Department of Agriculture - University of Cairo




The Faculty of Agriculture at the University of Cairo is the oldest and largest educational institute in the area of agriculture in Egypt. Today, it consists of 18 departments with 585 teachers and 3,410 students in the undergraduate program, and 1290 students in post-graduate program. Within this faculty, the department of rural sociology is recognized for its expertise in the area of rural sociology and institutional analysis. The department has taught this specialty since the 1950s. A rural sociology option was created in 1961 under the department of agricultural economics. A new department of rural sociology was created in 1984. Sociology and related rural development courses are being taught until now at the undergraduate level (Bachelor of Science), as well as at the Master of Science and the PhD program. Rural sociology and related courses have been taught from the first year onwards in both the Arabic and English programs. Since 2002-2003 an English education program specialized in Rural Community Development is launched as an option at the Bachelor’s Degree level. However, rural sociology and rural development related courses are still offered throughout the Diploma, Master’s and PhD degree programs.


The activities of education in sociology and rural development are offered by the Department of Rural Sociology and Agricultural Extension. Meanwhile, many research activities are managed by the department and the Center for Rural Development Research and Studies (CRDRS). CRDRS is undertaking now, for example, few projects on the social impacts of new settlements in the newly reclaimed lands projects, and institutional and social innovations pertaining to local irrigation management in the Mediterranean region (project financed by EU-MEDA in collaboration with France, Spain, Lebanon, Morocco, and Italy).

The department offers two subsidiary programs in sociology and rural development:
- A program specializing in local development in English (3rd year of Bachelor’s Degree).
- A post-graduate diploma degree entitled « Planning and Evaluation of Rural Development Projects », taught in Arabic.

It also offers two post graduate programs at the Master’s of Science and PhD levels in the area of rural sociology.
The department of rural sociology welcomes, notably, numerous students from Arab and African countries. The « Rural Development Projects » training accepts 10 to 15 students per academic year.
Since 1997, the various teachings in the Department of Agriculture have been organized according to the credit hour system (1 credit represents 15 hours of theoretical coursework and 30 hours of supervised work and practicum) ; the post-graduate degree requires 30 credits and the Master’s of Science 30 credits over 2 years, plus a thesis.

Teaching team

The department’s teaching team is made up of 13 professors, 6 in rural sociology, and 9 assistants. All of the professors have a PhD and are fluent in English (several did their studies abroad). One professor and 2 assistants speak French. For the youngest professors, language courses will nevertheless be necessary to support the projects of international cooperation. Altogether, few teachers have good knowledge of computers in general. Some can use Word, Excel, or PowerPoint, statistical software (SPSS), or the Internet.

Equipment available include 4 PCs for students with Internet; an audio-visual lab, and 2 photocopiers. Under the supervision of CRDRS there is a modern e-communication lab equipped with all audiovisual materials (data show, video and still cameras and video conferencing) and 11 computers supported by ADSL are available, through the FORMDER project, for both staff and undergraduate and graduate students.

Interest of FORMDER project for the institution

The Faculty of Agriculture is engaged in a reform process of its teaching system as part of a policy of superior education reform in Egypt, aimed at perfecting its educational system and introducing an international dimension. In this sense, the FORMDER project would bring to the faculty, and especially the rural sociology department, the components necessary to replenish its education system, from the standpoint of content as well as methods, and help the department to become more internationally open.