CASA Program 2020 - 2021 Latest Updates

Because of unprecedented global circumstances, The American University in Cairo will offer the closest possible approximation to the traditional CASA experience, to CASA finalists as well as to advanced learners from all parts of the world, through on-campus presence, conditions permitting, of our students and faculty beginning Fall 2020, through Spring 2021. The program is open both to those who can pay tuition and fees and to those who qualify for fellowships on the basis both of merit and of availability.  

About 10% of AUC classes in the fall have been selected for campus instruction, under strict risk mitigation requirements including physical spacing, the wearing of face masks, testing and tracing regimes, and frequent cleaning and sanitizing. As a condition of enrollment, all AUC students will be required to comply with all such health, safety, security, and other requirements, and acknowledge their acceptance of the full risks in enrolling for physical participation in classes at AUC. 

Our international students will be required to arrange and buy their own international medical insurance sufficient to match AUC’s medical insurance. For more details, click here. These risks inherent in studying at AUC or anywhere abroad under current conditions, despite the US Department of State’s warning to American citizens to avoid all travel abroad, include the risks of contracting the Covid-19 contagion or other diseases; inadequate local medical care; the lack of availability of convenient return travel to the US;  sudden changes in Government of Egypt requirements; and others.  

CASA has been selected for physical presence, based upon our faculty’s judgement of those for which some degree of physical presence is necessary for full achievement of the program goals. Should the results of the first weeks of limited physical presence under strict risk mitigation measures indicate that we have not succeeded sufficiently in limiting the spread of the contagion,  then we will revert to full on-line instruction and learning. In either case, AUC will provide housing, including internet access, and other support for our international students who need it and apply for it. Contact for more information on housing.

AUC has operated continuously and with proven resilience for over a century, through wars, revolutions, epidemics, and economic and political crises. We are confident of a successful year ahead in the face of this global challenge.  We very much hope and expect that a significant number of American students and those of other non-Arabic speaking nationalities will join our over 6,000 Egyptian students in an unforgettable, transformative educational experience in the year ahead. 

For inquiries and questions, contact CASA Co-director Iman Soliman at or Executive Director Heba Salem at or 

Who can apply?

  • Advanced learners with at least three years of previous Arabic language study, capable of passing the highly competitive and selective admission process.
  • Students are already enrolled or who seek to enroll in post-graduate programs.
  • CASA finalists who wish to come to Cairo 2020 - 2021 at their own discretion. 

What does CASA 2020-2021 program offer?

  • A customized CASA program for advanced international students from all over the world (not only U.S citizens or permanent U.S residents). 
  • A dedicated full-year academic program in both Modern Standard Arabic (MSA) and spoken Egyptian dialect, enabling students to reach a near-native fluency in written and spoken Arabic. 
  • Theme and content-based instruction curriculum that makes use of special materials, integrated with certain skills and real-world tasks.
  • Cultural understanding through community engagement component, trips and tours that complement the classroom sessions, giving an opportunity for the students to practice the language in the streets of Cairo while learning about Egyptian culture, people, values, and traditions.

What does the CASA 2020 - 2021 scholarship cover?

  • Full tuition for 23 credit hours over two semesters, fall 2020 and spring 2021.
  • Monthly stipend for 9 months
  • One round flight ticket (the student buys and is reimbursed on providing proof of payment and boarding pass). Contact CASA office for more information on ticket cap for different geographical destinations)
  • Visas
  • Arrival pickup from airport.

Fees that the scholarship does not cover: 

Also check the Pay Your Own Way (PYOW) section below.

The Academic Program 

CASA is a full year program that is usually presented in three semesters over the year. The summer semester (June - July) focuses on Cairo and Egypt. Students get 20 contact hours per week of Egyptian Colloquial and Modern Standard Arabic. With the focus on Cairo and Egypt a cultural program is accompanying the study and students get a first hand experience. The summer facilitates life in Cairo for the rest of the year. This year’s summer is cancelled due to the pandemic circumstances.

The Fall semester (September - December) focuses on language skills in more detail as well as culture of Egypt and the whole Middle East. Learners in this semester study in classes that present social, cultural, literature and political issues. This takes place with focus on Reading comprehension, Writing, Listening and Speaking introduced to the students through 20 more contact hours per week. The Fall prepares the students for the Spring where they receive Content courses.

The Spring semester is a great opportunity for the learners to use their language and cultural competence in content courses of their choices, (classes are opened for less than five students). Examples of those courses are: History of Egypt, or of the Middle East, Cinema, Translation, Literature and so on. Learners also have the opportunity to learn through serving the community. By serving in different places in Cairo and with the Interaction with Egyptians, students learn more language and culture in a natural setting outside the university's borders.

Our language classes use a theme-based, content-based instruction curriculum that makes use of a number of authentic materials, integrated skills activities and real-world tasks and augmented with  rich and specialized culture programs. All materials are developed by experienced instructors to specifically meet the needs of advanced learners of Arabic.

Owing to COVID-19 circumstances, CASA 2020 - 2021 is offering a nine-month program (two semesters; Fall and Spring).

Language Pledge

All CASA fellows will be required to abide by an Arabic-only speaking policy on campus and off campus as much as possible.

For more information about the academic program contact the CASA office at or the executive director at

Apply Now

CASA 2020-  2021 applications are available online starting July 26 until August 20. To apply now, click here.

Note that in case any fellow decides to withdraw at any point of the program they are required to pay full program scholarship back. 

Selection Exam

The CASA 2020 -2021 at AUC selection exam (August, 22) provides the selection committee with a comprehensive measure of the applicant's current level of proficiency in Arabic, and helps to place them in the appropriate class if they are accepted into the program. 

Finalists who are applying and have already taken the ACTFL CASA selection exam do not need to resit the AUC selection test.

Other CASA applicants are required to sit for an entrance exam that is made of  reading, listening comprehension as well as writing. 

For the Arabic placement exam instructions and technical requirements, click here.

Pay-Your-Own-Way (PYOW)

The Pay-Your-Own-Way (PYOW) option is available to a limited number of qualified students who are willing and able to provide funds for all expenses associated with their CASA at AUC program of study (Ask CASA office for Presidential Explore Egypt grants to assist American students with demonstrated need with mini grants to offset their travel expenses).

We encourage you to apply for outside funding. If you manage to secure outside funding, it may:

  • Cover program costs, like insurance and tuition fees. 
  • Provide you with a higher monthly allowance than what we can provide.
  • Allow CASA at AUC to increase the number of participants, therefore increasing your and others’ chances of acceptance into the program.
  • Select the PYOW option on the application form if you have other funding or are applying for other funding. All CASA at AUC  applicants, including PYOW applicants, must follow the same procedures to be considered for the program and are evaluated in the same way. Once selections have been made by the CASA at AUC Selection Committee, we will confirm with anyone who indicated PYOW status and determine whether they have been able to secure outside funding.
  • Accepted PYOW applicants will receive up to a $1000 contribution from our “Presidential Explore Egypt Grant" toward their program expenses.

PYOW candidates must agree:

  • To assume all financial responsibility for participation, and to abide by the same rules and regulations as a CASA Fellow; and to consider this agreement binding until the end of the program. 
  • Expenses for PYOW fellows for the CASA 2020 - 2021 costs and expenses are subject to change for each year.

Selection Exam 

The CASA 2020 -2021 at AUC selection exam (August, 22) provides the selection committee with a comprehensive measure of the applicant's current level of proficiency in Arabic, and helps to place them in the appropriate class if they are accepted into the program. 

Finalists who are applying and have already taken the ACTFL CASA selection exam do not need to resit the AUC selection test.

Other CASA applicants are required to sit for an entrance exam that is made of  reading, listening comprehension as well as writing. 

Exit Exam

All CASA 2020 - 2021 at AUC fellows will be required to participate in an end of full-year exit exam. This exam is no substitute for the regular quizzes or end of semester achievement exams/projects.

Living in Cairo

  • AUC offers some apartments near the Tahrir Square campus, a short commute away in Maadi, and near and on our main campus. AUC provides limited transportation for commuting among AUC residences and both campuses.
  • You can choose other places to live in of course provided they are cleared by AUC security office. 
  • For more information about AUC housing contact Nermeen Habib at 


Important Note:

According to the instructions from the Egyptian Ministry of Civil Aviation, effective August 15, 2020, all non-Egyptian passengers are required to provide a negative PCR test certificate for Covid-19 issued not more than 72 hours prior to arrival in Egypt.

This requirement is not applied to foreign passengers traveling directly or transiting to Sharm El Sheikh, Hurghada, Taba, Marsa Alam or Marsa Matrouh Airports. 

For further information, email AUC‘s travel office at


Dates and Deadlines

Application Deadline

August 20


August 22

Acceptance Email

August 27

Online International Student Orientation 

August 31

Arrival to Cairo

August 31 - September 10

Required Self Quarantine

Self-quarantine for two weeks are required by AUC starting the date of arrival to Cairo to be completed by September 24 at the latest

Online CASA Program Orientation

September 11

Classes begin online for the duration of the two weeks quarantine

September 12 - September 22

Face to face classes begin 

September 26


COVID-19 AUC Guidelines