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Programs : Brochure

Fact Sheet:
Language of Instruction: Spanish Language Prerequisite: 5 Semesters of college level language
Minimum Cumulative GPA: 3.0 Credit Available For: Huntsman, Wharton
Other Eligibility Requirements: Grades of B or better in Spanish Type of Program: Semester/Year Study Abroad
Housing Options: Homestay Application Deadline: Fall/Year: February 15, Spring: October 1
Program Description:

Program Snapshot

BMA LogoComillas Pontifical University (ICADE)

Penn's Program in Madrid is hosted by ICADE, Faculty of Economics and Business of the Universidad Pontificia Comillas. ICADE is Madrid's first-ranked business school, offering specializations in management, finance, marketing and labor economics. The school is at the forefront of international business education and sponsors a four-year joint degree program in International Business Administration with several other European institutions. The Universidad Pontificia Comillas was founded in 1890 and is administered by the Jesuit order. Its faculties include Philosophy and Humanities, Civil Law, Canon Law, Economics and Business (ICADE), and Theology. It also has schools of social work, engineering, and nursing. The university enrolls 12,000 students on two campuses, one in central Madrid and around 1,300 of these are international students. The Penn program is located at the downtown campus, in the main classroom building.
For additional information, visit the Comillas Pontifical University (ICADE) website
The City of Madrid

Madrid, Spain's capital and largest city, is a metropolis of over six million people and a major European center of artistic and intellectual activity. The city combines the fast pace of government and commercial activity, sophistication of a cosmopolitan center and relaxed tempo of the paseo and the café. While undoubtedly a modern metropolis, much of beautiful Madrid has managed to preserve the look and feel of the city's vibrant past. Theatres, royal palaces, museums, and myriad political buildings help to bring historic Madrid back to life, while simultaneously offering present day visitors a plethora of cultural activities.

Did you know…?

For those looking to improve their knowledge of fine art, Madrid is considered one of the top European destinations for art museums. In what is known as the Golden Triangle of Art, patrons can find the Prado Museum, the Thyssen Bornemisza Museum, and the Reina Sofia Museum; all world renown and containing works of painters such as Velázquez, Goya, and Pablo Picasso.



The program at Comillas Pontifical University (ICADE) is for Wharton students for business credit only.

Minimum GPA Requirement: 3.0

Language Prerequisite: Successful completion of SPAN 202 or 212 (Hybrid program) or SPAN 219 or 223 (Direct-enroll program), by the end of the academic semester (fall or spring) prior to departure. Students must be enrolled in a Spanish course during the academic semester (fall or spring) prior to departure. Huntsman students must take all courses in Spanish.

There is a limited number of spots per semester for ICADE so it is likely that all applications will go through a selection committee. 


Language of Instruction



Hybrid Program (SPAN 202/212 required to participate)

This program begins with a two-day orientation. After orientation, students begin the semester-long courses chosen from the program offerings. The required course load for the hybrid program is five classes (the Spanish language course, an additional program course taught in Spanish, and three direct-enroll English-instruction courses). Final registration for courses occurs in Madrid. Some of your courses are program courses taught in Spanish & some are direct-enroll courses taught in English.

Your hybrid program Spanish language course will be comprised of Penn students and other international students studying at ICADE.

SPAN 201 or 211: Spanish Language and Culture (required) - This course starts with a Spanish grammar review and writing practice. During the semester, emphasis is placed on complex structures of the language and written compositions to support academic work in other courses. Students will also be introduced to contemporary Spanish culture through class discussions based on the excursions and other cultural activities planned for the group.

The following are potential courses offered for SPAN 218 credit. These courses will not be finalized until closer to the start of the semester, so they could change. Students participating in the Hybrid program are required to take one of these courses, taught only in Spanish:
  • Poder e imagen en los siglos de oro: la coleccion real del Museo del Prado - This course traces the process of building the identity of the Spanish Imperial Monarchy through the search for and refining of an artistic image capable of synthesizing the political agenda. *Not offered during the spring semester*
  • Cine e Ideología del Franquismo
  • Obras maestras de la literatura hispana
Please consult the course offering in any single semester.

Direct-enroll Program (SPAN 219/223 required to participate)

These students are required to attend the two day orientation and directly enroll in all of their courses at ICADE. Students in this program now have the option to either take all of their courses as direct enroll, or instead, 1 of the hybrid courses listed above and the rest as direct enroll. All courses must be taught in Spanish. ICADE will provide the Penn Abroad office with available course offerings. Keep in mind that course availability is subject to change. 

ICADE Exchange Student Course Offerings Fall Semester
ICADE Exchange Student Course Offerings Spring Semester

Grading Scale

As on all Penn Abroad programs, grades are recorded on the Penn transcript and are calculated in the cumulative grade point average.  The pass/fail option can be exercised according to the Penn on-campus policy of your home school. For more information on Penn Abroad’s academic policies, click here.

Courses will receive grades based on the Spanish university ten point scale (including decimal points, e.g. 7.5). The scale is not based on an equal distribution of points nor on a percentage. Grades are reported to Penn from Comillas Pontifical University (ICADE) and then converted to Penn grades according to the following grade equivalencies:
Comillas Grade Penn Grade
10-9 A
8.99-8 A-
7.99-7.6 B+
7.59-7.0 B
6.99-6.6 B-
6.59-6.0 C+
5.99-5.6 C
5.59-5.0 C-
4.99-4.5 D+
4.49-4.0 D
3.99 and below F

Special Features

BMA Special FeaturesOrientation Activities

All Penn students are required to attend the orientation activities organized by Comillas Pontifical University (ICADE) when they arrive to Madrid.  More information will be provided in the handbook that students receive prior to departure.
Internship Opportunities

Non-credit internships with Spanish or multinational banks and corporations may sometimes be arranged for students after studying at ICADE during the spring semester. Some prior academic background/knowledge may be required to gain an internship placement. Students must decide early on in the application process if they wish to pursue this possible opportunity.


BMAParticipants must be willing to live under local conditions for students.

Students will live in rented rooms in Spanish households with morning and evening meals provided daily. SGR, Students Global Relocation, Comillas' housing coordinator company, places each student in an approved home in accordance with individual personal needs. Living in a private home is the best way to learn the language, customs, and culture of Spain, and the overwhelming majority of participants in Penn's ICADE program have found this arrangement to be invaluable in terms of cultural insight and understanding. Students may not make their own housing arrangements. Students pay SGR directly for their monthly housing stay.

Information regarding accommodation can be found here.

Cost and Finance

Penn Abroad Financial Policies

Students are charged Penn tuition and academic fees for all Penn Abroad programs.  Additional expenses will typically include items such as housing, visas, and airfare.  Please see the program budget sheets below for more information.  For more on Penn Abroad’s financial policies, click here.

Financial Aid and Study Abroad

In most cases, financial aid applies to Penn-approved programs.  Student Financial Services reviews program budget sheets each semester to determine how to appropriately adjust your aid package. For more information on how Financial Aid will work during your semester abroad, click here.

Budget Sheets


Scholarship Opportunities

Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program: Competition for awards for study abroad, for US citizen students who are receiving federal Pell Grant funding at a 2-year or 4-year college or university. 

Next Steps

For information on the Penn Abroad application process, click here.

To open an application or learn more about the program, please click here to schedule an appointment with a Penn Abroad Global Programs Manager.

For a student perspective on life and academics in Madrid, contact a Penn Abroad Past-Participant or Exchange Student.