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Fact Sheet:
Fact Sheet:
Click here for a definition of this term Language of Instruction: Spanish Click here for a definition of this term Language Prerequisite: 6 or more semesters of college level language
Minimum Cumulative GPA: 3.0 Click here for a definition of this term Credit Available For: College
Other Eligibility Requirements: Grades of B or better in Spanish Click here for a definition of this term Type of Program: Semester/Year Study Abroad
Click here for a definition of this term Housing Options: Apartment/Off-Campus Click here for a definition of this term Application Deadline: Fall/Year: February 15, Spring: September 15
Program Description:

CASA LogoPenn Semester in Barcelona: Consortium for Advanced Studies Abroad (CASA) Barcelona
The Consortium for Advanced Studies Abroad (CASA) is a collaborative initiative involving several U.S. universities: Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, Johns Hopkins, Northwestern, the University of Pennsylvania, and Vanderbilt. 
CASA-Spain in Barcelona offers a full-immersion program in one of the leading cities of the world. This program is designed for students in all disciplines with advanced Spanish skills. Students are immersed in the local university environment and take most of their courses at one or more of CASA's partner universities: the Universitat de Barcelona (UB), the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB), and the Universitat Pompeu Fabra (UPF). Comprehensive student services support the academic and social experience. 
Universitat Pompeu Fabra

Established in 1990, the Universitat Pompeu Fabra (UPF) is a public university funded by the Generalitat. The university boasts 11,000 undergraduate students and an expanding campus in the heart of Barcelona, stretching between the Rambla and the district of Poblenou. Despite its relatively small size and its foundation less than three decades ago, the institution is the third highest-ranked university in Spain. The university is ranked first nationally in the disciplines of Business, Political Science, Economics, and Law. Working on a trimester calendar, the university offers 19 undergraduate degrees in humanities, social sciences, life sciences, law, business, and engineering, and offers master's and doctoral degrees in many of the same areas. The library at the UPF is one of the best in the city, with over 400,000 volumes in open stacks. The library has wireless internet capability and includes computer labs for student use. 

Universitat de Barcelona

Founded in 1450, the Universitat de Barcelona (UB) is the oldest and largest in Cataluña and until 1971 was the only university in the region. Comprised of four separate campuses spread out across the city, the university has 19 facultades and over 100 academic departments. UB has a total enrollment exceeding 90,000 students and uses a semester-based calendar. UB offers undergraduate degrees in humanities, social sciences, life sciences, law, business, medicine and engineering, with doctoral degrees in many of the same areas. The university has the second largest library collection in Spain, with more than two million books and about 36,000 journals available. It is the largest of the ten universities in Catalonia and the second largest in Spain. One course at UB is required for Fall and Spring students.

Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona

The Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona was established in 1968 and has over 50,000 students. The state-of-the art Bellaterra campus, in Cerdanyola del Vallès, is home to most of its departments, institutes and services. 78 degree programs are available at the UAB, covering a wide range of fields, including the humanities and arts, social sciences, health sciences, experimental and technological sciences. 
For additional information, visit the CASA Barcelona website
The City of Barcelona

Barcelona is the bustling capital of Cataluña, the northeastern province of Spain. Nestled between the Pyrenees and the Mediterranean, Cataluña continually seeks to distinguish itself from Spain and assert its autonomy, a fact that has contributed significantly to modern Barcelona's identity. A city of 1.5 million people and Spain's second largest city, Barcelona adds a unique flavor to Spain through its distinct history, language, and rich contributions in art and architecture. Historically underappreciated, Barcelona hosted the 1992 Olympic Games, and the event launched the city onto the global stage.

Did you know…?

The official languages of Cataluña are Catalán and Spanish, and the majority of the city's residents are fluent in both. A semester or year in Barcelona will present students with the unforgettable opportunity to live and study in this distinctive bilingual and bicultural environment.


The Penn Semester in Barcelona: Consortium for Advanced Studies Abroad (CASA) Barcelona is for College credit only.

This program allows a maximum of 15 students per semester. Should more apply, all applications will be sent to a review committee for selection.
Minimum GPA Requirement: 3.0

Language Prerequisite: Successful completion of SPAN 219 or 223 with a grade of B or better in all Spanish courses at Penn required by the end of the academic semester (fall or spring) prior to departure. Students must be enrolled in a Spanish course during the academic semester (fall or spring) prior to departure.

Language of Instruction



The full course load for the Barcelona program is five classes, including the required Cultural ProSeminar course. Penn Abroad participants must maintain a full course load for their period of study abroad. Final university course selection takes place at the beginning of the term, as course availability and scheduling are not known fully in advance.

A mandatory credit-bearing Cultural ProSeminar is offered at the beginning of the semester. The Cultural ProSeminar introduces students to Catalan history and culture in the context of Spanish and European history. It focuses on the language needs of students in Spanish and Catalan to prepare them to meet the academic expectations they will face as students in Spanish university classrooms. CASA-Barcelona will also offer a small range of full-semester courses that will use the city and the region as classroom and text. All lectures are conducted in Spanish.

Penn students normally choose courses at the primer ciclo level or if the student has taken courses in the subject then also at the segundo ciclo level. Since Penn students, unlike regular students, are permitted to choose courses in different Facultades and at different levels simultaneously, advisors on site are able to determine the proper weighting of course work in different subjects.

Typical course plan for a Penn Student:
1 ProSeminar Course (CASA Course)
1 Course at Universidad Barcelona
3 remaining courses
  • 1 Course at Universitat Pompeu Fabra (UPF)
  • 1-2 courses at either: UB, UAB, or another CASA Course
You may not enroll in courses at UPC

For course information, visit the Academics page on the CASA Barcelona website.

Grading Scale

As on all Penn Abroad programs, grades are recorded on the Penn transcript and are calculated in the cumulative grade point average.  The pass/fail option can be exercised according to the Penn on-campus policy of your home school. Be sure to review Penn Abroad’s academic policies.

Courses will receive grades based on the Spanish university ten point scale (including decimal points, e.g. 7.5). The scale is not based on an equal distribution of points nor on a percentage. Grades are reported on the Spanish scale and are converted to Penn grades according to standard Spanish - U.S. grade equivalencies.

Grades are reported to Penn from CASA Barcelona and then converted to Penn grades according to the following grade equivalencies:
CASA Grade Penn Grade
10-9 A
8.99-8 A-
7.99-7.6 B+
7.59-7.0 B
6.99-6.6 B-
6.59-6.0 C+
5.99-5.6 C
5.59-5.0 C-
4.99-4.5 D+
4.49-4.0 D
3.99 and below F

Sagrada Familia and city skyline
Group Excursions

Please visit the CASA Barcelona Activities page for more information regarding excursions.

Internship Opportunities

Please visit the CASA Barcelona Opportunities page for for more information about internships, volunteering, and research while in Barcelona.

Park GuellParticipants must be willing to live under local conditions for students.

Penn students are required to live at TSH Campus Marina, which has 427 individual rooms that cater to a mixed Spanish and international student population. CASA students have an individual room with a private bath. The single rooms open up to a common living room and kitchens that CASA students share with 8-9 flatmates (Spanish or other international students), creating an apartment-like atmosphere. Amenities include internet access, television, closet space, shelf space, a desk, a double bed and bed linens. The facility also provides a swimming pool on the roof terrace and the option of a meal plan. The residence is beside the "Marina" metro station and the tramway line, 10 minutes from UPF and the city downtown.

Penn Abroad Financial Policies

Students are charged Penn tuition and academic fees for all Penn Abroad programs.  Additional expenses will typically include items such as housing, visas, and airfare.  Please see the program budget sheets below for more information.  Be sure to review Penn Abroad’s financial policies.

Financial Aid and Study Abroad

In most cases, financial aid applies to Penn-approved programs.  Student Financial Services reviews program budget sheets each semester to determine how to appropriately adjust your aid package. Visit SFS's website for more information on how Financial Aid will work during your semester abroad.
Budget Sheets


Scholarship Opportunities

Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program: Competition for awards for study abroad, for US citizen students who are receiving federal Pell Grant funding at a 2-year or 4-year college or university.

Please review the Penn Abroad application process, policies, and procedures. To open an application or learn more about the program, please schedule an appointment with a Penn Abroad Global Programs Manager. For a student perspective on life and academics in Spain, contact a Penn Abroad Past Participant.

Important Note: As part of the process for Spain, your Global Programs Manager will be facilitating the visa process with you. Once you receive an email from your Global Programs Manager about your visa, please follow the instructions accordingly. You will be required to turn in your visa application materials (passport included) to your Global Programs Manager at Penn Abroad. Keep in mind that you will not have your passport in your possession for a few weeks while your visa gets processed by the Spanish Consulate. (This does not apply to EU citizens/passport holders).