Semester in Barcelona
Universitat Pompeu Fabra

New Offering
Spring 2022

Study at a dynamic local university while enjoying the best of Barcelona.

Universitat Pompeu Fabra (UPF), a young and dynamic public university, offers a globally-minded approach to teaching and learning while staying true to its roots in Barcelona, Catalonia, and Spain. The UPF urban multi-school campus is concentrated near Barcelona’s beautiful coast, among some of the city’s top attractions. Share a classroom with students from Barcelona and dozens of countries. And of course, you’ll also share a beautiful and vibrant city with its lively inhabitants, extending your academic and personal learning setting to wherever you find yourself.

What to Expect:

  • Language: English and Spanish
  • Average Courseload: 4-5 classes (12-15 U.S. credits)
  • GPA Requirement: 3.0
    -Junior for business
  • Visa Requirements: (ONLY FOR STEM TRACK)


  • Learn from the highest percentage of international faculty in Spain
  • Study on an urban campus, with most buildings just blocks from the beach
  • Choose from dozens of courses in both Spanish language and English
  • Abundant program inclusions and staff support to show you Barcelona's best
  • Study and socialize alongside students from both near and far

Program Details

Universitat Pompeu Fabra

Established in 1990, the Universitat Pompeu Fabra (UPF) is a young and dynamic Spanish public university. UPF places itself uniquely as a Catalonian-rooted institution with an impressively global reach, boasting more faculty from abroad than any other Spanish university and hosting students from around the world studying a variety of disciplines in Spanish and English.

Self-described as having “its feet in Barcelona and its head in the world,” the UPF achieved a designation of International Campus of Excellence from the Spanish Ministry of Education just 20 years after its founding. The campus is comprised of remodeled historic buildings, nestled among some of the city’s most desirable areas and/or just blocks from beautiful Mediterranean coastline and some of Barcelona’s best beaches.

Universitat Pompeu Fabra is accredited by the Spanish Ministry of Education

Areas of study with 3 to 7 classes available

  • Art & Design
  • Communications
  • Health
  • Humanities

Don't see your major listed here? There may still be courses available. Browse our programs by major.

Areas of study which have more than 8 classes available

  • Business
  • World Languages

Don't see your major listed here? There may still be courses available. Browse our programs by major.

Universitat Pompeu Fabra (UPF) offers a wide variety of courses across most major disciplines, meaning you can likely study in your major. However, if you have some elective or general education requirements, you can easily fulfill those while focusing on topics aimed to provide local context and additional insights in a setting as engaging as a Spanish university in Barcelona.

You’ll have the option to choose from Spanish language and culture courses, content-based courses conducted in English, content-based courses conducted in Spanish, and really any combination thereof as long as you don’t have scheduling conflicts.

As a CIS Abroad participant, you will have at your disposal much of the course catalog across UPF’s various schools/departments. The following guidelines are intended to help you start choosing your courses.

The Hispanic and European Studies Program (HESP) track creates the foundation of most CIS Abroad participants, as it aims to provide students with greater insight into the European, Spanish, and Catalan social and cultural contexts. This track also includes Spanish language learning, with levels ranging from beginner to proficient, and even Castilian Spanish for native speakers of other dialects.

Most courses in this track encourage experiential learning by including cultural activities and field-based classes in the form of trips to museums and heritage sites, course-related walking tours, and guest speakers.

Most CIS Abroad participants are advised to take at least one Spanish language course and at least one culture course as your studies permit, as this will help you engage more significantly with your new home in Barcelona.

Spanish Language
Courses offered during 2018-2019 academic year (indicative of future offerings):
Fall 2018 – Spring 2019

Culture and Literature
Courses offered during 2018-2019 academic year (indicative of future offerings):
Fall 2018
Spring 2019

Indicative of its global reach, UPF offers a variety of content-based courses conducted in Europe’s lingua franca, English. Courses span the UPF’s various schools/departments, among which are the following:

international business
international management
business innovation

Business Courses

Legal Studies: (Spain’s only law school chosen by Oxford University Faculty of Law)
legal studies
international relations
political science

Legal Studies Courses

STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math):
engineering (electrical, computer, biomedical, robotics)
computer science
audiovisual systems

STEM Courses

International Relations:
international relations
political science

International Relations Courses
(2018-2019 academic year)

design (history, principles digital, graphic, visual, interior)
visual communication
building engineering
industrial design engineering

Design Courses

For content-based courses conducted in Spanish, a minimum of four semesters/quarters of college-level Spanish (or equivalent) is required prior to enrolling. Students with high enough Spanish language proficiency can choose from courses across UPF’s schools/departments, which include all those listed above plus its “Basic Biomedic Sciences” program, conducted primarily Spanish.

Why Life in Barcelona

It’s no wonder that Barcelona is one of the top tourist and study abroad destinations in the world. This incredible location on the shores of the Mediterranean has a delightfully mild climate year round. Plus, Barcelona is one of the most exciting and vibrant cities to live in! The second-largest city in Spain has two official languages, Castilian Spanish and Catalan. It’s the perfect place to challenge yourself and practice your own Spanish skills, while also learning more about the unique Catalan history and culture.

The city is bustling, and you’ll be in awe of the architecture, including Gaudi’s towering Sagrada Familia basilica. When you’re ready to immerse yourself in nature, you can easily reach beaches and hiking sites just outside of Barcelona. The efficient public transportation system allows you to quickly travel to the many beaches to both the north and south of Barcelona. It also means you can easily navigate campus and the many amazing sites located throughout the city.

The city’s diverse international population, colorful flair, exciting nightlife, and vast array of cultural, historical, and modern attractions makes Barcelona an unparalleled place to study abroad!

Live La Vida Local

  • Soccer match

    Barça, Barça, Baaarça! Experience one of the best football clubs in the world and cheer like “culés,” fans from Football Club Barcelona.

  • Barrio tours

    Staff will take you on a tour of a neighborhood in Barcelona, showing you the history but also where locals hang out. Each tour includes a chance to try some local treats.

  • Human Towers

    Go to the practice space of the local Castells, a sport where teams compete to make the tallest tower possible.

  • Cooking classes

    Cooking classes with a professional chef.

  • Intercambio night

    A language exchange with local students.

Apartments in Barcelona


The apartments are, on average, about a 30-45 minute commute to your classes or internship and house 4-6 students. The convenient location means you’ll have easy access to everything Barcelona has to offer, like shops, cafés, bars, museums, restaurants, and more!

Watch Bridget’s video tour of her apartment to get an idea of what your housing could be like.

See the COVID-19 Plan tab for changes to housing for the Spring 2021 semester.


You’ll get to put your CIS Abroad Barcelona cooking class skills to the test and cook your own delicious meals in the apartments’ well-equipped kitchens.

Inclusions and Amenities

  • BathroomShared
  • CommutePublic Transportation
  • Double Room
  • Kitchen Equipment
  • LaundryOn-site

Homestay in Barcelona


Homestays are with families located about a 45-minute commute from your school or internship. A homestay is the perfect way to fully immerse yourself in Spanish culture. Living with a host family is great way to try home-cooked Spanish cuisine, improve your language skills, and experience life like a local. Plus, they’ll do your laundry!

See the COVID-19 Plan tab for changes to housing for the Spring 2021 semester.


If you opt for a homestay, you’ll get to try tasty home-cooked Spanish cuisine at the included daily breakfasts and dinners, and provide your own lunches.

Inclusions and Amenities

  • CommutePublic Transportation
  • Laundry
  • MealsHomestay

What's Included


Program fees are in U.S. dollars and include the following:

  • Cultural and recreational excursions and activities in Barcelona
  • One guided weekend excursion outside of Barcelona
  • Full-time tuition and fees
  • Housing
  • Meal plan available with a homestay
  • Medical and accident insurance
  • CIS Abroad support services before, during, and after the program
  • On-site support
  • Academic advising
  • Financial aid counseling
  • Assistance with travel arrangements
  • Pre-departure orientation
  • Airport pickup
  • Universitat Pompeu Fabra orientation
  • Official Universitat Pompeu Fabra transcript
  • Onsite mentorship program
  • La Vida Local cultural program

Welcome & Orientation

Once you arrive in the capital of Catalonia, you’ll get picked up at the airport – nice to see a friendly face after a long flight! After you get settled in your apartment or homestay, you’ll take part in the on-site orientation with other students and interns on the program. On-site staff will introduce you to this dynamic and cosmopolitan Barcelona, giving you tips on to how to be safe and healthy as well as how to make the most of your time here. Enjoy a welcome lunch in a traditional restaurant, a first culinary experience in the new city of the staple pan con tomate, along with other delicious Mediterranean food!

Farewell & Re-Entry Program

As the program draws to a close, you’ll go home with the tools you need to make the most of your experience. In our re-entry workshop, learn how to cope with cultural differences you’ll experience as you go home, how to put your abroad experience on your resume (and talk about it in job interviews), as well as how to keep traveling in the future. End the trip with a farewell meal with all your new CIS Abroad “amigos” and the staff, for a chance to say “hasta luego” to your new city!

Program Excursions

While participating on a CIS Abroad program, you'll be able to take part in built-in day trips at no additional cost. These trips are subject to change from term to term; listed below are excursions that have run in the past.


Visit a city filled with unique architecture and a rich history. Enjoy guided tours of theaters, civil war battlefields, and the Aljaferia Moorish Palace. You also will have a chance to try the best migas – dishes featuring fried bread crumbs – a tasty local specialty!

Weekend in the Basque Country

Weekend in the Basque Country

Enjoy a weekend trip to the rustic, historic, and vibrant Basque Country. Situated along the northern coast of Spain, País Vasco offers an enchanting mix of rugged seashore, rolling hills, delectable seafood, and a unique and rich culture. This excursion may include a trip to the Guggenheim Museum, an outing to a traditional “pincho” (skewer) tapas bar, a winemaking lesson, and tours of historical sites.

4 Days in Morocco

4 Days in Morocco

Fall and Spring semester students also have the opportunity to join a four-day trip to Morocco with a non-profit organization dedicated to helping travelers jump off the beaten path and understand the local culture.

Site Director

Travel Tip:

When traveling make sure to use humour and start conversations with local people, they are the experts of the places you visit and you can learn so much from them; particularly the older generation can be a wealth of information. Try to enjoy every single minute of your travels!

Travel Tip:

When traveling make sure to use humour and start conversations with local people, they are the experts of the places you visit and you can learn so much from them; particularly the older generation can be a wealth of information. Try to enjoy every single minute of your travels!


Elena was born in Girona, but has lived in a variety of cities in Spain. She earned a B.A. in Advertising and Public Relations from the Universitat Pompeu Fabra (UPF) in Barcelona and an M.A. in Communication, Tourism, and New Technologies (e-Tourism) from the University of Barcelona. Her previous work experience was at UPF in the Communications Department and research focused on Place Branding Online. Elena is also the co-founder of the International Exchange Erasmus Student Network at UPF, which helps welcome university students to Barcelona. She worked and studied in various countries throughout Europe, including Italy, England, Ireland, Holland, and Turkey. Elena has been working since 2010 helping and mentoring international students. Currently, she is perusing a Coach Training Certification. Elena loves languages, dancing, traveling, culture, and, above all – people.

Your Support Staff

CIS Abroad Advising & Support
Travel Tip:

You’ll be supported every step of the way!

Global Advising

Our advising team will help match you with a program that fits your academic and personal needs. Once you have selected your program our advisor will help you complete your Online Application.

Program Enrollment

Once you’ve started your application and submitted the $90 deposit, you’ll be assigned a program enrollment coordinator who will guide you through the enrollment process to get you abroad!

COVID-19 Plan

COVID-19 Plan

We believe that study abroad is still possible during the COVID-19 pandemic, but certain policies and procedures will need to be in place to ensure every student can be safe and healthy during their semester abroad.

We monitor international indicators and health standards in the country and our risk management team makes decisions based on those and our own policy. We will make a decision no less than 45 days before a program starts what options are available to you and what the contingency plan is for your program. We will do all that we can to support you during this time.

Learn more about CIS Abroad’s Risk Management Team’s three step process for operating  our programs around the world and important program refund policies.

Program Suspended

This program is currently not available for the Academic Year 2020/21. Please consider other options by exploring our Open Summer and Fall 2021 Programs or consider a Virtual Internship.

Dates & Prices

ADVISOR TIP: Please WAIT to book flights until you have received confirmed dates in your acceptance paperwork. Dates posted here are subject to change.

  • Application Deadline: May 15 (Estimated)
  • Arrival: September 17 | September 21 (Estimated)
  • Departure: December 22 | December 18 (Estimated)
  • Price: $12,490 - $13,590 (Estimated)
  • Application Deadline: Oct 15 (Estimated)
  • Arrival: January 1 (Estimated)
  • Departure: April 24 (Estimated)
  • Price: $12,490 - $13,590 (Estimated)
  • Application Deadline: May 15 (Estimated)
  • Arrival: September 16 | September 20 (Estimated)
  • Departure: December 20 | December 18 (Estimated)
  • Price: $12,490 - $13,590 (Estimated)
Additional Information:

12 Credits (Homestay OR Shared apartment): $12,490
15 Credits (Homestay OR Shared apartment): $13,590

As with all study abroad programs, you should count on a few additional expenses.

CIS Abroad reserves the right to alter fees at any time due to currency fluctuations and/or fee changes made by our partner universities.