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Course Evolution

For more than a decade, the Research Methods (RM) Training Program has been a major activity in the Social Research Center (SRC) of the American University in Cairo (AUC). It was initiated in 2000, with support from Wellcome Trust, under the title “Research Methods for Guiding Policy and Evaluation with Special Application to Population and Health”. For a brief period after its commencement, the program encompassed a link to the “Center for Research on Population and Health”, the Faculty of Health Sciences in the American University of Beirut and included a research internship at SRC as an integral component. Although the RM program started as a training program for research in population and health, the basic tools and concepts covered in the training could be applied to many policy areas and social science fields. Indeed, the three-month training program has always attracted social scientists from outside population and health as well as governmental personnel, NGO staff, and program managers from international development agencies active in the Arab region. The training program has effectively catered to the needs of its diverse trainees for evidence-based policy formation. The RM training program consists of four separate but complementary modules, and trainees could apply to separate modules individually. However, the four modules are well-integrated and attending the complete set was encouraged and has always been the norm.


It is evident that the training program has responded to an unmet need for strengthening policy-relevant social research in the Arab region and has attracted trainees from all over the world. The program has continued with success through six phases, even after the end of the agreement with Welcome Trust. In its fourth to sixth phases, starting in 2011 with Ford Foundation becoming the principal funder, the program has broadened its focus from health and population to development at large. The main target group of the training program in its latest phase has become academic staff in Egyptian Public Universities, although it continues to attract trainees from all over the world, as well as outside academia.


A major change that has been introduced during its most recent phase was the introduction of a 3-credit-hour course within the Master of Public Policy and Administration (PPAD) in the American University in Cairo -- PPAD570-02 (Selected Topics): “Monitoring and Evaluation Research with Applications on Development Initiatives in Arab Countries” for a brief period. This course has been designed as a sub-module of Module IV on policy recommendations and evaluation. The introduction of this credit course has served an ongoing goal for SRC to strengthen its linkages with different schools and departments within AUC.


A major change starting 2015 is the accreditation of the course as a one-year Professional Diploma from Egypt Supreme Council of Education.


This seventh round intends to build on the success of the training course in developing multidisciplinary social science research skills and illustrate their utilizations in assessing development challenges; guiding evidence based policies, monitoring development goals, as well as evaluating policies and programs. The training is useful to a wide variety of stakeholders who seek to support development policies and actions.


Trainees have the chance to choose, either to take the full 12 weeks course (and pay the reduced fee of $3,500) or to choose specific submodules (one submodule costs: $325). They also have the chance to receive a Professional Diploma Degree accredited by Egypt Supreme Council of Universities if they fulfill: The basic requirements for this degree, take the required full training course credits for diploma, pass in all modules, and prepare an acceptable thesis.