Ain Shams University

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The second largest university in Egypt.

Ain Shams (or Ayn Shams) University was established in Cairo in 1950 under the name Ibrahim Pasha University. In the wake of the 1952 revolution it was renamed Heliopolis University for about a year, then changed to an Arabic equivalentAin Shams. The founders evoked the tradition of learning associated with the ancient temple of the sun god Ra-Horakhty (who was depicted as a hawk) in the city of On (Heliopolis to the Greeks). The colleges of arts, science, commerce, education, engineering, and agriculture evolved from pre-existing higher institutes scattered around Cairo; the college of medicine had been a branch of Fuad I (Cairo) University. After the revolution, the administration, which had been located in the Munira district, was moved to the Zaʿafaran palace on the main campus in Abbasiyya. The university differed from the older universities of Cairo and Alexandria in maintaining a separate college for women, which had evolved out of a teacher-training institute and became almost a mini-university in itself.

The university consists of thirteen faculties and seven institutes and research centers covering a broad spectrum of specializations including law, arts, commerce, medicine, engineering, language, and agriculture. In 2002 it had about 127,000 students and a teaching staff of 6,450.

The university library consists of the central library and the faculty libraries, which contain valuable manuscripts, maps, drawings, encyclopedias, and collections of books. Full medical care is provided for its undergraduate and graduate students. The university has a central residential campus with various branches in different quarters. The main body of male residences, ten buildings, is situated at Khalifa al-Mamun Street near the university, whereas the main body of female dormitories, eight buildings, is situated at the faculty of women, some distance away from the main campus.

Each faculty has a student union that consists of elected members. Unions cooperate with the student welfare offices of the faculties in taking care of all student activities.


Ain Shams University web site. Available from <>.

Reid, Donald Malcolm. Cairo University and the Making of Modern Egypt. Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 1990.

The World of Learning 2004. London and New York: Europa Publications, 2004: 489490.

Donald Malcolm Reid