Study Abroad | Barcelona Academics

IAU's academic calendar closely mirrors the traditional fall and spring semester calendar, as well as the summer term calendar, that many U.S. institutions follow and its courses are comparable in design and demand of those offered by the students' home institutions. Therefore, students will be quite familiar with course structure, grading and testing. IAU's courses are rigorous and unique, especially because they are able to incorporate region-specific content and experiences.

Course options at IAU Barcelona are broad and intriguing and focus on the arts, business, communications, environmental science, film, history, political science, psychology, Spanish language and culture, and wine studies. As with IAU courses at each of its campuses, they are infused with site-specific information and content, making them unique and relevant to the location in which they are being taught. Our experience has shown that students are far more engaged in their coursework when it relates to the region in which they are living and studying.

Students who participate in IAU's Barcelona Program can choose from a variety of Spanish language and culture courses that range from introductory level Spanish to upper division Spanish literature and cinema courses.

To complete the course curriculum, IAU hosts a plethora of guest speakers and lecturers from a wide breadth of disciplines including journalists, musicians, and political activists. Panels and conferences that are hosted throughout the semester allow students to hear a full spectrum of opinions about both Spanish and Catalan politics and lifestyles. Students are strongly encouraged to participate in an internship for course credit during their semester or summer in Barcelona. 


Programs of Study

Spanish Honors Program

The Spanish Honors Program is designed for Spanish majors or other students with demonstrated advanced-level Spanish, interested in a comprehensive language and cultural immersion program. As part of the program, students will take a required four-unit Spanish Honors seminar course. As part of the Spanish Honors Program, students will:

  • Be placed in a homestay where only Spanish is spoken
  • Be spoken to solely in Spanish by IAU faculty and staff
  • Enroll in all courses taught in Spanish
  • Engage in a Spanish Language Partner Program with local Spanish students at the University of Barcelona
  • Opt to be placed into a for-credit internship based on their academic background and career aspirations
  • Upon full completion of the program, students will be awarded a Certificate in Spanish Honors Abroad

Business & International Relations Program

Through the Business & International Relations Program, students will have the unique opportunity to learn about international business strategies and procedures with a specific focus on the global market. Disciplines taught include, but are not limited to, economics, finance, international business, management and marketing. Each course includes field studies to hubs of business and politics around Spain and Europe. Students participating in the Business & International Relations Program will have access to unpaid, for-credit semester-long internships at local French enterprises.

About IAU Academics


IAU  faculty is comprised of a core group of highly accomplished and recognized professors, most of whom have the highest degree available in their field. IAU also maintains specific standards for its faculty, including only using native speakers to teach Spanish language courses. IAU's high quality faculty is complimented by visiting professors who are among the top individuals in their respective fields. Most recently, visiting professors have come to IAU's campus in the south of France from Harvard University, Fairfield University and University of New Haven. 


Classroom practices at IAU incorporate active engagement, moreso than the average Spanish university. Students assume independent responsibility for their learning, which may be a change from their home campuses. IAU believes this commitment to one's academic endeavors yields personal growth and renewed passion for their area of study. 

While every course is unique, students can expect testing methods similar to those they have already experienced: research papers, exploratory essays and both multiple-choice and written exams. Classroom attendance is required, along with completion of homework assignments and successful performance on midterm and final exams.


Studying abroad is a transformative experience. Through study and immersion in local Spanish and Catalan culture, IAU College students acquire a new sense of self-awareness and an expanded perspective of our global world. This enhanced outlook particularly addresses political, cultural and social beliefs. Students are encouraged to recognize and dispel preconceived notions so that they may have an open mind to better broaden their understanding of other countries and their people, language, culture and traditions. The personal growth that occurs through studying abroad can last a lifetime. Skills such as independence, self-motivation, willingness to embrace change and challenges, adaptability and self-assurance are assets that will benefit students far beyond their time abroad. Expertise such as this is also attractive to prospective employers. In the end, however, students are the determining factor in what they gain from their international experience. The possibilities for learning, growth, and once-in-a-lifetime opportunities are endless. 

Accreditation and Oversight

Since enrolling its first class in 1957, IAU has served as a center for education abroad for U.S. undergraduates. It is a not-for-profit institution of higher education and as an independent, non-degree granting institution, issues its own transcripts. IAU has worked with over 700 U.S. public and private colleges and universities. Most of these institutions are familiar with the high standards of IAU programs and accept direct transfer of academic credit. A number of these institutions have signed direct affiliation agreements which allows for the direct transfer of academic credit. IAU remains outside the scope of regional U.S. accreditation since it does not offer degrees. However, in rare cases when the home institution will not directly accept IAU credit due to lack of accreditation, students may enroll at IAU through one of its program sponsors such as Fairfield University, SUNY-Fredonia, Northern Illinois University, Truman State University or Miami Dade College. These institutions can provide the final transcript to IAU alumni. 

IAU's governing body is its sixteen-member Board of Trustees, eight of whom are IAU alumni. The Trustees oversee key IAU components such as its finances and properties. IAU also has a Council of Academic Advisors (CAA), made up of international education professionals who provide oversight of IAU's curriculum. CAA members review contact hours, syllabi, workload management and the overall academic student experience. 


IAU operates as a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt, nonprofit organization. It is chartered as an institution of higher education by the Regents of the State of New York and is recognized by the Rectorat of the Université d' Aix-Marseille. IAU’s EIN is 52-6056979. As a foreign host site for the College Consortium of International Studies, IAU is subject to regular program review. The most recent site visit identified no areas needing improvement.