durable solutions for safe return.

The MENA region lacks a clear vision and a regional policy on how to address displaced groups’ needs amid a lack of commitment to international instruments such as the 1951 Refugee Convention, and its 1967 Protocol. In the areas of access to justice and access to health services particularly, refugees and displaced groups are marginalized from mainstream policy systems and restricted to very limited services and limited access to the law. For women and gender minorities, these challenges are exacerbated – as women and members of the LGBTQI+ endure gender-specific challenges in the areas of Gender-based Violence (GBV), isolation from the labor force and child marriage. Regarding durable solutions for refugees and the possibility for safe return, governments in the region are not fully cooperating with one another and with international agencies to insure the safe return of refugees to their home countries when conditions allow. These issues will be addressed and researched at length in the MA in Migration Studies courses. The proposal aims to design, research, and reimagine migration policies by addressing the issue from multiple perspectives. The proposed program aims to develop human rights conscious policy makers and humanitarians who can act as agents of social change through policy, research and practice. This proposal expects the MEPI TLG students joining the MA in Migration Studies Program to enhance their research and leadership skills as well as to develop their communication and critical thinking skills, through the 30-credit program and extracurricular activities during their course of study.

Upon graduation students will be able to:

  1. understand the intersectional nature of forced displacement in the MENA region, with a particular focus on how conflict, violence and protracted crises have contributed to the push and pull factors of several displaced groups;
  2. develop initiatives and articulate strategies to promote inclusive asylum/immigration policies, human rights, gender transformation, access to justice and essential services, integration and social cohesion;
  3. explore how UN Agencies, governments and NGOs/IOs in the MENA region can collaborate to ensure that displaced populations’ needs are met, adequately incorporated into policy considerations, and accounted for in national healthcare and service schemes;
  4. execute a capstone project, bridging research and policy engagement, in which students explore one of the following lines of inquiry: (1) How displaced populations have navigated challenges to integration, access and the provision of services; (2) How humanitarian actors have worked closely with local governments in order to ensure the complementarity of humanitarian responses, as well as their alignment with government policies and priorities towards forcibly displaced groups (IDPs, refugees, stateless persons and vulnerable migrant groups).

Significance:  The program fosters student research that will contribute to the academic literature. Equally importantly, it seeks to make a contribution that is of value to policy makers at the national and regional levels. The program addresses critical and enduring problems relating to forced displacement in all its forms, as well as the means through which the international community, political actors and humanitarian agencies have navigated this space. The research component of this scholarship will help illuminate the internal and external mobility challenges facing the region. Research output will leverage available knowledge to enhance visibility, understanding and policy impact. This academic experience will serve as a platform for the emergence of future leaders in the MENA.

M.S. in Human Resources Management - 30 credits (Beirut Campus)

M.S. in Human Resources Management
Building Human Capital in the MENA

Project Summary: The objective of the Human Resources Management program proposal is very much aligned with the MEPI strategic goals. Specifically, the program seeks to endow future business leaders with the knowledge of how best to leverage the potential of every individual in an organization regardless of whether they are from economically disadvantaged backgrounds or marginalized, minority groups. The aim of the HRM function in an enterprise is to design and assess policies to recruit, train, develop, appraise and reward the employees. Through these functions HR managers can increase workforce employability and skill levels among citizens. This is the aim of the MS HRM program – to endow the business leaders of tomorrow with the skills to assess and implement impactful HR policies.

Introduction: The importance of this project lies in recruiting future leaders and providing them with the opportunity to change the way that human capital is valued and managed in the Middle East region. While research on human resource management in the Middle East has seen substantial increases over the past two decades, the unanswered questions and challenges are still many (Budhwar, Pereira, Mellahi & Singh, 2019). Our proposal aims to mobilize the talent of young leaders to determine best practices in recruiting diverse workforces, moving from relationship-based to performance-based management systems that better serve marginalized groups, and embracing robust appraisal systems.

Problem Statement: The longstanding practice of “wasta” in the MENA has led to the disenfranchisement of many groups with a substantial impact along the lines of gender, gender identities, religion, and ethnic minorities. Once disenfranchised, it is difficult to re-enter the workforce. Thus, the students of the MS in HRM program will tackle the process of change required within organizations to move from relationship-based to performance-based management structures. Specifically, the students will focus their research on one of several streams including— the critical assessment and design of hiring policies that engender diversity; the critical assessment and design of training programs relative to change management; the critical assessment and design of robust appraisal systems; and the critical assessment and design of gender inclusive benefits packages.

Background: The MS in HRM program is housed within the Department of Management at the Adnan Kassar School of Business (AKSOB) which gained AACSB accreditation in 2016.  The AKSOB focuses on high-quality teaching in a supportive environment to ensure that, upon graduation, its students will possess a competitive advantage in their chosen fields. With a leadership and faculty composed of industry experts as well as top academics and researchers, the main focus of AKSOB is to provide the knowledge, skills and industry know-how that are required for success in an ever-evolving and dynamic business world.

Significance: There are two fundamental goals for the graduates of the MS HRM program – contribute to the academic body of knowledge on HRM in the Middle East and be change-makers within any organization where they work in the field of HRM. As noted above, the literature on HRM in the Middle East is still lacking in viable strategies to move toward inclusive, performance-based appraisal systems. By tackling this problem through good scholarship as learned and applied in a capstone project, the students are expected to find a home for their work in the literature. Furthermore, by working in internships and learning first-hand about both what does and doesn’t work in managing human capital within the MENA, the graduates of this program will become tomorrow’s leaders for a stronger, more inclusive work force.

Project Description: All students are required to take ten core courses totaling 24 credits. These courses cover topics such as Strategic Human Resources Management, Recruitment and Selection, Training and Development, Performance Measurement and Management, Labor Law, Ethics, and Diversity, Compensation Packages, Job Analysis and Job Evaluation, Return on Investment in Human Capital, Advanced Organizational Behavior and Research Methods in Human Resources Management. The program will also require students to take a three credit internship course during which the student will work with a faculty coordinator to be placed in a company where they will intern within the HR department. Finally, the student will synthesize their theoretical and practical knowledge through a three credit capstone project course. In addition, to the course requirements students will also be encouraged to join frequent seminars and company panels held within both the Department of Management and the broader AKSOB.

The advancement of scientific knowledge and broader impact: Upon graduation, students will be able to use their research skills, honed through both the research methods class and their own capstone project report, to contribute to the HRM literature. They will also be able to apply to PhD programs within the HRM domain on the basis of their research portfolio.  Alternatively, students graduating from the HRM program can seek jobs in the public and private sectors to ethically manage diverse human capital within the enterprises they join.

M.A. in Applied Economics - 30 credits (Beirut Campus)

M.A. in Applied Economics
The Newly Created Poverty in the MENA Region: The Impact of COVID-19 on Self-Employed

Project Summary: The objective of the Applied Economics proposal is to assess the impact of the pandemic on self-employed people and how negatively the current situation has affected their livelihood in the Middle East, focusing on Arab countries. Namely, the project focuses on the following drivers: unemployment and self-employed unemployment, 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 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.

Introduction: The importance of the project lies in recruiting future leaders and providing them with the opportunity to tackle real-life economic predicaments of the Middle East region. The region suffers from record unemployment rates, especially among the youth, and record low female labor force participation (Gatti et al., 2014). These secular problems have been afflicting the region for more than one generation, and they were put under the spotlight in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has been an ongoing process since 2019. Our proposal aims to mobilize the talent of young leaders to figure out elements of the big puzzle of persistent unemployment and the female labor force participation, and the education paradox.

Problem Statement: The outbreak of the COVID-19 altered the global economy, in general, and the US and Europe in particular, by freezing nearly any production activity. Several papers have been devoted to studying this adverse effect. In his paper, Fernandes (2020) examines the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on the global economy. The author argues that global GDP was forecasted to drop by 2.5 to 3 percent for each additional month of facing coronavirus. The author also showed that continued lockdown in several European countries was expected to witness a severe drop in GDP. According to recent Eurostat predictions, France, Germany, Greece, and Italy will each lose about 10 percent of their GDP in 2020. Moreover, Baker et al. (2020) show a considerable increase in uncertainty levels from the beginning of the outbreak in the United States, which will in turn be translated into an expected drop in real GDP by around 20 percent. Almost half of this drop is resulting from what the authors refer to as “COVID-induced uncertainty”. The aim of this project proposal is to assess the impact of the pandemic on self-employed people and how negatively the current situation has affected their livelihood. A related question is what type of interventions to adopt to support the new forms of poverty. Much will depend on whether the activities forced to close-down were closed only temporarily or permanently. We will try to address this question in our research.

Background: The Department of Economics is a leading department in Lebanon and the Middle East to conduct high-quality research. Members of the Department have published extensively on the economics of the Middle East. They have conducted numerous consultancy assignments with local, regional, and international organizations on the region’s economic problems. 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” ( A unique dataset on Arab youth resulted from this project. We envisage exploring this unique dataset with the current and incoming MEPI-TLG cohorts.

Significance: We expect that our future students’ research will have a clear contribution to the academic literature and, more importantly, a contribution of interest to policymakers in the Middle East region. We expect to tackle endemic economic problems that have been plaguing our region for several decades in a context where policymaking is not evidence-based. The project component of this two-year scholarship is crucial since the economic challenges facing the region, especially the female and youth, might be the driving force for social and political unrest in the post Arab Spring era. All research will leverage available data to enhance visibility and impact. We believe that this academic experience will serve as a platform for future leaders in public policy.

Project Description: All students are required to take three applied econometrics classes that equip them with all the necessary tools to analyze cross-sectional, time series, and panel data and their application to public policy analysis. The program also introduces students to economic modelling in applied economic theory. Students will be required to take a gender and public policy course under the M.A. in Interdisciplinary Gender Studies. Moreover, students have a wide range of elective courses to choose from, including a course on the challenges of economic development in the Middle East. At the end of the program, each student is required to engage in an applied economics project using economic theory. The methods used are mainly applied statistics, econometrics and data analytics or applied theoretical models. The research work includes collecting and analyzing data, thoroughly studying the literature, building economic models, and working with statistical software. The department organizes a monthly seminar and hosts several national and international conferences in which students are encouraged to participate as presenters, discussants or attendees. Many international organizations (e.g. UN-ESCWA, UNDP) have chosen in recent years to launch their policy reports on the LAU campus. The current MEPI TLG cohort attends those events and future students are expected to do the same. Students will be encouraged to interact with other scholarship recipients and our existing graduate student body. Moreover, they are encouraged to attend other activities happening in Beirut by other universities, international organizations, and research centers. We envisage three semesters of work as a research assistant, followed by one semester fully devoted to work on the applied economic research project. We expect our graduating students to submit their projects to peer-reviewed journals and/or present them at regional or international conferences. In terms of the project’s products, the acquired knowledge will be disseminated through several strategies such as organizing local seminars and publishing policy briefs as part of the outreach to policymakers.

The advancement of scientific knowledge and broader impact: Upon graduation, students will be equipped with solid theoretical and empirical economic knowledge, which will enable them to produce impactful research. The research will be disseminated through individual presentations, blogging, and publications. In addition, an annual TLG graduate student conference was organized recently in 2021 at LAU in collaboration with other TL universities. MEPI TLG graduates from the four LAU graduate programs and students from other TL universities publicly presented their work or work in progress. The audience includes policymakers, academics, NGOs, and journalists. These activities ensure that the research conducted by the students is impactful on public decisions and societal and individual well-being.