Cairo University

Cairo University (Jāmi‘a al-Qāhira) is a public university founded in 1908. The main campus is located in Giza, immediately across the Nile from Cairo.

This is the second-oldest extant institution of higher education in Egypt, and several pre-existing higher professional schools were absorbed by the university and turned into constituent colleges. The Cairo University School of Medicine, also known as Kasr Alaini, is one such example, as this medical school has its roots in the Abzabal Military Hospital and was established in the 1820s.

Cairo University currently enrols around 155,000 students, spread out over 20+ faculties and 3 institutions. It is one of the 50 largest institutions of higher education in the world by enrolment.

Cairo University is considered one of the top universities in Egypt, and it is also frequently included in top-10 lists for the whole African continent. At the most current US ranking of universities, Cairo University ranked #5 of the African universities, which also meant it was the highest ranking African university outside South Africa, and one of only three non-South African universities to make the African top-10 list.

Cairo University ranked 1st in Egypt in the 2020 ARWU ranking and 2nd in Egypt in the 2021 QS ranking.

cairo university

Short facts about Cairo University

Former names

Egyptian University (1908-1940)

King Faud I University and Fu’ād al-Awwal University (1940-1952)


The university is a member of The Mediterranean Universities Union (Italian: Unione delle Università del Mediterraneo, UNIMED).

Nobel laureates alumni

  • Naguib Mahfouz, 1988 Nobel Prize for Literature
  • Yasser Arafat, 1994 Nobel Peace Prize
  • Mohamed ElBaradei, 2005 Nobel Peace Prize

Faculties and institutes at Cairo University

  1. Faculty of Engineering
  2. Faculty of Medicine
  3. Faculty of Computers and Artificial Intelligence
  4. Faculty of Pharmacy
  5. Faculty of Agriculture
  6. Faculty of Science
  7. Faculty of Economics and Political Science
  8. Faculty of Mass Communication
  9. Faculty of Archaeology
  10. Faculty of Arts
  11. Faculty of Commerce
  12. Faculty of Specific Education
  13. Faculty of Nursing
  14. Faculty of Law
  15. Faculty of Physical Therapy
  16. Faculty of Oral and Dental Medicine
  17. Faculty of Veterinary Medicine
  18. Faculty of Dar El-Ulum
  19. Faculty of Education For Early Childhood
  20. Faculty of Graduate Studies for Statistical Research
  21. Faculty of African Postgraduate Studies
  22. National Cancer Institute
  23. Faculty of Regional and Urban Planning
  24. Faculty of Graduate Studies for Education
  25. National Institute of Laser Enhanced Sciences (NILES)
  26. Center of Open Education
  27. Cairo university center for Languages and Arabic Culture
  28. Faculty of Nanotechnology for Postgraduates Studies


The Egyptian University

What would eventually become Cairo University was established in 1908 in the form of a small private European-inspired institution for higher education, with Prince Faud I as the rector. It was named the Egyptian University.

Wealthy Egyptians had begun pledging funds to the establishment of a formal modern-style university in Egypt a few years earlier, and Pricess Fatma Ismail donated land and carried out a fundraising campaign. Another notable contributor was Mustafa Kamil al-Ghamrawi who pledged 500 Egyptian pounds.

During its early years, the institution did not have a campus. Instead, it would put in adds in the press to let people know when and where the lectures would be.

The Egyptian University had a women´s section when it was founded in 1908, but this section was closed in 1912, and it would take until 1928 before women were readmitted to the university.

cairo university

A state university

The private institution became a state university in 1925, under the reign of Faud I. It recieved new funding, a new faculty of science was added, and the liberal arts college (Kulliyat al-Adab) of 1908 was joined with the schools of law and medicine.

The first group of female students enrolled at the state university in 1928.

New programs in the 21st century

Examples of new educational programs introduced by the universities in the 21st century are construction engineering, computer and telecommunications engineering, mechanical design engineering, petrochemical engineering, construction engineering, architecture engineering and construction technology, and the water and environmental engineering program.

Face veil ban

In 2015, Cairo Universty enacted a new rule that banned its professors from wearing niqab or face veil. In 2020, Egypt´s High Administrative Court approved the ban.