American University in Bulgaria

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American University in Bulgaria
Американски университет в България
AUBG logo.png
Established 1991
Type Private
Endowment $17.4 million[1]
President Stratsi Kulinski
Provost Steven Sullivan
Dean Lucia Miree
Academic staff
Students 998[3]
Undergraduates 1020
Postgraduates 22
Location Blagoevgrad, Bulgaria
Campus Urban
Colors White and blue         
Affiliations NEASC

American University in Bulgaria (or AUBG) is a private, selective, residential liberal arts university located in Blagoevgrad, Bulgaria. Courses are taught in English by an international faculty. Established in 1991, AUBG enrolls 1,000 students from 40 countries.


AUBG was founded in 1991 as a joint endeavor between the U.S. government and the government of the Republic of Bulgaria "to educate students of outstanding potential in a community of academic excellence, diversity, and respect and to prepare them for democratic and ethical leadership in serving the needs of the region and the world. ".[4]

As of 2015, 55% of AUBG students come from countries other than Bulgaria.[5]

By May 2015, twenty one classes of around 4,000 students had graduated from AUBG.[6]


AUBG fulfills its mission by providing scholarships and financial aid to deserving students from the region and beyond.

The university has three sources of funding: its endowment (which came largely from gifts from the United States Agency for International Development and the Soros Foundation), gifts, and tuition. Friends from all over the world, among them, John Dimitry Panitza, Anna Tchaprachikoff, Minko Balkanski, Atanas Zamphiroff, the America for Bulgaria Foundation, have supported the university throughout the years.


Baccalaureate degrees conferred by AUBG are accredited in both Bulgaria[7] and the United States.[8][9][10] AUBG has its school accreditation in the United States from New England Association of Schools and Colleges.[8][9][10] The University also issues a European Diploma Supplement (part of Europass), which confers automatic recognition of the AUBG degree throughout Europe.[11]


The graduates of the American University in Bulgaria are some of the most sought-after specialists, and receive some of the highest incomes in their fields, according to a national ranking system maintained by the Bulgarian Ministry of Education.[12]

All five of the academic programs at AUBG that were listed in the 2014 survey – Economics, Computer Science, Business Administration, Political Science, and Journalism and Mass Communication – were ranked among the top in the country, with Business Administration and Journalism rated as Bulgaria’s best.

The Bulgarian University Ranking System, maintained by the Bulgarian Ministry of Education, compares academic programs in accredited domestic higher education institutions. The system ranks programs based on more than 50 indicators, such as teaching and learning conditions, scientific research, career development opportunities, prestige, and material resources.[13]


The university follows the classical liberal arts model of education. AUBG students receive individual attention in small classes (23 students per class on average), and they have many opportunities to interact one-on-one with faculty, both during open office hours and in informal settings. Around half of graduating seniors complete double majors, while many undergraduates supplement their main field of study with a minor in one of 19 disciplines offered at AUBG.

The university employs 79 faculty members from 15 countries.

AUBG maintains close relationships with universities both in Bulgaria and abroad. In the United States, AUBG students can choose to spend a year or a semester at one of several hundred universities through the International Student Exchange Program (ISEP). In Europe, AUBG is the holder of a standard Erasmus Charter and has bilateral Erasmus Programme agreements with over 50 institutions.[14]

Undergraduate programs

The university offers Bachelor of Arts degrees in 12 programs:[15]

Secondary majors are those that are accredited in the United States and result in an American diploma only.

The university offers 15 minor programs:[16]

Graduate programs

In addition to its undergraduate program, the university started an Executive MBA program in 2003. EMBA classes take place in Elieff Center[17] in Sofia.

Non-degree programs

The university offers non-degree-granting programs that includes technical training at the government level for participation in EU programs and English language, business, entrepreneurship and computer skills courses. Most of these are offered at the Elieff Center for Education and Culture, which is the university off-campus facility in Sofia.[18]

The Blagoevgrad-based English Language Institute offers English-language instruction at all levels and for all ages year-round. It is also a certified Internet-based TOEFL testing center.[19]

Tuition and scholarships

AUBG enrolls students who are at the top of their high school graduating class, among them national mathematics competition champions, language contest winners, sports talents, high school gold medalists, and students who have distinguished themselves at community service projects.[20]

AUBG offers spring and fall semester admission on a rolling basis.

The university offers need- and merit-based aid to deserving students.[21] AUBG is one of few universities who award scholarships for further study to their graduates: the Tchaprachikoff scholarship provides funding for study at any of the top 20 U.S. universities.[22]

University campus

The Skaptopara campus in Blagoevgrad is home to the university undergraduate programs. It includes three residence halls; Balkanski Academic Center, which houses classrooms, computer labs, and offices; Panitza Library, the largest English-language library in Southeast Europe; and unique Student Center.[23] According to results from Bulgaria’s official University Ranking system, AUBG has the best residential facilities in the country.[24]

AUBG is the first institution in Bulgaria with an American style housing system. Undergraduate students live on campus as part of the university mission.

The residence halls are smoke-free, disability accessible, and were built with funding from USAID/ASHA. Activity areas include aerobic rooms, gyms, music practice rooms, multipurpose rooms, billiard and ping pong areas, several television lounges, outside decks, kitchens, and cafes.[25]

John Dimitry Panitza,[26] a Bulgarian philanthropist and AUBG founder, is the patron of Panitza Library. Through Panitza’s efforts, the library developed into a modern center of learning and the largest English-language library in the region.[27] Panitza Library’s[28] modern facilities are equipped with computers, Internet, audio-visual center, and supporting copying services. Access to electronic resources is organized through the library web portal.

The Balkanski Academic Center bears the name of physicist Minko Balkanski[29] The center was dedicated to Professor Balkanski and his family in 2010.[30]

The America for Bulgaria Student Center won first place in the Education and Sport category at the "Building of the Year" contest.[31] The 10,000 square meter Student Center offers a career center, an advising and counseling center, and medical services. The center features a performing arts center, a professional gymnasium and fitness center, and dining facilities and cafes.[32]

Student life

AUBG students join a club, a student publication, a sports team, or an activity such as theater, AUBG Choir, debating, Model United Nations simulations, and public service.[33]

Student government

Established in 1991, the AUBG Student Government[34] provides a venue for students to practice the tenets of democracy and make a difference in campus decisions. It is a directly elected representative body of the students at AUBG. The Student Government holds its sessions weekly. It has a yearly budget, which is allocated among the student clubs and organizations.


AUBG hosts chapters of international organizations, such as People to People International, AIESEC, the Phi Beta Delta Honor Society, and the Association for Computing Machinery. Social and sports organizations, such as the AUBG Olympics, Basketball Club, Debate Club, Chess Club, Women in Business Club are also available.[35]

The Computer Science Student Union[36] organizes practical workshops and invites guest speakers on campus year-round. The union was awarded chapter status with the Association for Computing Machinery in 2008 and has won several chapter excellence awards.[37]

Better Community Club members work on community projects. Their activities include a multi-year educational project at Blagoevgrad’s "St. Nikolay Mirlikliyski" orphanage; fundraising campaigns for local centers for people with disabilities and a local family afflicted with serious health problems; and others.[38]

Students from the Business Club invite business figures, politicians, and economists, to talk to students on business-related topics. In 2010 alone, BC members brought two acting Bulgarian government ministers on campus.[39]

Assets Trading & Management (AT&M) is a student organization which operates as an investment fund where students learn analytical framework for the analysis of the financial markets. In 2014 Mr Bylgarski, Chairman of Bulgarian Stock Exchange gave lectures at the Assets Trading & Management club at AUBG [40]

AUBG Choir brings the music talents of AUBG and the local community together. It was created in 1993 by its director – Associate Professor of Music Dr. Hristo Krotev. The choir has received numerous national and international awards.[41]

The Broadway Performance Club stages musicals for the students and faculty every year. The AUBG community has already seen Chicago, West Side Story, Hairspray, Moulin Rouge, Grease, Memphis, All Shook Up and Burlesque. After its performances in Blagoevgrad, the musical goes on a tour around the country.[42]

Research and innovation

Students participate in conferences and competitions worldwide, such as the Carroll Round International Student Research conference at Georgetown University, USA and the annual Microsoft’s Imagine Cup competition.[43][44] The Goldman Sachs Global Leaders Program has repeatedly recognized AUBG students’ potential.[45] AUBG hosts its own research conference every year, where students and faculty present research projects.[46]AUBG students have engaged in robotics and computer science development at The CSSU.

Student media

There are several student media on campus (broadcast, print, and electronic) which chronicle university events and town life: AUBG Daily,[47] FlashNews[48] weekly, Radio AURA,[49] De facto ,[50] and Verve magazine.[51]


Every year AUBG holds its own Olympic games. In the AUBG Olympics,[52] students compete in sports disciplines, such as long jump, soccer, basketball, volleyball, arm wrestling, tug-of-war, horseshoe throwing, and boxing. The university has its own American football team, the AUBG Griffins.[53] Residence halls host table tennis, billiards, aerobic fitness rooms, and gym facilities. Those interested in skiing, hiking, horseback riding, boxing, kickboxing, aerobics, volleyball, baseball, yoga, tae kwon do, softball, and karate have formed student clubs and intramural teams. Every semester there are soccer and basketball intramural competitions and the Bulgarians vs. Internationals tournament.

Lecture series

The university hosts business practitioners and public figures year-round. Zhelyu Zhelev, Bulgaria’s first democratic president and recipient of an honorary doctorate from the university, visited AUBG twice as part of the Ambassador Elena Poptodorova Distinguished Lecturers series.[54] Bulgaria's EU Commissioner, Kristalina Georgieva, was another guest lecturer in the series.[55]

Notable people

Notable alumni

See also


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External links