New Balsells Fellows on a welcome hike, jumping, with Flatirons in the background.

The Balsells Fellowship Program is open to students who are from the Catalonia region of Spain and provides a unique funding opportunity to earn a master’s or doctoral degree from one of our six engineering departments at CU Boulder. Balsells fellows will receive a competitive monthly stipend, as well as payment of tuition, fees, and health insurance.

Review our FAQs for additional information

MS Degree

A Master of Science (M.S.) degree requires 30 semester credits and may be completed with a thesis option or with coursework only. Balsells Fellows stopping with the M.S. degree are expected to complete the thesis option, so that they obtain practical experience with a research project. The thesis option includes 24 course credits and six thesis credits, typically requiring two years or less to complete the M.S. degree. Each student supported by the program is expected to contribute up to eight hours per month in promoting Catalan culture in the United States.

PhD Degree

Balsells Fellows pursuing a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree must first either complete an M.S. degree within Catalunya, or with our university. Students who have completed a MS degree with the University of Colorado are encouraged to pursue a PhD afterwards, which typically requires 30 course credits (including the course credits for the M.S. degree) and 30 credits for the Ph.D. dissertation. The Ph.D. degree typically requires three years beyond the M.S. degree. Each student supported by the program is expected to contribute up to eight hours per month in promoting Catalan culture in the United States. 

Participants must:

  • be citizens and permanent residents of Spain, official residents of Catalonia for at least the last 12 months (holding a certificat d'empadronament), graduates in engineering or science from a university in Catalonia within the last three years, and speak and write fluently in both Catalan and Spanish.
  • ​be able to succeed in courses taught in English. Each fellow will pursue an MS thesis or PhD dissertation (PhD students must complete an MS on the way to the PhD; in this case, no MS thesis is required, only the PhD dissertation), with the primary faculty advisor from an engineering or computer science department.

The general test of the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) is required for all applicants to the Balsells Graduate Fellowship Program. 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. These tests are offered in Barcelona. Note: The University of Colorado institution code (4841) will be needed when signing up for these tests. Additionally, the tests for English profiency may be waived with a Skype interview. See below for more details.


The paper-based GRE General Test is offered three times a year through ETS. For further information about the test and/or to register for it, consult the GRE website. Information about computer-based test centers and dates is offered through Prometric. The computer-based test is offered in most places one to three times per month; you will need to register to find out when and where the tests are offered. Please take the General Test to apply--specific subject test scores are not needed for the application. Our students have typically been admitted with a score of about 158 or above on the quantitative reasoning portion, and about 150 or above on the verbal reasoning portion. However, GRE scores are only one component of the application, and the numbers given are not necessarily a hard cutoff. 


For the English proficiency requirement, you may take either the TOEFL or the IELTS. Other English proficiency test scores are not recognized by the University of Colorado. The TOEFL is offered 2 to 3 times per month, but the seats fill up. To get the next test date, you must register for the test on the TOEFL website. The test fee varies by location. Test results are posted in approximately two weeks, but please allow an additional 7 to 10 days for delivery to the U.S., if taking the test outside the U.S. Our students have typically been admitted with a score of about 100 or above on the TOEFL. The IELTS exam is given at least once per month. You may register by email or in person. Test results are emailed in 13 days; you may also pick up a hard copy or they will mail it to you. Visit the IELTS website for more detailed information about the exam. Another option is to set up a Skype interview with the Balsells Program Assistant at CU, and if your English is deemed proficient, your TOEFL/IELTS scores may be waived. If this interests you, email Britta Bergstrom ( asking to set up an interview.

British Council Barcelona
IELTS Administrator
Amigó, 83
08021 Barcelona
Tel: 93 241 9972
Fax: 93 202 3695

Balsells Fellows receive a cost-of-living stipend of approximately $2,000 per month, plus payment of tuition, fees, and most of health insurance. The combined value of support for each student is over $55,000 per year. Funding is provided by the Balsells Foundation, the University of Colorado Boulder, and the Generalitat de Catalunya. The fellows may have part-time duties in teaching or research, since the support available from the University of Colorado for graduate students is primarily in the form of teaching and research assistantships. This combined support for Balsells Fellows is available for the first two years of graduate study, subject to satisfactory progress. After the second year, Balsells Fellows making satisfactory progress are expected to receive continuing support from their host departments, primarily in the form of Research Assistantships. Fellows must renew their fellowship for their second year by reapplying when the Generalitat announces its call for fellowships in the spring.