Funding Overview

Higher Education in Spain

Spanish Universities have a long history stretching back to the thirteenth century. Today Spain's 76 public and private universities offer students a wide range of courses and the opportunity to study at all levels. Universities are found all over the country, but chiefly in the major cities, with a large number of the private universities located in Madrid. The Spanish university system is ranked 5th in the world. With lower living costs than many other European countries and a fee structure controlled by the Government, Spain is an attractive option for local and foreign students. Classes are of course normally in Spanish, but in some of the Autonomous regions, such as the Basque country or Galicia, courses are often taught in the minority language as well as Spanish. Students should make sure that the courses that they wish to take are actually going to be in Spanish if planning to attend a University in an Autonomous region. Most universities offer language courses in Spanish or the regional languages for students coming from non-Spanish speaking countries.
Spain is an Attractive Study Option
Spain is an Attractive Study Option

Educational system

There are state and private universities in Spain. In addition, there are universities entirely online and a growing number of universities allow at least part of their degrees to be taken online.

Official degrees are offered by all universities. In addition many also offer non-official diplomas that may only be recognized by the university issuing them. The names of such degrees must be preceded by the title “Non-official”. However, non-official doctorate degrees are not permitted.

In addition to the official degrees each University offers unofficial Master's degrees – Maestrias – which are widely recognised because they offer specialized practical training. MBA degrees are also offered and are well regarded.

Studies at Spanish Universities are divided into three levels, which correspond to the official levels of the European Higher Education Area (EHEA). All degrees are therefore accepted throughout the EHEA.

Bachelor Degree – Undergraduate studies

  • Students can take these undergraduate degrees, referred to as the Grado, in: Arts and Humanities, Experimental Sciences, Health Sciences, Social Sciences, Law, Engineering and Architecture.
  • Three or four years of study are required to accumulate the necessary 240 credits to graduate.
  • An external placement and an end of degree dissertation are typical parts of the Grado degree.

University Master Degree – Graduate studies

  • One or two years of study and 60 or 120 credits are needed for a Master Degree.
  • In addition a thesis must be prepared and defended.
  • Students at this level are prepared for research, academic work or the professions.

Doctoral Degree – Postgraduate studies

  • For this degree a period of study accumulating 60 credits is needed in the first phase.
  • In the second phase research and the preparation of a doctoral thesis is required. This thesis must also be defended and the work must be original.
  • There is no official time-limit for doctoral studies but three or four years are usually needed to complete both phases of the degree.
  • There is also the European Doctorate, which requires the student to spend a minimum of three months outside Spain studying or carrying out research. Part of the thesis must be written in a European language other than Spanish, and there must be input at both the consultation and the thesis-presentation stage from non-Spanish expert doctors .

Admission procedure.s

Spanish students must first complete the Bachillerato, requiring two years of study. Successful completion allows a student to take the Selectivo - the university entrance examinations. Students coming from other EU countries gain entry using the same criteria as are used in their home country.

Students who have completed secondary studies in a country other than the European Union, Switzerland, Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein or China must have their secondary education certificate officially recognized. The details of accreditation requirements vary, but six months should be allowed to obtain official approval. Application for accreditation (homologación) must be made to the Subdirección General de Titulos y Reconocimiento de Cualificaciones.

All other types of students, such as those coming from the EU, do not require accreditation of their secondary or undergraduate qualifications.