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Study Away

A unique feature of the UAB Civil Engineering Program is its Study Abroad Program. Our students can complete coursework overseas while broadening their international and cultural experiences. Academic credits earned can fulfill undergraduate requirements or be applied towards the fast-track master's degree.

The department has two active study abroad programs, both of which take place in Egypt.


The National Science Foundation International Research Experiences for Students (NSF-IRES) program is an opportunity for undergraduate and graduate students to work directly with Egyptian and U.S. researchers on projects related to urban sustainability. The program is open to only a limited number of students (8-10) each year, so selection is competitive. The research experience takes place primarily in Cairo over a six-week period in early summer. Research topics include building design, sustainable building materials, sustainable storm water management, and intelligent building systems. Upon returning to the U.S., students complete their projects and develop a paper for submission to conferences and professional journals. The program covers most student expenses including airfare, lodging, meals, and transportation.

Alexandria University

The summer abroad program at Alexandria University allows students to take up to 6 credit hours of courses that will apply to their civil engineering degree. The program takes place over a six-week period in early summer in Alexandria, Egypt, and is open to all students. Courses include Sustainable Architecture (3 hours) and Introductory Arabic (3 hours). The cost for lodging and meals for the program is approximately $1,000. Tuition is free. Students are responsible for airfare, though transportation costs once they arrive in Egypt are covered. The program includes day trips to Cairo, the Red Sea, and other historic sites in Egypt.

Announcements for both programs are typically made in the fall. For more information please contact Andrew Sullivan at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or Paula Alvarez-Pino at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Why Study Outside the U.S.?

Many of the world's most pressing science and engineering challenges are trans-national in nature. Many of the leading scientific and engineering resources are located outside the United States. In order to remain at the forefront of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), the United States needs to nurture a globally-engaged STEM workforce capable of performing research in an international environment.

2015-2017 Programs

During the summer of 2017, eight of our undergraduate and graduate students traveled to Egypt and Germany as part of the NSF-IRES program. The trip was the third of three study away opportunities focused on the theme of Sustainable Green Building Design and Construction. This theme was selected for several reasons:

  • There is a growing emphasis on energy efficiency and the protection of natural resources in the building industry.
  • In many developing countries, such as Egypt, there is an acute need for affordable yet resource-efficient housing.
  • Our university and the international partners have collaborated on research in this area in the past and have jointly held two international workshops directly related to this theme.

The main international host for each of the three summers been the Housing and Building National Research Center in Cairo (HBRC). HBRC is an independent government research center performing a leading role in enhancing the performance of the building, housing, and urban development sector in both the local and regional context.

The two-week program in Egypt combined education experiences with opportunities to work with mentors on their research projects. Students then traveled to Germany, where they were hosted by our partner OTH Institute in Weiden together with Europoles. During the two weeks in Germany our students attended several lectures from experts in sustainability, visited different sustainability sites, attended practical experiences at multiple research laboratories, and had the opportunity to visit diverse towns in the south of Germany (Nuremberg, Neumarkt, and Regensburg, among others).