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Consortium For Advanced Studies in Barcelona (CASB)
Barcelona, Spain (Outgoing Program)
Program Terms: Academic Year,
Homepage: Click to visit
Dates &
Click here to view
Restrictions: Columbia applicants only
Fact Sheet:
Language of Instruction:
Language Requirement:
5 semester of language, or equivalent (Advanced)
Program Type: Columbia Administered Program
Program Advisor:
Laura Paine Schiff:
Eligibility - Home School: Columbia College, Columbia General Studies Program Features: Homestays, Intensive Language Program, Traveling Seminar, Volunteer Opportunitites
Discipline: Arts and Architecture, Humanities, Social Sciences
Program Description:


The Consortium for Advanced Studies in Barcelona (CASB) offers a full-immersion program designed to accommodate students in any major with advanced Spanish or Catalan skills. Students are immersed in the local university environment and take their courses at one or more of the Consortium’s four distinguished partner universities: the Universitat de Barcelona (UB), the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB), the Universitat Pompeu Fabra (UPF) and the Universitat Polytechnica de Catalunya (UPC). 

The combined course offerings of these four universities offer students a vast array of opportunities in the humanities, social sciences, physical and natural sciences, engineering, and the arts.  All students also attend a Language and Culture Pro-Seminar Course during the first three weeks of the program which provided basic Catalan instruction, Spanish review, an overview of Spanish history and culture as well as a variety of excursions and activities.  Comprehensive student services support the academic and social experience.

Students can participate in the fall, spring or full academic year.

The consortium includes Brown, Chicago, Columbia, Cornell, Harvard, Northwestern, Princeton and Stanford.


Barcelona is a beautiful and cosmopolitan city on the coast of Spain. As the heart of Catalonia, it is a bilingual city in which students will not only be able to hone their Spanish (Castillian) language skills, but also begin to gain proficiency in Catalan.  With a population of over 5 million people and an impressive array of museums, architecture (including the famous Gaudi), art and entertainment, Barcelona is one of the most important cultural centers of Spain but of Europe as a whole.
  • Must be a currently enrolled undergraduate CC, SEAS or GS student and in good academic standing.
  • Must have completed the equivalent of at least five semesters of college-level Spanish, more is preferred. At Columbia this means that students must have completed Spanish courses at the Advanced Language through Content level or above by the time they plan on going to Barcelona.
  • It is not required that students take a semester of Catalan, but highly encouraged.
  • Minimum 3.0 average language GPA
  • Minimum 3.0 cumulative GPA


All students should consult the OGP eligibility page to ensure that they meet all specific academic requirements for each school (CC, GS, SEAS) to study abroad.

Academic Program

The typical course load each semester consists of three university courses plus two courses offered by the Consortium Center. Please note, the semester carries a total credit load of  approximately 18-20 Columbia credits.

All students will take the a mandatory credit-bearing Cultural Pro-Seminar offered at the beginning of the semester.  This 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. The Center 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. Besides the two CASB center courses, students will take three courses at the local Spanish universities in Castellano and/or Catalan.

Note for spring semester students: Students may select UB, UAB, and UPC courses. UPF courses are not available to spring-term-only students.

Host Institutions

Universitat de Barcelona (UB) was founded in 1455. With over 75 undergraduates degrees offered and 70,000 students, UB is the largest of the ten universities in Catalonia and the second largest in Spain.

Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB) was established in 1968.  UAB is a top notch research university able to accomodate student interest in the humanities and arts, social sciences, health sciences, and experimental and technical sciences.

Universitat Pompeu Fabra (UPF) is a relatively new university have just been established twenty five years ago (in 1990).  UPF is significantly smaller than either UB or UAB and focuses on social, natural and technical sciences.  Students with a strong interest in taking courses in the sciences should considering attending the program either in the fall only or full-year. Students in the spring-only program can not take courses at UPF.

Universitat Politechnica de Catalunya (UPC) focuses on engineering and applied sciences giving students interested in all fields of engineering, health sciences and the more technical sides of the arts such as architecture and audio/visual engineering a unique opportunity to study in Spain.


Students take courses at both the CASB center as well as in the local university system. All students MUST take the Language and Culture Pro Seminar Course.

CASB center courses:

1.) SPAN 1991/2: Language and Culture Pro Seminar Course, 4 Columbia points.

This is a mandatory course delivered to CASB students. The first 45 of 60 contact hours of the proseminar take place during the first three weeks of the program prior to the start of university courses.

The other 15 contact hours include educational activities and excursions that take place throughout the semester. The course will be geared toward preparing advanced Spanish and /or Catalan language students to function well in the academic and social context of Barcelona.

Content: The orientation will be conducted in Castellano and will provide an introduction to Catalan history and culture, grounding it in Spanish history and culture, with excursions throughout the city and region to highlight the course content. This will be a single course with three basic elements:
  • Language—Catalan: The language element of the pro seminar will train students how to listen to and read Catalan for basic comprehension as well as providing them with basic communication skills. Special arrangements will be made for students who arrive with advanced Catalan language skills.
  • Language—Spanish: The Spanish component will review elements of the language that will be helpful for writing academic papers and listening to lectures.
  • History/Culture: The pro seminar will provide an introduction to the city through its history and architecture with a greater emphasis on contemporary history, culture and politics so that students will be prepared to understand basic social and political elements that will be a part of their everyday lives. The largely contemporary nature of the history and culture course will raise questions of bilingualism, multiculturalism and the varieties of nationalism and globalization within the context of Barcelona as a Catalonian, Spanish, Mediterranean, and European city. The history/culture component of the proseminar includes a seminar with local students to share and discuss a relevant local or international topic.
  • Excursion and Activities: Proseminar content is complemented by different mandatory activities throughout the semester. Proseminar semester activities include two field visits, two weekend excursions and two conferences (dates will be available on the CASB website).*
*Note: Academic year students will receive credit for the fall pro-seminar and, in general, will not be permitted to attend the activities or excursions organized for the spring pro seminar. Academic year students will be invited to attend certain functions in place during the winter/spring pro seminar, as a way of welcoming new students to the program and helping them adapt to life in Barcelona.

2.) In addition to the Language and Culture Pro Seminar, students take 1 additional course through the CASB Center.  This course is usually taught by a visiting faculty member from a CASB partner school or a scholar from a local university. The course usually focuses on a topic relating to Barcelona, and changes every semester.  Courses offered by the CASB center in the past include:
  • SPAN 3593/4: Experiencias desiguales: vidas de mujeres en la historia de España
  • SPAN 3593/4: História del Cine español
  • SPAN 3593/4: España y sus Revoluciones
3.) Supervised study in the Spanish university system
Students must take at least 3 courses from one or more of the Spanish host universities. Students have taken courses ranging from Spanish linguistics, Spanish literature, European Politics, Catalan language courses, etc. Course are available for a wide variety of disciplines.

For more details about which subjects and courses are available during which terms, see the CASB site.

Grade and Point Conversions

Students on the program recieve Columbia credit upon completion. Typicall point conversions are below:

6 European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS) points = 4 Columbia points
5 ECTS points = 3 Columbia points
4 ECTS points = 2 Columbia points

Columbia students on the program will also recieve grades for the CASB program, which will be listed on their transcript and factored into their GPA. The conversion scale Columbia uses is below.
10 A+
9.0-9.99 A
8.5-8.99 A-
8.0-8.49 A-
7.5-7.99 B+
7.0-7.49 B+
6.5-6.99 B
6.0-6.49 B-
5.50-5.99 C+
5.0-5.49 C
4-4.99 D
0-3.99 F
Academic Calendar

Spring 2016* (Tentative)

January 15th Program start date and student arrival
January 17th - Feb 6th Pro-seminar starts
June 30th  Program end date
July 3rd Last possible departure date (UAB students only)

 * Accepted students will recieve a CASB Handbook upon acceptance with detailed calendar information.

Spring 2016:

The Spring 2016 dates have not been finalized but the program is expected to run from mid-January to the end of June.

Trips and Activities

Every semester thematic academic excursions are arranged. Students also have the option of participating in volunteer work, tutorials, educational practicums, language exchange programs, and other cultural and educational excursions and activities throughout their time in Barcelona.

Student Experiences

Talk to Peer Advisor Ada Lin CC'15 about her experience in Barcelona!

"While in Barcelona, I was able to dive headfirst into both of my fields: Political Science and Linguistics. Being able to experience how my studies overlapped and played out in the real world, while living and making friends in one of the most beautiful places on Earth, was probably the most the most valuable part of my Columbia education." – Evan Shaver, Columbia ‘14


Resident Director:
Dr. Juan Jose (Juanjo) Romero Marín is charged with overall responsibility for administering the CASB Center, including day-to-day management, student advising, liaison with the UB, UAB and UPF and supervision of local faculty and staff. Dr. Romero is a native of Barcelona and holds a Ph.D. in Contemporary History from the University of Barcelona. He brings a wealth of on-site program administrative and teaching experience to the CASB program and has collaborated extensively with all three Barcelona partner universities.

Student/Academic Support Services Coordinator:
Elizabeth (Libby) Turner has lived and worked in Barcelona for eleven years, with a significant portion of this spent directly involved with the management of study abroad programs. She has a thorough familiarity with the socio-political and cultural context of Barcelona and greater Catalonia, and wide-ranging experience in both the academic field and student support services. The Student/Academic Support Services Coordinator works with and under the supervision of the CASB Resident Director to assure the smooth operation of the program and the center on a day-to-day basis.


Students have an individual room with a private bath at the Residencia Melon-District Marina that caters to a mixed Spanish and international student population. The single rooms open up to a common living room and kitchens that CASB students share with 10 flatmates (American, Spanish or other international students), creating an apartment like atmosphere.  The facility has basic amenities such as internet, while also providing a swimming pool and access to fitness facilities. 

Students must sign a housing contract and will be billed directly by Columbia's Office of Global Programs.

Tuition and Fees


Columbia students pay regular Columbia tuition. Financial aid, with the exception of federal work study, may be applied to study overseas.

Program Fee

For the Columbia students on the CASB Program, students will pay a Program Fee to the Office of Global Programs which will be cover their housing costs while abroad.

  • Program Fee Fall 2015: This cost covers 4 monthes of housing and is $4,398.
  • Program fee for Spring 2016: This cost covers 6 monthes of housing and is $6,105.

Estimated Additional Costs

The below estimated costs are paid directly by the student. The program does not organize group flights or meal plan options. A estimate of costs is below:
  • Airfare  $1300
  • Food  $1170 (fall)- $1560(spring)    
  • Daily Living Expenses $1500(fall)- $2100(spring)   
  • Local Transportation $460(fall)- $625(spring)
  • Books $55 (fall) - $75 (spring)
  • Visa Estimate $160

Financial Aid and Other Funding

Financial Aid

As noted above, financial aid, with the exception of federal work study, may be applied to study overseas. Please meet with your financial aid adviser as soon as you can to discuss your personal financial situation.


Other Resources


The application will be due early September for the spring semester and early March for the fall and full-year program.

Application deadline for fall 2015: March 6th, 2015.
Application deadline for spring 2016: EARLY! It's September 4th, 2015.


The online application includes the following:

  • Application
  • Personal Statement
  • Transcript
  • Academic Recommendation
  • Language Recommendation
  • Academic clearance from home school (CC, GS, SEAS)

Contact Information

Office of Global Programs
606 Kent Hall
Columbia University
1140 Amsterdam, Mail Code 3948
New York, NY 10027-6902
Fax: 212-854-5164

In the event of an emergency after office hours, please contact Columbia University Emergency at 212-854-5555 or Columbia University Security at 212-854-2796.

Columbia Dates & Deadlines:
Term Year App Deadline/Columbia Clearance Deadline Decision Date & Deadline Note Start Date End Date
Academic Year 2017-2018 03/15/2017 04/01/2017 TBA TBA
Fall 2017 03/15/2017 04/15/2017 TBA TBA
Spring 2018 10/15/2017 10/15/2017 TBA TBA