This program may be of interest to any student who is majoring in health sciences, medicine, biology, veterinary science, nursing, or any other health-related field and/or who is planning to apply to medical school after graduation. In today's globalized world, more and more students seek to include international experience in their studies. This can be achieved by working alongside faculty and students from UPF's prestigious Health and Life Sciences School.


Key Areas

  • Anatomy and Embryology
  • Biochemistry
  • Cellular Biology
  • Comparative Healthcare Systems
  • Nutrition and Food SciencePhysiology
  • Pathology
  • Psychology
  • Public Health


(!) All the Health-related direct enrollment courses will take place at Ciutadella Campus Mar which is about a ten-minute walk from the Ciutadella Campus (where HESP and Spanish language courses take place). Please, be aware of this when configurating your class schedules.

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Program Requirements

  • Applicants should have a minimum GPA of 3.0 at their school of origin.
  • The program is suitable for both students with a strong command of Spanish and intermediate speakers.
    • Students with a strong command of Spanish may participate in observation activities, as long as their language and other skills enable efficient communication with others in the experiential-learning setting.
    • Students with any level of Spanish may participate in the experiential-learning activities in laboratories.
  • Applicants should come from a university or study-abroad provider with a study-abroad agreement with UPF.


Academic Structure

The progam requires a full semester course load (normally 4-5 courses, equivalent to 24-30 ECTS credits). The course load is built from the following components:

1. A minimum of 2-3 courses from a selection of regular courses at the UPF School of Health and Life Sciences. The selected courses belong to various degree programs offered at UPF in the fields of biology, biotechnology, bioinformatics, health, and medical science. These are direct enrollment courses taught in English or Spanish and the list of selected elective courses can be found below. 

2. An optional undergraduate research abroad project directed by UPF Faculty (6 ECTS).

3. Spanish Language courses.


Deadline for applications

Fall: May 30 | Winter and Spring: October 30


Academic offerings


1) Elective courses

Winter 2021 Winter 2021

20431 - Structural Biology

Language: English


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With this course the student acquire practical and theoretical knowledge about the structure of proteins and other biomacromolecules as well as the methods used for their characterization. The course includes: The introduction to the biophysics of molecular systems. The structural principles of biopolymers: proteins and DNA. The three-dimensional structure determination of biomolecules. The structure / function relationships of proteins. Molecular simulation of proteins and DNA.

​51755-Biostatistics and data analysis

Language: English


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Biostatistics and Data Analysis provides an introduction to selected important topics in biostatistical concepts and reasoning. This course represents an introduction to the field and provides a survey of data and data types.

Specific topics include tools for describing central tendency and variability in data; methods for performing inference on population means and statistical hypothesis testing; issues of power and sample size in study designs. The course will familiarize the students with the use of the R statistical package and give them the skills needed for effective data management, data manipulation, and data analysis at a basic level.

20337-Anatomía Humana

Language: Spanish & Catalan


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La asignatura Anatomía Humana es una materia obligatoria de segundo curso de los grados en Biología (Código 20337) y Medicina (Código 20402) que consta de 7 créditos ECTS y que se imparte durante el segundo trimestre. La docencia se realiza en castellano y catalán. 

Coordinación y profesorado

El profesor responsable de la asignatura es José A. Pereira Rodríguez. Colaboran en la docencia de seminarios y prácticas: Alex Merí Vived, Alejandro Bravo Salvá, Nuria Argudo Aguirre, Eduard Permanyer, Eulogio Pleguezuelos Cobo y Clara Pañella Vilamu. Las prácticas de Anatomía Radiológica son supervisadas por: Angel Gayete Cara, Juan Sánchez Parrilla, Marcos Busto y Jaume Capellades Font.

20420 - Inmunología

Language: Spanish


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Durante el proceso docente de la asignatura se pretende que los/las estudiantes puedan alcanzar las competencias exigidas
por las autoridades educativas, y previstas en los planes de estudio de las correspondientes titulaciones que, en resumen,
son las siguientes:
-Conocer la estructura y función del sistema inmunitario. Capacidad de describir los principales componentes
celulares y moleculares que participan en los diferentes procesos de la respuesta inmunitaria en los mamíferos, y
particularmente en la especie humana.
-Conocer los principios generales que rigen la interacción entre el sistema inmunitario con los patógenos
microbianos, trasplantes y tumores.
2 de 5
-Conocer los principios de la fisiopatología de los principales tipos de alteraciones del sistema inmunitario, así como
de las correspondientes aproximaciones diagnósticas y terapéuticas.
-Aprender los fundamentos de las diferentes aplicaciones analíticas de la reacción antígeno-anticuerpo y el uso de
las técnicas básicas del laboratorio de inmunología.

NEW! Algorithms for sequence analysis in Bioinformatics

Language: English



This course provides an introduction to pairwise comparison algorithms used in biology. It will start with an overview of the many usages of dynamic programming for pairwise comparisons, database searches, multiple comparisons. Starting from the Needleman and Wunsch algorithm, we will introduce Smith and Waterman, its local alignment variation and will describe space efficient implementations such as Myers and Millers. Given this understanding of pairwise comparison we will see how this approach can be generalized to database searches using the BLAST algorithm and its pairwise alignment heuristic. We will take the opportunity of the BLAST algorithm to introduce the notion of E-value and the implications of score distributions when searching databases. Database searches make it possible to gather large groups of homologous sequences and open the way towards multiple sequence alignments. We will briefly introduce the biological relevance of these models and will then introduce the wide range of algorithms available to assemble these models. Among their many applications, Multiple Sequence Alignments are especially useful for the identification of compensated mutations. We will use this opportunity to introduce the Nussinov RNA folding algorithm and its use when running a CYK analysis in the second part of the course. The last part of the course will be dedicated to genome scale string matching algorithms and their many applications for RNA quantification and Genome assembly.

NEW! Aspects of Physical and Organic Chemistry

Language: English


This course covers fundamental concepts in physics and organic chemistry, including chemical thermodynamics, acid-base chemistry and cheminformatics. Subjects include molecular structure and stereochemistry, reaction mechanisms and chemical equilibrium, as well as basic organic compounds.

NEW! Databases

Language: English


This course presents the notion of databases and its need in real problems of information management. The relational model (SQL) as well as their integration into information systems and programmatic use is covered in detail, including aspects of transaction banking, integrity and management. Other types of databases (data warehouses, NoSQL ...) are covered in less detail.

Spring 2021 Spring 2021

51759-Population genetics and molecular evolution 

Language: English


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This course covers the theoretical concepts and practical skills that are required to analyse and understand DNA and protein sequence evolution both at the population genetics (within species) and divergence (between species) levels. It includes central subjects in these areas, such as measuring molecular variation, the Hardy–Weinberg equilibrium, the factors promoting evolution, the notions of genetic linkage and gene mapping, the coalescent theory, the neutral theory of molecular evolution, the DNA and amino acid substitution models or the essential ideas of molecular phylogenetic tree thinking. The course also introduce most popular computer algorithms and software to simulate and analyse DNA and protein sequence evolution and provide some guidelines for
the correct interpretation of the results generated by these programs. 

Genetics and Genomics

Language: English


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This course covers the basic principles of genetics and genomics. The teaching project of this subject aims, among other goals, to:
-Introduce the student to the main principles of Genetics
-Understand the different models of genetic inheritance.
-Help the student to understand the principles of linkage and chromosome
-Teach the mechanisms of chromosome and genome variation.
-Provide students with information on gene interactions, inheritance of complex traits and association mapping.
-This introductory course will provide students with the basis to understand more specialized courses of bioinformatics curricula.

2) Undergraduate Research Abroad Projects (6 ECTS)

(Available during 2nd and 3rd terms)

Besides meeting the general Global Health Program admission requirements, students intersted in the Research Labs must be students of Biomedical related majors.The Research Projects can last for a period of 6 months (January-June/July) or 10 months (September/June).

    Check the research groups which are available to consider your proposal.



3) Optional Electives from the Barcelona Program for Interdisciplinary Studies (including Spanish Language Courses) 

(Available during 1st and 2nd terms)

Students may round out their course registration with Spanish language courses, which are offered for all levels, from beginner to proficiency, including courses for native speakers.