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Programs : Brochure

This page is the brochure for your selected program. You can view the provided information for this program on this page and click on the available buttons for additional options.
Fact Sheet:
Education Abroad Adviser:
Jamie Weaver
Minimum GPA:
Class Standing:
2 - Sophomore
Language of Instruction:
English, Spanish
Language Requirement:
0 semesters
Internship Available:
Fields of Study:
Accounting, Aerospace Engineering, Architecture, Art History, Biochemistry, Biology, Biomedical Engineering, Business, Chemistry, Communications, Computer Science, Economics, Electrical Engineering, Energy Engineering, Engineering, Film Studies, Finance, Global Studies, History, Industrial Engineering, Information Sciences and Technology, Information Systems, Journalism, Labor and Employment Relations, Literature, Management, Mathematics, Mechanical Engineering, Media Studies, Physics, Political Science, Recreation, Park, and Tourism Management, Religious Studies, Sociology, Spanish, Telecommunications
Program Description:



  • 18 years of age or above
  • Good academic and disciplinary standing at Penn State
  • 3.0 cumulative GPA or better at the time of application
  • Sophomore standing or above at the start of the program 

Program Description

This program is designed for students in any college, as it offers a variety of general education courses, and is a primarily English-taught program in the major capital city of Madrid. It is particularly well suited to business and communications students, with a customized core course in each discipline. In addition, students have the opportunity to take courses taught in English or Spanish at a multi-disciplined, globally minded university — Universidad Carlos III de Madrid.

Madrid will also be your classroom. Whether visiting one of Madrid’s many art galleries or museums, learning about Spanish culture by taking in a film by one of Spain’s up-and-coming filmmakers, or simply strolling around the city and enjoying the warm climate in one of the city’s many parks, you will be captivated by Madrid’s vibrancy.


Spring: mid January - mid May


The IES Abroad Madrid Center is located in the heart of the Universidad Complutense’s main campus, inside the Colegio Mayor Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe. There are two museums — the Museo de América and the Museo del Traje - within walking distance of the Center.

Features include:
  • High-speed wireless internet and printer access
  • A student lounge and garden
  • A small gym
  • A library, classrooms, and offices
It won’t be hard to fall in love with Madrid. Located in the heart of Spain, this capital city is especially unique because it has an urban pace and is well-known for its rich artistic, political, and business culture.

Education Abroad in Countries with a Penn State Restricted Travel Designation

In order to comply with Penn State’s International Travel Policy, students interested in studying abroad in countries that Penn State has designated as “restricted” for travel, a petition for a waiver must be submitted. Once a petition is complete, and if the student is approved for study on the program in question, the student may be asked to meet with the Director of Education Abroad and the petition will be reviewed by the Penn State International Restricted Travel Committee (IRTC). The necessary petition will be included in the online application process for this program. To see if your program is taking place in a restricted travel country, please visit the Global Programs website.


Available Fields of Study

Accounting, Aerospace Engineering, Architecture, Art History, Biochemistry, Biology, Biomedical Engineering, Business, Chemistry, Communications, Computer Science, Economics, Electrical Engineering, Energy Engineering, Engineering, Film Studies, Finance, Global Studies, History, Industrial Engineering, Information Sciences and Technology, Information Systems, Journalism, Labor and Employment Relations, Literature, Management, Mathematics, Mechanical Engineering, Media Studies, Physics, Political Science, Recreation, Park, and Tourism Management, Religious Studies, Sociology, Spanish, Telecommunications

Course Listings

To see what Penn State students have previously taken on this program, see the Historical Course List, which is meant to be a guide as to what courses might be available and how they might transfer to Penn State. Courses listed here may not be offered during the semester you attend the program and the credit amount or course title may have changed. 

Note: You are not limited to choosing classes on the program Historical Course List. You should consult the full list of courses on the host program page before choosing a program.

Course Selection

To find appropriate courses that will fit into your degree requirements, you will need to work with your academic adviser. Suggested tips:
  • Research courses available on your program
  • Meet with your academic adviser to discuss potential courses abroad and your degree requirements 
  • Keep in mind that courses abroad may change or may be unavailable for your selected term, so you will need to discuss possible back-up course options
  • To register for courses on this program you will work with IES Abroad after being approved for the program

Program-specific Course Information

While in Madrid, students take 15–19 credits per semester. Craft your own academic experience by selecting from the following required and optional components:
  • Business or communications core course (required, 3 credits)
  • IES Abroad Spanish language course (required, 4 credits)
  • IES Abroad English-taught area studies courses (3–9 credits)
  • Universidad Carlos III (UC3M) courses (3–9 credits)
Core Course: Students must enroll in at least one of the core courses, and they may choose to enroll in both. Information on the two core course options are below:

Contemporary Business Issues and the EU
(Penn State Course Equivalency, IB 499)
Pre-requisites: None; however, some background in micro/macroeconomics; international relations; and/or business is desirable.
Restriction: Cannot take IB 450 at Penn State.

International Mass Communications
(Penn State Course Equivalency, COMM 499)
Pre-requisites: minimum 3 credits from the following COMM 100 , COMM 110 , COMM 118 , COMM 150 , COMM 180 , COMM 251 , COMM 260W , COMM 320 , or COMM 370.

IES Abroad Courses: See the Academics tab of the IES: Madrid, Engineering, Math & Science track and scroll down to the IES Courses list to see both the required Spanish language course options and the English-taught area studies courses. Note: the Internship Seminar is NOT an option on this Business & Communication track.

UC3M Courses: Students may also enroll in courses at the Universidad Carlos III. Although the Universidad Carlos III de Madrid (UC3M) is a relatively new institution, it has already established leading programs in the areas of Economics, Business Administration, and Law, while its efforts in Engineering and research are becoming quickly recognized internationally. In addition, it is among the first universities in Spain to comply with the new European Higher Education Area requirements (part of the Bologna Process). Faculty and students come from around the world to join UC3M in its role as a truly global institution. Select from courses designed for study abroad students or directly enroll in courses with the University.

International School – Study Abroad Program Courses taught in English. Students choosing to take any of these courses must enroll in a minimum of two of these courses.

Direct Enrollment – Course options in English or Spanish.

Students should be mindful of pre-requisites, semester offered, and language of instruction when reviewing options. Course 1 is first year in Spain and may align with Sophomore/Junior level courses at Penn State depending on the discipline, since general education courses are fewer in Spain. Semester 2 is Spring semester.

Students taking local university courses may have to stay later than the regular program end date to complete final exams.

In English, local university courses are available in the following disciplines:
  • Business Administration
  • Economics
  • Finance and Accounting
  • International Studies
  • Management and Technology
  • Applied Mathematics and Computing
  • Engineering

In Spanish, local university courses are available in the following disciplines:
  • Business Administration
  • Economics
  • Finance and Accounting
  • Employment and Labor Relations
  • Film, Television and Media Studies
  • History and Politics
  • Journalism
  • Law
  • Management of Information and Digital Content
  • Political Science
  • Sociology
  • Tourism

Academic Policies

  • You must enroll in a minimum number of 15 credits and a maximum number of 19 credits 
  • You cannot take any courses abroad on a Pass/Fail basis
  • World Campus courses should not be taken in addition to or as a substitute for courses offered abroad
  • You may not take sport or physical activity courses (e.g. sailing, bowling, yoga, etc.) abroad
  • If you are studying abroad in your final semester at Penn State, please note that Penn State may not receive your grades in time for graduation 

Course Equivalency Process

In order for courses from abroad to appear on your Penn State transcript, each course must be given a course equivalency. Please visit the Academics section of the Global Programs website for information on the course equivalency process.  

Courses can be submitted for course equivalency before, during, or after the education abroad program, however, you should begin this process as soon as possible as it can take on average 2-4 months or more for courses to receive a Penn State course number. In some cases, it can be difficult to obtain syllabi from abroad before the start of the term, but when possible, courses can be submitted for review before departure. Talk to your Education Abroad Adviser about requesting syllabi.

Grade and Credit Conversion Scale

Grades and credit conversions from your host institution cannot be changed. They will be converted to Penn State credits and grades based on the following scales:
Grade Conversion Scale
Host Institution Grade Penn State Grade
A- A-
B+ B+
B- B-
C+ C+
Credit Conversion Scale
Host Institution Credit Penn State Credit
3 credits per course 3 credits per course

Housing and Meals


  • Live in Spanish homes with señoras or families and eat breakfast and one additional meal per day (either lunch or dinner) with your hosts when the program is in session. In many cases, more than one IES Abroad student is placed with a señora or family.
Homestays with Kitchen Privileges
  • If you are interested in a homestay but prefer to purchase your own food and prepare your own meals, you may wish to consider this option. A very limited number of these placements are available.
  • Shared apartments located in residential areas near the IES Abroad Madrid Center. Apartments are furnished, including a fully-equipped kitchen. Utilities, regular cleaning, and wireless Internet access are included. Meals are not included.
Colegios Mayores
  • Colegios Mayores are dorms located on the Complutense campus and throughout the city. This housing option includes 20 meals per week in student cafeterias.
  • Colegios Mayores are ideal for outgoing students with a high level of Spanish language who want to integrate into local, more traditional student culture, participate in Colegio activities, and are willing to abide by the rules of the Colegio. This housing option is limited.
Independent housing is not permitted on this program. There will be no exceptions.

Costs and Funding

Program Costs

Spring Costs

The cost of a program is based on Penn State tuition rates and partner institution fees. Due to the variety of locations and partner institutions, costs will vary depending on the program. Education Abroad works closely with our partners to ensure the most accurate cost estimates, however, fees can change quickly and without prior notice. Consult the cost sheets for your chosen program often and if you have any questions please contact your Education Abroad Adviser


The Education Abroad Office awards a number of grants and scholarships to students who participate in an education abroad program through Global Programs. The application for the scholarships awarded through the Education Abroad Office is included with your program application. Eligibility is based on academic merit and/or financial need. You must have a current FAFSA on file to be awarded. There are additional scholarship opportunities through our partner universities, Penn State Academic Departments, and other sources. To view a full list of scholarships, eligibility requirements, and deadlines visit Funding Study Abroad.

Students participating on this program are not eligible for scholarships through IES Abroad because this is a customized program that is already being offered at a reduced rate.

Student Aid

Penn State students who plan to study on a Penn State approved program can use most forms of financial aid towards the cost of the program. Exceptions include work-study awards and some athletic scholarships. If you have specific questions regarding your aid awards, contact the Penn State Office of Student Aid

Withdrawal & Refund Policy 

Withdrawal and refund details are dependent on the timing and reason for your withdrawal from a Penn State Education Abroad Program. For specific details and steps on how to withdraw, read the Education Abroad Policies

After Commitment

Once a student has committed to a Penn State Education Abroad program, they are financially responsible for any fees incurred on their behalf. Therefore, if a student plans to withdraw from a program it is their responsibility to immediately notify the Education Abroad office, in writing; email is preferred. 

Regardless of the timing or reason for the withdrawal, the student will be responsible for paying the Education Abroad Administrative Fees. Additional fees from the partner institution will be assessed according to their withdrawal and refund policies at the date of the withdrawal notice.

Due to the fee structure of the program IES & Penn State: Madrid, Business & Communications, students must be aware that if they withdraw from the program at any point after commitment (October 1) they will be responsible for the cancellation fees regardless of the motive for their withdrawal. Cancellation fees increase based on the date of withdrawal, up to the full cost of the program. Because the fees for this program are calculated based on the exact number of students participating, allowing for a more economical price calculation, the costs are not recoverable, regardless of the reason for the student's withdrawal.

After the Start of the Program 

If a student withdraws after the start of a program, any adjustment of Penn State tuition charges will be made according to the Tuition Adjustment Schedule as determined by the Office of the Bursar. Students may be responsible for up to 100% of program costs. In most cases, partial credit cannot be awarded for leaving a program before its successful completion.

For additional information on withdrawal policies, separate and apart from financial consequences, please consult the University Senate Policy on Withdrawal and Leave of Absence.

Life Abroad

General Information 

Studying abroad can be one of the most exciting and transformative experiences of your college career. It is an opportunity to develop independence, build cross-cultural competencies, grow as a person, and enhance your academic program. Entering a new culture can be challenging for everyone. You may ask yourself: is this the right country for me? What are their cultural norms? How will my identity be perceived there? What can I do to prepare for this experience? What will my daily life be like? Below are resources to help you answer these questions.


Penn State Education Abroad works closely with campus resources and our partner institutions around the world to ensure that students of all abilities reach their goal of studying abroad. While we cannot guarantee the accessibility of all program sites and locations, specific accommodations may be arranged on an individual basis. If you have accommodation needs or further questions please consult with the Student Disability Resources office and your Education Abroad Adviser. Additional resources are available through the Global Program Website. Disability information will not be used during the admissions process, but rather is meant to provide students with resources to help in planning a successful experience abroad.

Gender and LGBTQA

There are dramatic and subtle differences in how gender, identity, sexual expression, and sexual health are perceived in different countries. Before going abroad, it is important that you research the specific country or countries you will be visiting and have a full understanding of their cultural norms. Below are some resources to help you with that research and provide guidance for your life abroad.

Race, Ethnicity, and Faith

When choosing a study abroad location and preparing for your travels, you will want to be mindful of how your experience will be different than what you are used to in the United States. Your racial, ethnic, and spiritual identities may be interacted with and labeled by others differently than what you expect. Here are resources to help you prepare for these differences.

Non-U.S. Citizens

It is possible for non-U.S. Citizens to study abroad through Penn State. To do so successfully, you must plan early because this process may involve obtaining visas and other governmental procedures. Check with your DISSA Adviser prior to committing to a study abroad program and speak with your Education Abroad Adviser for specific information on the host country. If you plan on traveling to other countries during your study abroad experience, you will need to research and make plans to adhere to immigration policies for all of the countries that you plan to travel to and through. You are responsible for applying for visas for all applicable countries on your own. Advisers in the Education Abroad office cannot apply for your visa for you. Additional information may be available through your country's embassy and the consulate for your study abroad country.

Next Steps

Steps to Study Abroad

The planning stages outlined on the Global Programs website will help you have the best study abroad experience possible. We recommend that you begin this process at least one year prior to the semester you plan on studying abroad. Visit the Steps to Study Abroad section of the Global Penn State website. 

How to Apply

Click the “Apply Now” button on this page to get started!

Application procedures can vary by program. Students should consult the application instructions available within each application. For more information, see the Application Process section of the Global Penn State website. 


You must apply to this program by the Penn State deadline. For a list of deadlines visit the Application Process page of the Global Programs website.

Contact Education Abroad 

If you have general questions about Education Abroad opportunities at Penn State, please email

Peer Advisers

Education Abroad Peer Advisers are Penn State study abroad returnees who advise students on education abroad opportunities at Penn State. Each Peer Adviser can explain program options, give an overview of the study abroad process, as well as provide information about their experience abroad. Peer Advisers have walk-in hours in Boucke Building during the fall and spring semester when classes are in session. For more information, visit the Education Abroad Peer Adviser website. 

Education Abroad Advisers 

Education Abroad Advisers can provide information about courses, support services, application processes, housing details, program costs, cultural expectations, pre-departure requirements, and much more. Education Abroad Advisers have two types of meetings - scheduled appointments and walk-ins. For more information about how to meet with an Education Abroad Adviser, please visit the Global Penn State website

Social Media

Facebook for Penn State Education Abroad    Instagram for Penn State Education Abroad    Twitter for Penn State Global Programs   YouTube for Penn State Global Programs

For information about upcoming events, scholarship opportunities, deadlines, and much more visit the Global Programs Events Calendar and follow us on social media!

Dates / Deadlines:
Term Year App Deadline Decision Date Start Date End Date
Spring 2021 09/10/2020
Rolling Admission TBA TBA

** Indicates rolling admission application process. Students will be immediately notified of acceptance into this program and be able to complete post-decision materials prior to the term's application deadline.

Indicates that deadline has passed