Minor Culture and Society in Morocco

Students interested in the study of Morocco can enroll in the English-taught minor ‘Culture and Society in Morocco’. This minor is worth 30 EC, and offers both training in ethnographic research skills and in knowledge specifically related to Morocco and the Arab world at large


During the fall semester, starting in September 2018, NIMAR offers the minor Culture and Society in Morocco. This minor has a focus on social sciences and humanities and gives the opportunity to learn a foreign language. This minor is highly suitable for second- and third-year students of International Studies, Middle Eastern Studies, African Studies, Social Sciences or any other student with an interest in North African culture and its languages.

What this minor offers

You will immerse yourself in Moroccan culture during three months, and become familiar with Moroccan society. Classes, taught by several Moroccan and foreign academics, will cover Moroccan history, society, politics and generic skills to do ethnographic field­work in Arab or North African societies. This minor also offers an intensive course in methods and techniques and an extended research period of five weeks during which you will conduct qualitative research. The language skills you acquire will help you to interact with your interviewees. Besides following classes, you will participate in many excursions in Rabat and neighbouring cities, and also go on a five-day fieldwork trip to the Moroccan countryside.

Read here  Katharina's experience of studying in Rabat. 


Case Studies on Moroccan Culture and Society (5 EC)

A course on social-scientific research of and in Morocco, with lectures by Moroccan and foreign academics in disciplines such as sociology, anthropology, history, and political science. Topics include urbanisation, gender, Islam, migration, social movements and media. It includes a series of on-site visits, excursions to various sites of cultural interest and social organisations in the surroundings of Rabat-Casablanca, and a five-day fieldwork trip to a rural area. The course readings illustrate about a century of modern research on Moroccan culture and society and offer a good overview of the current state of knowledge. The excursions give an insight in the layout of modern Moroccan cities, Moroccan universities, libraries, the countryside, museums and the culture of memory, and contemporary art.

Methods of Qualitative Research (5 EC)

The course familiarises students with different research methods such as (participant) observation, interviews, and working with focus groups. Practical assignments for observations and interviews serve as preparations for the students’ own research projects. During the module “research design”, students learn to formulate their own research projects: formulating a research question, planning and time schedule, uses of theories and concepts, paper outline, relating to existing knowledge and identifying experts.

Intensive Language Course (5 EC)


The aim of this course is to familiarise students with Moroccan Arabic (Darija), the spoken dialect of Morocco. The course provides students with basic grammar and vocabulary in order to practice their speaking skills in Moroccan Arabic. Theory and exercises are taken from Marokkaans Arabisch, een cursus voor zelfstudie en klassikaal gebruik by Jan Hoogland which is the handbook for this course.


The aim of this course is to familiarise students with French, a common language in Morocco. The course provides students with basic grammar and vocabulary in order to practice their speaking skills in French.

Field Period Project (15 EC)

An independent field research on a specific well-defined project during the last part of the term, under supervision of a lecturer students and with weekly intervision. They may do this individually, or in small groups of two or three students. They report on their research in an ethnographic report, a combination of original empirical research, study ofexisting literature, and a theoretical framework. The field research project should result in a term paper. In the Introduction the students present their research questions, the status quaestionis by reviewing relevant literature, their theoretical and conceptual framework, the methods of research, location of research and particularities of their informants, offer a reflection on their own role, consider ethical issues, and present the structure of the paper. In the following sections they present the fieldwork findings.Every paper ends with some Conclusions, in the form of answers to the initial research questions.

For more information about the program, click here for the online study guide of Leiden University.

Excursion during a previous NIMAR programme


Living in Rabat

Rabat has a comfortable environment with cultural influences from Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. Rabat is the capital of Morocco but is has an ‘easy going vibe’ compared to the more touristic cities like Fes or Marrakech. With both the old city centre and Kasba des Oudayas you get the experience of living in a typical Moroccan city. This in combination with the more luxurious shopping districts, like Agdal, makes Rabat a perfect place to study.


NIMAR students share how it is to live in Rabat


How to apply

All students must register for the minor Culture and Society in Morocco 2018 via the study administration system uSis (possible from 1 May 2018). Students from other universities who wish to register for the minor in uSis must enroll as guest student at Leiden University. Visit the Leiden University website for more informa­tion or email m.a.maljers@hum.leidenuniv.nl.

Contact and information

For more information about the programme and registration procedures, please contact the minor coordinator Yara Maljers: m.a.maljers@hum.leidenuniv.nl.

Follow us on Facebook: NIMARinRabat