Study in Morocco

Many questions about Fulbright can be answered by looking at the Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board (FFSB) policies, which are online and available at:

The FFSB policies are divided into 9 chapters, 100-900, and those that concern U.S. grantees are Chapter 400, U.S. Students, and Chapter 600, U.S. Lecturers and Research Scholars.

As a Senior Scholar, I had a Fulbright grant to Spain 3 years ago, and now I’d like to pursue my research on Andalusian music in Morocco. Am I eligible to apply for a Fulbright to Morocco?IMG_3604

Preference is given to candidates who have not previously had a Fulbright grant. (FFSB Policies, 624.2)  However, a second Fulbright is entirely possible, with the minimum interval between one Fulbright grant and another five years. For more information, contact CIES in Washington  ( ).

Are  inoculations or visas required to enter Morocco?

No inoculations or visas are required to enter Morocco.  We suggest a tetanus booster, however.

You enter Morocco on a tourist visa, which is the stamp in your passport delivered at entry and which is valid for 90 days.

I’d like to teach English as a Senior Scholar at a Moroccan university.  Should I correspond with my host institution during the grant application process?

If you intend to teach at a Moroccan university, your application should show evidence that you have made contact with a university and have an initial agreement or invitation to come and teach in their faculty.

It’s a good idea for you to be in contact the Moroccan institution with which you intend to be affiliated from the beginning of your thinking about applying for a grant. But it’s not so much the institution as the individual or individuals at that institution who are important to you. We regard your ability to make these contacts as a sign of the seriousness of your effort to get a Fulbright, but MACECE is here to help you make them as well. Keep in mind that most Moroccan academics use emails that are other than those listed on university websites since those systems are often faulty. In addition, many Moroccan professors are less attentive to email than you are, and August is for many an email-free month.

Once you have been accepted as a grantee, the Commission will write a letter to your intended institution with our own request for your affiliation with them.  Keep in mind that before your arrival in Morocco to undertake your grant, you will often find that little solid institutional information is available.  Even the Moroccan professors are often able to provide much information about who will be teaching what, etc., until shortly before classes begin.  And then the beginning of classes is itself often a very uneven process, especially in the faculties of letters and social sciences. Class schedules and student rosters may come only after classes have started, sometimes weeks into the semester.

Are there any age restrictions for applicants interested in a Study Grant?

There are no age restrictions. However, medical clearance is mandatory for all grantees and we recommend that grantees come realizing that medical facilities, while widespread and easy to access, cannot provide the quality that they know at home.

Does the Commission find housing for grantees?

Housing is the grantee’s responsibility, but the Commission is willing to assist as much as we are able, which is often not much when you are renting an apartment in Marrakech and we are in Rabat.

I plan to bring my spouse and two children with me. Is there anything I should know before coming?

Bring a copy of your marriage certificate and the birth certificates of all family members. Bring everyone’s medical records and have medical insurance for everyone. Inoculation records are often required for school enrollment. Inquire about schools for your children before arrival, beginning with the websites of  the network of private American schools in Tangier, Rabat, Casablanca, and Marrakech (these are the schools that are all named in the same fashion, as in “Tangier American School”) as well as the other English-language schools available here and there – most notably Casablanca (the George Washington Academy and others) and Fès. Keep in mind that fees for private schools are very high and that school fees are the grantee’s responsibility. At the Rabat American School, tuition and fees are more than $20,000 for the school year.  There are many private French schools and French & Arabic-language schools. Otherwise, the Moroccan public schools are free, with French introduced in the third grade and English in middle school.  Getting a grantee’s child into the public school would be a project undertaken by the Commission with ample time available before August for the beginning of the school year (early September).  

I want to apply for a student grant but graduated from college three years ago. How do I apply?

It’s the same student grant application for either the research or ETA category, but you are identified, without prejudice, as an “at-large candidate.” 

The Fulbright Program is sponsored by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the Department of State in Washington. However, under an agreement with the Bureau, the Institute of International Education in New York administers the Fulbright Student Program. 

See   Here, look for a panel called “Getting Started,” and find a pull-down for “at-large candidates.”

What languages are required for conducting research, lecturing or studying in Morocco?

US grantees in Fes

Morocco is a constant lesson in language.  Fulbrighters use Arabic, French, Spanish, and occasionally Amazigh or even localized Hebrew.  We look for applicants with good language skills, and the nature of the project in large part defines the language and the degree of skill in it  Many grantees have already developed some degree of control over modern standard Arabic or Moroccan colloquial Arabic. ETAs tend to mirror the student researcher profile, but since their job is to teach English, for them we look for skills in teaching above foreign language abilities. Senior research grantees need skills to match their projects in Morocco and the languages of their Moroccan interlocutors, and university lecturers will find that the university environment is largely in Arabic and French. There are academic exceptions, most notably in all English departments and at AUI, Al Akhawayn University in Ifrane, and increasingly at Moroccan universities in general. Everyone finds that when it comes to dealing with high-level administrators, university types, NGO people, and others, that French is indispensable.  

All Fulbright student grants for Morocco include the equivalent of $2500 for language instruction during the grant; in addition, student researchers may apply for the CLEA (Critical Language Enhancement Award), which is a separate grant, to precede their Fulbright, and can be for up to 6 months of intensive study of Arabic in Morocco and at MACECE-approved institutions and tutors.

I am applying for a student research grant and I see on the fulbrightonline website that I should check with MACECE for the feasibility of my project.  What’s this all about?

Yes, you should write the Director at MACECE about your research proposal to see if it is doable within the 9-month frame of the research grant; if the proposal matches your language skills both now and in view of a prospective CLEA grant; if the proposed research settings are the best match for that research; if the proposed topic crosses any red lines and will receive authorization for research clearance through the process that MACECE undertakes for research clearance through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Keep in mind that your request for an assessment of feasibility of your proposal can’t be adequately answered at the last minute.  Requests in the month preceding the application deadline are likely to receive short answers.

I am applying for a student research grant and I am looking for an affiliate, as indicated on the fulbrightonline website.

What do I do?

You are looking for a relevant Moroccan individual at a Moroccan university, NGO, company, in the Moroccan administration or other aspect of public or private life who is willing to read your research proposal and assess it.  The individual should write you a letter, saying that he or she supports your research, and that level of “support” can go from a simple letter of recommendation (and this is separate from your other three letters of recommendation) to a full-fledged invitation to join him or her in a research project, laboratory, or research group (unité de recherche universitaire). In the best of cases, the affiliate turns out to be a good mentor while you are in Morocco. Sometimes it doesn’t work out.  In any case, you will need a Moroccan affiliate by the time of the Annual Symposium in May, which brings all the American researchers, both student and senior, together for a 2 or 3-day Fulbright conference in Rabat.  At that point, grantees present papers on their research and a Moroccan discussant critiques the research paper and presentation.  This should be someone who has been following your research progress, and ideally it’s the affiliate you started out with.

Do I need research clearance for my project before I come to Morocco to undertake my Fulbright grant?

No.  Once you accept your Fulbright grant, a number of things happen.  There is a pre-departure orientation (PDO) in Washington for all grantees for the region in June. We meet you there and one of the things we do is confer with you that your project’s outlines – the what, where and when of it – remain the same as in the proposal for which you were awarded your grant. Then, during the summer before you arrive, we submit your research proposal to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for clearance. That process will take some time. The important thing to say is that no Fulbright has never been unable to do his or her research because of the absence of official research clearance, and on the other hand, the official research clearance is almost always forthcoming. In the meantime, MACECE issues all grantees a “lettre d’attestation,” which is a letter of bona fides and is usually sufficient for research purposes in any case. In fact, Fulbrighters are rarely asked for research papers during the course of their research in Morocco.

When should I arrive in Morocco to undertake my Fulbright grant?

We prefer that all grantees arrive together in early September for a three-day orientation (plus a weekend)  that follows directly after IMG_5291arriving.  MACECE’s travel agent does the ticketing, we pick you up in Casablanca, and the orientation is held at the Commission in Rabat. ETAs will stay in Rabat a further two weeks for training. The Commission understands the different schedules that faculty grantees (“seniors”) and some Ph.D. students have, which means that they may arrive at some other point during the year.

I will need to send books to Morocco for my research. What is the best way of doing that?

Fulbright grantees are extended a one-time privilege to send up to four boxes to themselves in Morocco through the diplomatic pouch before leaving the USA.  This privilege opens up in the summer before coming to Morocco and is done through regular U.S. mail, “standard post.”