Universidad de Barcelona

Skyline of a city


The Universidad de Barcelona, located in the very center of the city, is the oldest university in the city and is housed in a beautiful, historic building. Students wishing to improve their Spanish language proficiency will have the opportunity to enroll in a 110 contact-hour language course. These language courses are offered at beginning to advanced levels. In addition to language instruction, this program offers a variety of Hispanic Studies and International Business courses in both English and Spanish.

Quick Facts

Partner Program Type – International Studies Abroad (ISA)

ISA by WorldStrides is an organization that UCSC has partnered with to provide students with this opportunity. ISA stands for International Studies Abroad which is an organization that was founded in 1987 to connect US college students to the world. ISA has staff in the United States and abroad in each location to support students with every step of their journey.

Minimum GPA – 2.85

Prerequisites – Students who wish to take courses in Spanish will take a language placement test at the Universidad de Barcelona

Eligibility – Good academic and disciplinary standing, Min Age: 18, Open to All Majors, Sophomore, Junior, or Senior Standing by the time of departure

Term Options

Fall Semester:  early September – mid/late December (before the holidays)

Spring Semester: mid-January – late April

  • students must miss both winter and spring quarters at UCSC to participate in this session

Academic Year:  early September – Late April

Partner Program deadlines



City & University

Barcelona is known for its eccentric creativity, cultural diversity, and endless amounts of energy. The architecture in Barcelona is stunning and unique, ranging from medieval castles to the modernist buildings of Antoni Gaudí. It is the heart and capital of the region of Catalonia and is, for all intents and purposes, now a bilingual city as many inhabitants of the region speak both Spanish and Catalán, the official language of Catalonia. The unique blend of history, art, culture, and language make Barcelona a fascinating place where you will never run out of things to see or do.

Students have three choices for housing. No matter which option you choose it will be coordinated by ISA. Regardless of your housing option, you will have a short commute to your university. Travel times to the various university buildings generally range between 15 and 35 minutes depending on housing and class locations. 


Apartments are a great housing option if you are seeking complete independence during your time abroad. Apartments are assigned on a first-come, first-served basis, and availability is limited. Rent and utilities are included in the program price, and each apartment is fully furnished. Apartments, spread throughout the city, typically house four-six ISA students, and are made up of single and double occupancy rooms. Meals and laundry service are not included. In this ISA housing option, you will pay a $500 security deposit. ISA may retain some, or all, of this deposit in the event of damage to property, or if utility usage exceeds the allotted monthly amount.


Host families are a great choice if you are seeking full linguistic and cultural immersion during your time abroad. Each host family has been carefully selected by ISA’s resident staff in order to best accommodate your needs and to ensure a comfortable living situation. Homestays will provide two meals a day and laundry service once a week. You will typically share a room with another ISA student of the same gender. Single rooms may be available for an additional fee.

Student Residence

The student residence is a great choice if you would like to be independent while living with other international and local students. With availability limited on a first-come, first-served basis, you will room with another ISA student of the same gender. Single rooms may also be available for an additional fee. Meals are not included and laundry can be done on-site with coin-operated machines. In this ISA housing option, you will pay a $500 security deposit. ISA may retain some, or all, of this deposit in the event of damage to property, or if utility usage exceeds the allotted monthly amount.


Included excursions for this program are:

  • Seville
  • Valencia
  • Stiges

Cultural Activities in Barcelona are also included in your program.  They could include a city tour, a walking tour of the Gothic Quarter and/or a tour of la Sagrada Familia.

If you would like more detailed information about the excursions, please reach out to globallearning@ucsc.edu.

Student Support

The ISA team works with you from start to finish through the study abroad process. ISA staff will help guide you through the final phases of the application process after you have been nominated by UCSC, then upon arrival in Spain, you will meet the ISA team who will provide assistance during your time in-country. Throughout your semester you will meet with the Barcelona team for informal discussions and excursions. ISA staff is readily available and able to assist you with any academic, social, or cultural questions or issues that you may face during your time abroad.

Country Information Resources

Students with Disabilities

If you need support services abroad, notify your UCSC Disability Resource Center (DRC) Coordinator

Students can work with their ISA program manager or directly contact accessibilityteam@worldstrides.org once they have narrowed down where they’d like to go.

Identities Abroad and Away

UC Santa Cruz Global Learning is committed to inclusion and equity in our various program options as well as striving to make everyone’s experiences abroad enriching, positive, and safe.

Learn more on our Identities Abroad and Away webpage.


Host University Courses

As a Universidad de Barcelona exchange student, enroll full-time in courses alongside other local and international students.

  • Language of Instruction: English and Spanish
  • Students should take one Spanish language course (110-credit hour course), and 2-3 additional courses.
  • Only students who pass the Spanish placement test upon arrival in Barcelona will be able to take courses taught in Spanish. 
  • If you select to take a Spanish language course on your pre-registration, it is not possible to drop this course after you arrive in Spain. Other courses can be updated during the add/drop period during your first week of classes.
  • Courses are usually related to the following subjects: Business Management Economics, History of Art & Visual Culture (courses are only offered in Spanish) Language Studies, Politics (some courses are only offered in Spanish), and Spanish Studies. Psychology courses are not available through this program.

Course Search

Satisfying Requirements
It may be possible to satisfy major, minor, GE, and/or electives on this program.

Learn more about:

Course Load Requirements

You are required to enroll in a full-time course load while abroad as defined by your host institution:

  • Students should take one Spanish language course (110-credit hour course), and 2-3 additional courses earning 18-24 quarter credits.

As a UCSC student, you must also continue to meet UCSC Satisfactory Academic Progress, which requires students to enroll in a minimum of 12 UCSC quarter credits per quarter. At Barcelona, you are required to ensure you meet this requirement by enrolling in the equivalent of at least 12 UCSC quarter credits in fall semester and at least 24 UCSC quarter credits in spring semester after conversion (see below).

If you participate in the Universidad de Barcelona Spring Semester program, you will need to enroll in 30 ECTS credits to meet the 24 UCSC credit requirement (as you will be missing both winter and spring quarters). In order to get up to 30 ECTS credits, you must select either the 5 Elective Courses (225 contact hours) or the Spanish Language + 3 Elective Courses (245 contact hours) course option when enrolling in courses.

If you are not enrolled in the minimum number of quarter credits required, then you will fall out of Satisfactory Academic Progress. This could lead to financial aid and academic repercussions

If you are unable to enroll in the minimum number of quarter credits through courses at your host university, you may be able to fill in the gap by enrolling in one remote course through UCSC or UC online.

Credit Conversion

Barcelona uses ECTS credits. These will be converted to UCSC quarter credits when added to your UC transcript.

  • 5 ECTS credits = 4 quarter credits at UCSC
  • 10 ECTS credits = 8 quarter credits at UCSC
  • 15 ECTS credits = 12 quarter credits at UCSC
  • 20 ECTS credits = 15 quarter credits at UCSC

Academic Restrictions

Note that some courses may require prerequisites. In rare cases, some courses abroad may have enrollment limitations and/or restrictions, and there may also be courses that are not available for study abroad students. Your ISA program advisor will be able to help you determine whether any such restrictions apply.

If you are unsure about your eligibility to enroll, please contact UCSC Global Learning at globallearning@ucsc.edu before applying to this program.

Academic Differences

Please note that the academic system, such as assignments, exams, course structure, grading system, etc., at your host institution may be different from what you are used to at UCSC. We highly recommend researching the academic system at your host university in advance to best prepare for your experience abroad.

Academic Calendar

We recommend comparing the host university academic calendar to the UCSC academic calendar to see how the academic calendars, holidays, and breaks differ.

Last modified: Feb 27, 2024