Spain offers a wide range of EHEA bachelor’s degree courses and official postgraduate programs that are recognized across the 27 nations of the European Union, guaranteeing international students a wealth of opportunities for academic and personal development. Spain now welcomes more students than any other country under the Erasmus program, the most extensive student mobility initiative in the European Union.
The Spanish university system
Since the adaptation of the Spanish university system to the European Higher Education Area (EHEA), the structure of university studies in Spain now comprises three cycles: bachelor's degrees (in Spanish, Grado), master’s degrees, and doctoral degrees. The bachelors and the master’s degrees are taught in the following areas of knowledge:
• Arts and Humanities.
• Experimental Sciences.
• Health Sciences.
• Social and Legal Sciences.
• Engineering and Architecture.
The cost of studying in Spain
The fees for official master’s and doctoral degrees at public and private universities are regulated by the government. In the 2010-2011 academic year, the fees will be within a range set between 16€ and 30€ per credit. Therefore, a master’s course comprising 60 ECTS credits may cost between 960€ and 1800€. The Autonomous Communities may establish their own fees, but they must be within the limits set by the government. In exceptional cases, the upper limit of 30€ per credit may be exceeded, up to a maximum of 30% of the cost.
The academic year
The academic year is divided into two semesters. The first usually starts in mid-September or early October, and finishes at the end of December; the exam period is usually in January. The second semester usually starts in late January or early February and finishes at the end of May.
Admission to bachelor’s degree studies (grado)
Applicants must have their studies officially accredited. To carry out this process, known in Spanish as “homologación”, candidates should apply to the Ministry of Education.
Applicants must sit the Spanish university admission examination (PAU, or "selectividad"). Spain’s University of Distance Education (UNED) organizes this examination for students from abroad.
The entrance exam is structured as follows:
General part: four exercises (Text Commentary in Spanish Language and Literature, History of Philosophy or History of Spain (chosen by the student), Foreign Language (either German, French, English, Italian or Portuguese) and a subject to be chosen by the student related to the university degree that he/she wishes to study (artistic, social, technical, etc).
Admission to master’s studies and doctoral studies
Foreign students interested in carrying out master’s or doctoral studies in Spain should apply directly to the Spanish university where they wish to study.
To be admitted on a master’s programme, students must meet one of these requirements:
Be in possession of a bachelor’s degree obtained at a university in Spain or in a country in the European Higher Education Area (EHEA)
Be in possession of a bachelor’s degree obtained at a university in a country other than those indicated above. The Spanish university must be satisfied that the level of the studies leading to this degree is equivalent to that required to obtain a bachelor’s degree in Spain.
To gain admission on a doctoral programme, applicants must also have obtained at least 60 ECTS credits. These credits may form part of the study period in the doctoral programme or may correspond to a master’s programme.
It is not necessary to obtain official accreditation of a bachelor’s degree to be able to follow a master’s or doctoral degree in Spain.