Study Abroad in Barcelona, Spain - UPF

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Study Abroad in Barcelona (UPF): Courses

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Take one 4-week course plus another 4-week or 2-week course. For an additional fee of $475, students can select an additional 2-week course and earn an extra 2 credits.



Spanish language courses are available from Beginner through Advanced level. Courses are 45 contact hours and carry a recommended 3 U.S. credits. We strongly advise that you take a Spanish language course. Students taking Spanish language should seek pre-approval for several levels of Spanish from their home institution in order to ensure that they receive credit for the level that they are placed into following the placement test in Barcelona.

Spanish language courses are available in the following levels:

Spanish 101 (3) | Intensive Spanish Language- Beginner A1

This level is for students who have no previous knowledge of Spanish. During this course, students will be able to understand and express themselves in everyday situations and those related to the personal experiences of the learner, with basic language recourses. Students will be able to exchange simple and direct information. Included topics are: the present tense indicative or regular and irregular verbs, demonstrative and possessive adjectives, pronunciation and intonation, uses of “ser”, “estar” and “hay”, frequent reflexive verbs and definite and indefinite articles.

Spanish 102 (3) | Intensive Spanish Language-Elementary A2

Students who have studied Spanish only in high school, or 1 or 2 semester(s) in college generally place in this level. During this course, students will be able to understand and express themselves in everyday situations and those related to the personal experiences, with basic language recourses. Students will be able to exchange simple and direct information. Included topics are: forms and uses of the gerund, forms and uses of “gustar”, “encantar”, “interesar”, the differences between “ser” and “estar”, the preterit perfect tense, positive imperative and expressions of cause and excuse.

Spanish 201 (3) | Intermediate Spanish B1

Students who have studied Spanish throughout high school and continued with 1 or 2 semester(s) in college, or students who have 2 or 3 semesters in college, usually place in this level. During this course, students will be able to understand and express themselves in general situations that require the interchange of information and show personal attitudes about a multitude of familiar themes, not exclusively related to personal experience. Specific content includes: contrasting uses of the indefinite and the indicative perfect, morphology and uses of the indicative imperfect, “hace”, impersonal “se”, “parecerse”, and possessive adjectives and pronouns, making hypothesis.

Spanish 301 (3) | Intensive Spanish Language - Advanced B2

Spanish 401 (3) | Intensive Spanish Language-Superior Advanced C1

The courses listed below are taught in English unless otherwise stated.

Business 301 (3) | Culture and Business: Spain's Top Brands

Analyzes the historical, political, business, social and anthropological elements at work in the “import” and “export” of the Spain brand and its assets, and offers a review of Spain’s main industries and businesses. Offers a descriptive and critical reflection on the notion of Spanish brands and their equity exploits across the globe; their distinctive traits, the diversity of mixed cultures, identities and realities the country portrays and how the communications world influences competitiveness. The course questions Spain’s unique attributes and examines the symbols and strategic brand discourses of Spanish businesses and institutions. The course is best suitable for advertising, public relations and communications students, as well as for humanities, business and economics and political sciences majors.

Computing 313 (3) | Modern Statistical Computing in R

In recent years, R has become the leading software tool for statistical computing and graphics. The software is greatly enhanced by numerous contributed packages submitted by users. The majority of computing in the leading applied statistical journals is done in R, and R is used almost exclusively in some of the leading-edge applications, such as in genetics and data mining. The purpose of this course is to set a foundation for full exploitation and creative use of the statistical language for computing and graphics R. The course introduces students to the syntax and inner workings of R, to become proficient in everyday computational tasks with datasets of all kinds, skilled in applications of elementary statistical methods, with emphasis on (initial) data exploration and simple graphics. Focus is also placed on opportunities to enhance the learning experience in other statistical courses by illustrating and applying basic statistical concepts in R.

Film 310 (3) | Barcelona on Stage: Documentary Workshop

Provides students with an introduction to documentary film making. Special attention will be given to the renewal of the Spanish and the Catalan film scene in the last 15 years.

The course consists of both theoretical and practical sessions. During lecture classes the professor will present the history of Spanish and Catalan documentary and will set the theoretical basis for the production of a documentary.

During practical sessions students will develop a project of a documentary where they can express their particular way of seeing the Spanish reality. Students will work in small teams to produce a 15 minute film, from the conception of the idea to the final editing, including the writing of the script and the shooting.

Hispanic Studies 302 (3) | Contemporary Barcelona and its Cultural History

Examines the cultural history of the city as a reflection of the cultural history of contemporary Spain, from the anarchist city to the cosmopolitan capital with international outreach. Focusing on the last two centuries and from a sociological and anthropological point of view, the course will analyze the Barcelona society and its most recent political history through its conflicts and cultural influences. Interviews and on-site visits are foreseen to grasp the testimonies of relevant stakeholders. The course has an interdisciplinary approach at the intersection of urban studies, Catalan history, Hispanic studies, cultural studies, and anthropology.

Politics 312 (3) | Brexit, EU and Global World: Current Challenges in European Politics and Society

Social inequalities, national security, climate change, the rise of nationalism and populism are some the most serious challenges that national democracies face today in the era of globalization. How can national governments defend the interests of their citizens in an even more interconnected economic and political context? How does Globalization affect national public policies and what can national states do? The course aims at providing a critical overview on the current challenges that national democracies will have to face in the next years. Geographically, it focuses on Europe and Spain and how political actors and central governments do play a role in the international scenario. It studies how and to what extent the European Union Member-States own independent policy autonomy to handle economic and institutional crises and to foster human development. By covering basic historical and critical tools for understanding the construction and integration processes of the European Union after World War II, the course centers on current socioeconomic scenarios at the national level and how these are affects by inequalities, poverty, unemployment and the lack of social provisions. Being Spain a pluri-national democracy which is usually characterized as the most decentralized among the unitarian national states that compose the European Union, the course will focus on Spanish contemporary political and societal scenario as an interesting case-study. Relying upon facts, figures and current issues, the course will provide an important set of examples and real cases about what work (and does not work) regarding public policies and public administrations in Europe and Spain.

2-Week Courses

Art 304 (2) | Interactive Media Art

Organized and conducted as a workshop, this course focuses on the contemporary art practices known as interactive media art. Strategically situated at the intersection between the arts, humanities, science, technology and society, interactive media arts offer a privileged field from which our world can be reexamined. The interdisciplinary nature of this subject will allow students from any field to bring their own personal knowledge, skills and perspectives into discussion and class activities and, above all, into their own course project. The expected outcome is a personal project which will be developed, prototyped, presented and evaluated within the three-week course. The process will be structured in the following six interrelated stages: education, research, experimentation, production, dissemination and reception. Evaluation will consider both the creative process and the final presentation. Assessment criteria will be adapted to each particular project, but will contemplate the formal, conceptual, contextual and relational aspects of the interactive art works produced.

Art 306 (2) | Thinking Time and Photography: A Theoretical and Practical Approach

A photographic image is usually understood as the capture of an instant, the very instant when a picture is made. Nevertheless, photography can represent many other temporalry aspects of reality. This course has three intertwined goals. Firstly, it will present different models of time described in Philosophy and Art History disciplines. In order to learn to identify different representations of time in images, we will describe the cosmological, psychological and social models of time. We will see concepts such as the instant, the movement, the narratives, the biography, the urban memory, the ecstasy and the speed. Secondly, we will learn photographic techniques that express those temporary aspects through fine art photography works and the students own practice. Finally, the third goal will be to develop four mini-projects to bring into practice some of the time concepts analyzed in class.

Biology 319 (2) | Understanding the Biology of Humans

The course aims at providing basic knowledge to understand the big issues that corrent biology has generated in society. These debates transcend the strict scientific field and require basic awareness and serious discussion platforms. The course aims to interest students in the Humananities, Law, Economy and, generally speaking, to any Student with a humanistic aspect who is interested in the biologic side the human being in a social context.

Film 312 (2) | Migration and Cinema: Representations and Politics

This course is designed to introduce students to the phenomenon of contemporary international migration through the lenses of Cultural Pluralism and Accented Cinema. The rise in global mobility, the growing complexity of migratory patterns and their impact on countries, families and communities has turned international migration into an important policy issue. On the other hand, self-representations of migrant identities in cinema (Accented Cinema) have emerged as an aesthetic response to these experiences of displacement, and may contribute to new understandings of cultural diversity and accommodation policies.

Through emerging topics such as global flows of humans and capital, borders and identities, place and displacement, individual and cultural rights, patriarchalism, discrimination and marginalization, a political science perspective on international migration will be linked to theoretical approaches concerning filmic representations of migrant identities. Examples of films made by filmmakers such as Frederick Wiseman, Marilú Mallet and Chantal Akerman will be analyzed in order to gain new insights into the phenomenon of international migration and its political accommodation.

Gender Studies 312 (2) | Gender, Power and Violence

Around the world, no place is less safe for women than their own home – almost one in three women have suffered physical and/or sexual violence by an intimate partner and one in four women have suffered psychological violence. The public sphere is neither free from gender-based violence (GBV), with sexual violence being a widespread global phenomenon in the workplace, in university campuses, in the streets or in the context of armed conflicts. GBV is one of the main drivers of the production and reproduction of gender inequality. This course examines GBV from an interdisciplinary approach, including sociological, legal, political science and media perspectives. It provides a forum for students to explore contemporary issues in GBV from both a theoretical and practical standpoint (using local and international case studies) through the discussion of ongoing controversies about the causes and effects of such violence. It also analyzes the policy responses addressing GBV coming from states, civil society and international actors and assesses the extent to which they are effective (or not). Given that the experiences of GBV and the interactions with institutions vary across groups, the course will pay attention to how gender intersects with race, class, and sexuality.

Law/Economics 59068 (2) | Law and Economics - Why Should We Obey?

The course objective is to analyze the incentives created by laws and legal institutions, as well as their implications for economic activity in a globalized world. Microeconomics models will be used to conduct positive and normative analysis of certain legal rules and complement the analysis with real case studies. The course offers to help them use the knowledge they have in their professional and private lives.

Politics 310 (2) (taught in Spanish) | Derechos humanos en el siglo XXI (Human Rights in the XXI Century)

El objetivo del curso es estudiar el modo en que los sistemas de protección internacional de los derechos humanos han tenido -o pueden tener- reflejo en otros ámbitos, ya sea en la literatura y el cómic, en el cine y otros medios audiovisuales tales como los documentales y los podcasts. Para el cierre del curso está programada una visita a la sede de Cruz Roja en Barcelona, con una sesión explicativa de la tarea desarrollada por esta institución y además una entrevista a la directora del centro, con quien los estudiantes podrán debatir las cuestiones analizadas a lo largo de las clases. La asignatura tiene un enfoque práctico y pretende llevar a la práctica nuevos métodos de enseñanza del derecho aplicados a la investigación de los derechos humanos.