Barcelona: Universitat Pompeu Fabra

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Final App Deadline: 
Friday, February 4, 2022
Language Requirement: 
Dana Currier
Autumn, Academic Year

The Direct Enrollment Program at the Universitat Pompeu Fabra (UPF) in Barcelona provides Chicago students with an opportunity to study for an academic year at a highly regarded Spanish university. Participants in this program are registered as visiting students at UPF and have access to a full range of courses (normally focusing on courses in their major or minor subject, but with ample freedom to pursue courses outside their major). They will also enjoy access to UPF facilities, clubs, and student services.

The Universitat Pompeu Fabra is a modern institution, created by the Autonomous Government of Catalonia in 1990 and designated as an “International Excellence Campus” by the Spanish Ministry of Education. It is based on the model of the high-powered American research university with controlled admissions and an emphasis on rigorous instruction and research. An internationally renowned institution, UPF has recently been rated as the top Spanish university by the (London) Times Higher Education Supplement, and it is firmly in the upper echelon of Spanish universities in other rating schemes. It is home to approximately 12,000 undergraduate and graduate students and plays host each year to approximately 1,500 visiting students from throughout the world. Courses are available in the humanities, social sciences, and life sciences (but not the physical sciences). The academic-year calendar, like Chicago’s, consists of three terms.

The courses at UPF reflect the linguistic complexity of Catalonia. Some courses are offered in Spanish, others in Catalan (and still others in English). Regardless of the language of instruction in a course, each student is allowed to write the final exam or paper in the language of their choosing, Catalan or Spanish (or English for the Anglophone courses). Students who are adept in Spanish usually find that they can manage Catalan-taught courses after the first term (and vice versa).

The Mediterranean city of Barcelona, a bustling, student-friendly center for art and commerce, is itself a significant element in this program. The capital of Catalonia, Barcelona is a bilingual city (Catalan and Spanish) with a distinctive culture. Program participants are encouraged to consider Barcelona as an extra, unofficial course and to make the most of its lively art and music scene.


Participants in the UPF Program will reside in residence halls or apartments. The Mobility and Reception Office of UPF, working with the Barcelona Centre Universitari (BCU), is happy to assist students in securing their accommodations.

Credits and Registration

Participants in the Barcelona Pompeu Fabra Program remain registered as full-time students in the College. They receive a full-year’s credit for their work in Barcelona, with course titles, units of credit, and grades posted on their Chicago transcripts. Since the use of these credits in a specific degree program is variable, students should consult with their academic adviser and program chair to determine the exact distribution of credits.


Barcelona Pompeu Fabra students pay regular College tuition each quarter plus a nonrefundable study abroad administrative fee (autumn quarter only). (They are not charged the student life fee.) The tuition is paid quarterly in conformity with the home campus payment schedule, while the administrative fee is paid in advance, as a program deposit, and applied as a credit to the autumn quarter. Here are the precise figures for 2021–2022:

Academic year tuition: as set by the Bursar’s Office

Study abroad administrative fee: $675

Out-of-pocket expenses include:
round-trip airfare to and from the program site
transportation on site
course materials
personal entertainment and travel
communications (most students bring or buy a cell phone)
health insurance and upfront payments for care
other miscellaneous expenses

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

Eligibility and Application

The Barcelona Pompeu Fabra Program is open to University of Chicago students only. The Program is designed for undergraduates in good academic standing who are beyond their second year in the College. While the official language prerequisite is two years of college-level Catalan or Spanish, participants are encouraged to take Catalan and/or Spanish courses beyond the second-year (intermediate) level, and an acceptance to the Program may be contingent upon the completion of such coursework. Though 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.

Students wishing to apply to this program must meet Dana Currier, the Program Coordinator, as part of the application process.

Further Information

To discuss the Barcelona: Universitat Pompeu Fabra program and the possibility of participating, please contact Dana Currier.

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