Saint Joseph University

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Saint Joseph University
Université Saint-Joseph
Lb usj1.gif
Seal of Saint Joseph University
Latin: Universitas Sanctus Iosephus
Motto Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam
Motto in English
For the greater glory of God
Type Private university
Established 1875; 141 years ago (1875)
Affiliation Jesuit, Catholic
Rector Prof. Selim Daccache, S.J.
General Secretary Fouad Maroun
Academic staff
1,873 [1]
Administrative staff
Students 12,000
Location Beirut, Lebanon
33°53′28″N 35°30′30″E / 33.89111°N 35.50833°E / 33.89111; 35.50833Coordinates: 33°53′28″N 35°30′30″E / 33.89111°N 35.50833°E / 33.89111; 35.50833
Campus 5 urban campuses in Beirut, 3 regional university centers in Sidon, Zahlé and Tripoli, and 1 in Dubai
Newspaper Presses de l'Université Saint-Joseph
Affiliations International Association of Universities
International Federation of Catholic Universities
Association of French speaking universities
Association of Arab Universities

Saint Joseph University (French: Université Saint-Joseph de Beyrouth, "USJ") is a private Catholic research university in Beirut, Lebanon, founded in 1875 by the Jesuits.[2] It ranks as the second best[3] university in Lebanon, and among the top academic institutions in all of the Middle East.[4][5] Its alumni include numerous Lebanese presidents, ministers, philosophers, intellectuals, clerics and beyond. As Lebanon's oldest and main French medium university, while promoting Lebanese culture, admission openly disregards any ethno-religious affiliations, encouraging trilingualism of French, Arabic and English. Additionally, it is known for its university hospital, Hôtel-Dieu de France.

The 12,000-student enrollment is served by an academic staff of 1,873 and support staff of 500, distributed over its 12 faculties, 24 institutes and schools across 5 campuses in Beirut, with regional university centres in Sidon, Tripoli and Zahlé, as well as one foreign center situated in Dubai.

USJ is the only university in the Middle East to adhere to the European ECTS university academic credits system, while also officially recognised by and in accord with the higher education law of Lebanon. It maintains some 150 various international agreements.


In 1839 the Jesuits came to Beirut and established a modest school. This was followed in 1855 by a school in Ghazir, Kisruwan, which would be moved to Beirut in 1875. Legal authorities graced the new school with the title of "university", which allowed it to grant academic degrees, mainly doctoral degrees in philosophy and theology.

The foundation of faculties and institutes followed. For instance, the Institute of Medicine founded in 1883 would become the Faculty of Medicine in 1888. then the Faculty of Medicine and Pharmacy in 1889. A maternity clinic opened in 1896, followed by the Oriental College in 1902. The Oriental College was one of the first institutions of higher learning in the Middle East to introduce Hebrew into the curriculum. [6]

Later, the School for French Law was added in 1913 which became the Faculty of Law in 1946. The French School of Engineering also founded in 1913 would become the Higher Institute for Engineering in 1948.[7]

In 2012, the Faculty of Economics launched a new master's degree in web science and digital economy, the first of its kind in the Middle East region.[8]


Saint Joseph University ranks as the second best[3] university in Lebanon, rivaling American University of Beirut as the nation's foremost French medium university, and among the top academic institutions in all of the Middle East.[4][5]

USJ is known for its faculties of medicine, economics, dentistry, engineering, philosophy, theology, translation, and law. Its Social Sciences Campus is known for its competitive bachelor programs that prepare students to pursue master's degrees in top universities and business schools in France, Italy, Spain, Germany, England, United States and Canada.

Additionally, it is known for its institutions such as CEDRAC and the Museum of Lebanese Prehistory.


Campus of Innovation and Sports, Damascus Street, Beirut

St. Joseph University Beirut campuses include:

  • Campus of Medical and Infirmary Sciences, Damascus Street
  • Campus of Science and Technology, Mar Roukouz
  • Campus of Social Sciences, Huvelin Street
  • Campus of Human Sciences, Damascus Street
  • Campus of Innovation and Sports, Damascus Street

The three regional centers are located in Sidon (south), Zahlé (Bekaa), and Tripoli (north). In addition, the university operates 12 facilities and 22 specialized schools and institutes, including the Museum of Lebanese Prehistory on Université Saint-Joseph Street. It also hosts a center for banking and business studies and three centers for dental care, orthophony, and psycho-motility.

In 2008, Saint Joseph University opened a branch in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates.

Saint Joseph University - Dubai offers a bachelor's degree in Law and a Master of Arts in Translation. The Campus is located in Dubai International Academic City. The University is accredited by the Knowledge and Human Development Authority in Dubai.

International cooperation[edit]

Medical school chapel

USJ has more than 70 conventions with foreign universities, and mainly with Georgetown University in Washington, D.C, United States. It also has more than 200 professors on missions abroad and an administrative office in Paris,

The university belongs to the following associations and is linked to over 100 Arab, European, American, and Canadian universities through accords for cooperation.

Notable alumni and academics[edit]

Foreign Politicians
Religious leaders
Theologians and philosophers


See also[edit]