Minor in Marine Sciences and Culture - American University of Beirut

Dr.Ata Elias lecturing students of the Minor in Marine Sciences and Culture on marine industries

The Honor Frost Foundation has teamed up with the American University of Beirut to launch a Minor in Marine Sciences and Culture, a first in the Middle East! The MSC program falls under AUB’s Archaeology and History Department and includes several collaborations from the Departments of Biology and Geology. Stemming from its interdisciplinary nature, the main goal of the Minor focuses on raising awareness on the maritime cultural heritage of Lebanon.

The requirements to fulfill the Minor are 15 credits which totals five courses, with three mandatory courses (MSCU201, 202, 203) that have to be taken by the students. MSCU 201 is a general course that focuses on introducing and providing context for the entire program, as well as laying the foundations for marine environments and for maritime archaeology. MSCU202 delves into marine remote sensing and geophysical techniques, the principles of prospecting, and mapping of underwater sites and environments. Finally, MSCU203 is an intensive fieldwork crash course that puts all the above techniques into practice, allowing students to apply all they have learnt during the first two courses of the Minor. For the final two courses of the Minor, the students can choose from a range of electives given by the MSC program, or their equivalent in Archaeology, Geology, or Biology. The successful completion of the Minor allows students to further explore careers and education in the fields of Marine Archaeology, Geology and Oceanography/Ocean Engineering.

HFF has also offered two full scholarships for archaeology students and early career archaeologists that study or had studied at the Lebanese University in order to attend the Minor course. Their scholarships cover the university fees are well as a generous stipend so they would be able to focus on their studies. This opportunity grants Lebanese students the chance to learn about maritime archaeology as the subject is not included in any graduate or post-graduate curricula.

Guest lecturer Dr. Nadine Panayot-Haroun leading a lively discussion on maritime heritage management with students attending the Minor in Marine Sciences and Culture

The courses are quite popular among students who show a keen interest in the subject. Overall, numbers of registered students range from 20 up to 31 students per course. They come from diverse academic backgrounds and levels of education: from Business Administration to Geology, from Economics to Psychology, from first-years to graduating students.

The HFF Lebanon team along with AUB staff is involved in coordinating the course, giving lectures, and ensuring the overall smooth development of the course. The richness of the material and subjects offered is mainly due to interdepartmental collaboration but also to visiting lecturers from other academic institutions in the country such as the University of Balamand and the Lebanese University, as well as a number of overseas lecturers including the University of Patras.

Despite recent challenges and closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic, HFF and AUB staff are working hand in hand to ensure the delivery of online lectures, along with ample reading material, and close virtual communication with students, in the hope of a successful completion for all. 

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