Barazangi came to Cornell after earning his PhD from Columbia University. He is currently an active emeritus professor in the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences and the Associate Director of the Institute for the Study of the Continents (INSTOC). He also served in 1978-1980 as an associate professor and chairman of the Department of Geophysics at the Faculty of Earth Sciences, King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. His interests are seismology, tectonics and lithospheric structure especially in the Middle East and Morocco.
A major objective of Barazangi's research is to understand the lithospheric structure and the seismotectonics of intracontinental mountain belts and young continental collision zones. His group is focusing their investigation on the Palmyride fold and thrust belt in central Syria (including the nearby Euphrates rift system) and the Rif and Atlas Mountains in Morocco, as well as a detailed study of the Anatolian Plateau in Eastern Turkey, one of the youngest continental collision zones on Earth. Another objective of Muawia's research is to collect and organize all available seismological, geophysical, and geological data sets, on both a regional and global-scale using a comprehensive Geographic Information System (GIS).