Capstone Program Features


Students will have five hours of Arabic classroom instruction per day, Monday-Friday. The program is divided into three semesters: the summer semester is 9 weeks long while the fall and spring semesters are 16 weeks each.  

The program targets the following proficiency benchmarks using the ACTFL scale for more specificity in the sub-levels:

  1. By the end of the summer session, students at the Advanced Low (AL) level will reach at least Advanced Mid (AM), and students who start at the AM will reach at least the Advanced High (AH) level.
  2. For Fall, students who start at the AM will reach at least at the AH, and AH will reach the S level.
  3. For Spring the goal is for all students to reach ILR3 at a minimum. 

Placement and Initial Assessment: Diagnostic assessment using a combination of program-designed oral and written tests will be administered upon arrival in Morocco to ascertain proper group placement. A profile will be created for you based on these tests and the proficiency scores from your application. You will be informed by the Academic Coordinator of your personalized proficiency benchmarks based on your starting point after all diagnostic assessment is completed upon arrival in Morocco.

Transfer Credits and Grades: An academic credit transfer agreement is in place between UA and AALIM to serve these and future students associated with UA. 

  • All grades earned while in Morocco will be sent to the University of Arizona and compiled into official transcripts that are then sent to your home institution.
  • Each Flagship student is guaranteed one official transcript from the University of Arizona which has been budgeted into the Cost of Attendance. Students can request their first official transcript from UA at no cost as it has already been paid for through the COA budget. Any additional request will be at the cost of the student.
  • Students can also sign into their UA Student Center account and request unofficial transcripts at any time for free. 
  • When looking at credits earned in Morocco for transfers it is best to reach out to you advisor(s) at your home institutions as they have the resources and are more knowledgeable on this topic. Please feel free to reach out to your capstone coordinator at sbs for any needed documentation. 

Breakdown of Academic Components 

Summer - 9 weeks, 21 hours per week:

  • Moroccan Arabic (Darija): 6 hours  
  • MSA: 15 hours 
    • Maghreb Topics - 4.5 hours 
    • Media - 4.5 hours 
    • Art & Culture - 3 hours 
    • Style & Composition I - 3 hours 

Fall – 16 weeks, 20 hours per week:

  • Direct enrollment: 6 hours
    • 2 courses - 4 hours (each course is 2 hours)
    • 2 hours with Language instructors and domain partners to work on language and expand content comprehension - 1 hour for each course
  • MSA Courses - 8 hours
    • Middle Eastern Topics – 4 hours
    • Style and Composition II - 2 hours
    • Culture and Workplace Workshop I - 2 hours 
  • Dialects: 6 hours
    • Moroccan Arabic - 3 hours
    • Levantine OR Egyptian Arabic - 3 hours

Spring - 16 weeks, 20 hours per week:

  • Direct enrollment: 6 hours
    • 2 courses - 4 hours (each course is 2 hours)
    • 2 hours with an instructor and domain partners to work on Language and expand content comprehension - 1 hour for each course
  • MSA Content Courses - 8 hours
    • Arab Cities – 4 hours
    • Capstone Seminar - 2 hours
    • Culture and Workplace Workshop II - 2 hours
  • Dialects: 6 hours
    • Moroccan Arabic - 3 hours
    • Levantine OR Egyptian Arabic - 3 hours

The program embraces the diglossic and multidialectal nature of Arabic. It acknowledges the importance of mastering this intricate linguistic map to operate confidently in the language and be prepared to engage with the Maghreb region as well as the East of the Arab world. The following plan will allow you to gain confidence in Darija, the spoken variety of Morocco, as well as the student’s selected Eastern variety, while strengthening their foundation in MSA throughout.  

All students will receive two types of personalized instruction every week:

1) Language Partner: 2 hours per week, scheduled freely depending on student time zone 
2) One-on-One Tutoring: 2 hours per week, scheduled according to student time zone 

Four courses taught in MSA will be offered to solidify students’ proficiency at the Advanced level and to pave the way for ILR3. These classes focus on giving students opportunities to:

  • Practice describing and narrating in all various tenses; increase accuracy in speaking, writing, pronunciation, and lexical and grammatical choices; and increase proficiency with writing sophistication, particularly in longer-form prose.
  • Cover political, social, artistic and linguistic topics that will also enhance students understanding of regional topics. 
  • Support the student’s linguistic progression towards ILR3 and help develop a deep understanding of a variety of topics pertinent to the region.

Students will also take two dialect classes. Moroccan will be mandatory for all, but students may choose to take Levantine or Egyptian. In addition, students will have personalized instruction for two hours per week in order to address individual needs and meet with language partners for four hours per week. Supplemental office hours, lectures, and cultural clubs will take place during the week.  

In Fall and Spring, and to signal the broadening outlook of the program, Darija class hours will be reduced, and students will choose either Levantine or Egyptian Arabic to add to their linguistic repertoire. Topical courses will move beyond the initial focus on Morocco to engage with the whole of North Africa and the Middle East. While students may have previous exposure to Levantine and/or Egyptian dialects, the curriculum will help further build proficiency in the dialect of their choice. Three hours of class time for the above Eastern dialects will be enriched by an additional hour per week with language partners from Egypt and Jordan. 

In line with the Flagship mission of creating global professionals, content courses offered in the Capstone Program will engage students with pressing global issues, such as migration, public health, food and water security, and responses to climate change and environmental degradation.

Domain expert university professors will offer two such courses in fall and in spring through direct enrollment at Moulay Ismail University (UMI) in Meknes, Morocco. Direct enrollment classes at UMI will allow the student to familiarize themselves with the Moroccan education system. 

In the spring semester, one content course will be a Capstone seminar. Drawing together all components of the Capstone year, this course requires the student to identify and explore a research topic of their choice in greater depth, and to illustrate how such a topic impacts or is reflected in society. The project-based course includes: 

  • Training in research, presentation skills and public speaking, and professional writing. It gives valuable opportunities for academic and professional networking, regionally and nationally and helps tie together the various parts of the program.
  • The seminar will run at AALIM for all Flagship students, but will also be open, by application, to several Moroccan university students who wish to acquire the skills noted above. Flagship students will therefore learn alongside their Moroccan classmates and will benefit from myriad interactions and increased exposure to different viewpoints. 
  • The student will identify two or three overarching research themes at the beginning of the course and will conduct their own research within one or more of these themes.
  • In consultation with AALIM faculty, students working on the same theme will be responsible for identifying, planning and leading components of the distributed, place-based learning trips either locally or to the other regions of Morocco in the program, where they will present a given issue and contribute to contextualizing issues relevant to the site for the entire group. For example, a group of students working on water scarcity may select addressing the fog harvesting project at Dar Si Hmad for the Agadir/Southern Morocco excursion. Students would organize this with supervision, brief the class on key issues related to the topic before the trip, and then provide specific information about the plant and its importance during the visit.  

Throughout the course, the student will present their work-in-progress at the monthly forum and will work towards a larger final/capstone 25-page thesis as well as a presentation to be delivered at an academic symposium at UMI. Students will be directly involved in organizing the final event, working with university faculty, peers, AALIM and others to arrange and create promotional material to advertise the event to the public. 

The Capstone Flagship program is rigorous and is designed to foster learner autonomy. Students will be directly involved in monitoring personal progress. Students are advised to give due time and consideration to the self-assessment components of the curriculum; they are crucial to your success. Self-assessment will further your autonomy and sense of achievement. You will receive immediate feedback daily when using tech-enhanced tools such as Quizlet, Socrative or EdPuzzle, and can re-do tasks to improve your scores and mastery.