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Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to investigate the quality of a political science program in an Egyptian private university through assessing three particular dimensions: knowledge of political science core facts and theories; reading comprehension skills; and critical thinking (CT).

Design/methodology/approach – A case study research approach was used. The study relies also on a quantitative methodology. Quantitative data were collected from students in the second and fourth years of political science to assess their knowledge of core political science facts and theories, reading comprehension and CT through the online California Critical Thinking Skills Test.

Findings – Unlike the results of core knowledge and reading comprehension, positive results were found with regard to students’ CT. The levels of students’ CT increased from 0 percent in Year 2 to 18 percent in Year 4. Variables such as the school GPA, non-Egyptian high school degree and not meeting professors during office hours were found statistically significant to higher levels of CT.

Research limitations/implications – One limitation of the study was the relatively small samples’ size. However, while the samples might look small on the surface, they represent, in reality, between 49 and 59 percent of the students enrolled in Years 2 and 4.

Practical implications – Despite its pilot nature, this study provides some insight into the quality of private political science education in Egypt through assessing the degree it contributes to political science students’ knowledge, reading comprehension and CT and through investigating the most statistically significant variables.

Originality/value – Whilst several studies have investigated the quality of higher education programs, very limited literature attempted to assess the quality of political science education, in particular.