Skip to main content

Saint Louis University Header Logo Center

Menu Search & Directory

IGNITE Program

The Parks College of Engineering, Aviation and Technology’s Ignatian Global Network in Technology and Engineering (IGNITE) program is a unique international experience allowing high-achieving first-semester engineering students to begin their university studies at Saint Louis University’s campus in Madrid.

IGNITE participants


Engineering work today increasingly takes place in international marketplace dominated by multinational companies. Engineers not only need broad technical skills but also the ability to tackle global problems and participate in a multicultural community. International engineering education at SLU-Madrid provides students the tools they need to become entrepreneurs and leaders who can successfully innovate, manage, develop and implement technology to find solutions to global challenges and needs.

IGNITE students complete their first semester of study in Madrid, earning the same credits as Parks College first-year engineering students at the St. Louis campus. With the exception of language classes, all coursework is completed in English. During their sophomore or junior year, IGNITE students may choose to study abroad for another semester or year, or take part in international internships or research projects in summer. They may also participate in the Grand Challenge Scholars and Global Gateway programs.

The tuition rate for IGNITE students is the same as that of Saint Louis University. Room and board, and mandatory activity fees are paid in euros directly to the Madrid campus.

Features of the IGNITE Program

Students enrolled in the IGNITE program can take advantage of unique opportunities including:

Special Events and Excursions

IGNITE students can take part in group excursions to historical sites, from Roman civilization in Spain to the present. Other opportunities include field trips to industrial and research sites in Spain and elsewhere in Europe, including the Madrid’s National Cancer Research Center, the Nuclear Power Plant in Guadalajara, Spain, and Airbus production facilities in Toulouse France.

Students can also take part in a three-day retreat at Loyola, the birthplace of St. Ignatius.

Guest Lectures

Guest lectures are held several times per semester. Talks are presented by experienced engineers, scientists and information technology professionals on varying topics related to technology and leadership. Guest lectures provide an opportunity to gain fresh insights into current science and engineering issues.

Orientation Activities

Special orientation activities help to welcome students to campus and to the city of Madrid. Activities include New Student Convocation, welcome sessions in the Guadarrama Mountains, safety and security sessions and one-on-one meetings with Parks College faculty members and SLU-Madrid faculty.

Participants will meet in St. Louis to attend orientation at Parks College before travelling to Madrid on a group flight. The SLU-St. Louis Parks College faculty mentor will travel with the group. Additional charges for airfare apply.

Room and Board

IGNITE students live with SLU-Madrid host families. The homestay allows IGNITE students to experience the warmth and hospitality of Spain while improving Spanish language skills. In the homestay, students enjoy breakfast, evening meals and weekly laundry. Students have their own or a shared room (single-sex) within the Spanish family's apartment. Students commute approximately 30 minutes by bus or metro from their homestays to the SLU-Madrid campus.

Student Services

In addition to on-campus academic advising services, a Parks College faculty mentor will return to Madrid at the end of the semester to celebrate the conclusion of the program, advise students, and accompany them on the return flight.

Additional services at SLU-Madrid include counseling and disability services, a campus chaplain and a 24-hour emergency helpline staffed by the Department of Student Life.

For more information about IGNITE, contact Taieb Gasmi, Ph.D., director of Sciences and Engineering, at, or Chris Penberthy, enrollment coordinator at Parks College, at