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Study in Cairo

By Julia G

Updated July 28, 2021 Updated July 28, 2021

Cairo for students

Egypt’s capital, Cairo (or Al Qahirah in Arabic) is located near the Nile Delta and has the largest metropolitan area in the Middle East, home to well over 20 million people. It’s often referred to as Maṣr by locals, the Egyptian Arabic name for Egypt itself, reflecting the city’s national importance.

The area of modern-day Cairo was the focal point of Ancient Egypt, with the famous Pyramids of Giza located only 10 miles away. Today Cairo is hectic and fast-paced, lively and vibrant. Egypt’s recent political instability may make students somewhat concerned about safety, and while Cairo is generally safe, it is advisable to avoid political demonstrations and large gatherings at this time. However, residents are confident that the future is bright for the city.

Best ranked universities in Cairo - QS Best Student Cities ranking: 109th

World Ranking Institution
=445 The American University in Cairo
571-580 Cairo University
801-1000 Ain Shams University

More about Cairo

Cairo is an education hub, and is home to one of the oldest universities in the world – Al-Azhar University, founded more than a thousand years ago. English is the most commonly used foreign language in the city, and is the main language of instruction at the American University in Cairo.

Number of universities ranked by QS

3

Highest-ranked institution

American University in Cairo (Joint 445th)

Population

20,901,000 

Average international fees (at ranked unis)

US$8,200

Desirability rank

109th

Employer Activity rank

59th

Affordability rank

75th

Student View rank

96th

To find out how each of the above categories is calculated, view the methodology.

Why study in Cairo?

Cultural heritage

As one of the oldest (and largest) cities in the Arab world, it's unsurprising that Cairo has a long and illustrious cultural heritage. It has one of the largest concentrations of historical Islamic architecture in the world, and will soon be home to the Grand Egyptian Museum (in Giza) which will be the largest archaeological museum in the world.

Exciting atmosphere 

Cairo is not for the faint-hearted - it is legendary for its busy streets and energetic pulse. If you prefer a more slow-paced way of life, Cairo might not be for you, but if you thrive off the hustle and bustle of big city life, it could be a perfect fit.  

Wonders of the world

For many, Cairo is synonymous with the Ancient Egyptian empire, and, indeed, in Cairo you're only around 10 miles from perhaps the most iconic structures in the world - the Pyramids at Giza. Cairo is a history lover's dream!

Natural beauty

Although the urban centre of Cairo is undoubtedly heavily built up, the Nile river and Nile Delta add some natural beauty to the city, with lush vegetation growing on the banks. The desert outside the city is also worth a visit - why not try a camel ride for a truly unique experience?

Cost of studying in Cairo

Although Cairo may be slightly more expensive for living costs than other Egyptian cities, it’s still highly affordable, especially if you join in with the local custom of haggling!

Tuition fees for international students are not the cheapest, with an average of around US$8,200 per year, but this is significantly cheaper than many other university hubs in the US and the UK.

Life & culture in Cairo

In terms of culture, Cairo is home to thriving film and music industries which are some of the largest and oldest in the Arab world. You could enjoy opera, ballet and orchestra performances at the Cairo Opera House, and the city hosts the annual Cairo International Film Festival. The city also has an extensive nocturnal life to explore, including bars, nightclubs, late-night cafés and Western-style venues.

Careers in Cairo

Ranked 59th in the world for employer activity, graduates from universities in Cairo are clearly looked upon favourably by employers. For students who want to stay in Cairo after graduation, there are many job options available - after all, two-thirds of the GDP of Egypt is generated in the Cairo greater metropolitan area.

The majority of publishing houses, film studios and media outlets in Egypt are located in the city, so it's fantastic if you want to go into the field of media and communications. Tourism is also a major source of income, as is manufacturing and shipping from the nearby Suez Canal.

This article was originally published in July 2021 .

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Written by
Julia is the Assistant Editor for TopUniversities, publishing articles for students and graduates across the world. A native Londoner, she holds an MSc in Marketing Strategy & Innovation from Cass Business School and a BA in Classical Studies & English from Newcastle University.

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