Spend your summer exploring Barcelona’s art and architecture through an exciting course that uses the city as its classroom.
Study, in person, the work of renowned Spanish artists, architects, and designers; examine the role of urban planning, architecture, and public art in shaping the image of modern Barcelona; and lay a foundation in design through an architectural design studio.
Study abroad in Barcelona and you will:
- Study architecture and art history in the dynamic metropolis of Barcelona
- Participate in educational activities designed for architecture and art history students including visits to some of the city’s iconic buildings and to architecture studios
- Explore the Catalonia region and enjoy an overnight excursion to a site of artistic and architectural interest
- Explore the city with CIEE Guardian Angels, local students who help you get oriented and make the city feel like home
The CIEE Difference
The CIEE Difference
In Barcelona, take an approach to architecture which is based in both theory and practice. Use the work of Gaudí, Picasso, Dalí, or Mariscal – artists and designers inextricably linked to the city – to inform and inspire your own work. Use newly minted skills developed in the Foundations of Architecture Studio to complete a final, Barcelona-based design project.
The academic study abroad program is complemented by a series of field trips and visits designed specifically for students of architecture and visual arts. In addition, an overnight trip to a site of artistic and architectural interest is arranged. You’ll also take part in a cultural program which includes gastronomy-based activities such as tapas night or a cooking class, and excursions in and around Barcelona and Catalonia.
Studying abroad in Barcelona provides a number of activities and programs to help your integration into the local community including Guardian Angels—local university students who help introduce you to the city’s culture—and activities including films, neighborhood tours, picnics, and sporting events that bring together American and Spanish university students.
Dates, Deadlines & Fees
Dates, Deadlines & Fees
We want to make sure you get the most out of your experience when you study abroad with CIEE, which is why we offer the most inclusions in our fees.
- Tuition and housing
- Pre-departure advising and optional on-site airport meet and greet
- Full-time program leadership and support
- Field trips and cultural activities
- CIEE iNext travel card which provides insurance and other travel benefits
Please note, program dates are subject to change. Please contact your CIEE Study Abroad Advisor before purchasing airfare. Click the
button to view more detailed information about dates and fees as well as estimated additional costs. Please talk with your University Study Abroad Advisor about additional fees that may be charged by your home institution when participating in a program abroad.
Program Date Notes
In addition to the items outlined below, the CIEE program fee includes an optional on-site airport meet and greet, full-time leadership and support, orientation, cultural activities, local excursions, field trips, pre-departure advising, and a CIEE iNext travel card which provides insurance and other travel benefits.
Participation Confirmation *
Educational Costs **
This breakdown has been prepared from the program budget for the purpose of calculating eligibility for financial aid. During the course of program operations, actual figures may vary. It should not, therefore, be used as a basis for calculation of refunds. CIEE reserves the right to adjust fees at any time.
Students required to study on CIEE programs through a School of Record will be charged a $340 administrative fee in addition to the Program Fees listed.
** direct cost of education charged uniformly to all students
*** includes two meals per day for homestay students; no meals are included for students staying in the Residencia option
Estimated Additional Costs
Meals not included in program fee *
International Airfare **
The estimated additional costs indicated are intended to assist students and parents in budgeting for those additional living and discretionary expenses not included in the program fee. Actual expenses will vary according to student interests and spending habits.
* amount for meals for Residencia students; students living in homestays are responsible for lunches, estimated at $450
** round-trip based on U.S. East Coast departure
- Overall GPA 2.75
- Overall GPA: 2.75 (This program is not suitable for students who have already taken an architecture studio course)
Recommended credit is 7 semester/10.5 quarter hours.
Students participating in this program will be required to take the following CIEE courses:
- Art, Architecture and Design in Contemporary Barcelona
- Foundations Architecture Studio
About the City
About The City
Barcelona is the capital of Catalonia, a region in northeastern Spain with its own distinctive history, culture, and language. Set between mountains and the Mediterranean sea, the city's population is 1.6 million, with a total of 4.5 million in the greater metropolitan area. Walking though the city, one can observe 2,000 years of architectural history—Roman remains, the network of narrow streets in the Old Town, the 19th Century Eixample district with its original examples of Modernista architecture—contrasting with the ultramodern showpieces that continue to redesign its skyline.
Meet The Staff
Meet The Staff
The CIEE Resident Director, Magda Bernaus, supervises and administers the study abroad program. The Resident Director also assists students with academic, administrative, and day-to-day matters. Magda holds an M.A. in Art History from the University of Barcelona, where she is pursuing her Ph.D. in Architectural History. She has published many articles and contributed to books on medieval art and architecture, andhas collaborated as a researcher with the Museu Nacional de Catalunya and the Museu d’Història de la Ciutat de Barcelona. She is currently a member of two research teams based at the Universitat de Barcelona: Ligna.cat, dedicated to the study of the Mediterranean coffered ceilings, and Magna Ars, with a focus on the art and architecture of the 15th Century in the Crown of Arago n. She has extensive experience teaching art and architectural history to Spanish and American university-level students.
Few cities in the world offer modern art, architecture, and design lovers as engaging a combination of assets as Barcelona. Like an artist’s muse—“the great enchantress,” as art critic R. Hughes calls it—Barcelona has provided inspiration to many, from Catalan-born architect Antoni Gaudí, to Andalusian painter Pablo Picasso or Valencian designer Javier Mariscal. Their work, like that of so many others, is inextricably linked to Barcelona.
Barcelona’s welcoming and, as a consequence, cosmopolitan character doesn’t end there. In the last 20 years, the city has experienced a radical change in many aspects, and some of the most renowned international artists and architects—Roy Lichtenstein, Norman Foster, Frank Gehry, and Jean Nouvel—have played a leading role in the reshaping of the city’s image. They have all left an unmistakable trace in the city. I am sure this is exactly the kind of lasting imprint Barcelona will leave on you.
— Magdalena Bernaus, Resident Director
Where You'll Study
Where You'll Study
The CIEE Study Center in Barcelona, Spain, is located in two adjoining historic buildings on Passatge Permanyer, near Passeig de Gràcia and Plaza Catalunya, Barcelona’s main square. This historic passatgeway provides a quiet haven in the city center and houses CIEE classrooms, a computer lab, and student lounges. All courses are held at the Study Center.
Housing & Meals
Housing & Meals
Study abroad students can choose to live in either Spanish homestays (there is an option to live in a homestay along with another CIEE student) or in a student residencia (residence hall) with other Spanish and international students. These are located in urban settings throughout the city. Students living in a homestay will have breakfast and dinner provided at home, while lunch is at the students’ expense. Kitchen space is allotted to students should they wish to make lunch to bring to campus. Many students choose to eat at one of the many local restaurants or cafeterias. Students in homestays will have their laundry done for them once a week. Meals and laundry are not included in the student residencia option, but students share fully equipped kitchens where they can prepare their own meals, and laundry facilities are available. All homestays and residencias are located in the city of Barcelona and within 30 minutes, by public transportation, of the CIEE Study Center.
As space in the residencias is limited, students who request to live there but cannot be assigned a place are accommodated through a homestay placement. In the event that there are more requests to live in a residencia than the total available spaces, students with more advanced Spanish take priority over those with less Spanish. Proficiency level is based on students academic background in Spanish, as reflected on the transcript. Students who are not assigned the housing option of their choice are notified by the resident staff prior to arriving in Barcelona.
A three-day orientation session conducted at the beginning of the program introduces you to the country, culture, and the academic program, as well as provides practical information on living in Spain and Barcelona in particular. Themes such as health and safety, banking, cultural adaptation, and an introduction to Catalonia are covered. Orientation also includes structured cultural activities, guided tours, and time with your Guardian Angel, a local student guide. Ongoing support is provided by center staff on an individual and group basis throughout the program.
You are encouraged to bring a wireless-enabled laptop. You'll have wireless Internet access at your homestay or student residencia along with CIEE study center. In addition, you'll be able to use the computer room at the CIEE Study Center.
Cultural Activities and Field Trips
The academic program is complemented with a series of field trips and visits designed specifically for students of architecture and visual arts. In addition, an overnight trip to a site of artistic and architectural interest is arranged. Finally, our cultural activities program is arranged to include gastronomy-based activities such as a tapas night or a cooking class, and excursions in and around Barcelona and Catalonia.
Guardian Angels are local university students who help study abroad students to settle into their life in Spain through small group activities like, cooking class, and tours of the city, and participate in field trips and other events. Guardian Angels are there to help you make local friends, introduce you to the city’s culture, and generally help you adapt to life in Barcelona. The Guardian Angels Program is a unique feature of the CIEE Study Center in Barcelona.
Activities with local students
Other activities are designed to bring American and Spanish university students together and, if possible, enhance your language learning. These activities may include films, neighborhood tours, picnics, hikes, soccer games, etc.
Castilian Spanish and Catalan are both official languages of Barcelona and its region. Catalan is regularly used in all aspects of life, but not imposed on non-Catalan speakers. Taxi drivers, shopkeepers, service representatives, professors, and homestay families all speak clear Castilian whenever a Spanish speaker is present. While it is not necessary to speak Catalan to survive in Barcelona, learning a few words can be an enjoyable experience and open doors. All classes on this program are taught in English.
The summer Architecture study abroad program includes two required courses. Art, Architecture, and Design in Contemporary Barcelona uses the city and its contents as a classroom. This content will accompany the work done in the Foundations Architecture Studio by providing students with the cultural/historical background they will need for developing a Barcelona-based project. Both components of the program will therefore complement each other.
Nature of Classes
Participants take classes with other CIEE study abroad participants.
Although Spanish language is not an academic component of this study abroad program, students with some previous knowledge of the language will be given opportunities to improve proficiency in Spanish during their stay. Co-curricular activities with a focus on Spanish language will be arranged. As students gain proficiency in Spanish, resident staff encourage them to use their language skills in everyday settings. The more students participate, the greater their development of Spanish language proficiency and understanding of Spanish society.
Students are graded on the basis of class participation, exams, papers, oral presentations, and studio projects. Grades are given on a 10-point scale and converted to the U.S. grading scale.
Students must check with their professors to find out exam and project presentation dates. Under no circumstances will CIEE alter deadlines or exam dates for students who have made conflicting travel plans.
Language of Instruction
CIEE courses are taught by experienced and qualified professors who are members of institutions of higher education and/or research.
Note: This course listing is for informational purposes only and does not constitute a contract between CIEE and any applicant, student, institution, or other party. The courses, as described, may be subject to change as a result of ongoing curricular revisions, assignment of lecturers and teaching staff, and program development. Courses may be cancelled due to insufficient enrollment.
CIEE Study Center Syllabi
To view the most recent syllabi for courses taught by CIEE at our Study Centers, visit our syllabi site.
Architecture, Art and Design in Contemporary Barcelona
The city of Barcelona is known as a city of art, architecture, and design. This reputation is partly due to the presence of a large amount of modernista architecture by A. Gaudí, Ll. Domènech i Montaner, and others in the city. The city is also inextricably linked to painters like Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dalí, and Joan Miró. More recently, architects, artists, and designers, both local and international, have played a leading role in an urban regeneration process. This class will provide a comprehensive introduction to the work of these and other artists, architects, and designers, and their projects. It will also examine the role of disciplines such as urban planning, architecture, and public art in shaping the image of modern and contemporary Barcelona. Contact hours: 45. Recommended credit: 3 credit/4.5 quarter hours
Foundations Architecture Studio
This course is designed for students without previous design experience who are interested in expanding their knowledge and experience of architecture as a practice of design and critical thinking. This studio provides a comprehensive introduction to the field of architectural design, including the fundamentals of analysis, representation, and formal principles. Tutorial and lectures introduce students to graphic and model making skills, as well as site survey and mapping. Students gain experience with the basic tools of the designer, methodologies, and the craft of design. This studio addresses such architectural concepts and determinants as the human body, scale light, and circulation as well as site, program, and materials. Students begin with the survey, representation, and analysis of an existing work of architecture in Barcelona. The final project is for the design of a small structure on an urban site of Barcelona with singular characteristics. Contact hours: 60. Recommended credit: 4 semester/6 quarter hours.