Study Abroad in Barcelona, Spain - UPF

Study Abroad in Barcelona: Courses

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Recommended credits are shown in parentheses. Courses are subject to change at the discretion of the UPF. Please contact the AIFS Admissions Officer for current course listings.

ECTS: Universitat Pompeu Fabra awards ECTS (European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System) credits. The number of class hours and ECTS credits will be shown on the transcript to allow each student’s home institution the ultimate decision in the awarding of U.S. credit. Recommended U.S. semester credits next to each course are based on 15 classroom hours per semester credit and are not a conversion of ECTS credits. Students should consult with their university advisors prior to participating in the program to have course credit preapproved and ensure that they are taking the appropriate amount of credits.

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.

Hispanic and European Studies Program (HESP)

Students on this program can take up to 15 credits.

Apart from Spanish language courses, all courses are taught in English unless otherwise stated. Students who wish to take courses taught in Spanish should ideally have completed 4 semesters of college level Spanish.

Catalan Studies

CS 51600 (3) | Barcelona, the City and its History

Once labeled by Newsweek magazine as the “coolest city in Europe,” Barcelona enjoys the reputation of a cosmopolitan city with a great international projection. Like all places, however, it is not without its complexities and contradictions. Behind a glossy and tourist-friendly façade, the city has a complex history. This course introduces the student to the city of Barcelona by studying its past and analyzing its present. This interdisciplinary course covers subject in history, geography, art, architecture, and urban planning. Materials include images, maps, academic and literary texts, videos, field studies, and documentaries. We will also discuss issues relevant to people living within the city of Barcelona today.

CS 51601 (3) Taught in Spanish | Barcelona, the City and Its History / Barcelona, la ciudad y su historia

See CS 51600 above for course description.

MKT 51602 (3) | Global Marketing and Culture of FC Barcelona: Playing for fun or for keeps

European football (soccer) has become a major cultural vehicle in the global world, both in terms of economical impact and social influence. This course focuses on how this sport shapes the social, economical and cultural realms, and tries to interpret the different links between the game itself and the dimensions surrounding it: media coverage, aesthetic value, political targeting, public and corporate policies. In that context, FC Barcelona remains a unique case, studied in business schools as an example of global market branding, while passionately lived by millions of fans all over the world. Moreover, Barcelona city offers a privileged standpoint to better understand football as a growing issue within contemporary culture.

CS 51603 (3) (Spring only) | The Barcelona Leadership Journey towards Sustainability: Economic, Business and Social transformations

This course celebrates the city of Barcelona and embarks students on a journey to better understand the concept of Sustainability and its novel developments. From an environmental, social and business perspective, the course covers the main challenges that sustainability raises for the city of Barcelona and beyond. Relying on innovative individual and collective pedagogical practices, the course offers an integrative and deep learning process.

ART HIST 51605 (3) Taught in Spanish | Picasso, Miró, Dalí, and the Art of Modernity/Picasso, Miró, Dalí y el arte de la modernidad

The objective of this course is to introduce the student to the main periods of art in the 20th century. The main background theme: the complex relationship between tradition and vanguard, classicism and modernism, and revolution and artistic reaction throughout the century. The class will center on approximately five Catalan (or from nearby in Spain) artists, but has doubtless international relevance. The course begins by taking the most significant works of arts, and uses them as a method to create a historic or biographical conversation, always as a part of a plastic language.

ART HIST 51607 (3) | Contemporary Spanish Art

The objective of this course is to offer a survey approach to the history of artistic developments in Spain from Goya to Barceló. A background on this specific field is not required. For this reason not only the main artistic events will be covered, but also some political, historical and cultural issues that might be relevant. Landscape art, gender production, the Spanish take on Primitivism and the dynamics between artistic creation and finance capital are some of its more relevant aspects. Classical examples of oil painting will be combined with references to such contemporary media as performance, videoart or installation art. Although this course is mainly based on lectures and class debate, three visits to galleries and exhibitions plus a self-guided visit will be also part of the course requirements. These visits will be made during the class time, and are equivalent to a usual in-class session.

LIT 51608 (3) (Fall only) Taught in Spanish | Contemporary Spanish Literature / Literatura Española Contemporánea

This course is created as an overall look at 20th century Spanish literature. It will analyze brief texts from the most representative authors, and always take into account their historical significance and ideology. Also, it will provide guidelines so the student has enough conceptual and procedural tools to approach the texts, which range from questions of gender to style. The course will include a brief section about Hispanic narrators, and the footprint that they have left on the imagination of Spanish authors as genuine founders of contemporary Spanish literature. Academic requirements: Advanced Spanish (a minimum of four college semesters)

FILM 51609 (3) Taught in Spanish | Pictures of Spain in Contemporary Cinema / Imágenes de España en el Cine Contemporáneo

The course offers an introduction to Spanish cinema from the start of Spain’s democracy in the 1970’s, until present day. It pays particular attention to filmmakers highlighted for their artistic value and their capacity to reflect on the most remarkable traits of contemporary Spanish reality and culture. The different class sessions display the variety in recent Spanish cinema, taking into account the famous works of Pedro Almodóvar, Victor Erice, Julio Médem, Alejandro Amenábar, or José Luis Guerín.

POL 51612 (3) (Fall only) Taught in Spanish | Society and Politics in Contemporary Spain / Sociedad y Política en la España Contemporánea

This course is designed to give both political science and nonpolitical science majors a robust overview of key features of Spanish Politics. The core of the course is the study of the nature and functioning of the Spanish democratic system established by the late seventies. It pays special attention to the main political processes, institutions, actors, belief systems and political behavior in the country, including contemporary political violence and international immigration. At the beginning of the course, some sessions will be devoted to study the previous Spanish democratic experience (1931-1936), its collapse (1936-1939), the authoritarian rule imposed afterwards and the Spanish transition to democracy (1975-1978), episodes that have left their mark on the features of the current Spanish political system.

POL SC 51613 (3) | Society and Politics in Contemporary Spain

See POL 51612 above for course description.

European Studies

POL 51627 (3) (Fall only) | Politics and Society in the European Union

The course is aimed at introducing the main institutions and the structure of the EU to US students. Module 1 of the course will examine the origin and the development of European integration process, the main theories behind the process of integration and the institutional structure of the EU. Module 2 is more policyoriented and it will focus on some of the most relevant issues surrounding the contemporary debate on European integration: formulation of the EU budget, enlargement, neighborhood policy, the EU in the international scenario and the democratic deficit.

Global Studies

GS 51619 (3) (Spring only) | Understanding Globalization: Historical Roots of Economic, Political and Cultural Exchanges between East Asia, America and Europe

The course aims to put the contemporary discussion of globalization into historical perspective by examining the long-lasting interactions of East Asian countries, Latin America and Southern Europeans from 1500-1800 in order to be a rich and understandable explanation of three hundred years of globalization. The course will focus on the debate about economic histories of divergence between the East and the West. A debate opened by neo-Weberians, on the one side, and historians grouped in two groups: Fernand Braudel, Immanuel Wallerstein and his followers in the World Systems School, and the Californian School (including Ken Pomeranz, Roy Bin Wong and others).

GLS 51620 (3) (Fall only) | Global Media and International Journalism

Since the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, the worldwide media panorama has undergone structural changes which have dramatically changed the relationship between global politics and the transnational communication system. The former Anglo-American dominance over global news flow has been replaced by a new circuit of cultural, regional and national systems all competing in what former French president Jacques Chirac called the “global battle of images”. In this sense, the present course looks at world news management up until now before analyzing the consolidation of global media such as Al- Jazeera in the Arab world, Tele Sur (Latin America) or Zee TV (India) to look at their role in the global news story and the development of “South-South” communication. Through the analysis of case studies such as the media coverage of Islam, the Africa story, the European Union and finally the image of Spain in the foreign press, we can analyze the role of the foreign correspondent as an intercultural mediator, the media construction of the “Other”, the new actors in the global news narrative and ask the question: how does the future of the world news system shape up?

GLS 51621 (3) (Fall only) Taught in Spanish | Social Movements in the XXI Century to Globalization, the Crisis of the Processes of Democratization / Los movimientos sociales en el siglo XXI ante la globalización, la crisis y los procesos de democratización

This course looks to offer an analysis of the performances of social movements in diverse parts of the world due to different phenomena of the XXI century, such as globalization, political and economic crises, and the process of democratization. These social movements have been established as social and political actors in Arab countries, and in the democratic consolidation of Western countries. This course will address proposals, different forms of organization and actions, debates raised, and the impacts generated by these movements. In order to analyze those topics, the course will combine different perspectives from different academic disciplines, including political science, international relations, sociology, economics, history, political philosophy, peace investigations, social psychology, gender studies, and investigative journalism.

Spanish language courses

Students wishing to take a Spanish language course must have taken at least one semester of Spanish at their home institution and take a placement test after arrival in Barcelona. Please see the UPF website for course syllabi:

Spanish language is available at 6 levels:

Espanol Inicial 51637 (fall)/51643 (spring) (6) Second-Semester Beginner
Espanol Preintermedio 51638 (fall)/ 51644 (spring) (6) Pre-Intermediate
Espanol Intermedio 51639 (fall)/51645 (spring) (6) Intermediate
Espanol Avanzado 51640 (fall)/51646 (spring) (6) Advanced
Espanol Superior 51641 (fall)/51647 (spring) (6) Superior
Espanol para hispanohablantes 51642 (fall)/51648 (spring) (6) Spanish for Native Speakers

ESCI-UPF International Business Program

Students on this program can take up to 15 credits.

The International Management course is mandatory. Students must also take at least one additional course from the ESCI-UPF International Business Program.

Students who do not wish to choose all of their elective courses from the International Business Program courses can choose to take two or three courses from the HESP program, Spanish language or from the ESCI-UPF regular undergraduate course offerings.

Business Courses

Management 51634 (3) (mandatory) | International Management

Globalization has created new opportunities for businesses worldwide. This course is designed to prepare students to better analyze and understand the challenges and chances that companies face when expanding their activities internationally. Special attention will be placed upon the different tools and analytical skills available to and required for various specialized managerial roles when businesses are competing internationally. The course is comprised of 3 segments: The first is designed to offer students insight into the challenges posed by the international environment. Emphasis is placed on the analysis of differences in political economies and risks, as well as cultural and social heterogeneity among different countries. The second will focus on the analysis of global organizational structures and international strategies. Finally, the third will deal with international management operations, with a particular focus on import and export strategies and financing. It will also examine some of the keys to global marketing and human resource management. Recommended prerequisite: Business Organization.

Economics 51635 (3) | International Economics

As markets are increasingly global, it is important to understand the implications of various scenarios for consumers, entrepreneurs and governments. This course will approach these issues from both a theoretical and empirical point of view. Specifically, the course is divided into two blocks: In the first block students will analyze various trade models and policy instruments, as well as the behavior of “real economic variables.” In the second, they will explore topics related to international finance, such as the foreign exchange market, the international financial architecture, or the balance of payments and the relationship it bears to the forex market. Recommended prerequisite: Introduction to Economics (Microeconomics and Macroeconomics).

Finance 51633 (3) | International Finance

This course aims to provide students with a good understanding of the international financial markets and their impact on financial decisions and management at international firms. The course covers a range of topics related to the international monetary system, the foreign exchange and derivatives markets, the financing of international firms, foreign investment operations, and foreign exchange risk management. Recommended prerequisite: Finance.

Business 51636 (3) | Doing Business in Europe

This course aims to provide a comprehensive and integrated view of the European market. The course is structured into two sections: The first offers a global view of Europe (historical background, evolution of the E.U., its institutional structure, and its domestic and foreign policies). The second analyzes the European business environment, paying special attention to differences in managerial and consumer behavior in order to understand and identify economic, political, social, and cultural dimensions of the E.U. that might represent opportunities for business development in the region. Recommended prerequisite: Business Organization.

Finance 51655 (3) | Corporate Finance

This course aims to provide a comprehensive and integrated view of the European market. The course is structured into two sections: The first offers a global view of Europe (historical background, evolution of the E.U., its institutional structure, and its domestic and foreign policies). The second analyzes the European business environment, paying special attention to differences in managerial and consumer behavior in order to understand and identify economic, political, social, and cultural dimensions of the E.U. that might represent opportunities for business development in the region. Recommended prerequisite: Business Organization.

ESCI regular undergraduate courses

Please note that undergraduate courses with local students at UPF operate under the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS) and courses will appear on transcripts as ECTS credits. AIFS recommends that undergraduate courses transfer to your U.S. home institution as 45 hours of instruction and 3 semester credits. It is your responsibility to obtain course credit approval from your university adviser at home before arriving in Barcelona. Exams for some ESCI undergraduate courses are on a different academic schedule to study abroad courses. If necessary you may need to work with your ESCI professor to schedule exams prior to the program departure date.

AIFS may not be able to advise students of conflicts between the International Business Program and regular undergraduate courses until students are on-site in Barcelona. Students should also select electives from the International Business Program and HESP courses in case their undergraduate course requests cannot be fulfilled.

Courses are taught in English and Spanish. Below is a list of undergraduate courses that have been offered in the past. Please contact the AIFS Admissions Officer for a current list of available ESCI undergraduate courses.

  • Market Research I (3)
  • International Marketing (3)
  • International Expansion (3)
  • Business (3)
  • Culture and Business in America (3)
  • Culture and Business in the Middle East and Africa (3)
  • Consumer Behavior (3)
  • International Project Management (3)

Courses taught in Spanish

  • Finance II / Finanzas II (3)
  • Cost Accounting / Contabilidad de Costes (3)
  • International Logistics / Logística Internacional (3)
  • Business Ethics / Deontología Empresarial (3)
  • Quantitative Methods / Métodos cuantitativos (3)
  • Analysis of Business Economics and Financial Information / Análisis de los estados constables (3)
  • Sales Management / Dirección de ventas (3)
  • International Digital Marketing / Marketing Digital Internacional (3)

Spanish Language Courses

As part of their course load students may take a Spanish language course for 6 credits. Students wishing to take a Spanish language course must have taken at least one semester of Spanish at their home institution and take a placement test after arrival in Barcelona.

Global Health Program (Spring only)

Choose 4-5 courses.

Global Health courses

GH 51708 (3) | Frontiers in Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine (mandatory)

Over the past years there was an explosion of the biomedical technologies. Among them, the stem cell applications are in the center of the scene. The course aims to provide students from different backgrounds the essential tools to understand the role of stem cells and regeneration on experimental biomedicine. We will give a comprehensive view starting from basic concepts of cellular and molecular biology. These processes are then applied to stem cell biology and regenerating tissues. Finally, they are integrated in a developmental and biomedical approach that helps to understand the relevance of these fields for human health. The teachers, both experimental researchers, will introduce the frontiers of the present stem cell-related technologies, the future perspectives analyzed and open discussions elaborated in the classes. From tissue regeneration, personalized cell replacement therapies, cell reprogramming, 3D organ printing, mini-organ cultures and many others, the students will be exposed to the current state-of-the-art of these fields.

GH 330 (3) | Spanish for Medical Professions (3)

The program includes the option of taking a special course on Spanish for medical professionals, co-taught by a language instructor and a health professional, which will focus on issues related to medical and scientific language in Spanish. The course is designed to facilitate students’ communication skills in a professional health environment.

GH 340 (3) | GH/HESP Neurosciences for Humanities (3)

How reliable is our perception of the world? What is consciousness? Is free will an illusion? Does beauty reside in our brain? Neurosciences study the brain, from genes and cells to behavior and, during the last years, the scientific study of the brain has provided radical new clues about how the brain works. This knowledge has strong implications for many areas of human activity outside the conventional environment of medicine or psychology, and expands to economics, laws, philosophy or art. In recent years, there has been a growing interest in the dialogue between neurosciences and humanities, thereby breaking the classical gap between CP Snows’ “Two Cultures”. The intersecting topics range from philosophical and ethical issues, such as free will, the grounds of knowledge, or economic behavior, to questions related to art and culture. (This course is offered from the HESP program)

Direct-enrollment Courses

In addition to the courses listed above, Global Health program students may also take health related direct-enrollment courses (taught in English or Spanish alongside regular university students) from various degree programs offered at the UPF Health and Life Sciences School in the fields of biology, biotechnology, bioinformatics, health, and medical science. The courses form part of the UPF regular undergraduate BA degree programs in Human Biology, Medicine and Biomedical Engineering.

Please contact the AIFS Admissions Officer for available courses and course descriptions.

Optional Internship ($3,995)*

Optional Research and Experiential Learning Component Research Labs (3) (April to late June)

For a supplemental fee, students with at least four semesters of college-level Spanish can extend their semester and take an internship in Barcelona.

Students shadow a local student intern at a hospital, community health clinic, or laboratory to gain first-hand experience of healthrelated professional practice in Spain. The clinical observation internship is a for-credit option intended to provide global health students with a chance to learn through both action and observation. It is supplemented with a seminar on intercultural competence to provide a framework for students’ learning and a forum for examining the cultural and technical issues that may arise during students’ internships. Students may also intern in a UPF research lab.

*The fee includes housing in an apartment. Students selecting the homestay option who wish to take the internship extensions pay a supplement of $4,995 for the internship. Students in the residence pay a supplement of $4,395. It is not possible to change housing options between the semester and the internship extension.

STEM Program (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics)

Students generally take 4-5 courses and can choose courses from among 3 different program tracks:

(A) STEM track courses taught in English in disciplines including Audio-visual Systems Engineering, Computer Engineering, Telematics Engineering and Biomedical Engineering. These are direct-enrollment courses taught in English at the Polytechnic School alongside regular UPF students. Courses carry a recommended 3 credits each.

These include courses taught in the following areas:

  • Audio and Image Processing
  • Business Management and Innovation
  • Cardiovascular Science
  • Computer Graphics
  • Cross-disciplinary Computational Technologies
  • Image and Video
  • Intelligent Systems - Business Management and Innovation
  • Interactivity
  • Multimedia Networks
  • Network and Service Management
  • Neuroscience
  • Programming
  • Signal Processing and Audio-visual Systems
  • Skeletomuscular Science
  • Software Engineering
  • Sound and Music
  • Synthetic and Systems Biology
  • Wireless Networks and Protocols

Please contact the AIFS Admissions Officer for a list of available courses and course descriptions.

(B) Experimental Learning and Research including a for-credit research project tutored by UPF faculty and a (fall only) technical project management course

The course entails a major change in methodology due to its use of intensive project based learning, to which it adds a practical component covering time management, work planning, risk and resource management, and budgets, among other topics.

Projects are conducted within the framework of one of the following Polytechnic School research groups:

  • Cognitive & Intelligent Systems
  • Audiovisual Technologies
  • Networks & Communications
  • Computational Biology & Biomedical Systems

Technical Project Management Course (fall only) This course introduces students to the world of information and communication technology (ICT) project management, offering an overview of the fundamentals of project management and allowing students to put them into practice using special simulation tools.

(C) Language Culture and Business Culture (spring and fall) with courses to be chosen from among the HESP and International Business Program courses.

Spanish Language

Students can also supplement their STEM program courses by taking a Spanish course for 6 credits. Students wishing to take a Spanish language course must have taken at least one semester of Spanish at their home institution and take a placement test after arrival in Barcelona.