2019-2020 Semester Program: ELISAVA – Barcelona School of Design and Engineering


Spring Semester II 2019 – Barcelona, Spain $13,295 Arrive Jan. 4, 2019 – Depart April 26, 2019 BSS2
Fall Semester II 2019 – Barcelona, Spain $13,295 Arrive Sept. 4, 2019 – Depart Dec. 20, 2019 BSF2
Spring Semester II 2020 – Barcelona, Spain $13,295 Arrive Early Jan. 2020 – Depart Late April 2020 (TBA) BSS2


Language Eligibility: This program is open to all Spanish levels and to students with or without previous Design study/background.

For additional eligibility requirements such as minimum GPA, click here.

Possible U.S. Credits: 12-15 semester credits per semester. 18 semester credits may be taken for an additional fee. Check with ASA for pricing. (2 ECTS = 1 U.S. semester credit. ECTS = European Credit Transfer System.)

Final transcript is issued by ELISAVA (Escola Universitària de Barcelona | Disseny i Enginyeria).  Classes are taken with other American and foreign students.

ELISAVA – Barcelona School of Design and Engineering: Semester Course Offerings


Students can choose from 2 study tracks – one for students without previous Design study (Track A), and one for students who have studied Design before (Track B). All classes are taught in English.  You may take Spanish language, in addition to your Design classes, but this is optional. Spanish Language classes are available at Beginner, Elementary, and Low Intermediate levels only. Courses listed below are offered in both Fall and Spring semesters.

Course offerings are subject to change.

All students MUST have 2 additional (alternate) classes approved by their home institution, in addition to their top choices.  This is in case of changes in course availability or schedule conflicts. That way, if a class is full or cancelled, or if 2 of the classes you want to take meet at the same time, you’ll already have back-up classes that you know your school will accept. ELISAVA will not process your registration unless you list at least 2 alternate courses.

Track A – Students without Previous Design Study

Students enrolled in Track A will take the 3 mandatory core courses indicated below, plus 1-2 additional courses of their choosing. Total possible credits, Track A: 12-15 U.S. credits. If you wish to take 18 U.S. credits, you may do so for an additional fee. Check with ASA for pricing.

Track B – Students with Previous Design Study

Students enrolled in Track B will take any 4-5 classes of their choosing from the list below. Students taking Track B will need to submit a portfolio with their application. Total possible credits, Track B: 12-15 U.S. credits. If you wish to take 18 U.S. credits, you may do so for an additional fee. Check with ASA for pricing.

Course Offerings & Descriptions

The Global and Historic Context of Art (6 ECTS / 3 U.S. credits) – MANDATORY FOR STUDENTS ENROLLED IN TRACK A
The objective of this course is to relate the different branches of human knowledge: architecture, sociology, history, anthropology and art with the aim of developing a cognitive map of the world we live in. The establishment of theoretic basis and social knowledge that allow the permeation of design in a global and historic context. The purpose is to give the student analytical and discursive tools to develop their own project from a of critical and innovative point of view. This course will analyse the basic theories of art, architecture and design culture since the industrial revolution up to the present day. The first phase will study the emergence of industrial design as a specific discipline in Western European culture. This will be followed by an investigation of modern design language in daily life, the value of brands and consumer habits in a new world of mass communication, new technologies and sustainability. Using the extensive resources of Barcelona with visits to the cities museums such as MNAC, MACBA, Joan Miró Foundation and the Picasso Museum, emblematic buildings by Gaudí, Mies Van Der Rohe, Richard Meier and Jean Nouvel as well as design stores like Vitra, BD and Vinçon and restaurants and leisure spaces around the city.

Advanced Principles in Design: Integrating Communication, Humanities, and Scientific Techniques (6 ECTS / 3 U.S. credits) – MANDATORY FOR STUDENTS ENROLLED IN TRACK A
This course is centred on the assimilation of procedures that allow understanding of a design language that examines the relationship between necessity and function of objects and the interaction between objects and their environment. The student is also introduced to the semantics of form, colour and materials. Fundamentals of Design has a global focus, with a theoretic and practical profile, synthesising and integrating the different areas of communication, humanities and scientific techniques. The multidisciplinary personality implies a parallel understanding of graphic design and practical interior design, sharing content that is clearly defined yet flexible in their final applications.

Digital Representation Principles (6 ECTS / 3 U.S. credits) – MANDATORY FOR STUDENTS ENROLLED IN TRACK A
The capacity of communicating through images and expressing the relevant aspects of a project, from the idea to the final proposal, is a fundamental aspect of design. This course is aimed at providing students with representation Concepts and Techniques that are broadly applied in design fields. Based on exercises, talks and workshop sessions, the course embraces the ability of students to define and show their ideas by learning about the options and features that Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Indesign and Adobe Illustrator offer as a powerful suite specifically conceived for design professionals. The course approaches also the basic concepts of video editing and production, as well as fundamentals of presentation techniques, in order to provide students with a complete range of options that they will put into practice in many visual communications required by the Study Abroad programme as well as by their future design projects.

Although the Digital Representation Principles course is mandatory for students without experience in design, this course is also recommended for those design students who want to deepen their knowledge of digital tools and learn more about the Adobe Suite.   

Graphic Design and Visual Communication (6 ECTS / 3 U.S. credits)
This course focuses on graphic communication with special attention to texts and the  written word and their integration and relationship with images, colours and textures. Projects ranging from artistic and experimental calligraphy, typography, poster composition, editorials and digital interaction. The course centres on the vision of graphic design as an essential element of communication crossing social, cultural and functional boundaries. This concept of design, not only as a formal exercise, will incorporate functional challenges and technological links, taken in this graphical context. The complete manual and technological resources of ELISAVA are available to students from printing materials and movable type to computers and tablets.

Furniture and Product Design (6 ECTS / 3 U.S. credits)
This course focuses on the areas of product and furniture design. Covering the whole process from conceptualisation, formalisation, development and pre-production of a designed object from the human, domestic or work environment. The course will study the social, ergonomic and aesthetic environment of the user, the ways of producing the final work and the impact of this on the environment as a whole. Students will approach the semantics of objects, their functional and communicative capacity along with the integration of materials and technology. Visits to factories, showrooms and design boutiques as well as using the school’s workshops form an important part of the development of the designed products.

Retail Design / Visual Merchandising (6 ECTS / 3 U.S. credits)
Retail is naturally the showplace for new ideas, new concepts and new products. As such, the store environment serves as the selling stage for the latest merchandise offerings of the day, and a tool of communication used to create a dialogue with the targeted customer. Through effective visual merchandising, the retailer communicates both the attributes of the brand, and the attributes of the products offered. The primary objective of this course is to present students the importance of visual merchandising as an integral component of a successful retail strategy. Classes will include an in-depth analysis of the retail store environment. The principles, philosophies and technologies of visual merchandising will be studied through exploration of the market place and hands-on classroom experimentation.

Design for Packaging (6 ECTS / 3 U.S. credits)
Modern-day packaging needs call for professionals with the power to communicate—both formally and graphically—the attributes of a product. With the aim of training professionals whose design is nurtured in a sense of social and environmental responsibility, the course shows the right tools for conceptualising and developing comprehensive packaging projects. The goal is to understand the factors affecting production and selection of a package for a specific product, its possibilities and materials.

Design for Food, Health, and Well Being (6 ECTS / 3 U.S. credits)
This course is focused on the interaction of design, as a creative process, with food and health, as fundamental part of human being. The relation between design food and health is not only based on the tangible aspects (space, forms, product, packaging…), but in a wide range of approaches, from culture to territory, from well-being to aesthetics. We must understand the whole relation of man with environment to create innovative ways, systems or products to enhance this interaction. Designing in a creative way, connecting mind and hand, the senses and the culture, in a constant communication with other designers, will allow us to find out new ways of understanding our world and improving it.

Interior Spaces (6 ECTS / 3 U.S. credits)
The Interior Spaces course introduces design students to the complexities of the development of the interior spaces, as well as putting them in touch with the local architecture and design culture. The course structure is designed to provide a general framework for the development of a range of projects, from small scale briefs to a larger scale proposal for a residential interior. The course provides the student with knowledge and skills in all areas of space planning, theory and concept, model-making and freehand drawing as well as communication. Priority is given to learning strategies that foster critical thinking, problem solving and decision-making capabilities. As a result, students will increase their creative skills and get a substantial vision in all areas related to interior space design. With an active participation of the students, several practical exercises integrated within the course promote a conceptual and experimental approach to design through a hands-on learning method. It usually begins with a presentation to provide the theoretical foundation that aims to deepen the comprehension of a specific subject. During class, students will develop a quick draft resolution, PowerPoint presentations, and /or a physical model.

Spanish Language, Level A1.1 (6 ECTS / 3 U.S. credits)
For students who have never taken Spanish before – Beginner I level.

Spanish Language, Level A1.2 (6 ECTS / 3 U.S. credits)
Beginner II level.  Students will be required to take a placement test, which will determine which level you are placed in.

Spanish Language, Level A2.1 (6 ECTS / 3 U.S. credits)
Elementary I level.  Students will be required to take a placement test, which will determine which level you are placed in.

Spanish Language, Level A2.2 (6 ECTS / 3 U.S. credits)
Elementary II level.  Students will be required to take a placement test, which will determine which level you are placed in.

Spanish Language, Level B1.1 (6 ECTS / 3 U.S. credits)
Low Intermediate level.  Students will be required to take a placement test, which will determine which level you are placed in.