Country overview

Official country name: Kingdom of Morocco

Location: Northwest Africa

Capital: Rabat

Area: 446,550 km2

Population: The total population was estimated at 36.19 million people (based on the 2018 United Nations estimates),

Ethnicity and religion: Moroccans are descendants of the indigenous Berbers. The people of both Hamitic Berber and Semitic Arab origins together constitute 99% of the population. The official religion is Islam with 99% of the population.

Languages: The official languages are Arabic and Tamazight (or Amazigh). The 2011 constitution make Tamazight an official language alongside Arabic. French is the language of government and business.

Administration: Morocco is a constitutional monarchy. Morocco is divided in 12 regions named after their capital city and governed by regional governors. Regions are subdivided into provinces and prefectures.

School education

Flowchart of Morocco's school education system

Responsibility for primary and secondary education lies with the Ministère de l'Education Nationale, de la Formation Professionnelle, de l'Enseignement Supérieur et de la Recherche Scientifique (Ministry of National Education, Vocational Training, Higher Education and Scientific Research). School education in Morocco has been compulsory for children aged 6 to 15 (Grades 1 to 9) since 1963. Since 1989, the language of instruction in schools has been Arabic. Since 2015, some primary schools started to offer education in Tamazight.

Preschool education (enseignement préscolaire) is available to children between 4  and 6 years of age. It is not compulsory and is offered in 2  types of schools: kindergartens and Quranic schools (arab. kuttāb). Kindergarten schools focus on basic literacy and numeracy skills. Quranic schools are connected with a mosque and concentrate on learning the Quran .

Primary education (enseignement primaire) lasts 6  years for children aged 6 to 12 years and concludes with the Certificat d’études primaires (Certificate of Primary Education).

Three -year lower secondary education, known as college secondary education (enseignement secondaire collégial), is offered to children aged 13 to 15 years. This phase concludes with the award of the Brevet d’enseignement collegial (Certificate of College Education).

Before 2002, the school structure included only a basic education level (enseignement fondamental) for children aged 6  to 14 years. This stage was divided into 6-year primary and 3-year lower secondary education and was concluded with the Certificat d’enseignement fondamental.

Upper secondary education, known as qualifying secondary education (enseignement secondaire qualifiant), is 3 years in length offered in grades 10 to 12 at lycées. The structure offers 14 branches, grouped into 4  streams:

  • Original education (enseignement originel)
    • consists of 2  parts: Arabic language and Islamic studies
  • Humanities education (enseignement lettres et sciences humaines)
    • cover languages and literatures and social studies
  • Science education (enseignement scientifique)
    • consists of 5  tracks: mathematics A and B, and experimental sciences with options in physical sciences, life and Earth sciences and agricultural sciences
  • Technological education (enseignement technologique)
    • offers electrical and mechanical engineering, applied arts, economics, and management studies and accounting

Students who achieve an overall average of 10 on a 20-point scale are awarded the Attestation du Baccalauréat (since 2003). The final results are presented in the Relevé de notes du Baccalauréat (Transcripts of Baccalaureate).

Higher education overview

Post 2003

Flowchart of Morocco's higher education system

The Ministère de l'Education Nationale, de la Formation Professionnelle, de l'Enseignement Supérieur et de la Recherche Scientifique (Ministry of National Education, Vocational Training, Higher Education and Scientific Research) is responsible for higher education and accreditation. Higher education is offered by public and private higher education institutions, including universités, grandes écoles, centres universitaires, écoles nationales supérieures, écoles supérieures, écoles normales supérieures.

Implementation of the Licence-Master-Doctorat (LMD) system started in 2003 and resulted in a new degree structure.

First-cycle studies require a Baccalauréat for admission and lead to a 3-year Licence degree. The first licence degrees were awarded at the end of 2006/07. There are 2 types of Licences in Morocco:

  • The Licence d’études fondamentales (Licentiate of Fundamental Studies) is an academic undergraduate program that gives access to both specialized master and research programs.
  • The Licence professionnelle (Professional Licentiate) requires an internship and gives access to specialized master programs.

The first-cycle of studies may result in the award of an intermediate credential, the Diplôme d’études universitaires générales (DEUG) (Diploma of General University Studies). The DEUG is issued upon request of students who completed 4 semesters (2 years) of a Licence d’études fondamentales or a Licence professionnelle.

The Diplôme universitaire de technologie (DUT) (University Diploma of Technology) is a first-cycle national diploma program offered by écoles supérieures de technologie. The DUT prepares students for the labour market and permits advanced standing in a licence professionnelle program in a similar field.

The second cycle of higher education in Morocco requires a three-year Licence for admission and results in the award of one of 2  types of Master degrees. The first Master degrees were awarded in 2008:

  • Master de recherché (Research master) programs prepare students for the doctoral cycle and require the completion of a thesis (mémoire).
  • Master professionnel (Professional master) programs include an internship and have a mainly professional purpose.

The third cycle of higher education in Morocco results in the award of the Doctorat. It requires a Master de recherché degree for admission and may be completed in 3 years.

The pre-2003 system consisted of short- cycle university studies, Licence and Maîtrise (‘Master’), and postgraduate studies.

Short cycle studies consisted of 2-year programs and resulted in the award of the Diplôme d'études universitaires générales (DEUG), Certificat universitaire d'études littéraires (CUEL) (University Certificate of Literary Studies), Certificat universitaire d'études scientifiques (CUES) (University Certificate of Scientific Studies), Certificat universitaire d'études de droit (CUED) (University Certificate of Law Studies), or Certificat universitaire d'études économiques (CUEE) (University Certificate of Economic Studies). These programs gave two years of advanced standing towards a licence. The Certificat universitaire programs were phased out in the 2003/04 academic year.

After completion of a two-year short-cycle program, students could complete an additional 2 years of study leading to a licence. Prior to 1970, licence programs lasted 3 years (or one year after DEUG). The first 4-year licences were awarded in 1974. In 1992, a licence appliquée was introduced. Two -year programs in science subjects (sciences, sciences spé cialisées or sciences et techniques) led to a maîtrise. The maîtrise was established in 1966. It required a DEUG or Certificat universitaire for admission. Advanced standing was given to holders of a 3-year licence. The 2003 reform changed the meaning of the term licence to be a first cycle credential. The term maîtrise was changed to signify an intermediate level second cycle credential. It represents the completion of the 1st year of a 2-year master’s program. Both the pre-2003 licence and maîtrise provided access to further doctoral studies.

Third cycle degrees included the Diplôme d'études supérieures approfondies (DESA) (Diploma of Advanced Graduate Studies) and the Diplôme d'études supérieures spécialisées (DESS) (Diploma of Specialized Graduate Studies). They were established in 1997. The DESS was one or 2 years in duration and required a licence or maîtrise for admission. The programs had a professional purpose and did not have a research focus. The DESA required 2 years of study after a licence or maîtrise and was a prerequisite for doctorat studies. Since the implementation of the LMD system, the DESS and DESA have been replaced by master’s degrees.

The Doctorat d'Etat (State Doctorate) was the highest degree awarded by universities in Morocco. It required at least 3 years of study beyond the DESS or DESA. Programs were based on research and culminated in the writing and defense of a thesis.

Technical and vocational education

Technical and vocational school education (enseignement professionnel) does not lead to a baccalaureate diploma and does not give access to post-secondary programs. It is overseen by the Office de la Formation Professionnelle et de la Promotion du Travail (OFPPT).

In 2014, 4 qualifications were introduced:

  • Technicien spécialisé: is a 2-year program that requires the Diplôme du Baccalauréat (Diploma of Baccalaureate) or Diplôme de Technicien (Diploma of Technician) for admission and leads to the Diplôme de technicien spécialisé (Diploma of Specialized Technician)
  • Technicien: is a 2-year program that requires the completion of grade 11 or the Diplôme de qualification professionnelle (Diploma of Professional Qualification) and leads to the Diplôme de technicien (Diploma of Technician)
  • Qualification: is a 2-year program, requires the completion of grade 9 or the Diplôme de spécialisation professionnelle (Diploma of Professional Specialization), and leads to the Certificat de qualification professionnelle (Certificate of Professional Qualification)
  • Spécialisation: is 6-month or one-year program completed after Grade 6 and leads to the Certificat de formation professionnelle (Certificate of Vocational Training)

In 2014, the 2-year baccalauréat professionnel was introduced. It is available in 3 streams: agricultural, industrial and services. This is for students who have completed the Diplôme de qualification professionnelle (Diploma of Professional Qualification). Students obtain a Diplôme du Baccalauréat (Diploma of Baccalaureate). This diploma gives access to higher education institutions that train skilled technicians in licence professionnelle programs at écoles d’ingénieurs or écoles de commerce.

The Brevet de Technicien Supérieur (BTS) (Certificate of Higher Technician) is offered at the instituts universitaires de technologie (IUT). It was introduced in 1992. It requires a technical baccalaureate for admission. Programs lead to a diplôme national credential. The diploma indicates the professional title and field of expertise rather th an the name of the degree itself. Although BTS programs are meant to provide direct access to the labour market, many BTS graduates continue to the Licence professionnelle programs.

Grading scale

Grading is on a 20 point scale, with a minimum passing grade of 10. To be promoted to the next year, students must pass written and oral exams with a total score of at least 10 out of 20. Final grade averages above 14 are extremely rare.

Institutions

Higher education is offered by public and private higher education institutions, including universités, grandes écoles, centres universitaires, écoles nationales supérieures, écoles supérieures, écoles normales supérieures.

Credential comparison

Credential Entrance requirements Length of study IQAS comparison
Attestation du Baccalauréat

Diplôme du Baccalauréat

Completion of Grade 9: Brevet d'Enseignement Collégial 3 years Generally compares to the completion of a High School Diploma
Diplôme du Baccalauréat Technique Completion of Grade 9: Brevet d'Enseignement Collégial 3 years Generally compares to the completion of a High School Diploma, including technical training
Brevet de Technicien Supérieur Attestation du Baccalauréat 2 years Generally compares to the completion of a post-secondary Diploma
Diplôme Universitaire de Technologie

Diplôme de Technicien Spécialisé

Attestation du Baccalauréat 2 years Generally compares to the completion of a post-secondary Diploma
Diplôme d'Études Universitaires Générales

Diplôme d'Études Universitaires Professionnelles

Certificat Universitaire d'Études Littéraires

Certificat Universitaire d'Études Scientifiques

Certificat Universitaire d'Études de Droit

Certificat Universitaire d'Études Économiques

Attestation du Baccalauréat 2 years Generally compares to the completion of a post-secondary Diploma
[pre-Bologna; until 2006]

Licence

Licence Appliquée

Maîtrise

Attestation du Baccalauréat

4 years

or

2 years (after DEUG, CUEL, CUES, CUED, CUEE)

Generally compares to the completion of a 4-year Bachelor's degree
[since 2003]

Licence d'Études Fondamentales

Licence Professionnelle

Attestation du Baccalauréat

3 years

or

1 year (after DEUG, DEUP)

Generally compares to the completion of a 3-year Bachelor's degree
Diplôme d'Ingénieur d'État

Diplôme d'Écoles Nationales de Commerce et de Gestion

Diplôme d'Architecte

Attestation du Baccalauréat

5 years

Or

3 years (after Classes Préparatoires aux Grandes Écoles)

Generally compares to the completion of a 4-year Bachelor's degree
Doctorat en Médecine

Docteur en Médecine Dentaire

Diplôme de Docteur Vétérinaire

Diplôme de Doctorat en Pharmacie

Attestation du Baccalauréat at least 5 years Generally compares to the completion of a first professional university degree
Master de Recherche

Master Professionnel

Licence d'Études Fondamentales

Licence Professionnelle

2 years Generally compares to the completion of a Master's degree
Certificat d'Études Approfondies Licence

Maîtrise

1 year Generally compares to the completion of a graduate Diploma
Diplôme d'Études Supérieures Approfondies

Diplôme d'Études Supérieures Spécialisées

Diplôme d'Études Supérieures

Licence

Maîtrise

2 years

or

1 year (after Certificat d'Études Approfondies)

Generally compares to the completion of a Master's degree
Doctorat d'État Diplôme d'Études Supérieures

Diplôme d'Études Supérieures Approfondies

Master de recherche

3 years Generally compares to the completion of a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree

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