Study Abroad in Barcelona, Spain - UPF

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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. 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.


ART HIST 51607 (3)
Contemporary Spanish Art

The main artistic developments will be covered as well as 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. 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.

ART HIST 51665 (3) Taught in Spanish
Forma, Sueño y Deseo: Picasso, Miró, Dalí y el Arte del S. X X/Form, Dream and Desire: Picasso, Miró, Dalí and 20th Century Art

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.

CAT 51656 (3) Taught in Catalan and Spanish
Lengua y Cultura Catalana/Catalan Language and Culture

In this course students will be introduced to the Catalan language and culture gaining a basic grounding in the language.

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 interdisciplinary course covers subjects in history, geography, art, architecture, and urban planning. We will also discuss issues relevant to people living within the city of Barcelona today.

CS 51601 (3)
Taught in Spanish Barcelona, la Ciudad y su Historia/Barcelona, the City and its History

See CS 51600 above for course description.

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.

CS 51622 (3)Barcelona:
the Rise of a Design City

Looks at one of the most exciting periods of the city’s recent history: what is known as the “Barcelona design boom”, a cultural phenomenon that helped define the Spanish transition to democracy in the 1980s and the city’s Olympic dream in the 1990s. For a few years and in sharp contrast to the preceding decades, design became one of the main cultural frameworks of Barcelona’s identity, both locally and abroad.

CS 51734 (3) fall only
Independence, Federalism and Secession: Catalonia and Beyond

Offers an overview of the concept and practice of self-determination concerning its history and application to different contexts. From President Woodrow Wilson’s Fourteen Points to the recent Catalan Declaration of Sovereignty or the 2014 Scottish referendum the notion of self-determination has suffered several changes. On the one hand, this course provides a theoretical knowledge on self-determination and secession through its history, main theories and international legal status. On the other hand, it applies theoretical knowledge to processes of self-determination in Eastern and Western Europe.

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

Offers an introduction to Spanish cinema from the start of Spain’s democracy in the 1970s, 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, considering the famous works of Pedro Almodóvar, Victor Erice, Julio Médem, Alejandro Amenábar, or José Luis Guerín.

HIST 51616 (3) spring only
Between Tolerance and Conflict

Examines the history of medieval Iberia from the perspective of a society characterized by an unprecedented interaction between the Mediterranean’s three civilizations (Muslim, Christian and Jewish). Specifically the course will debate the historical paradigms (e.g. convivencia, tolerance vs. intolerance) frequently used to depict the cultural diversity of the Iberian Peninsula’s medieval experience. As well as providing a general introduction to the cultural parameters of medieval Iberia’s three civilizations, the course will highlight these societies’ modes of interaction and mutual influence.

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

This course is created as an overall look at 20th century Spanish literature. It will analyze brief texts from the most representative authors, taking into account their historical significance and ideology. 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).

MKT 51602 (3)
Global Culture and Marketing of FC Barcelona: Playing for Fun or for Keeps
Focuses on how football (soccer) shapes the social, economic 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.

POL 51612 (3)
Taught in Spanish (fall only)Sociedad y Política en la España Contemporánea/Society and Politics in Contemporary Spain
This course is designed to give both political science and non-political 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.


HIST 51697 (3) spring only
Brand Equity Communications and its Unique Corporate Value

Since the globalization of the economy at the end of the last century, the context of brand communications in today’s businesses has radically changed. Communication strategies to reach any type of target group are challenged to anticipate stakeholders’ interests, build brand equity beyond good products and services and be able to remain competitive in a highly-active technological context that has reversed some of the traditional ways of managing businesses.

POL 51617 (3) fall only
Politics and Society in the European Union

Introduces the main institutions and the structure of the EU to U.S. students. The course will examine the origin and the development of the European integration process and the institutional structure of the EU as well as examining policy issues on integration, the EU budget and the EU in the international scenario.

SOC 51627 (3) spring only
Ancient Mediterranean

Examines the nature and complexity of interactions between the regions of the Mediterranean during the second and the first millennia BC. The cultural florescence of the Ancient Mediterranean civilizations had its origins in a series of colonial entanglements beginning first in the eastern Mediterranean. A period spanning more than two thousand years, and ending with the Roman conquest, colonists, merchants, sailors and conquerors sought to benefit from the commercial and cultural opportunities provided by the riches of the eastern, central and western Mediterranean.


GLS 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 offer 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.

GLS 51620 (3) fall only
Global Media and International Journalism

The 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) Taught in Spanish
Los Movimientos Sociales en el Siglo X XI ante la Globalización, la Crisis y los Procesos de Democratización/Social Movements in the X XI Century to Globalization, the Crisis of the Processes of Democratization

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 21st century, such as globalization, political and economic crises, and the process of democratization. This course will address proposals, different forms of organization and actions, debates raised, and the impacts generated by movements in Arab and Western countries. The course will combine different perspectives from different academic disciplines, including political science, international relations, sociology, economics, gender studies and investigative journalism.

GLS 51666 (3) spring only
Screening the Global World: Cultural Diversity and Public Television Space

This course will analyze a variety of public television programs from all over the world, dedicated to the subject of diverse cultural identities, transcultural issues, representation of Otherness in different social modalities, including the depiction of foreign cultures, national minorities and immigration. Some examples will also expand to the area of sexual diversity, treatment of disabled and the relationship between totalitarian regimes and democracy.

GLS 51667 (3)
Globalization, Development and Social Cohesion: Which Role for International Development Cooperation?

International cooperation, from a multilevel and integral point of view, implies not only the participation of intergovernmental and State institutions but also of local governments and non-governmental organizations. In this context, all actors have to contribute from their own areas of expertise in order to improve the system. The European Union is a paradigmatic illustration of this multilevel approach and commitment to international cooperation for development.

Spanish language courses

Students wishing to take a Spanish language course take a placement test after arrival in Barcelona. Please contact the AIFS Admissions Officer for course syllabi.

Language levels are defined according to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR). For further details visit

Spanish language is available at 6 levels:

  • Español Inicial 51637 (fall)/51643 (spring) (6)
  • Español Preintermedio 51638 (fall)/51644 (spring) (6)
  • Español Intermedio 51639 (fall)/51645 (spring) (6)
  • Español Avanzado 51640 (fall)/51646 (spring) (6)
  • Español Superior 51641 (fall)/51647 (spring) (6)
  • Español 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 51636 (3)
Doing Business in Europe

The course is structured into two sections. The first offers a global view of Europe (historical background, evolution of the EU, 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 EU that might represent opportunities for business development in the region. Recommended prerequisite: Business Organization.

Economics 51635 (3)
International Economics

The course is divided into two sections: in the first section 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

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.

Finance 51655 (3)
Corporate Finance

In the international sphere, accounting principles are converging (IFRS, USGAAP, etc.). In this context, and in order to take important business decisions, it is imperative to be able to build, read, understand and analyze the financial statements of companies, no matter which country they are from. One of the goals of the course is that students master the vocabulary of financial statements and accounting reports, and use it to communicate with internal and external interlocutors. It also focuses on how to measure corporate investments and to consider the different finance resources that are currently available.Recommended prerequisite: Business Organization.

Management 51634 (3) (mandatory)
International Management

Prepares students to better analyze and understand the challenges and opportunities 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. 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. 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.

  • Business (3)
  • Business Innovation (3)
  • Cross Cultural Management and Intercultural Communication (3)
  • Culture and Business in America (3)
  • Culture and Business in the Middle East and Africa (3)
  • Consumer Behavior (3)
  • International Expansion (3)
  • International Marketing (3)
  • International Project Management (3)
  • Market Research I (3)
  • Strategic Brand Management (3)

Courses Taught in Spanish

  • Análisis de los estados constables/Analysis of Business Economics and Financial Information (3)
  • Deontología Empresarial/Business Ethics (3)
  • Contabilidad de Costes/Cost Accounting (3)
  • Finanzas II/Finance II (3)
  • Logística Internacional/International Logistics (3)
  • International Digital Marketing/Marketing Digital Internacional (3)
  • Métodos Cuantitativos/Quantitative Methods (3)
  • Dirección de Ventas/Sales Management (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 take a placement test after arrival in Barcelona. Spanish courses are listed under the Hispanic and European Studies Program options

Download PDF with full program details on all AIFS Spain programs!

Download PDF with full program details on all AIFS Spain, Barcelona programs!