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Egyptology and Literature Study Abroad Program

About Ain Shams University, Egypt

  • Required GPA: 3.0 (4.0 scale)
  • Academic requirement: Students should have completed three semesters of college courses prior to arrival at Ain Shams University.
  • Application deadlines: April 15 for fall semester (Sept-Dec)
    October 15 for spring semester (Jan-June)
    We regret that our Cairo program is suspended indefinitely. Please contact our office for alternate programs
  • Program advisor: David Watkins
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Program Snapshot


Ahlan! We're so excited that you're preparing to study abroad on an IFSA-Butler program and have chosen the Egyptology and Literature program at Ain Shams University as your destination. Cairo is home to approximately 11 million people and a place where the ancient and the modern coexist. Ain Shams University is the only university truly located in Cairo, in the northern area of Heliopolis. In fact, Ain Shams is the Arabic name for Heliopolis.

There are just a few specific forms, as well as writing an academic statement, for this program that you will need to complete along with your IFSA-Butler application. The forms can be found under the Forms tab and information regarding the academic statement can be found under the Academics tab.

What the Egyptology and Literature program has to offer

  • Hosted at a large, respected university with a distinguished Faculty of Languages
  • Great location in lovely, historic Heliopolis in northern Cairo
  • Field excursions to top Egyptian landmarks included in the program fee
  • A perfect match for students from any major who are interested in Egyptology and the humanities
  • No prior study of Arabic language required


  • Students live in apartments with other IFSA-Butler students
  • Apartments are fully furnished and include kitchens
  • Students prepare their own meals


  • Courses are taught in the Faculty of Al-Alsun (languages) and the Faculty of Arts with regular university professors
  • All courses are taught in English
  • Field excursions supplement classroom learning with real-life cultural experiences

We look forward to working with you, in sha 'allah!


Academic Structure

The Egyptology and Literature program at Ain Shams University is a semester long study abroad program. If you wish to study in Egypt for a year, you will need to choose another Egypt University Program in either Alexandria or Cairo for the additional semester of study. Students studying on the Egyptology and Literature program at Ain Shams University take two mandatory classes and select their remaining course load from a list of program electives, taught in English, by faculty within the Faculty of Languages and the Faculty of Arts at Ain Shams University. Students may not study in any other faculty at Ain Shams University.

Program Courses

All students studying on the Egyptology and Literature program at Ain Shams University take the following manditory program courses:

Arabic Language
IFSA-Butler and Ain Shams University designed this program course specifically for non-native Arabic speakers. Modern Standard Arabic with exposure to the Egyptian Arabic dialect will be the focus of this course.

Egyptology: Art and Architecture of Ancient Egypt
The program course, taught in English will cover the history, monuments and civilization of Pharonic Egypt, from the beginning of the dynastic period (3100 BC) to the end of the medieval state (1781 BC).

Students who study abroad for the fall semester will study the art and architecture from the Predynastic Period to the end of the Middle Kingdom. The course begins with predynastic art, and covers locations and works such as the development of the royal tombs of the Old Kingdom, the step pyramid at Saqqara, the funerary complex of King Cheops at Giza and the Temple of Mentuhotep at Deir el Bahari from the Middle Kingdom. Additionally, students will learn about religious concepts of art and architecture in ancient Egypt, as well as learning how to date Egyptian art. Field trips will be to locations such as Giza, Saqqara and El Minia.

Students who study abroad for the spring semester will study the art and architecture from the New Kingdom to the Late Period. Examples of art and architecture in locations, such as the New Kingdom temples of Karnak and Luxor, the Valley of the Kings, the tomb of Tutankhamun, the Bayariya Oases and el-Armarna, will be examined. Students will learn to understand the religious concepts of art and architecture during these periods, as well as how to date Egyptian art. Field trips will be to locations such as Luxor, El Bahareya and the Cairo Museum.

Elective Courses

In addition to the mandatory program courses, students will be required to take at least three electives. All students must complete the course preference form (located under the Forms tab) and list the electives in order of preference. We cannot guarantee that all the electives will be offered every semester; availability depends on the enrollment of program participants in the courses.

Below is a list of the elective courses taught in English and the description of each course.

  • Classical Arabic Poetry Arabic poetry is traditionally divided into eras representing different historical phases in the life of the Arabs. These include the pre-Islamic (Jahilite), Islamic, Ummayad, Abbasid, Memaluke, Ottoman and modern eras. Particular emphasis will be on the first four eras, which span more than half a millennium and include the names of the most famous and influential classical Arab poets. Students will become familiar with the basic traditions and forms of Arabic poetry. This course will relate Arabic poetry to the culture that gave rise to it. Recurrent terms in the course include the traditions of chivalry, hospitality, ghazal (courtly love), the image of the woman, panegyric and satire, which represent some of the major themes of Arabic poetry. Poets to be studied include Muru' Al-Qays, Al-Mutannabi and others.
  • Modern Arabic Poetry During the last 150 years, Modern Arabic poetry has witnessed a development similar to that which took place in Europe from the early 18th century, starting with a revival of great classical traditions and an attempt to emulate the work of the great masters of classical Arabic poetry. It developed, under Western influence, into a Romantic movement that swept the major metropolises of the Arab world, especially in Egypt, Lebanon and Syria. The movement continued to evolve into a free-verse movement that corresponded roughly to the Modernist development of poetry in the Anglo-American world at the hands of T. S. Eliot and Ezra Pound, and progressed into a more postmodern reality. The course will trace that development and explore the ways in which the modern Arabic poem differs from the classical poem, how it relates to the questions of imperialism, political conflict in the Middle East, and the controversy between the traditionalist intellectual trends and modernist secular ones.
  • Aspects of Islamic Culture: Concepts and Texts This course seeks to introduce students to aspects of Islamic culture from an Islamic perspective. The course will provide an overview of some major aspects of Islamic culture. Particular importance will be given to Islam as it was traditionally understood before the late 18th and 19th century encounters between Islam and the West. The course will help students understand how contemporary Islam, as perceived by the Western world, differs from the traditional Islam that the West first encountered with the rise of colonization. The course will focus on the Islamic faith, Sharia (Islamic law), its traditional division into four schools, Islam's brand of pluralism and Sufism as the embodiment of Islamic spirituality. The course will also shed light on the role of Wahhabism in the creations of the contemporary picture of Islam, especially in the Western mind. Areas of interest will also include major Islamic contributions to science and the humanities, with a focus on the questions of authorship, plagiarism and the transmission of knowledge in written form.
  • Nation and Narration This course will focus on examples of Contemporary Arabic fiction that aim at narrating the nation, especially in times of national turmoil that threaten the very existence of the people. The course is based on the premise that a distinction should be made between stable and unstable societies, rather than between First and Third Worlds. Literature, being a product of its society, is compelled to take on a political dimension that is inseparable from the daily life of conflict and strife that the individual has to undergo and simultaneously becomes a tool of resistance against the threats facing the nation. Students should have prior familiarity of the novel as a genre and understand the methods of a close reading of text.


Because of the differences in the academic systems, you will not know your exam schedule until after you arrive at your host university. Your host university's policies do not permit you to reschedule any exams, request alternate assessments or arrange to have your exams proctored in the United States. If this occurs, IFSA-Butler cannot assist you in conducting an academic record query for the course in which you made this arrangement. You will need to complete and submit all academic work prior to departing the program.


  • Arabic Language = 4 U.S. semester credit hours
  • Egyptology: Art and Architecture of Ancient Egypt = 5 U.S. semester credit hours
  • Classical Arabic Poetry = 2 U.S. semester credit hours
  • Modern Arabic Poetry = 2 U.S. semester credit hours
  • Aspects of Islamic Culture: Concepts and Texts = 2 U.S. semester credit hours
  • Nation and Narration = 2 U.S. semester credit hours


You will be provisionally registered for your elective courses based on your first three preferences indicated on the couse preference form. You must take a full course load as determined by IFSA-Butler. Credit will be awarded on a Butler University transcript based on a typical U.S. full course load. All courses are graded on an A-F scale, and there is no provision for pass/fail or auditing. The program courses and credits you take must equal a total of 15 to 17 U.S. semester credit hours. The number of classes a student takes depends on the number of U.S. semester credit hours each class is worth.

You should also be aware that you may be charged additional fees by your home institution or host university to take or process additional credits. Taking less than a full course load may jeopardize your student status and result in personal academic repercussions and/or loss of financial aid.


After you have returned to the U.S., your home university will receive a Butler University transcript with the credit and grades you earned on the Egyptology and Literature program at Ain Shams University. The Butler University transcript will report the equivalent U.S. semester credit hours and letter grades. We also will send an official transcript to your permanent address.

Academic Statement

As part of your application to the program at Ain Shams University, you are required to write an academic statement. A well-written academic statement can make the difference between a regular application and an incredible one. The program at Ain Shams University admits applicants who are driven, motivated and prepared for an academically rigorous semester. Writing a strong academic statement will strengthen your application and help differentiate you from other applicants.

Think of your statement as a college admissions essay. Your academic statement should be about 500 words and outline the reasons why you want to study on the Arabic Language, Arts and Culture program at Ain Shams University. A statement can be especially useful for providing additional information which is not immediately apparent from your transcript, but relevant to your application. You should discuss your reasons for wanting to study in Egypt and why the program at Ain Shams University appeals to you.

Your statement should also describe how and why a study abroad semester at Ain Shams University will assist you in achieving your academic, personal and professional goals. You should send your statement with the other Egyptology and Literature forms found under the Forms tab. Your application will not be complete until your statement has been received.


Housing Options

Ain Shams University does not have accommodation for study abroad students, so students on the IFSA-Butler program will be living in self-contained apartments in the Dokki area of Cairo.

All apartments are single gender, so all females and males will be housed separately in different buildings, or on different floors of the same building.

The apartments consist of two to three double bedrooms, with a kitchen and living areas. The kitchens have adequate refrigerator and cupboard space and are fully equipped with pots, pans and other necessary utensils. All beds are twin-size, with blankets and pillows provided. Residents share bedrooms and bathrooms.

There is no meal plan for students attending Ain Shams University, so students will be able to cook for themselves. Local shops and grocery stores are located nearby.

IFSA-Butler housing is generally near public transportation, making commuting to campus convenient. Students are responsible for the cost of commuting and should expect a commuting time between 30 minutes to one hour from their apartment to campus.

Even though the IFSA-Butler students live together, the other apartments within the buildings are home to Egyptians and families of other nationalities. To make the most out of living in Egypt, you must be flexible. Islam and Egyptian cultural practices permeate life in Cairo, and students need to follow these practices in order for their experience to be a successful one:

  • Be prepared to give up some independence. Even though you will be living with other IFSA-Butler students, your neighbors will be Egyptian and their opinion of you will be formed by what they observe. Just as Egyptian students have curfews, IFSA-Butler students will need to also respect and abide by curfews. Students must never consume alcohol within the apartment or arrive home in an inebriated or drug-induced state. Overnight visitors, whether they are friends or family, are not permitted.
  • While smoking is still considered socially acceptable in Egypt, it is not permitted in IFSA-Butler operated apartments.
  • Learn as much about Egyptian culture as you can before you go abroad. What may seem a small thing to you could actually be something much more significant to your neighbors. Be sure to read Preparing to Study Abroad Egypt cover to cover, as well as other sources so that you learn as much as possible before arriving in Egypt.

Please keep in mind that while IFSA-Butler guarantees housing, we cannot guarantee your preferences.


The IFSA-Butler apartments in Cairo have fully equipped kitchens, so students will be able to cook for themselves. Numerous grocery stores and shops are located nearby.

Housing FAQs

Is my housing included in the program fee?
Yes. Your program fee includes accommodation at the university while classes are in session. You will be responsible for the cost of your meals and any commuting costs you may incur.

Will I have to commute to class?
Yes. IFSA-Butler housing is located very near a Metro station, so students are able to commute quite inexpensively by Metro to the campus of Ain Shams University. The commute will take between 30 minutes to a hour, depending on the time of day you travel.

Do I have to pay a housing deposit?
Yes. IFSA-Butler requires a refundable housing deposit of $300 before going abroad. We will return this deposit to you after March 1 for fall programs or September 1 for spring programs, less any fines, damages or outstanding debts in your name.

Can I arrange my own housing?
No. Independent housing is not possible for students studying on our Egypt programs.

Location Info

12 million
Location: North central Egypt, along the Nile River

City features

  • One of the world's largest urban areas and a vast open-air museum of architectural treasures
  • A metropolis full of life and movement nearly 24 hours a day
  • An ideal home for the adventurous student in search of a truly urban but non-traditional study abroad experience

Do more!

  • Visit the city's ancient temples, tombs, mosques, churches and the Eyptian Antiquities Museum
  • Shop at a local souk (bazaar) or street market, or visit the famous Khan el-Khalili souk, which remains largely unchanged since the 14th century
  • Take a train to the beautiful, seaside city of Alexandria, which offers a modern taste of Egypt's illustrious history
  • Explore Islamic Cairo with all it's beauty of Islamic architecture
  • Wander through Coptic Cairo and visit the Hanging Church and Coptic Museum

Bibliotecha Alexandrina
Alexandria Tourism
Lonely Planet Egypt

Dates & Fees

Program Dates

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* Date is subject to change depending on the university calendar.

Your program end date may change due to circumstances beyond IFSA-Butler's control. Upon arrival at your host university, be sure to verify your exam schedule and program end date. We also strongly recommend that you investigate fees and penalties associated with your airline tickets in case you need to make date or route changes.

Program housing is available only until the date listed as “Program ends” on the calendar.

Exams must be taken where and when scheduled. Under no circumstances may students request that an exam time be changed. In Egypt exams are taken under formal examination conditions, and changes cannot be made for individuals.

Program Fees

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What's included in our Egypt program fees
Expense calculator

Fall Payment Due: July 1
Spring Payment Due:
November 15

Program Fee Bills
IFSA-Butler will send a single bill for the entire program fee, which includes tuition, services and housing.

The housing component of our program fee is based on the average cost of local student self-catering accommodation, usually a shared room in a regular dormitory, apartment or house without any extra features.

† Housing Deposit
This program requires a housing deposit of $300. This payment is in addition to the program fee but is due on the same date. The deposit is held separately from the program fee and should be paid separately. The deposit is refunded to the student after the program, less any damages, fines or outstanding debts in the student’s name.

Personal Cost Estimates

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Expense calculator


Applicants to the Egyptology and Literature program at Ain Shams University must complete additional forms in addition to writing an academic statement (instructions and guidelines can be found under the Academic Statement tab under Academics).Please download, print and complete the following:

Please submit these forms along with the remainder of your IFSA-Butler application. Your forms can be sent to IFSA-Butler via email, fax or regular mail. You can track which application forms IFSA-Butler has received by logging into the Student Portal.

Meet Your IFSA-Butler Team

IFSA-Butler has a dedicated team of staff who are here to help students prepare for their program in Egypt:

altProgram Advisor David Watkins assists with the application process and is here to answer program, cultural and academic questions before departure. David can be reached at the email link above or at 800-858-0229, ext. 4229. David graduated from the University of Cincinnati with bachelor’s degrees in international affairs and political science. He studied abroad in France, Israel and the West Bank, and began a study abroad program with IFSA-Butler in Egypt during the spring of 2011. After political evacuation from Egypt, he continued his studies in Morocco. David currently advises students planning on studying abroad in England, New Zealand, Australia and the Middle East.


beckiStudent Accounts Coordinator Becki Niccum assists with the financial side of study abroad and processes payments and invoices. Becki can be reached at the email link above or at 800-858-0229 ext. 3077.




Student & Parent Services Manager Donnetta Spears is available to both students and parents for travel questions and information. Donnetta has worked with IFSA-Butler since 2000, and she has traveled through parts of Europe, Latin America, Australia and New Zealand. As the mother of 4 college students (including one who studied abroad on an IFSA-Butler program), she has a deep understanding of the ins-and-outs of study abroad from a parent perspective. Donnetta can be reached at the email link above or at 317-940-4252.


Once abroad, our students are in the capable hands of our on-site office, including our resident director. Click here to read more about Resident Director Dr. Mohamed el-Komi.


rhondaUpon return from your study abroad program, Assistant Director for Academic Affairs Rhonda Hinkle processes your Butler University transcript and assists with any academic record queries. Rhonda completed her undergraduate coursework at the University of Evansville and received her master's degree from Bowling Green State University. She also has taken doctoral courses at Ball State University. For Rhonda, study abroad not only increased her awareness of the world around her but also ignited her passion for travel and education. Rhonda can be reached at the email link above or at 800-858-0229 ext. 4259.

Get Connected

Connect with IFSA-Butler Students

If you really want to know what it's like to study abroad, connect with IFSA-Butler alumni and students who are currently abroad on an IFSA-Butler program. Check out the following:
Student Network
Student Blogs
Experiences Abroad Videos
For Students

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