Barcelona: Civilization in the Western Mediterranean

Two students consult a map on a sunny day in front of a large domed building and set of steps.

Program Term:

Autumn Winter

Language Requirement:



 Naira Ovsepyan

Application Deadline:


The University of Chicago’s Autumn or Winter quarter Barcelona Program provides University of Chicago students with an opportunity to study the history and culture of Spain and the Mediterranean world in the exciting cultural and political capital of Catalonia in northeastern Spain.

    The centerpiece of the program is the three-course sequence “Civilization in the Western Mediterranean,” taught in compressed form during the quarter. This sequence, which focuses on Spanish history from antiquity to the 20th century, meets the College’s civilization requirement. In addition to the civilization sequence, participants take a fourth course in Spanish language. Students with sufficient knowledge of Catalan may substitute a Catalan language course in place of the Spanish language course.

    Classes for the Barcelona program are held at the Universitat Pompeu Fabra, a modern university in central Barcelona. A series of excursions within and in the vicinity of Barcelona helps to connect the study of Spain’s rich history with its physical remnants.

    Participants in this program are housed in a student residence hall in central Barcelona within easy commuting distance of Pompeu Fabra. These accommodations feature double rooms with shared bathrooms, kitchens, and living spaces. A Chicago Graduate Assistant will reside nearby.

    It is important to recognize the cultural context of student housing in Spain and understand that the amenities of the dorms may vary. Although some of these differences may take some getting used to, remember that cultural differences extend to all aspects of your experience abroad. Having realistic expectations for your term in Barcelona will help you approach the study abroad experience with a positive attitude.

    Participants in the Barcelona program remain registered as full-time students in the College. They take and receive credit for four courses: the three courses in the civilization sequence and the Spanish or Catalan language course. The civilization sequence meets the College’s civilization requirement. Students who have already met this requirement may use these courses as electives. Their use, partial or total, in a program of study (major) must be approved by the undergraduate chair of the student’s respective major. The language course will normally count as an elective. Neither the Spanish nor the Catalan course in Barcelona is keyed to Chicago’s Spanish or Catalan language sequences or equivalent to any specific on-campus course. Course titles, units of credit, and grades are placed on the College transcript.

    Study abroad students pay regular College tuition, a program fee, and a nonrefundable study abroad administrative fee. The tuition and program fee are paid in conformity with the home campus payment schedule, and the nonrefundable study abroad administrative fee is submitted when accepting a place in a program. Precise figures for the Barcelona program during the 2024–2025 year are listed below:

    Autumn or Winter tuition: as set by the Bursar’s Office

    Study abroad administrative fee: $675

    Barcelona Civ in English program fee: $5,960

    Program fee includes:

    Out-of-pocket expenses include:

    • round-trip airfare to and from the program site
    • passport/visa fees
    • transportation on site
    • meals
    • course materials
    • personal entertainment and travel
    • communications (including cell phone usage)
    • health insurance and upfront payments for care
    • other miscellaneous expenses 

    Previous program participants report spending in the range of $200 to $250 per week on meals and incidentals while on the program, though frugal students may spend less, and others could spend much more. Bear in mind that the cost of living in Barcelona is relatively high and that, while it is possible to live frugally, it is also possible to run short of money if you are unwary. It is therefore essential that you budget your funds prudently, apportioning your resources so that they last for the duration of the program. If you are planning to travel before or after the program or on weekends, you should budget accordingly.

    Study abroad students retain their financial aid eligibility. For more information about financial aid resources, please see our Tuition, Fees, and Funding section. 

    The Barcelona program is open to University of Chicago undergraduate students only. Applications from outside the University are not accepted.

    The program is designed for undergraduates in good academic and disciplinary standing who are beyond their first year in the College. While the program stipulates no minimum grade-point average, an applicant’s transcript should demonstrate that they are a serious student who will make the most of this opportunity. Because the civilization sequence is taught in English, there is no language prerequisite, although students are encouraged to take Spanish or Catalan on campus before the program begins.

    Because of the considerable demand for Chicago’s civilization programs abroad, no student may participate in more than one of these programs. Each application is examined on the basis of the student’s scholastic record and personal statement. If you are interested in applying for this program please fill out the online application.

    To discuss the Barcelona: Civilization in the Western Mediterranean program and the possibility of participating, please contact Naira Ovsepyan.