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Culture and Society in Morocco

During the fall semester, starting in September, NIMAR offers an English-taught minor (30 EC), with a stress on social sciences and humanities. The programme offers training in ethnographic research skills in combination with a course on knowledge specifically related to Morocco, the Arab world and Africa with lectures and excursions by Moroccan academics. Students also study Moroccan Arabic or French. This minor includes an extended research period of five weeks during which students conduct their own qualitative research.

The programme

  • Case studies on Moroccan culture and society, with lectures by Moroccan and foreign academics in disciplines such as sociology, anthropology, history, and political science. Topics include ‘History’, ‘Civil Society and Politics’, ‘Cities and Countryside’, ‘Migration’, ‘Religion’ and, ‘Gender’. This course also includes excursions to various sites of cultural interest and social organisations in the surroundings of Rabat-Casablanca, and a five-day fieldwork trip to the rural south of Morocco.

  • A course “Methods of Qualitative Research”, which familiarizes students with different research methods such as (participant) observation, interviews, and working with focus groups. Weekly practical assignments for observations and interviews serve as preparations for the students’ own research projects; Including “Research Design”, which helps students to formulate step by step their own research projects.

  • Intensive language instruction in Moroccan Arabic or French, mostly focusses on verbal communication skills, including conversation classes.

  • An independent field research project during the last part of the term. Under supervision of a lecturer students do research and report on their research in a research paper. They may do this individually, or in small groups of two or three students.

The courses are taught by NIMAR faculty and by guest lecturers from Moroccan institutions. Cultural activities will be organised alongside the course curriculum, providing additional opportunities for students to enrich their experience and understanding of Moroccan society.

After completion of the programme students will have acquired a basic working knowledge of Moroccan Arabic and of social studies of Morocco, learned elementary ethnographic methods of doing fieldwork, put this knowledge into practice by having carried out their own field research and having analyzed and presented their data, both orally and in a written form. Students are actively encouraged to travel extensively to the various regions of Morocco during their stay in Rabat.

Maximum number of students: 40
Prospectus number: 5000MCSMN
Class number: 1021
Language: English


Course EC Semester 1 Semester 2
Case Studies on Moroccan Culture and Society 5
Methods of Qualitative Research 5

Choose between French and Moroccan Arabic:

Intensive Language Instruction French Intermediate 5
Intensive Language Instruction French Advanced 5
Intensive Language Instruction Moroccan Arabic Beginners 5
Intensive Language Instruction Moroccan Arabic Intermediate 5
Intensive Language Instruction Moroccan Arabic Advanced 5
Field Research Project NIMAR 15

More info


Extent: 30 ec
Duration: September 2020 - December 2020 (handing in research paper in January 2021)
Intended for: students from all disciplines
Language of instruction: English
Website: Minor 'Culture and Society in Morocco'
Website: NIMAR
Coordinator: Drs. Yara Maljers
Board of Examiners: Middle Eastern Studies
Enrolment through: uSis


  • About the NIMAR

The NIMAR is the Dutch expertise centre for Moroccan Studies. Since 2016, NIMAR has been an integral part of the Faculty of Humanities of Leiden University, complying with the high standards for education as set by the Dutch Ministry of Education. NIMAR offers courses, organises lectures, facilitates research, and actively contributes to the knowledge of Moroccan languages, cultures and society in the Netherlands. NIMAR’s main aim is to offer students from the Netherlands opportunities to study and do research in Morocco and in the wider North African and Middle Eastern area. It is also actively involved in collecting books, electronic and audiovisual materials form the Arab world for the libraries of Leiden University.

  • About Rabat

Rabat is the capital of the Kingdom of Morocco. It is a well-organised city on the Atlantic coast, which offers a pleasant and safe environment to acquaint students with living in North Africa and the Middle East. It has good cultural and scholarly facilities, housing major teaching and research institutions, libraries, museums, bookstores etc. Rabat has its own airport and offers good connections to all other parts of Morocco. It is about one hour by train from Casablanca, which has the biggest international airport in Morocco.

Morocco in general is famous for its diversity. Cities with enormous amounts of cultural heritage but also its many landscapes with different aspects like mountains, deserts, both Atlantic and Meditarrean coastal areas and so much more. The programme allows students to see what Morocco has to offer.