Faiyum, 60 miles southwest of Cairo, is one of the oldest cities in Egypt. It is known as Shedet to the ancient Egyptians, Krokodilopolis to the Greeks and Arsinoe to the Romans. By that standard its university, a state institution founded in 1976 as a branch of the University of Cairo, is something of a novelty.
Its story since is one of growth, with the steady addition of fresh disciplines beyond the founding schools of education and agriculture. The faculty of engineering was opened in 1981, followed by 14 more faculties across the range of disciplines in the year since, with the key development in 2005 when university status was attained and the schools of archaeology and of medicine, based around the 350-bed university hospital, were created.
More recent additions include dentistry (2012) and pharmacy (2015).
Further expansion is planned, with the existing 50 acre campus in the city’s El-Gamaa zone to be supplemented by fresh development on a 100 acre site allocated to the university in the northern suburb of Kan Oshim. The tourism department, catering to one of Faiyum’s most significant activities, is developing a new facility on Qaroon Lake, while extensions are planned for the hospital.
Fayoum’s high energy physicists have been the most successful of the academic staff in breaking into internationally-recognised journals, while research activity also focusses on the city’s location, with the foundation in 2013 of the Institute for Research into Strategic Studies in Nile Basin Countries and a two-year project, started in 2017, to document Faiyum’s "intangible heritage".