2018-2019 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 Early Sept. – Depart Mid. Dec. (TBA) BSF2


Language Eligibility: This program is open to all Spanish levels and to students with or without a background in Design.

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

Possible U.S. Credits: 12-18 semester credits per semester. (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 a Design background, and one for students with a Design background.  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 a Design Background

Students enrolled in Track A will take the 3 mandatory core courses indicated below, plus 1-3 electives of their choosing. One of your electives can be Spanish Language.  Total possible credits, Track A: 12-18 semester credits.

Track B – Students with a Design Background

Students enrolled in Track B will take any 4-5 classes of their choosing.  One of your electives can be Spanish Language.  Total possible credits, Track B: 12-18.

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 architecture, sociology, history, anthropology and art with the aim of developing a cognitive map of the world we live in. The purpose is to give the student analytical and discursive tools to develop their own project from a critical and innovative point of view. This course will analyze 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. We will utilize the extensive resources of Barcelona with visits to museums such as MNAC, MACBA, Joan Miró Foundation and the Picasso Museum, emblematic buildings by Gaudi, 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 centered 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, color and materials. 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.  This course also approaches 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 use in their other ELISAVA classes and in 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.   

Typography, Graphic, and Visual Design (6 ECTS / 3 U.S. credits)
This course focuses on graphic communication with special attention to the written word and their integration and relationship with images, colors 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. 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 product and furniture design. Covering the whole process from conceptualization, formalization, development and pre-production. 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.

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 and a tool of communication with the targeted customer. Through effective visual merchandising, the retailer communicates both the attributes of the brand and of the products. The primary objective of this program 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 marketplace 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, this class gives tools for conceptualizing 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 a fundamental part human beings.  The relationship between design, food, and health is not only based on the tangible aspects (space, forms, product, packaging, etc.) 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 culture, in a constant communication with other designers, will allow us to find 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 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 program 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.

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.