Egypt, at the northeast corner of Africa on the Mediterranean Sea, is bordered on the west by Libya, on the south by the Sudan, and on the east by the Red Sea and Israel. The economy of Egypt is one of the most diversified in the Middle East, with sectors such as tourism, agriculture, industry and services at almost equal production levels. Egypt is considered to be a middle power, with significant cultural, political, and military influence in the Middle East and the Muslim world.
Egypt is an Arab country located in Northeast Africa on the Mediterranean Sea. In addition to a coastline with the Red Sea on the east, the country has borders with Israel, Libya and Sudan. Home to ancient pyramids, wide deserts, sparkling coastlines and the Nile River, Egypt is a popular destination for tourists from around the world. The official currency is the Egyptian Pound (EGP) and the official language is Arabic.
Egypt has four major geographical areas. The Nile Valley is the wettest area and contains most of Egypt’s agricultural lands. The Western Desert is the largest area, about two-thirds of the country, and is the hottest and most arid. Elevations are higher in the Eastern Desert and the area is home to many natural resources such as gems, coal and oil. The Sinai Peninsula is a plateau that is linked to the north-eastern corner of Egypt and has the most rugged mountainous terrain in the country.
Egypt has two seasons, with a mild winter from November to April and summer from May to October. Coastal regions experience temperatures ranging from about 14 degrees C to 30 degrees C. Desert temperatures fluctuate significantly from daytime to nighttime, with extremes as low as about 7 degrees C and as high as about 43 degrees C.
Egypt has a multi-cultural society that blends modern and western customs with traditional Middle Eastern practices. Dedication to family is central to the Egyptian culture and Egyptians are also well known for their excellent sense of humor and friendliness. Sports, especially soccer, are very popular, along with traditional folkloric dances, which vary by region. Egypt is also famous for film, theater, music and television.
Cost of Living
The cost of living in Egypt is very low; one-bedroom apartments can be rented for about $US 125 to $US 250 each month. Utilities and Internet add about another $US 80 per month.
Non-Egyptian students must have a valid passport from their home country to enter Egypt; the passport must have an expiration date at least 6 months past the planned return date. Students normally enter on a tourist visa, which is obtained from the Egyptian embassy or consulate in their home country; the tourist visa is good for 1-6 months. After entering Egypt, the student must register at the nearest neighborhood police station within 7 days of arrival; however, students from the United States, Canada and the European Union do not need to register. Within 30 days of arrival, all international students must apply for the student residence visa, which is renewed each semester. Students in master’s degree programs must be studying full time, or 9 credit hours per semester.
Study in Egypt
Higher Education in Egypt
The Ministry of Higher Education oversees all higher education, including planning, policies and quality control. The Supreme Council of Universities focuses on overall education and scientific research. In the past decade, Egypt has participated in programs designed to update the curriculum and raise the overall quality of education in various academic disciplines, including health care, engineering, chemistry, information technologies, and tourism and leisure, just to name a few. Overall spending on all levels of education in Egypt has increased significantly in the past several years.
Why Study in Egypt?
Studying in Egypt offers students the opportunity to learn about all aspects of Middle Eastern culture, including historical, political and economic. Students will also study in a multi-cultural environment, as institutions in Egypt offer distinguished faculty members from a wide variety of backgrounds and countries all over the world. Although many students pursuing a master’s program in Egypt focus on Middle Eastern studies or the Arabic language, programs are available in other academic disciplines as well, allowing students to obtain a degree in their professional area while still enjoying the Middle Eastern immersion. International private institutions offer many programs taught in English.
There are 23 public universities, 18 public non-university institutions, 19 private universities and 81 private institutions of higher education in Egypt. Seven new public universities have been established since the recent revolution and change in government; most of these new universities were established by turning branches of existing universities into stand-alone schools. The newer schools are all located away from large cities to increase access for all Egyptian citizens. All higher education institutions provide technical and professional training, but not all public non-university institutions or private higher education institutions have programs for graduate degrees.
Tuition and Program Duration
Tuition varies widely depending upon the type of school and program of study. Graduate programs for international students at private universities can run as high as $US 1,000 per credit hour each semester. Egyptian students study at lower rates, but tuition per semester hour still costs around $US 600. Most master’s degree programs require between 30 and 40 credit hours, some of which may include a thesis. Graduate students normally take around 9 credit hours each semester, so programs typically require 1.5-2 years to complete.
The academic year is based on two semesters. Fall semester begins in early September and runs through the middle of December, followed by exams. Spring semester begins in late January and runs through the middle of May, followed by exams. Students at international schools may find that they take days off for both Muslim and Christian holy days.
At 12 percent, unemployment in Egypt is somewhat elevated, but graduates with master’s degrees may still be able to find work, especially if they are fluent in Arabic or English and want to work for a multi-national corporation. Work permits are required and can be obtained from the Ministry of Manpower and Immigration offices in the district where the potential employer is located.
All international students should have a comprehensive health insurance plan while studying in Egypt that covers accidents, illness, emergency medical evacuation and repatriation of remains. The cost of health insurance depends on the type of coverage, but basic plans begin at about $US 30 per month.