Legal Studies Abroad Program

The Legal Studies Abroad Program is a pre-law program for undergraduate students offered jointly by the UPF Education Abroad Program and UPF Law School.

The program is an honors program intended to provide eligible outstanding students with introductory education and training in the field of law. It focuses on international and European law, comparative private law, and certain specific internationally important areas of law, while also giving students the chance to earn credits for studying abroad.

Unlike North American pre-law programs, which are chiefly instrumental, the Legal Studies Abroad Program offers an introductory view of substantive topics from a markedly international perspective. Students are also given the chance to enroll in optional courses and regular undergraduate law courses, under academic supervision.

The program is moreover designed to expose participants to the international context of a European university and the quality and academic rigor of a top-tier law school in Spain and the only one to be chosen by the Oxford University Faculty of Law as a Spanish partner.

Who is it for?

This semester-long program may be of interest to any student planning to attend law school in the U.S. or Canada and seeking introductory training on the international legal order, the relevant features of major Western legal cultures and their institutions, and basic legal skills and methods of reasoning. The program may also be of interest to students seeking to pursue careers in international relations or similar fields.

The Legal Studies Abroad Program is not a preparatory course for the LSAT. Rather, it provides the basis for a comparative study of European and North American legal systems.

A minor or concentration in legal studies, international relations, or political science would be helpful for students interested in enrolling in UPF law degree courses.

> Business Organizations
> Comparative Law
> Criminal Justice Systems
> 20th-Century European History
> European Union Law
> Human Rights
> Private Law: Basic Institutions
> Public International Law
> Terrorism
Winter and Winter-Spring: October 30
  • This is an honors program; applicants should have a minimum GPA of 3.3 at their school of origin and have completed at least one semester of college-level Spanish.
  • The program is suitable for both students with a strong command of Spanish and those with only one semester of Spanish, as courses are offered in both English and Spanish.
  • Please note that to take courses taught in Spanish, students are strongly advised to have completed at least four semesters of college-level Spanish.
  • Applicants should come from a university or study-abroad provider with a study-abroad agreement with UPF.

The program requires a full semester course load (normally 4-5 courses, equivalent to 24-30 ECTS credits). Three of the courses are to be chosen from among the Legal Studies Abroad Program course options, including one compulsory Legal Studies Abroad Program core course.

The program structure is to take three courses among the Legal Studies Abroad Program course options, including:

  • one mandatory Core Course
  • two more courses to be chosen from either the reminder Legal Studies program courses, the HESP program law-related courses or the UPF Law School courses.

Students may round their course registration with:

  • Spanish language courses which are offered for all levels (from beginner to proficiency, including courses for native speakers)
  • Liberal arts and humanities courses or business courses taken as electives from other UPF Education Abroad Programs
MORE INFORMATION: Calendar | Apply | Fees | Policies


[Core courses]
::Introduction to Comparative Private Law (6 ECTS Credits)

The course will introduce students to the world's main legal systems, their historical origins, and their most important features. The reading assignments and classroom discussions will focus on different methods of legal thinking that have led to distinct, yet equivalent legal institutions for solving problems. The course will analyze how different legal traditions have solved problems related to core issues in private law. Students will be offered an overview of contracts, property, torts and family relations, followed by a comparison
of the different legal approaches to them. The course will also look at current trends toward the harmonization of different legal systems, a critical aim in today's globalized business world, as well as the evolution and interaction of various legal traditions.


:: Law, Justice, and Legitimacy (6 ECTS Credits)

This course offers students an introduction to the fundamentals of public law and the normative analysis of law. Students will analyze key questions such as what law is, what its nature is, what it is for or what function it serves, and many other basic legal ideas. The concept of constitutionalism will be one of the main overall focuses. The course will also introduce students to the general normative analysis of the content and limits of the law from a moral point of view. Additionally, the course offers a brief introduction to contemporary theories of justice and an overview of contemporary political philosophy in relation to the law. It also addresses the question of how current globalization processes are affecting domestic legal orders and transforming the traditional scenario in which both justice and legitimacy make their respective claims.


[Elective course] TBA


[Other Elective Courses]

:: Hispanic and European Studies Program
   Law-related courses:
   - La protección internacional de los Derechos Humanos

:: UPF Law School courses
   - 22768-Filosofía del Derecho (Philosophy of Law)
   - 23220-International and European Tax Law  
   - 20608-Historia del Derecho (History of Law)
   - 21066-Teoría y Práctica de la Negociación (Theory and Practice of Mediation)
   - 20612-Derechos y Libertades Fundamentales (Fundamental Rights and Freedom)
   - 21056-Instituciones Jurídicas Comparadas (Comparative Legal Institutions)
   - 20611-Fundamentals of Private and Commercial Law
   - 21053-Derecho Internacional Económico (International Economic Law)
   - 21020-Crime Policy

:: Spanish Language Courses