The graduate program in sociology and anthropology equips students with a thorough grounding in the theory and research methods of both disciplines. Drawing on the expertise of faculty in sociology,anthropology, and other disciplines, it offers a unique opportunity for students to conduct original fieldwork-based research amidst an intellectually stimulating environment. Its longstanding tradition of combining scholarship with a commitment to social, economic and political justice makes the program a dynamic environment for learning and research. Our students conduct fieldwork in Egypt and throughout the Middle East on topics such as urban transformation, gender, religious and social movements, memory and politics of the past,migration, environment, health, the family, poverty, ethnicity and nationalism, media, activism, art and expressive culture, and youth cultures.
The program emphasizes an interdisciplinary approach to social theory and research and has broad applications. It has prepared many of our students for doctoral programs in the social sciences at universities in North America, Europe and other parts of the Global South, as well as other career paths in social research, NGOs, development agencies, and international and non-profit organizations.
Located at the heart of the Middle East, the faculty and students engage critically with the region and the representation of its people, cultures, and politics. The vibrant and cosmopolitan city of Cairo makes the program’s location ideal for students interested in conducting fieldwork in the Middle East, North Africa, and the Arab world, as well as its connections to the Mediterranean region, Sub-Saharan Africa, and the larger ‘global south’. The program, accepts qualified applicants from a variety of academic and professional backgrounds especially those who are talented and interested in acquiring alternative and critical perspectives on society and politics.
The applicant for this program should be a graduate of high standing from an undergraduate program in the humanities or social sciences (refers to fields in the Faculties of Arts) with an overall grade of gayyid giddan or a grade point average of 3.0 or above. Those who lack this background but who are exceptionally well qualified in other respects may be admitted provisionally. In such cases the department may prescribe a noncredit program of work in theory or method for one or two semesters to correct gaps in course background. The department reserves the right to assess applicants’ English proficiency and/or social science abilities in person as a condition of acceptance into the program. Students can be admitted to the program in the fall or spring.
The candidate for the degree must demonstrate proficiency in a language other than English. The language exam is normally taken in Arabic and, in the case of native speakers, is intended to ensure that the student can work as a professional in that language. In certain cases the student may take the exam in a field and/or scholarly language other than Arabic. Students’ language skills will be evaluated upon entry into the program for placement purposes and then re-evaluated for proficiency before completing the program.
All students must complete a research thesis in accordance with university regulations. Before commencing work on the thesis, the student must write a thesis proposal following strict departmental guidelines that is approved by three faculty members.
Students should familiarize themselves with procedures and deadlines regarding writing the thesis proposal, committee selection, writing of the thesis and presentation to the supervisor and readers. Complying with the procedural requirements by the appropriate deadlines is the responsibility of the student. After completion of the thesis, it must be defended and approved by the thesis committee.
Eight courses (24 credits) are required. All students must take: SOC/ANTH 5201 , SOC/ANTH 5202 , and SOC/ANTH 5298 , and either SOC/ANTH 5203 or SOC/ANTH 5204 . The remaining four courses should be chosen from the list of electives, each of which is offered in principle at least once in a two-year period. A maximum of six hours of 400-level courses in sociology and anthropology or of 500-level courses in other disciplines (including SOC/ANTH 5200 and SOC/ANTH 5208 when taught by faculty outside the SOC-ANTH program) may be taken with departmental approval.
Comprehensive Examinations Track for SOAN MA
This option allows students who do not wish to write a fieldwork based MA thesis to complete, as an alternative, two further courses and take comprehensive exams.
Students not opting to do a thesis will, after the completion of all course requirements, take comprehensive examinations administered by an Examination Committee. An oral examination may be given following the written test.
Ten courses (30 credits) are required. All students must take SOC/ANTH 5201 , SOC/ANTH 5202 and either SOC/ANTH 5203 or SOC/ANTH 5204 . The remaining seven courses should be chosen from the list of electives, each of which is offered in principle at least once in a two year period. A maximum of nine hours of 4000-level courses in sociology and anthropology or of 5000-level courses in other disciplines (including SOC/ANTH 5200 and SOC/ANTH 5208 when taught by faculty outside the SOC-ANTH program) may be taken with departmental approval.
Written and oral comprehensive exams on three topics (one theoretical, one focused on methodological / practical concerns, one based on the interests of the student)