IBEI-UPF International Relations Program

The Instute Barcelona for International Studies (IBEI) and the UPF Education Abroad Program have partnered to offer an International Relations Abroad program for undergraduate students. Adressed to students majoring in International Relations, Political Science, Legal Studies, Humanities, Economics or Journalism, this program aims to provide high quality teaching for students interested in increasing the understanding of today's world's challenges in the spheres of global politics, international relations and international security.
Being an European leader in graduate studies and advanced research within the framework of international studies, IBEI counts on excellent, well prepared international faculty to stimulate student's critical vision of globalization.

- European Union Polítics
- International Relations Theory
- International Relations of the Mediterranan
- International Political Economy
- International Security studies
- Governance and Globalization
- Development and Conflict Resolution
- Latin American Politics
DEADLINE FOR APPLICATIONS Fall: May 30 | Winter and Spring: October 30


  • Applicants should have a 3.0 GPA minimum at their schools of origin and have completed at least one semester of college level Spanish
  • The program may suit students with a good understanding of Spanish, as well as those with only one semester of Spanish language, since all courses are instructed in English
  • Applicants should come from a university or study abroad provider that has a study abroad partnership with UPF
MORE INFORMATION: Calendar | Apply | Fees | Policies



The IBEI-UPF International Relations program has an Academic Coordinator who will be in charge of advising students on-site. The program requires a full semester course load (normally 4-5 courses, equivalent to 24-30 ECTS credits). Students can combine courses from this program with Spanish Language courses (all levels, from beginners to Heritage Speakers) or Culture courses at the Hispanic and European Studies Program.


:: 51672 United Nations: International Peace and Security  (6 ECTS Credits)  - Fall Program

Ignasi Torrent, Jordi Quero (UPF)

The aim of this course is threefold: first, to introduce students to the United Nations (aims, institutions, history) and its critical role in contemporary international society; second, to focus on the analysis of mechanisms in place at the UN architecture to achieve one of its main goals: maintaining international peace and security; and third, to provide a systematic toolkit which helps students out in critically analyzing the performance of the UN Peace Operation missions, by identifying strengths and weaknesses of different historical operations in the field. 

The course is structured in two blocks. The first one introduces the United Nations, its goals, its main bodies and its decision-making process as a starting point. It then focuses on the UN architecture as a decisive international actor regarding international peace and security by analyzing: the UN institutional framework that deals with these issues (the UN Security Council, the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, the Department of Political Affairs, etc.); relevant aspects of the UN Charter in relation to this topic (Chapters VI and VII); and the historical evolution of how the UN has coped with peace and security issues. The second block explores one of the main tools the United Nations applies to maintain peace and security: the UN Peace Operations. This is done by focusing on theoretical debates that have shaped the missions over the time, by examining their evolution in nature and scope and by grasping historical examples (Sierra Leone, Haiti, Burundi, Timor-Leste, Afghanistan, etc...).

Check the syllabus here

:: 51673 Literatura y política en América Latina  (6 ECTS Credits)  - Fall Program

Jacint Jordana, Tania Pleitez i Dúnia Gras (UPF-IBEI)

La creación literaria y la política se encuentran estrechamente interrelacionadas. Sea como fuente de inspiración, como ensayo de interpretación, o simplemente como contexto inevitable, con mucha frecuencia los autores latinoamericanos se enfrentan a su propia realidad política haciendo uso de sus armas narrativas.  Este curso tiene como objetivo introducir al estudiante en las complejidades de la América Latina contemporánea a través de un estudio en profundidad de cinco novelas recientes de escritores latinoamericanos (Roberto Bolaño, Evelio Rosero, Yuri Herrera, Horacio Castellanos Moya y Zoe Valdés) y del contexto político en el que transcurre cada una de ellas.

Cada obra será examinada y discutida desde un enfoque de crítica literaria, considerando tanto sus influencias literarias desde una perspectiva comparada, como los rasgos específicos de su estructura narrativa. En paralelo, se analizarán, desde la perspectiva de las ciencias sociales, los aspectos políticos tratados en cada novela, con el propósito de ampliar la capacidad de interpretación de los estudiantes de la situación política de la región y sus problemas estructurales, y potenciar su reflexión teórica sobre la relación entre realidad política y ficción literaria.

Check the syllabus here


:: Politics, Society, and International Relations of the Mediterranean and the Middle East (6 ECTS Credits)  - Not offered

Eduard Soler (CIDOB-IBEI), Lurdes Vidal (IEMED), Jordi Quero (UPF)

The course has two main objectives. First, it aims at introducing students to the sociopolitical reality of the Mediterranean and the Middle East. It does so by systematically and critically examining the contemporary history, politics, society, religion and international relations of the region. Secondly, the course will provide the students with specific analytical tools -mainly from Political Science and International Relations disciplines- which will aid them in properly analyzing sociopolitical realities beyond the ones covered by the course.     

The course is divided in two sections. The first one introduces the students to domestic sociopolitical realities of the region. This section presents the geography of the Mediterranean and the Middle East region; Islamic and contemporary history; political regimes in place in the region; Political Islam; and cultural trends in the 21st Century. The second section explores the international relations of the Mediterranean and the Middle East by focusing on what International Relations Theory has said about the region, on the regional order and subregional orders (in the Maghreb and the Gulf), on contemporary conflicts in the area (the Arab-Israeli conflict, the Gulf Wars, the war in Syria...), on geopolitics of energy and, finally, on the impact and role of foreign actors over the politics of the region (namely, the United States and the European Union).

Check the syllabus here

:: España en el mundo: política exterior y diplomacia pública (6 ECTS Credits)  - Winter Program (Independent Study)

Laia Mestres (IBEI)

¿Es realmente España una potencia media con presencia global, tal y como defienden los diplomáticos y políticos españoles? O, por el contrario, ¿La crisis económica y financiera, que tanto ha afectado a los españoles, ha sido también una causa de deterioro de la imagen de España en el exterior? El objetivo de este curso es profundizar en el papel de España en el mundo, desde la perspectiva de las Relaciones Internacionales, mediante los instrumentos de análisis de las políticas exteriores. La política exterior de cualquier país, y España no es una excepción, se ha adaptado a los nuevos retos que el mundo plantea (globalización y regionalismo, pero también nuevas amenazas y conflictos). El papel de España en el mundo se puede analizar como un juego a tres niveles. En el nivel doméstico, ya no es el Ministerio de Asuntos Exteriores el único actor de la política exterior. ¿Qué papel juegan las regiones españolas, las empresas o las ONGs en la configuración de España como actor global? En el nivel regional, España es miembro de la UE desde hace casi treinta años.  ¿Cómo está la UE marcando la agenda exterior de España? Y, finalmente, en el nivel global, la actualidad nos hará reflexionar sobre Naciones Unidas. ¿Qué prioridades tiene España como miembro no permanente del Consejo de Seguridad durante el período 2015-16?

Check the syllabus here

:: International Politics of Humanitarian Action (6 ECTS Credits)  - Winter Program

Miriam Bradley (IBEI)

In 2013, the US government spent US4.7 billion on overseas humanitarian assistance. This is part of a wider trend of increasing spending on humanitarian aid since the end of the Cold War. Does this massive expansion of the humanitarian sector suggest the world is becoming more compassionate and civilized? How do the political interests of donor governments drive humanitarian priorities? Does aid do more harm than good? How does humanitarian aid differ from human rights or development work? Should humanitarian action be political? How does law protect in war? This course will grapple with these, and other, important questions regarding the ethics, law, politics and practice of humanitarianism. The course will serve as a challenging introduction to the main debates within the study and practice of humanitarianism, and will provide students with a range of conceptual tools for understanding the international politics of humanitarian action, as well as empirical knowledge of key events and actors. We will examine the work of UN agencies and international NGOs in response to armed conflict, famine, and natural disasters. We will discuss how politics and principles interact to shape the priorities, practice and outcomes of humanitarian response in countries like Haiti, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Syria.

Check the syllabus here

:: The Geopolitics of Eurasia: from the end of the Soviet Union to the War in Ukraine (6 ECTS Credits)  - Not offered

Nicolas de Pedro(CIDOB-IBEI) 

Eurasia is emerging as a new, powerful and conflict-prone reality in global geopolitics. The evolving context of the Eurasian space since the collapse of the Soviet Union until now will comprise the core of this course. During the first lectures, the different geopolitical conceptions and perceptions about the Euro-Asian landmass will be explored critically. In the following sessions the domestic affairs and foreign policies of all post-Soviet countries will be assessed. Russia will be the main actor taken into account, but the rest of the former Soviet states will be considered as well (from the Baltic republics to the Central Asian states). The role of the main regional and extra-regional stakeholders including China, the USA, the European Union, India, Iran, Japan, Turkey and others will be analyzed as well. Finally, the conflict in Ukraine will be explored as a critical example of a hotspot where rivalries and tense interaction mainly among Russia and the European Union is taking place and apparently shaping a new status quo in the Eurasian space.

Check the syllabus here

:: International Business and Globalization (6 ECTS Credits)  - Winter Program

Francisco J. Granados(IBEI)

The course starts with an overview of economic globalization from a political, sociological and historical perspective, focusing on the aspects most relevant to international business.  It outlines main globalization debates, such as the role of states and international institutions, economic development, and inequalities across and within countries.  The second part of the course considers a set of international management topics examined in reference to the global context where firms operate: the political environment of international business, internationalization strategies, international strategic alliances, global marketing, global human resource management, global R&D management, and corporate social responsibility.  Students learn to identify the challenges and opportunities that firms face operating internationally and the role of international business as a globalization driver. Many course readings are instructional case-studies on international management. Students write an international business case that covers the main course topics.

Check the syllabus here

:: Empires, Power and Hegemony in the International System (6 ECTS Credits)  - Not offered

Daniel Nicholls (IBEI)

The aim of the course is to examine and analyse power and hierarchy in the international system both historically and within the contemporary system in order to be more fully able to understand and analyse international dynamics and processes. The course takes an analytical and conceptual aproach to the key themes and then applies this to real cases in order to examine the sources of power and hierarchy and to look at the features of orders which determine their legitimacy, durability and susceptibility to change. The themes of the course include: approaches to power; concepts of hierarchy; European empires; imperial order in East Asia; hierarchcical control over Latin America; World War II and global power shift; the Cold War bloc system and ideological competition; the third world and decolonisation; financial institutions and US economic hegemony; the end of the Cold War and unipolarity; counterhegemony in the twenty-first century; US decline, the rise of China and future prospects for world order.  Course methodology is based around lectures and a series of participative seminars for which students must prepare short papers. In addition, students must deliver a presentation on the empire of their choice. Assessment is based on seminar papers and participation and student presentations.

Check the syllabus here

:: Latin American Politics and Society: The Problem of Inequality (6 ECTS Credits)  - Not offered

*Professor to be confirmed

This course introduces students to the political economy of development in Latin America. It does so by focusing on a major puzzle that has been of central interest to policy makers, activists, and academics alike. Why is Latin America one of the regions with the highest level of socioeconomic inequality in the world? And why is it that inequality persists, even though there is widespread agreement that inequality constitutes a major obstacle to development and human wellbeing? The contrast between rich and poor is extreme. Latin America is home to some of the richest people in the world and many countries boast affluent and consumption-happy middle classes, yet the same countries remain characterized by extreme poverty and social exclusion. Socioeconomic inequality has severe implications: The course is particularly concerned with the nexus between inequality and democracy, social peace and violence, and spatial segregation. It also critically examines recent responses to inequality, ranging from social transfer programs and safety nets to political mobilization to the constitutional recognition of identities and affirmative action.

Check the syllabus here