In Spain there are 72 institutions of higher education of which 24 are private and 7 belong to the Catholic Church. According to the Ministry of Education, over 126,000 foreign students from all around the world chose to come to Spain to study at university in the academic year 2017/2018. This number keeps growing every year, and now they make up 8% of the total population of students. Spain remains a popular choice amongst countries international students choose to come to study in because of the high standards in education and affordable prices. For this reason, the country is constantly within top 20 best countries to study in, along with some of its universities: Universitat de Barcelona is ranked 165 from all universities in the world. Also, several institutions are recognized for their cultural significance which makes Spain a beautiful country to continue your studying (for example, University of Salamanca is the 5th oldest in Europe). More details are available on the Ministry of Education’s website: https://www.educacionyfp.gob.es/.
Programmes are offered at all three cycles: Bachelor’s (Grado), Master’s (Máster) and Doctorate (Doctorad). Credits are counted based on the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS) where each semester is 30 credits. The length of the courses is similar to the rest of the world with 3-4 years for Bachelor’s and doctoral studies and 1-2 years for Master’s. Integrated Master’s are also a choice most popular in Medicine or Architecture where the first two cycles are completed at once. The academic year is split into two semesters: the first one begins in October and will end with an exam period in January and the second one lasts from February until June, again with an exam period at the end.
Applying for a university in Spain is straightforward. At an undergraduate level, European students can access SNUDE, the Spanish National University for Distance Education - www.uned.es, to have their documents validated. The solicitud de inscripcion is available during the month of April and represents the application. If accepted, a Credencial de Accesso will be sent to you and that can be used to apply to universities in the country. Non-EU students will need to prove that their studies comply with the Spanish requirements, proof usually gained from a Spanish Embassy. After that, it is necessary for them to register for an entrance exam called the selectividad or the Pruebas de Acceso a la Universidad that has 4 components: text analysis, Spain’s History or Philosophy (choose one beforehand), foreign language exam, and for the last part several choices are available from Art to Science. For the other two cycles, students will contact personally the university. As a requirement, they must prove previous Bachelor’s (for Master’s) or Master’s (for PhD) studies. There may be more than one period of applications. While there are various courses offered in different languages than Spanish, universities will provide introductory classes for international students who wish to study in it.
In terms of tuition fees, Spain has relatively low prices for its well-ranked universities compared to other EU countries. Public institution will charge between 680-1,280 euros per annum for undergraduate studies and up to 2,160 euros per annum for Master’s and PhDs. Prices for private institutions range between 5,500 and 18,000 euros per annum. Loans, scholarships and grants are offered for all students, more information here.
Information for International Students
Costs of living in Spain vary between cities: it will be considerably more expensive in the largest, more tourist cities than the rest. However, Madrid is only the 48th most expensive in Europe which is actually considered cheap globally. Located in Southwestern Europe, Spain became one of the most popular destination in recent years for international students. For anyone who wishes to live in a country full of cultural diversity with beautiful sceneries and internationally accredited education, but with a reduced budget, Spain is an obvious choice.