Sawiris Scholars Exchange Program

 Dean Boyer & 2017-18 Sawiris Scholars

Due to the generous support of Mr. Nassef Sawiris/Orascom Construction group since 2007, the University of Chicago has welcomed a select group of students from Cairo University and the American University in Cairo into the Sawiris Scholars exchange program. These students spend an academic year at UChicago, studying 9 courses over three quarters (Autumn, Winter and Spring). They are fully integrated into University life, receiving the same access to courses and educational resources as degree-seeking students, as well as access to all that the city of Chicago has to offer. Sawiris scholars receive full funding thanks to the philanthropy of Mr. Nassef Sawiris to cover tuition, airfare, housing, health insurance and a living stipend.

Who Is Eligible

Second and third year students with distinguished academic records and strong extracurricular activities from Cairo University and Orascom Construction sponsored scholars studying at the American University in Cairo are eligible to apply for this year-long exchange program. Students should have a background in Statistics, Political Science or Economics. Applicants must obtain an overall score of at least 104 on the TOEFL exam or at least 7 on the IELTS exam.

The University of Chicago: Shaping Minds and Changing the World

The University of Chicago is one of the world’s greatest intellectual communities. Located in Hyde Park on Chicago’s South Side, UChicago is uniquely positioned to contribute to, and to draw from, the strength and diversity of a world-class metropolis. A top ten university in the national and the global educational rankings, UChicago offers a distinctive approach to learning and knowledge.

Our faculty which includes 80 past and present Nobel Laureates are visionaries, innovators, entrepreneurs, scholars and agents of change. We ask tough questions, engage the world around us and pursue knowledge with rigor because we believe in the transformative power of ideas.

Our undergraduate program is known for its emphasis on critical thinking and broad interdisciplinary exposure to the full range of intellectual inquiry. The College’s 50 majors and 27 minors have a reputation for exhilarating discussion. Conversations begun in the classroom often move to the lunch table, and into the community. The UChicago education is a portal to a lifetime of discovery and innovation.

Examples of courses offered can be found in the course catalog.

Sawiris Scholars at UChicago

Students who get accepted into the program will receive a packet from the Sawiris Scholars Liaison at the Office of the Dean of the College with information on the financial documentation and other materials that are needed for their visa applications. Sawiris Scholars are housed on campus and are registered into the University Student Health Insurance Plan (U-SHIP). More information can be obtained through these links:

 2017-18 Sawiris Scholars at the Sox StadiumSawiris Scholars’ time spent at UChicago begins with a three-week intensive program that helps prepare them academically and orients them to campus. During the first two weeks, students participate in three intensive mini-courses designed to: 1) familiarize them with UChicago approaches to Economics and Political Science, 2) explore important aspects of American political and cultural life, and 3) help them fine-tune analytical and writing skills needed to succeed academically at the University. During the third week, students participate in the University’s campus-wide orientation session alongside other incoming domestic and international students.

Sawiris Scholars also get to visit the Chicago Board of Trade and the Federal Reserve Bank, the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, major sporting events and regional sites.

Application and Important Dates

Applicants should download and complete the University of Chicago Student-at-Large application. Applications must be submitted to your university contact, listed below, by March 3rd.

Interviews will be conducted in late-March to mid-April. Applicants will receive an email from the Sawiris Scholars Liaison at the University of Chicago notifying them of the status of their application by mid to late-April.

2019-20 Calendar

  • Sunday, March 3, 2019: Application deadline
  • Monday, September 9, 2019 - Friday, September 20, 2019: Special courses
  • Saturday, September 21, 2019 - Saturday, September 28, 2019: Orientation Week
  • Tuesday, October 1, 2019: Autumn Quarter begins
  • Saturday, December 14, 2019: Autumn Quarter ends
  • Monday, January 6, 2020: Winter Quarter begins
  • Saturday, March 21, 2020: Winter Quarter ends
  • Monday, March 30, 2020: Spring Quarter begins
  • Saturday, June 13, 2020: Spring Quarter ends


 2017-18 Sawiris Scholars by the Chicago Bean

Students from Cairo University should contact the Faculty of Economics & Political Science (FEPS) International Relations Office at

Students from The American University in Cairo should contact Sohair Saad at