Studying Islam in Egypt

Al-Azhar University

Studying Islam in Egypt

Location: Egypt
Language of Instruction: English
Term: Summer
Program Type: Faculty-led
Open to non-KU Students: No
Fulfills KU Core 4.2: No
Fulfills KU Core 5: No

A unique opportunity to study about Islam in Cairo, Egypt, a city of central importance to the development of Islamic history and tradition, at Al Azhar University, the main center of Islamic teaching and learning in the world.

Studying Islam in Egypt is a course in which students will learn about Islam in Egypt by traveling throughout Cairo and participating in classes taught by lA-Azhar faculty. At Al-Azhar students will learn about the development of Islamic tradition in Egypt, the history of Egypt under Islamic rule, the relationship between Coptic Christians and Muslims in Egypt, and about the current work Al-Azhar is doing to combat extremism and to build bridges between the East and the West. Besides taking classes, students will visit Al Azhar’s historic grounds and mosque, centered in Medieval Cairo. Students will also tour the Coptic Christian areas of Cairo, the Muslim monuments of Cairo, the pyramids of Giza, and the Grand Egyptian Museum along with a day-trip exploring important sites in Alexandria, Egypt.

Cairo, the capital city of Egypt, is one of the most famous and historic cities in the world. It is also and one of the most important cities in Islam. It is where the Muslim conquest of Egypt took place in 641, not long after the death of Muhammad the prophet of Islam and was founded as the city of Cairo by the Fatimid Dynasty in the 10th century. The Fatimids also established Al-Azhar University, the world’s second oldest institution of advanced education. Medieval Cairo was also the center of the Ayyubid and Mamluk dynasties in the 12th-16th centuries as well as being an important city to the Ottoman Empire. It is known as the city of 1,000 minarets and is filled with many architectural wonders of the Muslim world, built over many centuries. But it is also home to the great pyramids of Giza and the sphinx along with many other monuments from Ancient Egypt. As a contemporary metropolis, Cairo is also a center of cultural and political importance to the regions of North Africa and the Middle East. As a part of this program, we will be learning about the history of Islam in Egypt not only in classes at Al-Azhar University, but also by traveling and learning at sites throughout Cairo and in Alexandria.

Participants will enroll in REL 400: Study Abroad Topics for 3 credits.

The course will be offered on the ground in Egypt and will consist of courses taught at Al-Azhar University and travel experiences throughout Cairo. It will be focused on the study of Egyptian Islam, how it has developed over time, where it stands today and the interaction of Muslims and Christians in Egypt. The course will culminate in a final exam, which will be given on the final day of the program.

All students will be housed in double occupancy rooms in a hotel in Cairo. Students will also be housed in a hotel for their 2-day excursion in Alexandria. Breakfast will be included at each hotel. All lunches and dinners will be group meals and are included in the program fee.

SAGE is dedicated to creating international engagement opportunities that meet the needs of all our students and providing resources to support you through the process of studying abroad. Study abroad is achievable for students of all identities including our BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ students, students with disabilities, and students with religious/non-religious viewpoints. Before selecting a program, consider how your identities may impact your experience abroad in unique ways and talk with your Program Coordinator about any program-specific concerns. Students with documented disabilities should discuss any accommodation needs with their Program Coordinator early in the planning process.

Check our Identity Abroad page and resources listed below for information specific to you and other students who may be on your program.

Open to undergraduate students from the University of Kansas. A minimum 2.5 GPA is required, but exceptions will be considered upon submission of a petition.

Any student from any academic program or career focus is encouraged to apply.

Contact the Program Director for more detailed and specific information.

Program Cost for Studying Islam in Egypt

Dr. Jacquelene Brinton is an Associate Professor in the Religious Studies Department at the University of Kansas. Dr. Brinton is also the department’s Chair and Director of Graduate Studies. In her teaching Dr Brinton regularly covers the topics of gender, comparative ethics, and theories and methods in the study of religions. Pulling from significant experience in Egypt and specializing in Islamic studies Dr. Brinton’s research and publications have focused on contemporary Islam, preachers, media and religion, religious authority, and religious and popular culture.

Dr. Jacquelene Brinton
Professor and Chair
Department of Religious Studies
Bailey Hall, Room 303H


Ahmad Mustafa is a Religious Studies teaching assistant at the University of Kansas. Mustafa holds a Religious Studies master’s degree from KU along with degrees from Al-Azhar University, Cairo University, and the Higher Institute for Islamic Studies. Currently a KU Political Science PhD student, Mustafa’s areas of interest include Islamic studies, Islamic Law, religiopolitical discourse in the Middle East, radical groups' discourses, and more.

Ahmad Mustafa
Arabic Instructor | AAAS Department
Teaching Assistant | Religious Studies Department
Ph.D. Student | Political Science Department