Morocco's reputation as a country of beauty and mystery has attracted many travelers over the years, so it's no surprise that plenty of students decide to study abroad there as well. When you study in Morocco, you will immerse yourself in one of the most unique and diverse cultures in the world, as this North African country has a mix of European and Arabic influences, in addition to its nomadic desert roots.
Whether you stay in the bustling coastal port cities of Casablanca and Tangiers, immerse yourself in the medieval history of Marrakesh, or soak up the old-world Moroccan atmosphere and culture of Fes, you will have the study abroad experience of a lifetime. Enjoy the eclectic cuisine, admire the beautifully designed mosques and palaces, and brush up your Arabic or French, both of which are widely spoken throughout the country. Studying in Morocco is always an exciting prospect!
If you want to study at a Moroccan university, you will have to submit your application and other required documents through the Moroccan embassy or consulate located in your country. You will need a copy of your transcript, a birth certificate, and a medical certificate from the department of public health, in addition to some photos and other papers the embassy may request.
The embassy will then send your application to the Moroccan Agency for International Cooperation, and it is up to them to approve your study in the country. If you are approved, the Agency will send you further details of any requirements they have for you entry and study in Morocco. When you arrive in Morocco, you will have to also register with the Department of Professional Training as soon as you can (at most by two months after your arrival).
Check with the university you wish to attend before applying, as some universities only provide classes in French and Arabic, and therefore require that you are proficient or fluent in one of the two languages. If you can't speak either language, look for one of the universities that give you the option to take courses in English.
If you are studying at a university that has an emphasis on Arabic studies or the Arabic language, there is a good chance the university may have a direct exchange program with a Moroccan university. This program allows students from both universities to switch places for a semester or a year, depending on the specific program.
Check with your home university to see if any Moroccan programs are on the list of direct exchange programs; usually, you can keep paying tuition directly to your university as well, sidestepping any possible payment issues.
A third-party provider will arrange for you to go overseas and help you take care of any logistics, including accommodation, classes and paperwork.
You do pay an extra fee for the service they provide, but you also avoid a lot of hassle that comes with temporarily transitioning to a new university and a new country. Check with the study abroad/international office at your university to see if they recommend any such providers. Make a list of their recommendations and other providers you find online, and read their reviews on the Go Overseas website to pick your favorite and arrange your study abroad experience.
Many schools in Morocco are actually free to attend for locals or those international students who can prove they have at least one Moroccan parent, though some private universities now charge tuition of around $5,000 per year (including food and housing provided by the university).
However, this price is usually only applicable to Moroccan students, so it is most likely you will be paying prices closer to those of North America and Western Europe in order to attend a study abroad program in Morocco. Most universities that offer programs in Morocco charge international students between $15,000 and $20,000 a semester.
Cost of Living
The cost of living in Morocco is very affordable for students coming from the US and Europe. Though food and accommodation are generally cheap throughout the country, many universities unfortunately have you pay them directly for food and accommodation they provide, which usually runs anywhere form $5,000 to $7,000 a semester.
If you are enrolled in a program that doesn't cover food and accommodation, you can find much cheaper deals throughout Morocco. Rent an apartment for $250-$450 a month, and get a meal for $2-$4. Prices are given in Moroccan Dirhams, and one Dirham is worth about 10 US cents.
Student visas are generally cheap for people wishing to study in Morocco. The visa fee for a US student is either $22 or $33, depending on whether you want a single or double-entry student visa. In order to apply for a visa at the nearest Moroccan embassy or consulate, you must show a copy of your acceptance letter and your flight reservation.
You can offset some of your tuition costs with one of the many scholarships offered my Morocco to international students. Many universities with direct exchange programs or branches in Morocco offer scholarships you can apply for along with your general university application, so take a look at your university's international student page and see what's available.
Other than that, you can search the scholarships listed on the Go Overseas scholarship page. US students also have access to many scholarships provided by the federal government in order to encourage international exposure, such as the Boren Awards for International Study.
The Moroccan border authorities are very strict about the medical status of those entering their country. The embassy and consulate require you be up to date on all your routine vaccines, and also highly recommend you get vaccinated for Hepatitis A and Typhoid, which are still prevalent in Morocco. This may lead to some extra doctor's costs before you go overseas.
Oldest University in Morocco
Morocco is actually home to the oldest continuously running university in the world. Al Karaouin of Fez was founded in 859, centuries before the oldest European and English-speaking universities (Bologna and Oxford, respectively).
Al Karaouin was originally established as a mosque focusing on religious instruction, but soon became one of the biggest centers of scientific research and innovation in the Islamic world in the middle ages. The university started attracting students from all over the world and mediating the exchange of knowledge between the Islamic world and Europe, at a time when the Islamic world was making significant breakthroughs in math, science and technology.
You can still take classes at Al Karaouin of Fez today and admire the institution's beautiful architecture and incredibly rich history. The university is ranked as one of the best educational institutions in Morocco today; it is also alternately known as University of al-Qarawiyyin or Al Quaraouiyine.
Biggest University in Morocco
The biggest university in Morocco by enrollment is Universite Hassan II de Casablanca, which boasts over 45,000 students. Considering's Morocco's total enrolled student population throughout the country is around 700,000, Hassan II is home to a huge share of the country's college attendees.
The university offers bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees in a wide range of subjects, and welcomes international students to apply for enrollment. Whether you want to pursue a degree languages and culture, business, medicine, the arts, or science and engineering, Hassan II de Casablanca has the courses and facilities to support your studies.
Quirkiest Degree You can Earn in Morocco
If you study abroad in Morocco through the University of New England, which offers its Moroccan program to both UNE students and non-students alike, you will have the opportunity to take an advanced class called "Innocents Abroad: The Art and Practice of Political Travel Writing".
This very specialized class explores how travel writing can explore sensitive social topics and exert political influences in both positive and harmful ways, sometimes without the authors even realizing the effects of their journalism.