Pais Vasco

Universidad del Pais Vasco (Basque Country) - Science Only

Pais Vasco or Basque Country is an autonomous community in northern Spain with strong cultural traditions, a celebrated cuisine and a distinct language that pre-dates the Romance languages.

Located in the heart of the Basque region, Universidad Del Pais Vasco (known as the University of the Basque Country in English and Euskal Herriko Unibertsitatea in Basque/Euskal) offers a rarely-glimpsed insight into the diverse Basque region. Located in the North of Spain along the Atlantic coast, Universidad Del Pais Vasco offers 2 main campuses of study for science students - at San Sebastián and Bilbao.

Biscay campus is located in Bilbao, while Gipuzkoa campus is located in San Sebastián, both offering a wide range of experiences. Pais Vasco is a young university with 45,000 students and over 900 international exchange students, and offers immersion into regions with with both historic and modern cultural significance to both the Basques, Spanish and other cultural groups within the region, as well as the variety of languages spoken in the region including French, Spanish, and Basque.

Key information


Basque (Euskara), Spanish


Fall, Winter, Academic year

Program type


Application information

Application status


2023-2024 applications

Winter 2024 Only

First come, first considered for remaining spaces until October 1st, 2023

University-specific additional requirements

No reference letter required, except Law applicants. See Eligibility section below for details.

2024-2025 applications

Open November 1, 2023

Program details

Pais Vasco offers a wide variety of programs in the sciences, in both Spanish (Castilian), and Basque (Euskara).

Biscay (Bizkaia) campus in Bilbao offers Biology (including Marine Biology, Zoology and Microbiology), Chemistry, Biochemistry, Geology, and Mathematics.

Gipuzkoa campus in San Sebastián offers courses in Chemistry.

Pais Vasco works on the ECTS system and 30 ECTS per term is standard. 6 ECTS = 1 U of C half course.

The Faculty of Science page has links under "access [department] curriculum. Course 2014/15" for each department. Click on the link, then on the "curriculum/ plan de estudios" button, the "subjects for courses" link to get a list of courses for each department. There are also a couple of courses in English available for Biscay campus and Gipuzkoa campus.

The exchange agreement with Pais Vasco falls under TASSEP. TASSEP is the Trans-Atlantic Science Student Exchange Program, a consortium designed specifically with the curricular needs of science students in mind. Canadian science students have access to a variety of European Partners in the consortium.

The Transfer Credit Database contains information on previous courses which have been transferred from this institution, however students are not limited to these courses and are strongly encouraged to contact their academic advisor for any other specific transfer credit information.

The academic year is divided into two terms. The first term runs from early September to late January. Second term runs from late January to early June/late July.

  1. Costs

    Student-shared flats (apartments) cost an average of €300-450 per month, residence costs approximately €400-700 per month, and accommodation with local families costs about €550-600 for full room & board (or €335-370 with room & half-board; €250-400 for room and laundry/kitchen access).

    Average costs of living ranges from 600-700 euros per month, depending on the cost of accommodation.

    Students studying in Spain may be eligible for the Julio Peris Award, valued up to $1250 per student. 

    Bilbao and San Sebastian cost comparisons vs. Calgary: Bilbao / San Sebastian

  2. Funding

    Did you know that you can take your UCalgary funding with you on exchange?   
    Since you remain a degree seeking student at UCalgary while on exchange you remain eligible for any awards and scholarships you are eligible to receive from the university as well as student loans.

    Our office administers several awards, including the Global Access Fund (based on a funding-first model where students apply prior to committing to a global learning program) and the Global Learning Award (students apply after being accepted to a global learning program; the amount varies year-to-year as the money is split among chosen recipients). Students may only receive these awards once. Please see the funding page, linked below, for more information.

There is a help centre office that students can get advice from at the beginning of the term but students are responsible for finding housing when they arrive. Almost all students find housing within 4-5 days of arrival. About 85% of students go to the private market for housing, but there are some residence halls available (about 10% of students stay here), and 5% of students choose to stay with a local family. Spaces in residence are competitive and often fully booked by the previous June for the following fall. 

This exchange is open to regular, full-time students in the Faculty of Science, who have completed at least 1 full year (10 courses) at the post-secondary level, with a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.7 (B-). 

Most courses at Pais Vasco are taught in Spanish - as such, applicants must have a command of Spanish at the B1 level according to the Common European Framework of Reference for Language (CEFR) at a minimum, or have completed at least two 300-level or above courses in Spanish. Students do have the opportunity to take Spanish language courses during their stay (see FAQs for more information).

Do I have to speak Spanish?

As courses are taught in Spanish, advanced language skills are required (see Eligibility section for more details). 

What options are available for improving my Spanish at Pais Vasco?

There is a Spanish intensive course before first term that is available to exchange students and worth 4 ECTS. Regular term courses in both Spanish and Basque are also available (6 ECTS.)

What supports or services are available at Pais Vasco? 

Pais Vasco offers a variety of aids and resources for incoming students with accessibility needs. For information on accessibility and support services of campuses across Europe, please check out Inclusive Mobility. For city-specific services and places in Europe, the Jaccede interactive platform (website and/or smartphone app - both Android and iOS) also provides a searchable user-built database to identify important accessibility information of public places and locations.

Pais Vasco also offers a Buddy Program for all incoming exchange students that can help you settling into life, with advice and support of a local student. 

Have questions?

Global Learning 101

Please watch this short YouTube playlist before reaching out or booking an appointment. In these videos, you will learn much of the basics about Global Learning, which may answer your initial questions.

Watch Global Learning 101

Academic Advising

Before applying to study abroad, you should ask your academic advisor how this program might align with your degree (e.g. best time to go, what courses you need).

After you are accepted, you should ask your academic advisor more specific questions about courses/transfer credits. It’s also recommended to follow up with your advisor again once you return to Calgary.

Find your academic advisor

Global Learning Advising

If you have questions, please reach out to our office! We offer drop-in advising for general inquiries, and if you have questions about this specific program or any others, you can book an appointment with the responsible advisor.

Please use the link below to find the most up-to-date information about our current advising options.

View the Global Learning Advising page

The exchange advisor for this program is: Tara Jorgensen

How to Apply

Download the application guide

This PDF contains information on how to complete your application and what to do after you have applied.

Application guide

Identify three programs of interest

We recommend applying for your top three programs for the priority application deadline, as placement may be competitive. We will assess your applications in ranked order.

Check requirements and deadlines

These may vary by program, so check the individual program pages and make sure that you are aware of any different application deadlines or eligibility requirements.

Start your application

Once you have gathered everything you need, you can begin your application!

Please note: Applications will not be considered complete until all required documents are submitted in full.


International travel presents challenges that may not be found when attending classes on campus. There may be a lack of resources, emergency services, hospitals, accessibility issues and/or demands on the physical and the mental self, all of which can challenge individuals when away from their usual support systems and structures. Adequate preparation is essential.

For this reason, it is imperative that you evaluate all aspects of your own physical, psychological, emotional and spiritual condition against the rigors of the particular global learning program you are selecting. If you are unsure of whether or not this program is a good fit for you and/or if you have any circumstances that could impede your enjoyment of the program, please contact us. Our Global Learning Advisors will be happy to assist in finding the best options for you and arrange any supports or accommodations necessary to ensure your success.

If you have or are seeking a certificate from Student Accessibility Services, you should provide this early to your Global Learning Advisor to ensure that the option that you are seeking can support your needs.

Please note: All participants must adhere to COVID-19 and other vaccination-related requirements for the destinations visited on this program. Failure to do so may have consequences such as being denied access to accommodation/housing, program activities, or to the host country itself.