Study Abroad
Barcelona - Political Science & International Relations Add to favorites
  • Barcelona, Spain
Why Barcelona?

As the most international city in Spain, Barcelona is an important place for international relations as well as international business and commerce. Due to the city’s mix of Spanish, English, French, and more, it has strong political ties with the rest of Europe and beyond. And with its mix of cultures, Barcelona offers the unusual opportunity to see how regional, national, and international views are intertwined.

What You'll Study

In this program, you can take courses in a wide range of topics including politics, regionalism, international security, international business and relations, and many others. Imagine taking in all that Barcelona has to offer while taking exciting courses, like Campaigning in Europe: From Propaganda to Political Marketing or Globalized Economy & Migration. All of our courses feature course-related trips and faculty-led visits to government offices and institutions.

You also have the extraordinary opportunity to take Spanish- or English-taught courses at Universitat Pompeu Fabra (UPF) and Universitat Ramon Llull (URL), both offer strong faculties in Political Science and International Relations. All of our partner universities in Barcelona offer courses in a wide variety of disciplines.

Enhance what you learn in the classroom and add international work experience to your résumé by participating in an optional internship placement and accompanying seminar. Possible placements include working in NGOs or not-for-profit organizations, law associations, and more.

A wide variety of other disciplines are offered, as well. So you can supplement your study of Political Science and International Relations with a course from our Liberal Arts & Business Program to complement your studies while in Barcelona.

You are here

Why Barcelona?

As the most international city in Spain, Barcelona is an important place for international relations as well as international business and commerce. Due to the city’s mix of Spanish, English, French, and more, it has strong political ties with the rest of Europe and beyond. And with its mix of cultures, Barcelona offers the unusual opportunity to see how regional, national, and international views are intertwined.

What You'll Study

In this program, you can take courses in a wide range of topics including politics, regionalism, international security, international business and relations, and many others. Imagine taking in all that Barcelona has to offer while taking exciting courses, like Campaigning in Europe: From Propaganda to Political Marketing or Globalized Economy & Migration. All of our courses feature course-related trips and faculty-led visits to government offices and institutions.

You also have the extraordinary opportunity to take Spanish- or English-taught courses at Universitat Pompeu Fabra (UPF) and Universitat Ramon Llull (URL), both offer strong faculties in Political Science and International Relations. All of our partner universities in Barcelona offer courses in a wide variety of disciplines.

Enhance what you learn in the classroom and add international work experience to your résumé by participating in an optional internship placement and accompanying seminar. Possible placements include working in NGOs or not-for-profit organizations, law associations, and more.

A wide variety of other disciplines are offered, as well. So you can supplement your study of Political Science and International Relations with a course from our Liberal Arts & Business Program to complement your studies while in Barcelona.

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$4 Million in Financial Aid

We firmly believe that financial limitations should not prevent a qualified student from participating in an IES Abroad Program. This is why we commit more then $4 million each year to our financial aid programs.

Academics

Our mission is simple: to provide you with the best study abroad program possible—which includes the highest quality academic and cultural experiences. We offer unique courses that explore Political Science & International Relations through an in-depth and hands-on approach. Our world-class professors and course options at prestigious local universities enhance your academic experience and provide you with new perspectives each day in class.

While in Barcelona, you take 15–19 credits per semester. Our goal is to make sure your academic needs are met. You can craft your own academic experience by selecting from the following course types:

  • Spanish language courses (required, 3-7 credits) are offered at the IES Abroad Center. These courses range from the 100- to the 400-level.
  • Area studies courses* (required, 3 credits) are offered at the IES Abroad Center in English and Spanish in a wide range of disciplines.
  • Internships (optional, 3 credits) combine project-based placements in event management, marketing and not-for-profit organizations with a required seminar. (English placements are available. A basic knowledge of Spanish is required for some.)
  • Research Methodology Seminar (optional, 4 credits) involves the guided development of a detailed research project. Available at all language levels for students with a 3.0 GPA or higher.
  • Estudios Hispánicos (Hispanic studies) courses (optional, 1.5-3 credits) are specifically designed for international students. These Spanish and English-taught courses are available at Universitat de Barcelona and Universitat Pompeu Fabra, and in a wide range of disciplines.
  • Local university courses (optional, 1.5-4 credits) are offered in Spanish and English. You take these classes alongside local Spanish students.

*In addition to your program’s specified coursework, you can take any of the area studies courses offered through our Liberal Arts & Business Program.

UPF PRE-LAW CERTIFICATE PROGRAM
Spring Term Only
As an added benefit, IES Abroad Barcelona also offers you the opportunity to enroll in a certificate program through our partner university, Universitat Pompeu Fabra. This honors pre-law program is intended to provide pre-law, international relations, and political science majors with an introductory education in the field of international law, European law, and comparative law.

Courses

Our mission is simple: to provide you with the best study abroad program possible—which includes the highest quality academic and cultural experiences. In addition to your program’s specified coursework, you can take any of the elective courses offered through our Liberal Arts & Business Program.

This is a list of planned course offerings and these courses are taught at the IES Abroad Center by local faculty. A final list of course offerings will be made available to you in your MyIESabroad account.

To learn more about IES Abroad’s innovative theoretical and pedagogical approaches to teaching language abroad, refer to the IES Abroad MAP for Language & Intercultural Communication.

Art History
Course Name Term Language Credits
US/AH 230 - International Events in Barcelona: An Artistic Perspective Fall, Spring English 3
Anthropology
Course Name Term Language Credits
SO/AN 360 - Banditry and Mafias in the Mediterranean Fall, Spring English 3
Communications
Course Name Term Language Credits
PO/CM 323 - Campaigning in Europe: From Propaganda to Political Marketing Fall, Spring English 3
PO/CM 335 - Media and Politics in Europe Fall, Spring English 3
Criminal Studies
Course Name Term Language Credits
LW/CR 363 - Crime, Disorder, Policing and Justice: Spanish and European Perspectives Fall, Spring English 3
Economics
Course Name Term Language Credits
EC 341 - The Economic Effects of Spain's EU Membership Fall, Spring English 3
EC 342 - European Regional Economies Fall, Spring English 3
IB/EC 441 - Spain's Economic Development and the EU Fall, Spring English 3
PO/EC 210 - Introduction to the European Union Fall, Spring English 3
SO/EC 340 - Globalized Economy and Migration Fall, Spring English 3
Environmental Studies
Course Name Term Language Credits
GT/ES 361 - Science & Society: A European Perspective Fall, Spring English 3
SO/ES 352 - Sustainability: Challenges and Responses Fall, Spring English 3
Global Studies
Course Name Term Language Credits
GT/ES 361 - Science & Society: A European Perspective Fall, Spring English 3
History
Course Name Term Language Credits
HS 215 - History of Europe: Building Contemporary Europe Fall, Spring English 3
HS 332 - War and Dictatorship in Spain Fall, Spring English 3
IR/HS 317 - The American Century: US Policy in Western Europe Fall, Spring English 3
SO/HS 333 - Discrimination and Persecution in Spain and the West Fall, Spring English 3
SO/PO/HS 331 - Understanding Contemporary Spain: Politics, Society, History Fall, Spring English 3
International Business
Course Name Term Language Credits
IB 350 - International Marketing: A European Approach Fall, Spring, Summer English 3
IB 360 - Entrepreneurship: A European Perspective Fall, Spring English 3
IB/EC 441 - Spain's Economic Development and the EU Fall, Spring English 3
IR/IB 393 - Leading Across Cultures: Principles and Practice Fall, Spring English 3
Internship Seminar
Course Name Term Language Credits
IN 395A - Internship Seminar Fall, Spring English 3
International Relations
Course Name Term Language Credits
IR/HS 317 - The American Century: US Policy in Western Europe Fall, Spring English 3
IR/IB 393 - Leading Across Cultures: Principles and Practice Fall, Spring English 3
Law
Course Name Term Language Credits
LW/CR 363 - Crime, Disorder, Policing and Justice: Spanish and European Perspectives Fall, Spring English 3
Management
Course Name Term Language Credits
MG 345 - Management Across Borders Fall, Spring English 3
PS/MG 322 - Organizational Behavior: Psychological Approaches in a European Perspective Fall, Spring English 3
Political Science
Course Name Term Language Credits
PO 325 - Politics in Spain Fall, Spring, Summer English 3
PO 475 - Democracy in Western Europe Fall, Spring English 3
PO/CM 323 - Campaigning in Europe: From Propaganda to Political Marketing Fall, Spring English 3
PO/CM 335 - Media and Politics in Europe Fall, Spring English 3
PO/EC 210 - Introduction to the European Union Fall, Spring English 3
SO/PO/HS 331 - Understanding Contemporary Spain: Politics, Society, History Fall, Spring English 3
Psychology
Course Name Term Language Credits
PS/MG 322 - Organizational Behavior: Psychological Approaches in a European Perspective Fall, Spring English 3
Religious Studies
Course Name Term Language Credits
SO/RL 330 - Church and State in Spain from 1492 to the Present Fall, Spring English 3
Service Learning
Course Name Term Language Credits
SL 395 - Service Learning: Internship Seminar Fall, Spring English 3
Sociology
Course Name Term Language Credits
SO/AN 360 - Banditry and Mafias in the Mediterranean Fall, Spring English 3
SO/EC 340 - Globalized Economy and Migration Fall, Spring English 3
SO/ES 352 - Sustainability: Challenges and Responses Fall, Spring English 3
SO/HS 333 - Discrimination and Persecution in Spain and the West Fall, Spring English 3
SO/PO/HS 331 - Understanding Contemporary Spain: Politics, Society, History Fall, Spring English 3
SO/RL 330 - Church and State in Spain from 1492 to the Present Fall, Spring English 3
Spanish
Course Name Term Language Credits
SP 101 - Spanish Language in Context: Novice Abroad I Fall, Spring Spanish 4
SP 102 - Spanish Language in Context: Novice Abroad II Fall, Spring Spanish 4
SP 102I - Spanish Language in Context: Novice Abroad II Intensive Fall, Spring Spanish 7
SP 201 - Spanish Language in Context: Novice Abroad III Fall, Spring Spanish 4
SP 301 - Spanish Language in Context: Emerging Independent Abroad I Fall, Spring Spanish 4
SP 301I - Spanish Language in Context: Emerging Independent Abroad I Intensive Fall, Spring Spanish 7
SP 302 - Spanish Language in Context: Emerging Independent Abroad II Fall, Spring Spanish 4
SP 323 - Business Spanish: Emerging Independent Abroad Fall, Spring Spanish 4
SP 324 - Business Spanish: Independent Abroad Fall, Spring Spanish 4
SP 347 - Spanish Conversation: Emerging Independent Abroad Fall, Spring Spanish 4
SP 351 - Spanish Language in Context: Independent Abroad I Fall, Spring Spanish 4
SP 351I - Spanish Language in Context: Independent Abroad I Intensive Fall, Spring Spanish 7
SP 410 - Spanish for Heritage Speakers: Emerging Competent Abroad Fall, Spring Spanish 4
SP 444 - Creative Writing Workshop: Short Stories in Spanish Fall, Spring Spanish 3
SP 471 - Spanish Through Theater Fall, Spring Spanish 4
Urban Studies
Course Name Term Language Credits
US/AH 230 - International Events in Barcelona: An Artistic Perspective Fall, Spring English 3

Partner Institution(s)

Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB)

UAB was established in the late 1960s and since then has become one of the most dynamic universities in Spain. You can take UAB courses from a wide offering at the Sant Pau and Eixample Campus in English and Spanish. These courses are specifically designed for international students and have similar schedules to IES Abroad courses. The campuses are located in the central area of the city of Barcelona.

Please note that registration for UAB courses take place before the application deadline. Students interested in enrolling in UAB courses are encouraged to apply early.

Courses are available at the UAB in the following discipline areas:

  • Finance
  • History
  • International Business
  • Management
  • Political Science

Universitat de Barcelona (UB)

The Universitat de Barcelona was founded in 1450 and has four campuses in different parts of the city. The university is particularly interested in fostering international relations, and for many years has been the leader among European universities in international student exchanges.

UB offers an Estudios Hispánicos program taught predominately in Spanish, designed for international students with intermediate and advanced Spanish levels. Courses are based on Spanish and Latin-American culture. English taught courses are available in the following discipline areas:

  • Economics
  • Geography
  • Hispanic Studies
  • History
  • Political Science

Universitat Pompeu Fabra (UPF)

UPF is a public university which was founded by the Catalonian government in 1990. Approximately 10,000 Spanish and international students study with the UPF each year. At the UPF you can study regular courses in Spanish and English with local students and international students, or Estudios Hispánicos courses in English or Spanish, with international students.

Universitat Pompeu Fabra: Regular Courses
Regular courses in Spanish are available in the following faculties:

  • Communication
  • Economics and Business
  • Geography and History
  • Law
  • Modern Languages
  • Philosophy
  • Political Sciences and Sociology

Universitat Pompeu Fabra: Estudios Hispánicos
Courses are available for international students in the following discipline areas:

  • Communication
  • Economics
  • History
  • Law
  • Marketing
  • Political Science

Universitat Ramon Llull (URL)

Universitat Ramon Llull is a private school formed by 10 federated institutions of great prestige, including AACSB accredited business school IQS, Blanquerna School of Communication, Sant Ignasi Tourism School and La Salle Business School. At URL courses are designed for Spanish students and form part of their undergraduate studies.

Universitat Ramon Llull: Regular Courses
Regular courses taught in Spanish are available at the following faculties. A limited range of regular courses are also available in English:

  • Business Management
  • Communication
  • Economics
  • Finance
  • International Relations
  • Marketing
  • Philosophy
  • Psychology

Universitat Ramon Llull: IQS Business School
IQS Business School is an AACSB accredited institution and courses are offered only during the fall semester. Courses are designed for local and international students in English and are offer in the following discipline areas:

  • Economics
  • International Business
  • Law
  • Management

Universitat Ramon Llull: Tourism School Sant Ignasi-Esade
These courses are offered for local university students and international students in English. Courses are offer in the following discipline areas:

  • Finance
  • International Business
  • Public Relations

Universitat Ramon Llull: LaSalle Business School
These courses are offered for local university students and international students in English. Courses are offer in the following discipline areas:

  • Economics
  • Finance
  • International Business
  • International Relations
  • Management
  • Public Relations

Universitat Ramon Llull: Blanquerna School of Communication and International Relations
The Blanquerna campus is located in the center of Barcelona, near the IES Abroad Barcelona Center. These courses are offered for local university students and international students in English and Spanish. Courses are available in the following discipline areas:

  • Communication
  • International Relations

Field Trips & Events

Although your adventure begins in Barcelona, our DiscoverIES take you to other great cities in and around Spain. DiscoverIES bring you closer to the Barcelonan and Spanish culture through a broad array of activities that merge together the academic insight provided by field trips and the guidance of our faculty. They provide contrast and context for what you are learning in Barcelona.

Trips are organized by language level and conducted in English or Spanish accordingly. One of these trips is subsidized by IES Abroad. Additional DiscoverIES are partially subsidized by IES Abroad. Here are a few possible destinations.

Al-Andalus
4 Days | Fall & Spring
The south of Spain is an area of warm people, flamenco, tapas and abundant history and art. Visit three of its most beautiful and iconic cities: Granada, Cordoba and Seville.

Costa Brava
3 Days | Fall & Spring
Visit Greek and Roman ruins, the medieval city of Girona, and the “dreamland” of Salvador Dalí between Barcelona and the French border.

Garrotxa
1 Day | Fall
Explore volcanic terrain and hike through the forest of this northeastern county of Catalonia.

Mallorca
3 Days | Fall
The island of Mallorca offers visitors exquisite beaches, stunning art and architecture, and views that will inspire.

Montserrat
1 Day | Spring
Spend the day hiking the mountain of Montserrat.

Tarragona
2 Days | Fall & Spring
Experience Tarragona, one of the best preserved ancient Roman sites in Spain. On the way there, stop at the Ebro Delta, where millions of birds stop along their yearly voyage from Northern Europe to Africa.

The Basque Country & Navarre
4 Days | Fall & Spring
Discover the unique gastronomy of the Basque Country, learn from artisans who elaborate local delicacies, and attempt to create (with your own hands) the meals that make up this rich culinary tradition.

Note: IES Abroad DiscoverIES destinations,activities and lengths of stay may vary according to term and availability.

Daily Life

Part of making you feel at home in Barcelona is doing our best to help you feel safe and cared for. Whether it is an orientation program that makes you feel prepared, housing that is well-located and comfortable, or our DiscoverIES that take you to places off the beaten path—we’re all about our student services.

Orientation

The program begins with an orientation that introduces you to the IES Abroad Barcelona staff, your fellow students, and the city of Barcelona. Topics such as academics, housing, transportation, and health and safety are covered during this time.

Additionally, CORE™, IES Abroad’s Comprehensive Orientation & Re-entry Experience, begins during orientation and continues throughout the semester with activities focusing on cultural adjustment, goal achievement, and preparing for the return home. Also, during the first week of the semester, intensive Spanish language courses meet daily in small groups to help you to develop your language skills.

You will also meet our Barcelona cultural companions or tutores culturales, who will join you on DiscoverIES and help you get to know the Spanish culture.

A study journey is included as part of orientation. Past destinations have included Tarragona, Valencia, and Girona

Get to Know Your New City

Have Fun in the Sun

Spend time strolling and swimming under the sun along Barcelona's four miles of sandy beaches.

Hike Mount Juic

A climb up this hill offers spectacular views of the city. From here, you can also explore several great museums and the beautiful buildings from the 1992 Olympic Games.

Check Out Some Live Music

From huge festivals to hole-in-the-wall venues, playing everything from electronica to punk, there’s more to Barcelona’s music scene than its iconic Rumba Catalana.

Appreciate the Art

Home to numerous works by Pablo Picasso, the surreal sculptures of Joan Miró, and the fantastic, dreamlike architecture of Gaudi, there’s plenty of art—indoors and out—to inspire you.

Eat, Drink, and Eat Some More!

Catalan cuisine consists of savory stews, fresh seafood, delicious jamón, spicy potatoes, olives, and so much more. Wash it down with a cold orxata (a refreshing drink made from the tiger nut plant).

Housing

We want to make sure that your greatest challenge is deciding which landmarks to see first or discovering the best café—not finding a place to live where you feel comfortable. We do our best to locate housing that is reflective of how the local students are living. Our goal is that when you leave Barcelona, it will feel like home.

Homestays – Normally, two or three IES Abroad students live in a home with local residents and students share a double room. You are provided two meals a day (breakfast and dinner) while the program is in session.

Residence Halls – You live with Spanish and/or other IES Abroad students. Rooms in residence halls are double and triple occupancy. Meal plans vary among the different halls. Placements are limited, and an additional fee applies for this housing option.

Apartments – You live with three or four other IES Abroad students in double rooms. A Barcelona Cultural Companion or tutor cultural may also live in the apartment to help you with cultural integration. Apartments have fully-equipped kitchens, and meals are not provided. Placements are very limited, and an additional fee applies for this housing option.

Extracurricular Activities & Cultural Events

DiscoverIES

DiscoverIES are a unique blend of course-related trips (for class) and cultural field trips. With this hybrid experience, you have the ability to understand the culture in the context of your coursework.

With 60+ DiscoverIES per semester, you have the exciting opportunity to familiarize yourself with Barcelona through cultural activities led by IES Abroad Barcelona professors. Visit the city’s many influential buildings, learn about its one-of-a-kind history, and become part of the Spanish and Catalan culture.

DiscoverIES are also a great way to meet and spend time with other students on your program, as well as IES Abroad Barcelona staff and professors. These optional activities are either free or highly subsidized.

Past examples of DiscoverIES include:

  • Discover the Quadrat d’Or, or Golden Square, in a guided tour in the Eixample District, an exceptional area that focuses on Barcelona’s Modernist style (Art Noveau) at the end of the 19th century and beginning of the 20th century
  • Enjoy a Flamenco workshop, where you’ll learn a few basic dance steps, the history behind the dance and attire, and taste traditional Andalucían fare
  • Hike Tibidabo, the tallest mountain in Serra de Collserola, tour the Modernist and Neogothic Sagrat Cor Temple, and visit the oldest amusement park in Spain
  • Visit an organic farm and learn about sustainability with an IES Abroad professor

Volunteer Abroad

When you volunteer in Barcelona, you have the chance to make a difference in the local community while meeting new people and gaining a new perspective on the world. If you are passionate about volunteering abroad, just let the on-site staff know at the beginning of your term.

Past volunteer opportunities in Barcelona include:

  • Visit a children’s hospital
  • Serve dinner for the homeless
  • Give English lessons to underprivileged young people
  • Organize food drives at local supermarkets
  • Provide lunch for the elderly without family

Program Cost

Fees coming soon.

Use our budget worksheet to calculate your costs

$4 Million in Financial Aid

We firmly believe that financial limitations should not prevent a qualified student from participating in an IES Abroad Program. This is why we commit more then $4 million each year to our financial aid programs.