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  • Locations: Casablanca, Morocco; Fez, Morocco; Marrakesh, Morocco; Meknes, Morocco; Online, United States; Rabat, Morocco; Tangier, Morocco
  • Program Terms: Summer
  • Restrictions: UVA applicants only
  • Budget Sheets: Summer
  • This program is currently not accepting applications.
Dates / Deadlines:

There are currently no active application cycles for this program.
Program Description:
Morocco Urban Landscape

UVA Architecture in Morocco: Field Studies in Urbanization & Sustainable Development


This program is purposefully designed to fully engage students in contemporary sustainable development efforts taken in Morocco. Participants will engage with different actors involved in Morocco’s sustainable development initiatives including NGO employees, policy makers, researchers, field specialists, entrepreneurs and students. 

Topics include urban development projects (new towns and affordable housing developments), renewable energy plants, the Nigeria-Morocco gas pipeline project, the 2016 sustainable tourism charter, cultural preservation efforts, social entrepreneurism and other projects that demonstrate Morocco’s commitment to sustainable development. Site visits and meetings with local professionals will be supported by readings, assignments, and discussions lead by co-instructors (UVA faculty), local subject matter experts and instructors at a local cooperating institution. 

Visits are planned with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and other development agencies, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), historic preservation organizations, and more.

Announcements IconAnnouncements

  • Check back for updates about this program's Summer 2021 availability (updates to be published by February 1).
  • Interviews with the Program Director are encouraged. If the program accepts applications for 2021, contact Professor Ellen Bassett at to schedule an interview on opening an application.

Location IconLocation

Its geographic location, ambitious policies, strategic partnerships and economic investments make Morocco both physically and politically the “gate-way to Africa”— and bridge between Africa and Europe. Morocco’s timely intracontinental and global development efforts provide a rich place for exploring sustainable development, regional and global citizenship, governance, and agency in an international setting.

The program will begin in Rabat and include time spent in the imperial cities of Fes and Meknes, as well as Tangier, Marrakesh, and Casablanca.

House and Blue Walls Morocco Craftsmanship in Morocco

Courses IconCourses

Students will choose to take two 3-credit PLAN 5500 Special Topics courses for a total of 6 credits, OR a Global Studies cross-listed equivalent (information about the Global Studies course code/title will be posted when confirmed).

PLAN 5500 Special Topics in Planning: History and Culture of Morocco (3 cr.)
PLAN 5500 Special Topics in Planning: Sustainable Morocco (3 cr.)

This program begins with an online component a week prior to travel to Morocco.

Course Objectives
As a result of this summer abroad experience students should be able to:

  • Understand the complexity of critical global problems and development challenges (inequality, jobs/employment, gender equity, education, health services, environmental degradation etc.)
  • Define sustainable development and its dimensions (social, political, environmental, cultural)
  • Expand their global and cultural awareness through examining sustainable development efforts and initiatives in Morocco
  • Appreciate local know-how and value the benefit cultural awareness has on being an inclusive citizen and professional
  • Examine, evaluate and constructively critique various sustainable development efforts (programs and policies) in Morocco as a means to develop their critical thinking and problem solving skills
  • Develop the skills necessary for cross-cultural, cross-disciplinary and international collaboration and leadership

The learning activities in this program are designed to equip students with 21st century tools and skills such as cross-discipline collaboration, critical thinking, problem solving, reasoning, analysis, leadership, and global awareness (among others) that can be universally applied and promote sustainable development beyond the Moroccan context and the program.

This course is open to 2nd, 3rd, and 4th year undergraduates, as well as graduate students, across the University. Students pursuing studies in Urban Planning, Global Development Studies, Global Sustainability, and Public Policy may be particularly interested. 

School of Architecture Students: For urban planning majors in the BUEP, the course counts as a professional elective needed under their degree requirements. For graduate students in the MUEP, the course will meet requirements for self-designed concentrations related to sustainability; for students in the historic preservation program the course will meet elective requirements within the certificate. For all students in DUEP, the course helps meet accreditation standards related to international planning and cultural competencies.

Faculty IconFaculty

Ellen Bassett |

Ellen M. Bassett is a Professor in Urban and Environmental Planning and the Chair of the department. Her areas of research interest and expertise are land use planning and law, climate change planning, health and the built environment, and international development.  She is particularly interested in community decision-making around land and natural resources, including understanding how different societies and cultures create institutions (like property rights systems or policies) for their management. Her research focuses on access to land and housing for the urban poor and seeks to reform the planning framework for land and natural resources that perpetuates societal inequities and deleterious environmental outcomes.

Fatmah Behbehani
Ph.D. in the Constructed Environment candidate in the School of Architecture.

Accommodation and MealsAccommodation and Meals

Students will stay in shared accommodation throughout the program.

Cost and Financial Aid

The program cost and payment schedule are available under the "Budget Sheets" link at the top of this page. Students with identifiable financial need are encouraged to apply for fellowships, scholarships, and financial aid. School of Architecture students are encouraged to apply for School of Architecture funding (funding application deadline Feb. 15).

Modern Building in Morocco

Accessibility IconAccessibility

The University of Virginia believes in providing reasonable accommodations for students with documented disabilities on an individual and flexible basis. If you believe that you would require adjustments in order to fully participate in this program, please contact the Student Disability Access Center at 434-243-5180 as early as possible in order to begin this dialogue.


Passport IconPassport and Visa

Students traveling on a US passport do not need a Moroccan visa to participate in this program. Students traveling on other passports are responsible for verifying Moroccan visa regulations, and should meet with their International Student Advisor in the International Studies Office for information about re-entering the U.S. at the conclusion of the program. All students should ensure their passport is current and will remain valid for at least six months past their date of return.


Health Info IconHealth and Safety Information

All students considering Education Abroad should consult the Students Abroad section of the U.S. Department of State’s web-based travel resources and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Traveler’s Health web resources to research health, safety, and security conditions; visa requirements; immunization requirements; and recommendations on staying healthy and safe in their target destination(s). Students should also carefully review the UVA Education Abroad Health & Safety Abroad web page. Parents and guardians are strongly advised to review all of these resources, as well. UVA students and visiting students enrolled in UVA Education Abroad programs are subject to the University of Virginia’s Policy on Student International Travel.

This program is currently not accepting applications.