View of students in Moroccan Colloqial Arabic class chatting with Moroccan peers.

Modern Standard Arabic (Required)

This course aims to help students reach Intermediate-High or Advanced proficiency levels (depending upon their proficiency upon arrival in Morocco) in reading, speaking, writing, and listening in MSA. While emphasis is placed primarily upon the four skills (speaking, listening, reading, and writing), culture is highlighted as crucial to the reinforcement of those skills. The course is designed not only to help student to improve their level of Arabic, but also to grasp cultural practices in the Arab world and in Morocco in particular. Cultural context is built into the course and introduced through audiovisual and supplementary materials accompanying the textbook. The textbook Al-Kitaab fii Ta’allum al-a’Arabiyya (Parts 2 & 3, or 3 only, depending on level) is used, along with supplementary material specific to a Moroccan context.

Moroccan Colloquial Arabic (Daarija) (Required)

 In this course, the student develops the capacity to understand both main ideas and details in continuous speech on various topics in colloquial Moroccan Arabic (Daarija). While full understanding is still limited, by the end of the course, students are able to ask questions as well understand the responses, express facts and opinions in complex sentences, and engage in conversations in Daarija with native speakers on a wide range of topics. This course enables the student to meet daily and situational needs and requirements of a study and work routine. The student will also be able to handle complex conversations with confidence on social attitudes in simple non-academic language. Some sample topics that are typically covered in this course include descriptions, guidance, family issues, topics related to friendship, and medical issues. Grammar will also be taught in this course as it relates to the above mentioned topics and as a general overview.

Amazigh Communities in Morocco (Intermediate-High)

This course covers the history and civilization of the Amazigh (Berber) in Morocco.  Students will learn about various historical periods of Amazigh history from Ancient times, through the Islamic conquest and into the modern era.  The course will also investigate unique aspects of Amazigh culture, and the role of the Amazigh language in the fields of media and education, especially after recognition of it as an official language alongside Arabic in the new constitution. Finally, the material is aimed at shedding light on the future of “Amazighness” and the role of Amazigh political and social movements in ensuring their continuity and existence in the region.

Contemporary Political Issues in the Maghreb (Intermediate-High)

This course provides an overview of the institutional and social characteristics of the state in post-colonial North Africa, and the conflicts that accompanied the birth of the modern state in terms of its identity and the nature of the political system up to the present day. This course will also focus on the issues of political transformation and how each country dealt with the challenges posed by these transformations, politically, economically and socially.

Sufism in North Africa (Intermediate-High)

This course aims to introduce students to the meaning of Islamic Sufism, its adherents, and characteristics, by starting with its founding concepts (Sharia, method, and truth). We will then study how this belief system and practice entered the countries of North Africa, including the countries of the Maghreb, and how the zawiya played a pioneering role in the history of Morocco, to the extent that some historians considered the history of Morocco as the history of zawiya. We will investigate the development of the zawiya and its role in the history of Morocco (6th century AH) through the most important Sufi schools and we will move to the contemporary period, covering how the Moroccan state has adopted values of Sufism as one of its doctrinal components.

Media Culture in North Africa (Intermediate-High)

This course will look at media culture within the cultural context of Maghreb countries, with a focus on Morocco, taking into consideration changes that have occurred in these communities on the political, cultural, and social landscape, and how these changes have been reflected in media culture. The course will tackle the following topics:

  • The historical development of the media in the region
  • Impact of political openness on the media culture in north Africa region and the shift of this culture from authoritarianism to liberation.
  • The relationship between media and audience in the Maghreb region and how this has fostered cultural awareness.
  • The influence of new media on social and political change in Morocco and North Africa, and the appearance of a new culture that defies governments control.

History of Al Maghreb and Al Andalus (Advanced)

This course aims to enable students to understand the present of what we might term the “Islamic West”.  We will begin with the emergence of the Islamic state during the reign of the Prophet Muhammad through the period in which the region was subjected to foreign colonialism, through the great caliphate, and the splits connected to it, many impacts of which are still strong in several countries.
    The course will look at the two Umayyad and Abbasid states and the arrival of Islam to North Africa and then Andalusia, with a focus on the most important factors that led to the creation of an Islamic West separate from the East, and split into a group of countries that flourished in certain periods as a result of civilizational interaction with southern European countries, especially Spain, and weakening in other periods subject to European colonialism.

Moroccan Relations with the Northern Mediterranean and Al-Watan al-Arabi (Advanced)

This course seeks to enhance students’ understanding of Morocco’s international environment, and to place them at the center of the discussion about the implications of these relations.  We will discuss the nature of the characteristics that distinguish these relationships, the themes and topics that they focus on, the size of the economic, social, political and cultural challenges they face, and the various factors that influence them at various stages of development. In so doing, we will pay particular attention to the relationship Morocco has with several states and state-actors, and the roles and functions that various institutions of the Moroccan state assume in decision making (the royal institution, the government, parliament, civil society organizations, etc.), as well as the trends and strategies that govern them.

People of the Maghreb (Advanced)

This course seeks to present to students the nature of transformations that people living in Maghrebi society have witnessed and that the society as a whole is currently experiencing. We will explore the system of values represented in culture, religion and symbols, passing through individual actors until we reach basic institutions such as the family. We will conclude by analyzing models of traditional institutions such as the justice plan and the Hisbah institution, relying on anthropological mechanisms and sociological concepts in order to understand the nature of society’s responses to waves of modernization and rationalization that accompanied the formation of the modern nation-state, and how to manage this coexistence between modes of tradition and modernity.


* Not all courses will be taught all semesters. A minimum of three students is needed to offer a course, and advanced courses require more advanced language skills (usually a third year of Arabic).