Balsells Graduate Fellowship Program

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About the University

The University of Colorado Boulder was founded in 1876, and is located at the eastern edge of the Rocky Mountains in the center of the United States.

Home to 30,000 students, this comprehensive university provides an outstanding education and research in science, engineering, business, law, and the humanities. With over 300 days of sunsine each year, the area has attractive cultural and recreational activities in all seasons.

The College of Engineering and Applied Science is the top-ranked program in the Rocky Mountain region, and bioengineering research is a strength in all of our graduate degree programs. For more information, visit the following websites:

Group shot of 2015 Balsells scholars

The Balsells Graduate Fellowship Program at the University of Colorado has provided graduate fellowships and assistantships to allow outstanding students from Catalonia to pursue master's and doctoral degrees at the University of Colorado in Boulder since 2010.

Participants must be citizens and permanent residents of Spain, legal residents of Catalonia for at least the last 12 months, graduates in engineering or science from a university in Catalonia, speak and write fluently in both Catalan and Spanish, and be able to succeed in courses taught in English.

Each fellow will pursue an M.S. thesis or Ph.D. dissertation (Ph.D. students must complete an M.S. on the way to the Ph.D.; in this case, no M.S. thesis is required, only the Ph.D. dissertion), with the primary faculty advisor from an engineering or computer science department. Balsells fellows will receive a competitive monthly stipend, as well as payment of tuition, fees, and health insurance.

How to Apply

To apply for the Balsells Graduate Fellowship Program you need to:

  • Send an email expressing your interest in the Balsells Graduate Fellowship Program at the University of Colorado to Sharon Powers, Dean's Assistant, at She can then waive your application fee and provide further information about applying for the fellowship.
  • Makes plans to complete the required exams proving your preparedness and English proficiency. Learn more about the GRE, TOEFL, and IELTS requirements.
  • Complete the Graduate School application for the department in which you are interested. Review the information for international applicants on the Graduate Admissions website for links to application and requirements by department.
  • After you are admitted to CU-Boulder, Sharon Powers will send you information on how to apply for the Balsells Fellowship, which is a separate process.

Balsells International Mobility Program

The Balsells International Mobility Program is a unique opportunity for undergraduate students in the Catalonia region of Spain to complete their mobility projects at the University of Colorado Boulder College of Engineering and Applied Science. The program provides the opportunity to complete a semester research internship in a campus engineering lab. >Learn more


Frequently Asked Questions

Can a student start directly in the Ph.D. program?

Yes. A student may enroll directly in the PhD program. However, the student should obtain an MS degree on the way to the PhD degree, even if he or she has a master's degree from elsewhere. 

How much time is required to obtain the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees?

It normally takes 1.5-2 years to obtain an M.S. degree with a thesis. A Ph.D. degree typically requires 2.5-3.5 years beyond the M.S. degree.

Is the program restricted to engineering students?

The Balsells Fellowship Program at the University of Colorado is restricted to students who enroll for a graduate degree in one of the following disciplines sponsored by the College of Engineering and Applied Science:  Aerospace Engineering, Architectural Engineering, Chemical Engineering, Civil Engineering, Computer Science, Electrical Engineering, Materials Science and Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, or Telecommunications. However, these students may have undergraduate degrees from engineering or related disciplines, such as biotechnology, chemistry, mathematics, and physics.

Is the Balsells Fellowship for only one year?

No. A combination of fellowship and assistantship support is provided for two years from the Balsells Foundation, the Generalitat de Catalunya, and the University of Colorado. Students will need to renew in March of their first year to receive the second year of support. After the first two years, continuing support for Ph.D. students is available in the form of research and teaching assistantships from a Balsells student’s advisor and/or department.

What is an assistantship?

A research assistantship involves working with a faculty member on a sponsored research project, usually the same as the student’s M.S. or Ph.D. project. A teaching assistantship involves helping a faculty member with a course, such as grading papers, holding office hours or help sessions, and sometimes giving lectures. Both types of assistantships pay for tuition and a monthly stipend.

When do classes start?

Classes for the Fall 2016 semester start August 22, 2016. However, new students should plan to be on campus at least one week early for orientation. Arriving two weeks early is recommended, to settle into Boulder and to apply for a Social Security card, thereby ensuring on-time receipt of financial support.

Do I need to complete my undergraduate degree before applying?

No, you are encouraged to apply during your final year of undergraduate studies. However, you will need to complete your 4-year or 5-year undergraduate degree before enrolling at the University of Colorado. A 3-year technical degree is not sufficient to qualify for the program.

How do I submit an application for admission to the University of Colorado?

Students seeking admission to a CU-Boulder master’s or doctoral program apply online directly to the appropriate department(s) rather than to the Graduate School, according to the department requirements. If an applicant wishes to apply to more than one graduate program, a separate application is submitted to each department. See to start the application or to learn more.

What is the next step after being admitted?

If you are admitted to CU-Boulder for graduate studies, the next step is to apply for the fellowship when the call is announced by the Generalitat de Catalunya in March or April. Sharon Powers will send you the information on how to apply, once the information is released.

Are there required tests for applicants?

Yes. The general test of the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) is required.  All international applicants are also required to meet a minimum standard of English proficiency. The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or an International English Language Testing System (IELTS) score is required to demonstrate this proficiency, except this requirement may be waived if you do your mobility experience at the University of Colorado Boulder or if you have had at least one year of full-time study in a country where English is the native language. These tests are offered in Barcelona. Further information is available at (for the GRE and TOEFL) or (for the IELTS). Our institution code will be needed: 4841.

Do I need to complete the tests before submitting my application?

No, you may submit your application first and then have your test results sent afterwards. However, it is strongly recommended that you take the exams in November or early December, as it takes a few weeks for the results to be released and applications are typically reviewed by the admissions committees starting in the middle of January. Many departments will not review applications until all admissions materials, including recommendations and GRE and TOEFL or IELTS scores, are received. It is in your best interest to complete your application as soon as possible, so that it can be evaluated by the department.

How do I know if my grades and test scores are good enough?

After you apply, admissions officers at the University of Colorado will evaluate your entire application, including your grades and test scores, taking into account the grading scales at your home institution. To-date, most Balsells Graduate Fellows at the University of Colorado Boulder have had average undergraduate grades of 6.8-8.0 (scale with maximum of 10), TOEFL scores of 85-100 for the internet-based test (scale with maximum of 120) or 600-630 for the paper-based test (scale with maximum of 677) and quantitative GRE scores of 152-170 (new scale with 170 maximum) or 690-800 (old scale with 800 maximum).

Do I need to pay the application fee?

No, we are able to waive this fee at the University of Colorado Boulder. Students who are applying for the Balsells Fellowship Program may note on the on-line application that the fee will be paid by mailing in a check or money order (don’t pay by credit card) and then send an email to that they are applying for the Balsells Fellowship Program and requesting a waiver of the fee.

Can I do my final-year project at the University of Colorado?

Yes. The Balsells Foundation has provided mobility support for a few students each year to do their final-year undergraduate or master’s projects with faculty members in the College of Engineering and Applied Science at the University of Colorado Boulder, and additional students may be accommodated if they have their own financial support for transportation and living expenses. Contact Andrew Wingfield at if you are interested in this possibility. The program is for students who subsequently intend to apply for the Balsells Graduate Fellowship Program.

How many fellowships are available?

There are currently at least seven Balsells Graduate Fellowships for new students each year at the University of Colorado Boulder, including three in the call issued by the Generalitat and four others.

What is the timeline for the application process and decision announcements?

July-December: Students apply to CU graduate school
October-November: Students take GRE & TOEFL/IELTS exams
December: Students complete application to CU-Boulder (deadline varies by department)
Mid-January: Department graduate committees start reviewing applications
February/March: Admissions decisions made by university
March: Admitted students apply for fellowship (to the Generalitat)
April/May: Balsells fellowship decisions are announced
Late August: Fall semester starts (or January: spring semester starts)

Important Announcements

CUEngineering:  A publication for alumni and friends. Read the 2016 edition of CUEngineering magazine here.

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