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Programs : Brochure

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  • Locations: Barcelona, Spain; Girona, Spain; Madrid, Spain; Tarragona, Spain; Valencia, Spain
  • Program Terms: Summer
  • Restrictions: PSU applicants only
  • Budget Sheets: Summer
  • Dates / Deadlines
Program Description:



  • 18 years of age or above
  • Good academic and disciplinary standing at Penn State
  • 3.0 cumulative GPA or better at the time of application
  • Junior standing or above at the start of the program
  • Landscape Architecture students must have successfully completed the prerequisite course LARCH 312 in order to participate.
  • Students from all majors are welcome on the program as course projects can be designed to fit academic interests and local activities.
  • Students and faculty must be vaccinated to participate on this program as required by the international partner*

Program Description 

Barcelona is one of the most exciting cities in southern Europe – filled with music, art, festivals and food. Plazas, parks, streets and markets hum with life as the people of Barcelona exercise their penchant for community in the streets. Public spaces, formed during two millennia of creative architecture and design, are at the very soul of this Mediterranean city. There is no better place to live and study the design of vibrant urban spaces for the twenty-first century than Barcelona, Spain.
The city of Barcelona is renowned as a global leader in design, architecture and urban planning. It is recognized as one of the world’s most successful cities where city planning and urban design provide high-quality opportunities to live and work. The spirit of innovation and humanism in design continues as the city grapples with twenty-first century challenges of sustainability, tourism, gentrification, immigration and conversion to a post-industrial economy. With a creative process of community participation and cutting-edge design, Barcelona strives to enhance existing neighborhoods with new public spaces and people-friendly streets, repurpose former industrial areas as incubators for art, science and innovation and create the conditions for a robust economy and vital cultural scenes. It is an ideal laboratory to study the design, planning and historic geography of a contemporary world-class urban center.

Barcelona, the capital of Catalunya Autonomous Region of Spain, is located on the northeast coast of the Iberian Peninsula, facing the Mediterranean Sea on a plain framed by the Collserola Mountains to the west, the Llobregat River to the south and the Besòs River to the north. It has Mediterranean climate with warm, dry summers. The Barri Gòtic (Gothic Quarter), the medieval center of the old city, maintains the urban patterns of the Middle Ages with archaeological remnants of the ancient Roman city of Barcino. The L’Eixample (or Expansion) district, planned and designed by Ildefonse Cerda in 1856, was the first science-based city planning effort of the nineteenth century, still admired for its beauty and efficiency. Barcelona is famous for its Catalan modernist architecture, especially the work of architect Antonio Gaudí and contemporaries. Recent urban design projects such as the high-tech 22@ District and Diagonal Mar maintain Barcelona’s urban planning and design leadership. The municipality continues to invest in traditional neighborhoods to strengthen social capital by enhancing public spaces, services and regional parks. The city’s heritage of socially progressive and sustainable urban design continues into the twenty-first century as neighborhoods, parks and public spaces are redesigned or newly created with extensive community participation and management in order to satisfy emerging social and environmental goals.
Program activities will include: visits to architectural heritage sites in Barcelona; field excursions in Barcelona; visits to private practice architectural offices and public city planning agencies in Barcelona; study tours of nearby cities Girona and Valencia (two days); group meals and other organized group activities.
Madrid Study Tour

Students will participate in a three-day study tour of Madrid, Spain to explore the capital city's unique cultural landscapes and architectural history. During the study tour students will experience Madrid on foot, bicycle, and public transit with the help of a professional guide contracted through the Barcelona Architecture Center. We will also interact with local day-guides and professionals at specific locations.

Barcelona Architecture Center     
 The Barcelona Architecture Center is an educational and research organization that was founded in 1999 and is currently chaired by Miguel Roldán. The Barcelona Architecture center will coordinate the faculty-led, Penn State Landscape Architecture Barcelona Summer Program on-site in Barcelona. The center offers custom designed programs in Barcelona to international architecture students and schools. The BAC works in collaboration with the ETSAB (Schoolof Architecture) at the UPC (Polytechnic University of Catalonia), the UPF (Pompeu Fabra University) and the COAC (Official Institute of Catalan Architects). The BAC was created with the aim of developing academic and research collaborations with other universities and higher education institutions across the globe. The BAC is continually building an international network between universities to develop architectural research projects in common from a variety of geographical areas, including the United States, Mexico, Australia and Japan. Over the years, the BAC has reached a number of over 1,500 students, from eight different countries and more than 20 home universities. 

*The international host partner, Barcelona Architecture Center, requires all participants to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, prior to their arrival. BAC will not honor any COVID-19 vaccination exemptions approved by Penn State or otherwise. Exemptions approved by Penn State offices hold no influence with foreign governments or international educational institutions, many of which have enacted strict vaccination protocols. Therefore, students who are not vaccinated, even those who have been approved for an exemption by Penn State, may face limitations or restrictions in their participation in education abroad programs, including cancellation of their admission, due to regulations by foreign governments or international educational institutions. Since reasonable accommodations cannot be identified without fundamentally altering the nature of the educational program or activity, including if significant health and/or safety concerns remain, Penn State reserves the right to rescind the offer of admission to study abroad, regardless of any academic unit’s approval. For more information, please visit our website with Education Abroad updates related to COVID-19 and vaccinations.



Summer: May 8 - June 17, 2023

Program Leaders

Program Leader Information

  • Lauren Sosa, Assistant Teaching Professor, Landscape Architecture
  • Miguel Roldan, Instructor, Landscape Architecture; Executive Director, Barcelona Architectural Center


Course Descriptions

All students will be enrolled in 3 sections of LARCH 499 for a total of 9 credits. 
  • Landscape Architecture students must have successfully completed the prerequisite course LARCH 312 in order to participate.
  • Students from all majors are welcome on the program as course projects can be designed to fit academic interests and local activities.
The program will focus upon the sustainable planning and design public urban spaces in Barcelona. It will immerse students in the local and European approach to urbanism and design. Students will study the history of the city and its dynamic and socially progressive approach to urban planning and design. The program will be led by faculty from Penn State’s Department of Landscape Architecture and from the Barcelona Architecture Center. It is targeted at Landscape Architecture majors and any Penn State Junior or Senior interested in urbanism, planning, and design. Local landscape architects, architects, planners, urban geographers and community leaders will participate in areas of their expertise. The design studio - a flexible, open-ended, problem-solving method of inquiry - will be the backbone of the program for all students. Seminars, lectures and field studies will engage students with the rich urban and design history of Barcelona and the municipal region. Studies will focus upon the exciting contemporary urbanism of the city. 

While on the program undergraduate students will be enrolled in three courses:

LARCH 499.1 – Seminar: History of Urban Planning and Contemporary Design in Barcelona (3 credits)
May substitute for LARCH 424 or LARCH 510 for Landscape Architecture students.
LARCH 499.2 – Advanced Design Studio: Planning and design of public urban spaces and systems in Barcelona and the municipal region (5 credits)
Prerequisite for Landscape Architecture students: LARCH 315 or 817.
May substitute for LARCH 414 for Landscape Architecture students.
LARCH 499.3 - Orientation to the City of Barcelona (1 credit)

*Students should note that the course numbers or sections may change. 

Course Selection

Students are required to take the prescribed courses listed above as participants on the program. The Education Abroad Office will register you for these courses. To determine how these courses will fit into your degree requirements, you will need to work with your academic adviser. Suggested tips:
  • Research courses offered on your program
  • Meet with your academic adviser to discuss potential courses abroad and your degree requirements.

Academic Policies

  • You must enroll in 9 credits
  • You cannot take any courses abroad on a Pass/Fail basis
  • If you are studying abroad in your final semester at Penn State, please note that Penn State may not receive your grades in time for graduation

Housing and Meals


Dormitory-style Housing

Students will reside in dormitory style housing, in double rooms with basic cooking facilities and other services on-site, in the center of Barcelona near the program classrooms. 


Meals are not provided. Students will be able to choose their own meals from the city’s diverse culinary offerings.

Costs and Funding

Program Costs

Summer Costs

For more information on program costs, please be sure to review the budget sheet. These budget sheets include information on costs that are billable to the bursar bill, as well as estimated additional costs. Costs vary by program, so it is important to review this information carefully.

Please note that tuition rates may vary depending on major and class standing.


The Education Abroad Office awards a number of grants and scholarships to students who participate in an education abroad program through Global Programs. The application for the scholarships awarded through the Education Abroad Office is included with your program application. Eligibility is based on academic merit and/or financial need. You must have a current FAFSA on file to be awarded. There are additional scholarship opportunities through our partner universities, Penn State Academic Departments, and other sources. To view a full list of scholarships, eligibility requirements, and deadlines visit Funding Study Abroad.

Student Aid

Penn State students who plan to study on a Penn State approved program can use most forms of financial aid towards the cost of the program. Exceptions include work-study awards and some athletic scholarships. If you have specific questions regarding your aid awards, contact the Penn State Office of Student Aid.

Withdrawal & Refund Policy

Withdrawal and refund details are dependent on the timing and reason for your withdrawal from a Penn State Education Abroad Program. For specific details and steps on how to withdraw, read the Education Abroad Policies.

After Commitment

Once a student has committed to a Penn State Education Abroad program, they are financially responsible for any fees incurred on their behalf. Therefore, if a student plans to withdraw from a program it is their responsibility to immediately notify the Education Abroad office, in writing; email is preferred.

Regardless of the timing or reason for the withdrawal, the student will be responsible for paying the Education Abroad Administrative Fees. For faculty-led freestanding programs, there is a specific withdrawal penalty schedule. 

Education Abroad makes every attempt at keeping the program and administrative costs to a minimum. However, when you commit to participating in a program, Education Abroad begins to make financial commitments on your behalf. In case of withdrawal, the following fees will be charged to your Bursar account

  • Upon Commitment - 90 Days Prior to Departure: 25% Program Fee + EA Admin Fee 

  • 30 - 89 Days Prior to Departure: 50% Program Fee + EA Admin Fee 

  • 29 Days - Departure Date: 100% Program Fee + EA Admin Fee

Following the start of the summer semester, any adjustment of tuition charges will be made according to the Tuition Adjustment Schedule as determined by the Office of the Bursar. More information can be found on the University Senate Policy on Withdrawal and Leave of Absence.

After the Start of the Program

If a student withdraws after the start of a program, any adjustment of Penn State tuition charges will be made according to the Tuition Adjustment Schedule as determined by the Office of the Bursar. Students may be responsible for up to 100% of program costs. In most cases, partial credit cannot be awarded for leaving a program before its successful completion.

For additional information on withdrawal policies, separate and apart from financial consequences, please consult the University Senate Policy on Withdrawal and Leave of Absence.

Life Abroad

General Information

Studying abroad can be one of the most exciting and transformative experiences of your college career. It is an opportunity to develop independence, build cross-cultural competencies, grow as a person, and enhance your academic program. Entering a new culture can be challenging for everyone. You may ask yourself: is this the right country for me? What are their cultural norms? How will my identity be perceived there? What can I do to prepare for this experience? What will my daily life be like? Below are resources to help you answer these questions.

Accessibility Considerations

Penn State Education Abroad works closely with campus resources and our partner institutions around the world to ensure that students of all abilities reach their goal of studying abroad. While we cannot guarantee the accessibility of all program sites and locations, specific accommodations may be arranged on an individual basis. If you have accommodation needs or further questions please consult with the Student Disability Resources office and your Education Abroad Adviser. Additional resources are available through the Global Programs Website. Disability information will not be used during the admissions process, but rather is meant to provide students with resources to help in planning a successful experience abroad.

Gender and LGBTQA Considerations 

There are dramatic and subtle differences in how gender, identity, sexual expression, and sexual health are perceived in different countries. Before going abroad, it is important that you research the specific country or countries you will be visiting and have a full understanding of their cultural norms. Below are some resources to help you with that research and provide guidance for your life abroad.

Race, Ethnicity, and Faith Considerations 

When choosing a study abroad location and preparing for your travels, you will want to be mindful of how your experience will be different than what you are used to in the United States. Your racial, ethnic, and spiritual identities may be interacted with and labeled by others differently than what you expect. Here are resources to help you prepare for these differences.

Non-U.S. Citizens

It is possible for non-U.S. Citizens to study abroad through Penn State. To do so successfully, you must plan early because this process may involve obtaining visas and other governmental procedures. Check with your DISSA Adviser prior to committing to a study abroad program and speak with your Education Abroad Adviser for specific information on the host country. If you plan on traveling to other countries during your study abroad experience, you will need to research and make plans to adhere to immigration policies for all of the countries that you plan to travel to and through. You are responsible for applying for visas for all applicable countries on your own. Advisers in the Education Abroad office cannot apply for your visa for you. Additional information may be available through your country's embassy and the consulate for your study abroad country.

Next Steps

Steps to Study Abroad

The planning stages outlined on the Global Programs website will help you have the best study abroad experience possible. We recommend that you begin this process at least one year prior to the semester you plan on studying abroad. Visit the Steps to Study Abroad section of the Global Penn State website.

How to Apply

Click the “Apply Now” button on this page to get started!

Application procedures can vary by program. Students should consult the application instructions available within each application. For more information, see the Application Process section of the Global Penn State website.


You must apply to this program by the Penn State deadline, February 1. For a list of deadlines visit the Application Process page of the Global Programs website.

Contact Education Abroad

If you have general questions about Education Abroad opportunities at Penn State, please email

Peer Advisers

Education Abroad Peer Advisers are Penn State study abroad returnees who advise students on education abroad opportunities at Penn State. Each Peer Adviser can explain program options, give an overview of the study abroad process, as well as provide information about their experience abroad. Peer Advisers have walk-in hours in Boucke Building during the fall and spring semester when classes are in session. For more information, visit the Education Abroad Peer Adviser website.

Education Abroad Advisers

Education Abroad Advisers can provide information about courses, support services, application processes, housing details, program costs, cultural expectations, pre-departure requirements, and much more. Education Abroad Advisers have two types of meetings - scheduled appointments and walk-ins. For more information about how to meet with an Education Abroad Adviser, please visit the Global Penn State website.

Social Media

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For information about upcoming events, scholarship opportunities, deadlines, and much more visit the Global Programs Events Calendar and follow us on social media!

Dates / Deadlines:
Dates / Deadlines:
Term Year App Deadline Decision Date Start Date End Date
Summer 2022 02/01/2022
02/11/2022 05/09/2022 06/18/2022
NOTE: Start date marks arrival in host country. End date marks departure from program housing.
Summer 2023 02/01/2023 02/14/2023 05/08/2023 06/17/2023
NOTE: Start date marks arrival in host country. End date marks departure from program housing.

Indicates that deadline has passed