Studying in Spain

International Excellence of Spanish Universities

The university system in Spain is made up of 84 universities (50 public and 34 private), as well as 480 research institutes and 67 science and technology parks. As a member country of the European Higher Education Area (EHEA), all official degrees awarded by Spanish universities are recognised for academic and professional purposes in 53 countries worldwide, 45 of which are European

Spanish universities work with academic quality levels with international accreditations and carry out leading activities in their teaching, research and knowledge transfer fields with international projection.

24 Spanish universities are listed, for specific disciplines, in the top 200 universities worldwide in three of the most used international rankings (last edition available from 2015): the Shanghai Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU), the QS World University Rankings (QS), and the National Taiwan University Ranking (NTU). These 24 universities include 17 that appear in the top 100 worldwide in certain disciplines and 8 that are listed in the top 50. In terms of scientific production, Spain holds the tenth position worldwide according to the Scimago Journal Rank (SJR, 2014 edition), for the number of scientific documents published.

There are also 25 Spanish universities that have at least one degree accredited with an international seal of quality from scientific or professional associations including: ABE (Association of Building Engineers); ABET (Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology); EAEVE (European Association of Establishments for Veterinary Education); Euro-Inf del EQAINE (European Quality Assurance Network for Informatics Education); EQUIS (EFMD Quality Improvement System); GAC (Global Accreditation Center); IChemE (Institution of Chemical Engineers); PEGASUS (Partnership of a European Group of Aeronautics and Space Universities); o UNWTO.TedQual (Themis Foundation- World Tourism Organization).

These projects undertake experimental or theoretical work with the aim of acquiring new general scientific or technical knowledge that helps secure progress in their relevant fields.

The Directorate General for Research and Management of the National Plan for R&D&i is responsible for initiating, conducting and concluding the procedure for granting aid and monitoring awarded projects.

Innovation, Technology and Knowledge Transfer

Spain is an international benchmark in several areas of innovation, technology and knowledge transfer:

  • World leader in renewable energy (fourth European country in terms of renewable energy patent applications) and in infrastructure management –airports, ports and motorways– (seven of the ten largest companies worldwide in this sector are Spanish).
  • Number one country in Europe and third worldwide in agro-biotechnology and fifth in biochemistry and molecular biology.
  • Number two country and ninth worldwide in vehicle manufacturing; leading manufacturer of industrial vehicles and leader in electric car technology.
  • International benchmark for the development and implementation of electronic signature and eID systems; as well as the pioneer in developing the most advanced antivirus software worldwide.

Spain as a country of destination...

Spain, member country of the European Union (EU) since 1986, covers 504,645 km² of land and has a population of 46,464,053 people (2014), making it the second largest country in Western Europe and fifth in terms of population. The territorial organisation of the State is made up of seventeen Autonomous Communities and two Autonomous Cities (Ceuta and Melilla), resulting in the corresponding distribution of political and administrative power among the central and autonomous authorities.

The Spanish culture is extremely diversified, illustrated by the variety of languages spoken in the country. The official language is Castilian Spanish. The Spanish language has been growing since the 16th century and it has not ceased to spread over time. Toward the end of the 19th century there were around 60 million speakers. One hundred years later, Spanish is now the world's second most spoken language in terms of the number of native speakers (around 470 million people), just behind Mandarin Chinese. It is currently the official language of some twenty countries worldwide and one of the three languages that tend to be considered official and apt for working purposes in many international bodies. In some Autonomous Communities there are other languages including Catalan, Valencian, Galician or Basque, which are also official in their respective Communities.

Spain is the third country worldwide with most places of natural or cultural heritage included on the UNESCO list: it has 44 places declared as Heritage of Humanity and 14 declared as Intangible Heritage. In 2014, more than 65 million tourists visited the country. Comparatively, the cost of living in Spain is less than in its neighbouring countries in Europe.

What and where to study at university (QEDU)

The what and where application was developed to provide students wishing to study at Spanish universities with a source of information to help them decide on which degree to start and where to study it.

The information has been retrieved from the Registry of Universities, Centres and Qualifications and from the Integrated University Information System.

Types of universities

The Spanish University System is divided into two types of university: public and private.

According to Organic Law 6/2001 on Universities, public universities are institutions created by the Law of the Legislative Assembly of the Autonomous Community where they are to be established, as well as those created by the Law of the Spanish General Courts, at the proposal of the Government and in accordance with the Autonomous Community where they are to be established.

Private universities, on the other hand, are created by natural or legal persons by virtue of section 6 of article 27 of the Spanish Constitution, whilst upholding the constitutional principles and in compliance with the provisions set forth in Organic Law 6/2001 on Universities.

In other words, whether a university is private or public depends on the ownership: on the one hand there are public universities, created by a public entity; and on the other there are private universities, created by a natural or legal person.

There are universities specialising in online learning that allow students to complete Bachelor's Degrees, Master's Degrees and Doctorates on a long-distance basis. In addition, there are increasingly more public and private universities offering the possibility of completing studies on a long-distance basis.

Academic calendar

The majority of Spanish universities divide the academic year into two semesters: the first usually starts between mid-September and the start of October, finishes at the end of December and the exam period is usually held in January; the second semester begins at the end of January or the start of February and finishes in May, and the exam period normally takes place in June.

This academic calendar can vary depending on the university. Some universities divide their academic calendar into terms.

If you require further details of the calendar or any other academic aspect of the university where you have been granted a place, you can consult our section on contact information for international students.

Cost of studies

The cost of studies varies according to two criteria: the type of degree (official or university-specific) and the type of university where it is taught (public or private).

It is worth pointing out, with regard to both public and private universities, the amount paid by the student will vary according to the number of credits taken, the chosen degree and the academic performance, since extra charges are added for enrolling two or more times in one of more subjects.

Private universities

The cost of all degrees, whether official or university-specific, is set by the university itself.

The cost for enrolling on a Bachelor's Degree, Master's Degree or Doctorate can range between €5,000 and €15,000 per academic year, depending on the type of course and institution chosen.

Public universities

The public cost of all official degrees is established by way of Decree in each Autonomous Community within the limits set by the General Conference on University Policy. Meanwhile, the cost of university-specific degrees is decided by the University where they are taught and no limit is imposed.

In the 2014-2015 academic year, the cost to enrol on Bachelor's Degree studies in Spanish public universities ranged between €750 and €2,600 per academic year. The cost to enrol on official Master's Degrees and Doctorates at public universities was in a fixed range between €17 and €65 per credit (one European credit equates to between 25 and 30 hours work carried out by the student).

Official degrees and the European Higher Education Area

Official Degrees and the European Higher Education Area

Those which have been adapted to the European Higher Education Area (EHEA). It is divided into three cycles: Bachelor Program, Master Program and Doctoral Program. Both the Bachelor Program and Master Program are taught in the following fields of study:

  • Arts and Humanities.
  • Sciences.
  • Health Sciences.
  • Social and Legal Sciences.
  • Engineering and Architecture.

First Cycle: Bachelor Program

The Bachelor's Degree comprises 240 ECTS credits that are distributed over four academic years (including the End-of-Degree Project).

The Bachelor's Degree is structured as follows:

  • Basic learning subjects (minimum of 60 credits).
  • Compulsory subjects.
  • Elective subjects.
  • External internships (maximum of 60 credits).
  • End-of-Degree Project (minimum of 6 credits and a maximum of 30).
  • Recognition of cultural activities (maximum of 6 credits). The student is required to enrol in a minimum of 9 credits and a maximum of 90 each academic year.

Second Cycle: Master Program

Master's Degrees comprise between 60 and 120 ECTS credits that are distributed over one or two academic years.

Official studies on the Master Program enable students to specialise in their academic, professional or research fields, ultimately being awarded Master's Degrees that are valid in all member countries of the European Higher Education Area (EHEA).

Students are eligible to study on a Master Program in compliance with the specific criteria and assessment of merits that, as the case may be, are inherent to the chosen University Master's Degree.

Universities have a Coordinating Commission for degrees that defines the procedures and criteria for admission to the Master Program in any of its periods.

Using our degree search tool you can consult the postgraduate degrees offered at all Spanish universities.

Third Cycle: Doctoral Program

Doctoral studies in Spain enable students to advance their training in research techniques. They are divided into two cycles: one with studies comprising at least 60 credits that may be part of the Master Program cycle; and another research cycle that finally requires the student to publicly defend an original piece of research (doctoral thesis). A maximum duration of three years of full-time study is established for doctoral programs, offering the possibility of completing them in five years in a part-time basis.

European Doctorate

The qualification of Doctor may include the mention of "International Doctor" on the face of the certificate; this requires:

  • Throughout the compulsory study period to obtain the qualification of doctor, the student is required to spend at least three months outside Spain in a higher education institute or renowned research centre, completing studies or conducting research projects. The period of stay and activities must be certified by the director and authorised by the Academic Commission, after which they will be added to the record of activities completed by the doctoral candidate.
  • A part of the doctoral thesis, at the very least the abstract and conclusions, must be written and presented in one of the regular languages used for scientific communication in the corresponding field of knowledge and different to any of the official languages in Spain. This rule shall not apply when the periods of stay, reports and experts correspond to a Spanish-speaking country.
  • At least two doctoral experts from any non-Spanish higher education institute or research centre must provide guidance on the thesis.
  • At least one expert from any non-Spanish higher education institute or research centre, with the qualification of doctor, and different to the person in charge of the study period outlined in section a), must be a member on the thesis evaluation committee.

Doctoral Schools

Universities may comprise doctoral schools that channel the doctoral training activity offered at each university in a more targeted way, as well as promote collaborative schemes with public and private entities engaged in business or research both nationally and internationally. Within their scope of management, the schools will subsequently organise the doctoral program into one or several branches of knowledge or interdisciplinary fields of study and will create a critical mass of researchers from different backgrounds for the purpose of enhancing the skills and abilities of doctoral candidates.

ECTS credits

ECTS credits (European Credit Transfer System) are the standard used by all universities in the European Higher Education Area (EHEA) and ensure alignment of the different European higher education systems.

The ECTS credits are based on the personal work carried out by the student; hours of teaching, independent study, projects or internships.

One ECTS credit equates to 25 hours of work completed by the student. One academic year comprises 60 ECTS credits, as long as the student is completing the course on a full-time basis.

Unofficial degrees or university-specific degrees

These degrees are only certified by the public or private university where they are taught (not by governments) and their merit will depend on their level of acceptance in the labour market.

University-specific Master's Degree

University-specific Master's Degrees are required to pass a more flexible and varied internal standard-setting process (within the university itself). Their official recognition comes from the assurance of being a degree that has passed all regulatory and quality controls of a public university.

They are intended to offer a type of training in line with the demands of society; i.e., more flexible and diverse training that offers professional or academic specialisation, or an update of knowledge to meet the requirements of life-long learning, which is advocated by the EHEA.

To be eligible to study for a university-specific Master's Degree, students are required to hold a Bachelor's Degree qualification or equivalent in the current levels of study (Graduate, Architect, Engineer). In certain cases, a diploma or technical engineering degree may suffice.

Expert university courses

These are geared towards university graduates from the first and second cycle and, under exceptional circumstances, professionals who meet the minimum entry requirements for official university studies, provided they are professionals working in areas directly related to the specialist area of the course.

They cover subjects in any branch of knowledge with a view to being applied to professional activities. The Expert Program may last between several months to one year, i.e., according to the new credits system their teaching load would be between a minimum of 20 and a maximum of 40 ECTS credits. Between 150 and 400 hours of teaching for this type of program when it is taught on a face-to-face basis.

Specialist university course

This is very similar to the Expert University Course. Some universities differentiate between them for the purpose of offering programs on the same subject but with different levels of entry requirements. Therefore, in order to be granted a place on a Specialist University Course, it is enough to meet the university's own entry requirements. Similar to the Expert Course, the Specialist University Course is aimed at professional advancement and specialisation. Likewise, this type of postgraduate degree covers a wide range of teaching hours, between a minimum of 200 and a maximum of 400.

Degrees offered

As per provisions set forth in Organic Law 6/2001, the autonomy of universities comprises the issuance of university degrees of an official and legal nature throughout national territory, as well as their own university specific diplomas and degrees.

Official degrees

Official university degrees are valid throughout the country, are established by the government and are adapted to the European Higher Education Area (EHEA). This adaptation ensures they are valid in all countries belonging to the EHEA. These degrees can be accredited/validated in other countries that are not members of this area.

University-specific degrees

Unofficial or university-specific degrees are created by universities and are not officially valid within the EHEA. In general, they cannot be accredited in other countries; they are only endorsed by the public or private university in which they are taught.

Degrees can be distinguished according to their title, whether university-specific or official. The titles of official university degrees are Official Bachelor's Degree, University Master's Degree and Doctorate; meanwhile, the titles of university-specific degrees are Unofficial Bachelor's Degree, Unofficial Master's or Magister Degree, Specialist Master's Degree and Expert Master's Degree. There are no unofficial doctorates.

For further information regarding the qualifications offered in the Spanish university system, both university-specific and official.

Living in Spain

This section will provide you with essential information for preparing a study and research period in Spain before, during and after your stay.

Before arriving in Spain

If you have decided to start or complete studies or research in Spain and you have been accepted by one of our universities, here you will find important information for preparing your stay in our country.

Practical info

This section will provide you with general practical information for your day-to-day in our country: currency, cost of living, medical insurance and housing options.

Cost of living and currency

Currency

As a member of the Eurozone, Spain uses the euro. For more information about the euro, visit: European Central Bank.

One euro is divided into 100 cents.

There are eight different coins: 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50 cents, and 1 and 2 euros. There are seven different denominations of the euro banknotes: 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200 and 500 euros.

Cost of living

According to several studies, the average spending of a student or researcher in Spain is between €900 and €1,100 per month depending on the city and, of course, the amount that each student or researcher can individually spend.

The differences between cities are mainly due to accommodation costs (whether for renting a room in a shared flat, student halls, university halls, etc,) that tend to be higher in more densely populated cities.

How much? (average cost whilst taking into account that prices vary from city to city)
  • Bread baguette €0.80
  • Coffee €1.50
  • Soft drink or beer in a bar €2
  • Sandwich €3.50
  • Litre of milk €0.80
  • Menu of the day in an average restaurant €11
  • Menu of the day in a fast food restaurant €6,50
  • Metro or bus ticket €1,50
  • 10-journey transport ticket €13
  • Monthly student travel pass €45-50
  • High-speed train or airplane ticket for Madrid-Barcelona-Madrid €130
  • Litre of petrol €1,35
  • Newspaper €1,20
  • Entrance fee to one of the main museums with student discount €3
  • Cinema ticket with student discount €5,50
  • Film rental €3,50
  • Internet €30/month
  • Gym membership €30-50/month

Accommodation options

Student halls

There are different types of student halls, some belonging to and some separate from the educational institutions. Educational websites provide lists of student halls according to provinces.

University halls of residence

University halls of residence are student halls that belong to the universities and where students and researchers, both national and international, live together. The Spanish Foundation of University Halls of Residence (FCM MAEC-AECID) is a non-profit body promoted and supported by the Spanish Agency of International Cooperation belonging to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of Spain. Among other endeavours, it aims to offer housing and provide a complementary framework of cultural learning to university students on Postgraduate, Doctoral and Master's Programs, as well as to teachers and researchers from all countries with which Spain has cultural, educational, scientific and cooperative ties.

For more information on this type of accommodation, visit the website for the Consejo de Colegios Mayores [Council of University Halls of Residence] or for the Asociación Española de Colegios Mayores y Residencias Universitarias Públicas [Spanish Association of University Halls of Residence and Public Student Halls].

Family stays

Living with a Spanish family may be an interesting way of getting to know the country, culture and the people. It is also a natural and quick way to practise the language.

The internet is a fantastic resource to get in touch with Spanish families that are interested in welcoming students and researchers.

Renting a flat

Many students prefer to share a rented flat. Rent prices can significantly vary depending on the city or the number of people sharing the flat. There are many agencies online that offer this accommodation option, and as well as options to share a flat with other students or live with Spanish families, they offer the possibility of staying in housing for elderly people who live alone and wish to welcome a university student into their homes.

Medical insurance

Citizens from countries belonging to the European Economic Area (the 27 countries of the European Union plus Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway) that are entitled to Social Security in their country of origin are required to apply for the European Health Card. This form is issued by the public health authorities of the different countries mentioned above and entitles holders to healthcare provision in Spain.

Citizens from countries that do not belong to the European Economic Area should check if there are bilateral arrangements and agreements between their country and Spain in relation to Social Security and medical care. This type of agreement is currently in place only with some Latin American countries including Brazil, Chile, Ecuador, Paraguay and Peru. There is also an agreement of this sort in place with the Principality of Andorra. If there is an arrangement or agreement in this regard between your country and Spain, you must process the document with the public health authorities of your country to be eligible to receive healthcare in Spain.

Non-EU citizens from countries without this kind of agreement in place with Spain are required to take out private medical insurance, as they are not legally entitled to access free Social Security in Spain. This medical insurance is essential to apply for a student visa at Spanish consular offices, as well as for the subsequent application for the 'authorisation to stay for study purposes' once in Spain. The medical insurance should be valid for the entire stay in Spain. This insurance may be Spanish or foreign and should include repatriation costs in the event of death.

General information

This section will provide you with general information on Spain: State organisation, language, culture, population and geography.

Culture

The geographical location has turned the Iberian Peninsula into a natural bridge between the cultures from the north and south of Europe, as well as from Africa and the Mediterranean. The changing fortunes throughout its history have made it a meeting place between the most diverse cultures.

Spain has a rich historical and cultural heritage. The presence of various cultures, from Upper Palaeolithic to Neolithic; Celts and Iberians as indigenous people of the Iberian Peninsula; the Greek, Phoenician and Carthaginian colonies; Romans, Visigoths, Muslims and the people of the peninsular medieval kingdoms, have left behind a huge number of archaeological remains; a concentration of sites with one-of-a-kind cave art, medieval castles, cathedrals, cities and towns; a cultural legacy, in essence, that has stood the test of time.

The country, in all of its spheres, has undergone a process of modernisation over the last three decades. Culture was no different in this sense, having experienced a significant boom in this period. It was modernised and democratised, making it much more accessible to the whole population.

In the world of publishing, Spain has become a global power house, which has largely been due to the Spanish language, which with little over 400 million speakers is the fourth language most spoken worldwide. Aside from this, the growing interest in Spanish worldwide is also substantiated by the distinguished group of young writers who have sold millions of copies of their books.

This success was also mirrored in the world of cinema. There are increasingly more internationally renowned actors and directors in Spanish cinema and, although it is often at a competitive disadvantage to productions by major multinational companies, it has made feature films that have received recognition at some of the most important festivals and competitions around the world. Some well known directors, among others, include Pedro Almodóvar, Alejandro Amenábar, Carlos Saura, Álex de la Iglesia or Bigas Luna, and relevant modern-day actors and actresses include Javier Barden, Antonio Banderas, Penélope Cruz, Carmen Maura or Victoria Abril.

It's a similar story for performing arts. Opera has produced leading world-class artists, whilst many theatre companies triumph on main stages across all five continents.

Insofar as art is concerned, Spain has perfectly combined efforts in preserving the vestiges of its extensive and rich history with the construction of new modern art museums, support for new creators and improvement of museum facilities. The Prado Museum, The Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum and the Reina Sofia Museum are three of the world's cultural benchmarks.

A fresh group of choreographers have emerged in the last thirty years, taking contemporary dance produced in Spain to never-before-reached heights. Meanwhile, the talent and calibre of our classic dancers demonstrates brilliance in theatres across the globe. Not forgetting Spanish dance, the legacy of flamenco, which has given birth to a powerful generation of artists whose globally acclaimed performances are enjoyed worldwide.

Spanish and the Languages of Spain

Article 3 of the Spanish Constitution establishes that Castilian Spanish is the official language of the State that all Spanish citizens have a duty to know and a right to use. Other Spanish languages will also be official in their respective Autonomous Communities in accordance with their Statutes. Likewise, it establishes that the different languages of Spain represent a cultural wealth and heritage that will be entitled to special respect and protection.

For the first time in the history of Spain, recognition is given to the rights of the Autonomous Communities of the Basque Country, Galicia, Catalonia, the Balearic Islands and the Valencian Community to use their language (Basque, Galician, Catalan and Valencian), without undermining Castilian Spanish.

The Spanish language has been growing since the 16th century and it has not ceased to spread over time. Toward the end of the 19th century there were around 60 million speakers. One hundred years later, Spanish is now the world's second most spoken language with almost 400 million speakers, just behind Mandarin Chinese. It is currently the official language of some twenty countries worldwide and one of the three languages that tend to be considered official and apt for working purposes in many international bodies.

Geography, climate and time zone

Geography

The majority of Spanish territory is integrated into, along with Portugal and Andorra, the geographic unit of the Iberian Peninsula, located in the southwest corner of Europe. It is also made up of a group of islands such as the Canary Islands and the Balearic Islands, other smaller islands and the cities of Ceuta and Melilla, located in north Africa.

The total surface area of 506,030 Km2 makes Spain one the 50 largest countries worldwide.

Climate

The climate in Spain is difficult to classify given its heterogeneous nature, although the following types can be distinguished:

  • Atlantic or Oceanic climate
  • Continental climate
  • Mediterranean climate
  • Mediterranean mountain

In relation to the temperatures, the differences are significant between inland and peripheral regions. Given their continental characteristics, inland areas experience a very cold winter, with average January temperatures of between 0 and 3ºC, in contrast to a hot summer: average of 24ºC in July and August. Meanwhile, peripheral regions experience mild winters, 10ºC average in January, and between 16 and 18ºC annual average, particularly along the Mediterranean coastline.

Rainfall varies significantly: the north and the northeast, with direct Atlantic influence, are considerably rainy and lack a clear dry period. It is the so-called wet Spain, with rainfall exceeding 600 mm, possibly reaching 2,000 mm annually. The rest of Spain is predominantly dry, with annual rainfall of less than 600 mm. The southeast of Spain has a semi-arid climate, with rainfall below 300 mm per year.

For further information you can visit the Official Website for the National Institute of Meteorology.

Time zone

Spanish peninsular time is GMT+1 throughout the year, only GMT+2 in summer.

State organisation

State organisation

The Spanish Constitution of 1978 is the supreme law of the Spanish legal system, which regulates the duties and basic rights of citizens and the form and structure of the State. Article 1 of the Constitution states that Spain is established as a social and democratic State, subject to the rule of law, which advocates freedom, justice, equality and political pluralism as the highest values of its legal system. It also proclaims that national sovereignty is vested in the Spanish people, from whom emanate the powers of the State, and that the political form of the Spanish State is that of a Parliamentary Monarchy. The Constitution also entails an extensive list of basic rights and public liberties of all citizens, and consecrates the State of Autonomies.

The political form of the Spanish State is that of a Parliamentary Monarchy. The King, in the capacity of Head of State, is the symbol of its unity and permanence. He arbitrates and moderates the regular functioning of the institutions and assumes the highest representation of the Spanish State in international relations.

Legislative power lies with the Cortes Generales, bicameral assembly made up of the Congress of Deputies and the Senate. They represent the people, exercise legislative power and approve budgets.

The Government is responsible for Executive Power and initiating legislative action. The Government directs domestic and foreign policy, civil and military administration and the defence of the State.

The exercise of Judicial Power in Spain lies within the competence of the Courts and Tribunals made up of Judges and Magistrates who have the power to administer justice on behalf of the King.

The Autonomous Communities

The Constitution of 1978 recognised and guaranteed the right to autonomy of the nationalities and regions of which it is composed, and the solidarity amongst them all. The territorial organisation of the state is made up of seventeen Autonomous Communities and two Autonomous Cities (Ceuta and Melilla), resulting in the corresponding distribution of political and administrative power among the central and autonomous authorities.

Each Autonomous Community has a Statute of Autonomy, approved by means of organic law, which constitutes the basic institutional rules of the Community and which regulates essential aspects such as the organisation and functioning of their Parliament and Government, the power that the Community undertakes, its administration, its signs of identity and differential facts such as the language and civil law, and relations with the State and with other Autonomous Communities.

Population

There are more than 46 million people living in Spain. To be more precise, according to data from 1 January 2014, there are 46,507,760 people living in Spain, 4,676,022 of which have a foreign nationality.

In terms of gender, 49.1% of people living in Spain are male and 50.9% are women. In terms of age, 15.2% of registered citizens are under 16 years old, 40% are between 16 and 44 years old, and 44.8% older than 45.

During your stay

If you have decided to start or complete studies or research in Spain and you have been accepted by one of our universities, here you will find important information for preparing your stay in our country.

Once in Spain, you may need to open a Spanish bank account. This section will provide you with information on the process as well as other practical information on the transport system in our country or details regarding tourism in Spain.

Opening a bank account

In order to open a bank account in Spain, regardless of your nationality, you will be required to provide proof of your status as a resident or non-resident.

If you are a resident, you will have to present your NIE (Foreigner's ID Card) to be able to open the account.

If you are not a resident (i.e., if you have still not obtained the NIE), you will have to apply for a non-resident certificate from the Directorate-General of Police and present it to the bank along with your passport. Some banks offer the service of processing the abovementioned certificate, and the cost for which may vary depending on the bank.

International student associations

Transport

In terms of transport infrastructure, Spain is one of the leading countries worldwide today: we have one of the most important high-capacity road networks in Europe; we are one of the countries with most kilometres of high-speed railway lines worldwide; and our companies are also global leaders in the infrastructure sector.

Depending on the city, you might find the following types of public transport:

  • Bus: All large Spanish cities have a modern bus network that covers different routes to reach different areas of the city.
  • Metro: Some of the best underground rail systems in Europe operate in Spanish cities. More information at:
  • Taxi: Spain has a significant fleet of taxis, although the number varies depending on the city. It is also possible to book or call for a taxi any time of day, all year round.
  • Train: From almost any part of Spain it is extremely easy to travel by train thanks the extensive railway network for both national and international destinations. The Spanish state-owned railway company is RENFE. Many Spanish cities are connected by high-speed railway lines called AVE.
  • Air travel: For further information on the different airports in Spain you can consult the AENA (Spanish Airports and Air Navigation) website.

Tourism

As the third largest country in Europe, Spain is one of the most popular tourist destinations worldwide.

In 2014, more than 65 million tourists visited Spain. The majority of tourists that visit Spain come from other parts of Europe, mainly the United Kingdom, Germany, France and other Nordic countries.

There is traditionally a bigger influx of tourists in summer months (June through to September). That said, this trend has taken a turn in recent years, where a more even distribution is noted over the course of the year.

If you want to read about the different tourism possibilities and options in Spain, you can visit the website for the Spanish Tourism Institute.

Spanish, the language of culture and communication, is the fastest growing language worldwide today. Our language is the second most spoken worldwide, behind Mandarin Chinese, and it has official status in twenty-one countries. Around four hundred million people speak it across the globe.

The United States, where more than 15% of the population has Latin roots, is the second country in terms of the number of Spanish speakers, behind Mexico and ahead of Spain. Spanish is also the official language of many international organisations.

Diplomas of Spanish (DELE)
  • Diplomas of Spanish as a Foreign Language (DELE) are internationally recognised official qualifications that accredit the level of competence and command of the Spanish language. The DELE qualifications are awarded by the Cervantes Institute on behalf of the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport in Spain.
  • Spanish Diploma Level A1 certifies that the student has enough linguistic ability to understand and use basic expressions anywhere within the Spanish-speaking world in situations relating to immediate needs.
  • Spanish Diploma Level A2 certifies that the candidate can understand commonly used, everyday phrases and expressions related to areas of experience relevant to them (basic information about themselves, and their families, shopping, places of interest, work, etc.).
  • Spanish Diploma Level B1 (Threshold) certifies the candidate's capacity to understand and deal with the most common everyday situations and to describe desires and needs in a basic way.
  • Spanish Diploma Level B2 (Vantage) certifies the candidate's capacity to interact in everyday situations, in normal communication circumstances that do not require specialised use of the language.
  • Spanish Diploma Level C1 certifies the candidate's linguistic ability to express themselves clearly without having a limit to what they want to say. The candidate has a solid command of a wide variety of vocabulary, including idiomatic and colloquial expressions.
  • Spanish Diploma Level C2 (Mastery) certifies that the candidate has sufficient linguistic competence to engage in situations that require an advanced grasp of the language and knowledge of the cultural customs embedded within it.
  • Application periods usually take place in May, August and November.
  • More information about the DELE
In Spain

Studying Spanish in Spain is the easiest, most effective and motivating way to learn our language, as attending regular courses with native students at university and specific courses to learn Spanish is enhanced with total immersion in the society and culture of the country.

Some experts claim that you can learn as much in 2-4 weeks in Spain than with 1 year of Spanish classes in another country.

To learn Spanish in Spain you can get in touch with:

  • The Spanish university where you are going to study. The majority of universities offer Spanish courses for foreign students, which might take place in summer, may be intensive, extensive, have a business focus or be intended for students wishing to obtain the "Diploma of Spanish as a Foreign Language" (DELE). In addition to the specific language courses, many centres offer courses on the Spanish culture.
  • There are language schools and academies throughout the country that focus on Spanish learning and development.
  • Cervantes Institute finder
In your country

If you have knowledge of Spanish prior to visiting Spain, your immersion in the culture will be a lot faster and your linguistic level will advance quicker during your stay..

Anyone interested in learning Spanish in their country of origin can get in touch with:

  • The Cervantes Institute closest to where they live.
  • Online Spanish courses. These courses are mainly intended for beginner students and for those wishing to refresh what they have learned already. The majority of universities, both public and private, offer online Spanish courses.
Other co-official languages

Castilian Spanish is the official language of Spain but it is not the only language spoken in our country. Catalan (in Catalonia and the Balearic Islands, or Valencian in the Community of Valencia), Galician (in Galicia) and Basque (in the Basque Country), are other official languages spoken in Spain and, therefore, the languages spoken in universities in these Autonomous Communities, alongside Castilian Spanish.

In Communities with their own language, classes are taught both in Spanish and in their respective co-official languages. Virtually all universities in these Communities offer a wide range of courses geared towards international students wishing to learn the language and find out more about the cultural, historical and social wealth of the place where they live and, in turn, enable their local integration. It is worth pointing out that many of these courses to learn Catalan, Galician and Basque are offered for free at universities.

Useful information on how and where to study these languages:

FAQ

What is the Internationalisation Unit of Spanish Higher Education?

The Internationalisation Unit of Spanish Higher Education is the Spanish State Agency for the promotion of the Spanish university system around the world.

The Internationalisation Unit of Spanish Higher Education is not a university.

Our website offers extensive information on what a foreign student needs to know when choosing Spain as a study destination of excellence (finder for universities and study programs on offer, grants, application periods, legal information and information on periods of stay, etc.).

You will find more information via this link.

How can you can apply for a grant to enrol in a Spanish university?

Every university has their own policy on grants, therefore students are advised to visit their websites. There are also countless Spanish and international institutions that offer grants, with different calls for applications and deadlines that are constantly changing.

Does the Internationalisation Unit of Spanish Higher Education offer grants directly to students?

The Internationalisation Unit of Spanish Higher Education does not award grants. However, it has created a finder on its website that gathers information regarding grants offered by Spanish and international universities and institutions, for both Spanish and foreign students.

Are Spanish universities among the best worldwide?

Spanish universities appear in the most prestigious global rankings, such as the Academic Ranking of World Universities-ARWU (Shanghai Ranking), the National Taiwan University Ranking- NTU (Taiwan Ranking), the QS World University Ranking (QS), the SCimago Institutions Ranking, the Times Higher Education World University Rankings (THE), the U-Multirank or Webometrics, etc.

For example, in the disciplines ranking by QS, Shanghai and Taiwan (2014 edition), 24 universities were among the top 200 universities worldwide in one or several disciplines, 17 universities among the top 100 worldwide, and 8 universities among the top 50 worldwide in at least one discipline. Meanwhile, Spain has one of the best international rankings for young universities (under 50 years old). In the QS Top 50 under 50 ranking that classifies these universities, Spain is number two worldwide and first in Europe in terms of the number of classified young universities. In a similar ranking, the Times Higher Education under 50, Spain stands at number two in Europe, and fifth worldwide, in terms of the number of classified universities under 50 years old. For further information, consult the FICUE project in Spain.

What type of qualifications are available in Spain?

There are two types of degrees in Spain: official degrees and university-specific degrees. All universities in Spain, whether public or private, can award both types of degrees.

Official degrees:

Bachelor Program, University Master Program and Doctoral Program.

Official university degrees are valid throughout Spain, are included in the Registry of Universities, Centres and Qualifications (RUCT) of the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport, and are adapted to the European Higher Education Area (EHEA). This adaptation ensures they are valid in all countries belonging to the EHEA. These degrees can be accredited/validated in other countries that are not members of the EHEA.

University-specific degrees:

There are many names for these types of degrees, including: Unofficial Bachelor's Degree, Unofficial Magister or Master's Degree, Specialist Master's Degree and Expert Master's Degree. There are no unofficial doctorates. Unofficial or university-specific degrees are created by universities and are not officially valid within the EHEA. In general, they cannot be accredited in other countries and are only endorsed by the public or private university in which they are taught.

Access to official degrees

BACHELOR'S DEGREES

To study a Bachelor's Degree it is important to decide whether to study it from the beginning (starting the degree in Spain) or continue the Bachelor's Degree studies already underway in the country of origin.

Starting university studies: Students from the EU, Switzerland, Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein, Andorra and China that hold a high school diploma equivalent to the Spanish baccalaureate, a European baccalaureate or an international baccalaureate.

Students from EU-member countries, Switzerland, Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein, Andorra and China who do not meet the university entry requirements in their countries or students from other countries with studies accredited in Spain.

Continuing university studies: Students who have partially completed university studies abroad or in Spain, or who having completed university studies abroad have not obtained their accreditation or equivalence in Spain and wish to continue studies in a Spanish university.

MASTER'S DEGREE

International students interested in studying a Master's Degree in Spain can apply directly to the Spanish university where they wish to study. To be accepted onto a Master Program, students are required to meet any of the following requirements:

  • Hold a Bachelor's Degree obtained from a Spanish university or a Bachelor's Degree from a university within the European Higher Education Area (EHEA)
  • Hold a Bachelor's Degree obtained from any other country and accredited by the university to which the student is applying, confirming that the level of studies is equivalent to the level of Bachelor's Degree studies in Spain.

DOCTORATE

In order to be accepted onto a doctoral program, students are generally required to hold a Spanish Bachelor's Degree or equivalent and an Official University Master's Degree (RD 99/2011).

Access to university-specific degrees

University-specific degrees vary in terms of their length of study, names and entry requirements. Given that they are approved by the same university where they are taught, the requirements vary depending on the university where they are offered. They may be Bachelor's Degree or Postgraduate studies and, therefore, tend to require, for both cases, presentation of an official university-specific degree and the marks obtained for studies already underway.

What Bachelor and Master programs are offered in English in Spanish universities?

Each university normally specifies what programs are taught entirely or partially in English. Internationalisation has created an English degree finder that gathers extensive information on the academic programs in English on offer.

Is it necessary to accredit university degrees to be accepted into a Spanish university?

No. Foreign students with foreign university degrees are not required to accredit their studies to be accepted into a Spanish university.

When a foreign student with foreign university studies wishes to study a Bachelor's Degree, Master's Degree or Doctorate, they should follow the procedure established by the host Spanish university.

Although it is not necessary to accredit foreign university degrees, when a foreign student wishes to study a Postgraduate Degree, the host university will validate their qualification to allow them to pursue the same studies in the Spanish university.

How much does it cost to study in Spain?

The cost of studies varies depending on three criteria:

  • The type of degree (official or university-specific).
  • The type of university where they are taught (public or private).
  • If you are an EU or non-EU student.

It is worth pointing out that, with regard to both public and private universities, the amount paid by the student will vary according to the number of credits (one European credit equates to between 25 and 30 hours of work completed by the student) taken, the chosen degree and the academic performance, since extra charges are added for enrolling two or more times in one of more subjects.

Private universities

The cost of all degrees, whether official or university-specific, is set by the university itself. The cost for enrolling on a Bachelor's Degree, Master's Degree or Doctorate can range between €5,000 and €15,000 per academic year, depending on the type of course and institution chosen.

Public universities

The public cost of all official degrees is established each year by way of Decree in each Autonomous Community within the limits set by the General Conference on University Policy.

Universities must abide by these public prices for Spanish or EU students. However, legislation enables universities to increase the public prices for non-EU students.

Meanwhile, the cost of university-specific degrees is decided by the University where they are taught and no limit is imposed.

In the 2014-2015 academic year, the cost to enrol on Bachelor's Degree studies in Spanish public universities ranged between €700 and €3,700 per academic year.

The cost to enrol on official Master's Degrees and Doctorates at public universities is within a fixed range between €17 and €65 per credit.

How much does it cost to live in Spain?

Whilst this is a subjective concept, the average spending of a student or researcher in Spain (not taking luxuries into account) is between €900 and €1200 per month depending on the city.

The differences between cities are mainly due to accommodation costs (whether for renting a room in a shared flat, student halls, university halls of residence, etc.). The cost is generally higher in more populated cities such as Madrid and Barcelona.

Although the differences in accommodation costs between cities may be significant, food and service prices tend to be similar throughout the majority of Spanish cities.

How many languages are spoken in Spain?

Castilian Spanish is the official language for the whole of Spain, but it is not the only language spoken in our country.

The other official languages spoken in Spain are Catalan (in Catalonia), Mallorcan (in the Balearic Islands), Valencian (in the Valencian Community), Galician (in Galicia) and Basque (in the Basque Country).

In Autonomous Communities with their own language, classes can be taught both in Spanish and in their respective co-official languages, as well as in English, when stipulated in the list of programs of each university.

The universities in these Communities may offer a wide range of courses geared towards international students wishing to learn the language and find out more about the cultural, historical and social wealth of the place where they live. These courses also foster local integration.

It is worth pointing out that many of these courses to learn Catalan, Galician and Basque are offered for free at universities.

What documentation is required to study in Spain?

Depending on the length of studies

  • Studies lasting 3 months or less.
  • Foreign students who come to Spain to study for less than 3 months are not required to present a visa, except when the country of origin does not have an agreement with Spain.
  • Studies lasting more than 3 months but less than 6 months.
  • Foreign students who come to Spain to study for more than 3 months but less than 6 months should apply for the relevant student visa, which will include the authorisation of stay in Spain. This is processed in the Spanish Consulate of their country of origin or legal residence.
  • Studies lasting more than 6 months.
  • Foreign students who come to Spain to study for more than 6 months, in addition to applying for a visa, are required to apply for the Foreigners' Identification Card in Spain (TIE), also known as the student card. This is processed in the Foreigners Offices of the Police no later than one month from arriving to Spain.

Depending on nationality

Both EU and non-EU students must apply for the Foreigners' Identification Number (NIE) for identification purposes in order to stay in Spain. This number can be requested both in Spain and in Spanish Consular Offices abroad.

Non-EU students

Non-EU students who come to Spain for a period of less than three months should apply for the relevant student visa.

The following requirements must be met in order to process the student visa:

  • To hold a passport that is valid for the intended period of stay.
  • To have been accepted into an officially recognised teaching institution, public or private, to start or further studies or conduct research or training projects.
  • To provide proof of having the financial resources necessary to cover the cost of the stay and return travel to their country of origin.
  • To have paid the relevant administrative fee.
  • To have a public or private health insurance taken out with an insurance company authorised to operate in Spain, which covers, for the entire stay in Spain, all medical expenses and repatriation costs in the event of suffering an accident or sudden illness.

If the length of stay is more than six months, students must:

  • Not suffer from any illness that may have serious repercussions on public health in accordance with the provisions of the International Health Regulations of 2005.
  • Not have any criminal records in their previous countries of residence in the last five years, for crimes provided for under Spanish law.

EU students

Students from the European Union or any other State that is party to the Agreement on the European Economic Area, whose studies last less than three months, will only be required to be in possession of a valid passport or identity card that was used to enter Spain.

Students from the European Union or any other state that is party to the Agreement on the European Economic Area, whose studies last more than three months, in addition to being in possession of a valid passport or identity card that was used to enter Spain, will be required to personally apply for registration in the Central Register of Foreign Nationals at the Foreigners Office of the province where there wish to stay or establish residence, or, failing this, at the corresponding Police Station.

You may consult the current legislation (Organic Law 4/2000, on the Rights and Freedoms of Foreign Nationals in Spain and Royal Decree 557/2011 which approves the implementing regulations) at www.boe.es.

IMPORTANT NOTE: It is not possible to enter Spain with a tourist visa and subsequently apply for a student visa. In this case, it will be necessary to return to the country of residence and obtain the new visa there.

Is it possible to work in Spain during a period of stay as a student?

The stay for study purposes enables the student to work part-time provided that the working hours do not interfere with the studies or research undertaken. The employer wishing to hire a student in this situation will be required to apply for a work authorisation from the Foreigners Office. Under no circumstances may the contract last longer than the duration of the student visa.

What is the difference between accrediting and validating foreign degrees?

The accreditation involves equalising a degree awarded with a foreign qualification with a degree that leads to the corresponding qualification in the Spanish university system.

Meanwhile, validation is the official recognition of the academic validity of higher education studies taken abroad (that have been completed or not and lead to the awarding of a qualification) in conjunction with partial Spanish university studies. This validation enables students to continue the relevant studies in a Spanish university.

For more information: www.boe.es.

This section outlines the most important legal information for the international student or researcher, both for citizens from member countries of the European Union as well as for other nationalities.

Documentation for staying legally in Spain

This section provides detailed information regarding the documentation required by international students for studying at Spanish universities.

EU students

If you are a European Union citizen, you are authorised to study in another member country.

Depending on your length of stay in a European Union member state or another state that is party to the Agreement on the European Economic Area, you should meet a series of requirements.

Stays for less than three months.

Stays for more than three months.

Regardless of the length of stay, any entry into Spain for European Union students shall be done with a valid passport or identity card stating the holder's nationality.

For more information, consult the following link.

Stays for less than three months

Students from a European Union member state or any other State that is party to the Agreement on the European Economic Area who are wishing to stay in Spain for less than three months will only be required to be in possession of a valid passport or identity card that was used to enter the country.

Stays for more than three months

Students from a European Union member state or any other state that is party to the Agreement on the European Economic Area and Switzerland are entitled to stay in Spain for a period longer than three months, if:

  • They are students enrolled in a public or private centre, recognised or funded by the competent education authority, for an educational purpose.
  • They have public or private health insurance with comprehensive cover in Spain

They provide proof of having sufficient financial resources.

Those interested will be required to personally apply for registration in the Central Register of Foreign Nationals at the Foreigners Office of the province where they wish to stay or establish residence, or, failing this, at the corresponding Police Station (form EX18).

The application should be submitted no later than three months following entry into Spain, after which the student will be issued with a registration certificate stating their name, nationality and address, foreigner identification number, as well as the date of registration.

The application for registration should be accompanied with the applicant's valid passport or national identity card, as well the following documentation (original and photocopy):

  • Proof of enrolment in a public or private centre, recognised or funded by the competent education authority.
  • Public or private health insurance taken out in Spain or another country provided it offers comprehensive cover in Spain. However, this requirement shall not be necessary if the student holds a European Health Card that is valid for the entire duration of their intended stay and which strictly entitles them to receive the healthcare deemed necessary from a medical point of view.
  • Statement of compliance confirming that the applicant has sufficient financial resources for themselves and their family members.

Participation on European Union programmes that encourage educational exchanges for students and teachers shall adequately accredit compliance with these requirements.

Foreigners' Identification Number (NIE):

In accordance with Royal Decree 557/2011 of 20 April adopting the Implementing Regulations for Organic Law 4/2000 on the Rights, Freedoms and Social Integration of Foreign Nationals in Spain, foreign nationals whose relationship with Spain is based on economic, professional or social interests, shall be assigned, for identification purposes, a personal sequential number that is unique and exclusive to them.

The personal number will be used to identify the foreign national, and will appear on all issued or processed documents, as well as on the stamps on their identity card or passport.

In order to be assigned a NIE for economic, professional or social purposes, the following applications shall be deemed valid:

  • Those submitted in Spain by the applicant in person in Spain,
  • Those submitted in Spain through a proxy,
  • Those submitted to Spanish Diplomatic Delegations or Consular Offices located in the country of residence of the applicant.
1. Requirements for obtaining the NIE:
  • Hold regular, legal status in Spain.
  • Declare reasons for applying for the number (tax administration purposes, property or commercial registry, notaries, traffic, social security, National Employment Institute, etc.).
2. Documentation required for obtaining the NIE:
  • Printed copy of standard application form (EX-15), duly completed and signed by the applicant.
  • Original and photocopy of full passport, or identity card (if the applicant is an EU citizen), or travel document or valid foreigner registration certificate.
  • Declaration of the economic, professional or social interests that justify the application.
  • When an application is submitted by a proxy, a power of attorney must be presented explicitly stating that they have been granted the capacity to submit said application.
3. Procedure for obtaining the NIE:
  • In order to obtain the NIE, the interested party can apply for it directly at the Directorate-General of Police (in Spain), or at the Consular Office (in their country of residence).
  • In Spain: at the Directorate General of Police and Civil Guard in person, or through the Foreigners Office or Police Station of the province where they are resident.
  • Outside of Spain: go to the General Consular Office, in person or through a duly accredited proxy:
    • with the original and photocopy of a valid passport
    • document accrediting residence in Spain
    • application form EX15, duly completed and signed
    • the corresponding fee is to be paid in cash at the time of submitting the application. Once the NIE has been assigned by the General Office for Foreign Nationals and Border Control, the General Consular Office will contact the applicant to arrange collection of the corresponding certificate.

For more information visit the website for the Ministry of the Interior of the Spanish Government

Non-EU students

In accordance with Organic Law 4/2000, on the Rights and Freedoms of Foreign Nationals in Spain, and Royal Decree 557/2011 which approves the implementing regulations, citizens from non-EU member states who wish to stay in Spain to complete courses, studies, research or training projects, student exchanges, unpaid and for a period of more than three months, will be required to apply for the relevant student visa (link to visa section) which will include the authorisation of stay in Spain.

The student visa is requested in the Spanish Consulate of their country of origin or legal residence.

If the length of stay is more than 6 months, the applicant must also apply for the corresponding Foreigners' Identification Card (TIE), at the corresponding Foreigners Office or Police Station no later than one month from the effective entry into Spain.

Remember that many Spanish universities offer support services for international students or researchers to help process their applications for student cards.

Foreigners' Identification Number (NIE)

In accordance with Royal Decree 557/2011, of 20 April, adopting the Implementing Regulations for Organic Law 4/2000 on the Rights, Freedoms and Social Integration of Foreign Nationals in Spain, foreign nationals whose relationship with Spain is based on economic, professional or social interests, shall be assigned, for identification purposes, a personal sequential number that is unique and exclusive to them.

The personal number will be used to identify the foreign national, and will appear on all issued or processed documents, as well as on the stamps on their identity card or passport.

In order to be assigned a NIE for economic, professional or social purposes, the following applications shall be deemed valid:

  • Those submitted in Spain by the applicant in person in Spain,
  • Those submitted in Spain through a proxy,
  • Those submitted to Spanish Diplomatic Delegations or Consular Offices located in the country of residence of the applicant.
1 Requirements for obtaining the NIE:
  • Hold regular, legal status in Spain.
  • Declare reasons for applying for the number (tax administration purposes, property or commercial registry, notaries, traffic, social security, National Employment Institute, etc.).
2 Documentation required for obtaining the NIE:

To be assigned a NIE you must submit the following documents:

  • o Printed copy of standard application form (EX-15), duly completed and signed by the applicant.
  • Original and photocopy of full passport, or identity card (if the applicant is an EU citizen), or travel document or valid foreigner registration certificate.
  • Declaration of the economic, professional or social interests that justify the application.
  • When an application is submitted by a proxy, a power of attorney must be presented explicitly stating that they have been granted the capacity to submit said application.
3 Procedure for obtaining the NIE:

In order to obtain the NIE, the interested party can apply for it directly at the Directorate-General of Police (in Spain), or at the Consular Office (in their country of residence).

In Spain: at the Directorate General of Police and Civil Guard in person, or through the Foreigners Office or Police Station of the province where they are resident.

Outside of Spain: go to the General Consular Office, in person or through a duly accredited proxy:

  • with the original and photocopy of a valid passport
  • document accrediting residence in Spain
  • application form EX-15 duly completed and signed
  • the corresponding fee is to be paid in cash at the time of submitting the application. Once the NIE has been assigned by the General Office for Foreign Nationals and Border Control, the General Consular Office will contact the applicant to arrange collection of the corresponding certificate./li>

For more information visit the website for the Ministry of the Interior of the Spanish Government

Student Card or Foreigners' Identification Card (TIE)

The Foreigners' Identification Card is the unique and exclusive document to be used as documentation for foreign nationals staying legally in Spain, and for which a set process must be followed for its issuance.

This card certifies the legal stay of foreign nationals in Spain, their identification and that their right to stay in Spain for more than six months has been authorised or recognised in accordance with current legislation.

The Foreigners' Identification Card is personal and non-transferable, and must be safeguarded and retained by the document holder.

The foreign national in Spain has both the right and obligation to retain the valid documentation accrediting their identity that was issued by the competent authorities in the country of origin or provenance, as well as that which accredits their status in Spain.

Any breach of the obligations concerning the Foreigners' Identification Card shall lead to the application of the penalty system provided for in Organic Law 4/2000 on the Rights, Freedoms and Social Integration of Foreign Nationals in Spain.

1. Scope of application:
  • The Foreigners' Identification Card shall be issued only to foreign nationals staying legally in Spain in accordance with the general immigration, EU-citizen or asylum system.
  • The Foreigners' Identification Card will be requested by those issued with a visa or authorisation to stay in Spain for a period of more than six months.
2. Obligations of the holder:
  • All foreign nationals who have been issued a visa or authorisation to stay in Spain for a period of more than six months have the right and obligation to obtain the Foreigners' Identification Card, which should be requested in person no later than one month following entry into Spain or from the date on which the authorisation is granted or takes effect, respectively. Holders of a residence or seasonal work permit will be exempt from this obligation.
  • Holders of the Foreigners' Identification Card are required to carry this document, and present it upon request by the Authority or its agents, and notwithstanding the obligation to accredit their identity using a valid passport or similar document.
3. Application: place and documentation:
  • The Foreigners' Identification Card application is submitted by the foreign national in person at the Foreigners Office or, failing this, at the Police Station of the province where they are resident.
  • The following documentation must be submitted:
    • 1. Foreigners' Identification Card official application form (EX-17), original and photocopy, duly completed and signed by the foreign national.
    • 2. Passport or travel document with entry stamp or proof of control carried out at the border checkpoint. Failing this, valid and in-date passport or travel document and declaration of entry that should have been processed in person at any Police Station or Foreigners Office within 72 hours following entry into Spain; or, where applicable, valid foreigner registration certificate.
    • 3. Three recent passport-sized photographs, in colour and with a white background.
    • 4. Visa, where applicable.
    • 5. Decision to grant the authorisation warranting the issuance of the card (unless the applicant gives their consent to the Central State Administration to verify this information).
    • 6. Proof of payment of corresponding fee(s).
    • 7. Proof of Social Security affiliation and/or registration, where applicable.

Important note: Original documents must be submitted and will be returned once the copies have been verified.

The Foreigners' Identification Card will be valid for the exact same time as the authorisation or recognition of right that warrants its issuance. It will be deemed invalid if said authorisation becomes void due to any reasons established by the regulations within its framework of application or, as the case may be, due to losing the right to legally stay in Spain.

For more information visit the website for the Ministry of the Interior of the Spanish Government.

Work

The stay for study purposes enables the student to work part-time provided that the working hours do not interfere with the studies or research undertaken[1]. The employer wishing to hire a student in this situation will be required to apply for a work authorisation from the Foreigners Office. Under no circumstances may the contract last longer than the duration of the student visa.

For more information, consult the following link.

[1] Article 42 of Royal Decree 557/2011. http://www.boe.es/buscar/act.php?id=BOE-A-2011-7703

Visa for non-EU students

The requirements to come and study in Spain vary depending on the student's country of origin, as well as the length of stay:

  • Need for student visa depending on length of stay:
    • It is not necessary to obtain a visa for studies lasting less than 3 months, unless the country of origin does not have an agreement.
    • It is necessary to obtain a visa for studies lasting between 3 and 6 months, but no other procedure is required.
    • If the stay is more than 6 months, in addition to applying for a visa, the student must apply for the Foreigners' Identification Card, also called Student Card, in Spain (it is processed in the Foreigners Office of Police no later than one month from arrival to Spain).
  • European Union students: European Union citizens are not required to obtain a visa, but must apply for a Foreigners' Identification Number (NIE) once in Spain for the purposes of carrying out some formalities (opening a bank account, buying a transport card, accessing healthcare, etc.)
  • Students from other countries: Citizens from non-EU countries who wish to stay in Spain to complete courses, studies, research or training projects, student exchanges, for a period of more than three months, will be required to apply for the relevant student visa that will include the authorisation of stay in Spain.

The student visa is requested in the Spanish Consulate of their country of origin or legal residence.

Consult the list of General Spanish Consulates around the world.

If the length of stay is more than 6 months, the applicant must also apply for the corresponding Foreigners' Identification Card (TIE) at the corresponding Foreigners Office or Police Station no later than one month from the effective entry into Spain.

More information available on the website for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation.

Remember that many Spanish universities offer support services for international students or researchers to help with administrative formalities.

Important note: all non-EU foreign public documents must be legalised in advance and, where necessary, translated into Spanish or the co-official language of the region where the application is submitted.

How to obtain a visa:

In accordance with Organic Law 4/2000 on the Rights, Freedoms, and Social Integration of Foreign Nationals in Spain, and Royal Decree 557/2011 of 20 April, which approves the implementing regulations, citizens from non-EU member states who wish to stay in Spain to complete courses, studies, research or training projects, student exchanges, for a period of more than three months, will be required to apply for the relevant student visa:

  • Before applying for the visa:
    • Pre-enrol in an official recognised teaching institution, public or private, in Spain.
    • Go to the Spanish Consulate to process your student visa with the acceptance certificate/letter issued by the institution.
  • The requirements to obtain the student visa are:
    • In-date passport or travel document recognised in Spain, valid for at least the intended period of stay.
    • To have been accepted into an officially recognised teaching institution, public or private, to start or further studies or conduct research or training projects.
    • To provide proof of having the financial resources necessary to cover the cost of the stay and return travel to their country of origin.
    • To have paid the relevant administrative fee.
    • To have a public or private health insurance taken out with an insurance company authorised to operate in Spain, which covers, for the entire stay in Spain, all medical expenses and repatriation costs in the event of suffering an accident or sudden illness
  • If the length of stay is more than six months, students must:
    • Not suffer from any illness that may have serious repercussions on public health in accordance with the provisions of the International Health Regulations of 2005.
    • Not have any criminal records in their previous countries of residence in the last five years, for crimes provided for under Spanish law.

The visa is processed directly in the General Spanish Consulates. Don't forget that the Consulate that handles your student visa will clarify any doubts you might have and will help with the process.

For periods of study, travelling with a tourist visa is not permitted under any circumstances, since these visas do not allow holders to complete studies in Spain, nor do they allow them to apply for a residence card or change the type of visa once in Spain.

Likewise, it is important to remember that the visa is always issued for the purpose of coming to carry out a specific activity in Spain (course, Master's Degree, Doctorate, scholarship), and this activity cannot be modified. Otherwise, the visa would not be valid upon arriving to Spain, and it would be necessary to return to the country of origin to begin the process all over again.

For more information, consult the following link.

Accreditation and validation of foreign degrees

This section offers detailed information concerning the accreditation and validation of foreign degrees in Spain.

Partial validation of foreign degrees

Validation is the official recognition of the academic validity of higher education studies taken abroad (that have been completed or not and lead to the awarding of a qualification) in conjunction with partial Spanish university studies, enabling the student to continue the relevant studies in a Spanish university.

The Spanish university where the student wishes to continue studying is responsible for validating the foreign studies for partial Spanish university studies.

Decisions on applications will be made in accordance with the criteria set by the University Coordination Board as per Organic Law 6/2001, of 21 December, on Universities.

The purposes of validating partial studies are, in general, academic only, as they enable students to continue studying within the Spanish education system. These studies may lead to, as the case may be, the awarding of the corresponding Spanish university degree, once the relevant course syllabus has been completed. This Spanish degree will be completely valid and recognised, without any distinction whatsoever.

What foreign studies can be validated?

It is possible to validate foreign higher education studies that meet the criteria set by the University Coordination Board, whether they have been completed or not and which lead to the awarding of a degree.

However, studies that correspond to any the following grounds for exclusion cannot be validated:

  • Those that lack official academic validity in the country of origin.
  • Those corresponding to foreign studies completed, in whole or in part, in Spain, when the centres lack the necessary authorisation to teach these programmes, or when the programmes awarded with the foreign degree for which accreditation is sought were not effectively implemented in the foreign university or high education institute at the time when the degree was issued. However, when these circumstances correspond to only part of the completed studies, the partial unaffected studies may be subject to validation, where applicable.
  • Degrees that have already been accredited in Spain, or studies passed that have already been validated to continue studying in Spain.
  • When studies have been completed and the student is awarded with a foreign degree, they may choose between requesting the accreditation with an official Spanish university degree or the validation for partial studies, taking into account that both possibilities cannot be carried out simultaneously and are subject to the following rules:
    • When accreditation of the degree has been requested and rejected, the student may request partial validation of their studies, provided that the rejection was not based on any of the grounds for exclusion outlined before.
    • When studies passed to obtain the degree have been subject to validation to continue studying in Spain, it will not be possible to obtain their accreditation.

For further information regarding the accreditation and validation of foreign degrees, visit the website for the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport.

Accreditation of foreign higher education degrees

Accreditation of foreign higher education degrees with Spanish University Qualifications and Academic Degrees.

Any graduate may request the accreditation of high education qualifications obtained abroad; the accreditation grants validity to these degrees, therefore, an accredited foreign degree holds the same status (academic and professional) throughout Spanish territory as the Spanish academic degree or qualification with which it is accredited. This status takes effect the day on which the corresponding accreditation is granted and issued.

The Sub-Directorate General of Degrees and Recognition of Qualifications from the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport is responsible for accrediting specific degrees with current academic degrees and diplomas.

The Rectors of Spanish Universities are responsible for accrediting academic postgraduate degrees and qualifications (Master's Degree and Doctorate).

Two types of accreditations may be requested from the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport:

  • An accreditation with an official Spanish university degree included in the ""Catalogue of official university degrees", which is valid and fully implemented in at least one Spanish University.
  • With a Diploma or Bachelor's Degree.

Steps to follow for accreditation

1. Complete the application form

To begin the process the interested party should:

2. Pay the corresponding fee:
  • In addition to the application form, it is essential to pay the corresponding fee.
  • Fee in 2014:
    • Application to accredit with a Spanish university Bachelor's, Engineering or Architecture Degree, or a Spanish Academic Bachelor's Degree: €94.70
    • Application to accredit with a Spanish university Diploma, Technical Engineering or Technical Architecture Degree, or a Spanish Academic Diploma: €47.35

If payment is made in Spain:

  • Payment will be made using the official 790 form.
  • This form must be taken to any Bank, Savings Bank or Credit Cooperative that act as collaborative entities in tax collection. The amount must be paid in cash.

If payment is made abroad:

  • The fee will be paid by deposit or transfer to the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport, into the account limited to fee collection abroad: account number 0182 2370 44 0200203771 at BBVA, with registered office at C/Alcalá, 16, 28014, Madrid (Spain).
  • IBAN(1): ES41 0182 2370 44 0200203771
  • BIC: BBVAESMMXXX

(1) IBAN Code of the limited account: ES4101822370440200203771 (twenty digit account number, preceded by ES41). This code may be required to process transfers from foreign banks, as may the BIC Code (previously called "Swift Code"): BBVAESMMXXX.

Transfer charges or any other bank commission will be paid by the interested party and will not reduce the corresponding fee amount.

3. Submitting the documentation:

Documentation may be submitted in any public registry of the Central State Administration, Autonomous Communities and any local Administrations (many Councils have signed agreements enabling them to act as public registries). As well as in the Functional Areas of the High Inspectorate of Education of the Government Delegations in the Autonomous Communities and Provincial Delegations of the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport in Ceuta and Melilla.

The registries of the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport are located at the following addresses in Madrid:

  • C/ Los Madrazo, Nº 15-17
  • Paseo del Prado, Nº 28
  • C/ Torrelaguna, Nº 58
4. Outcome of the accreditation process

Depending on the accreditation application submitted, there may be two types of outcome.

Outcomes of the process to accredit a foreign higher education degree with a degree listed in the Catalogue:

  • The accreditation of a foreign degree with the corresponding Spanish degree listed in the Catalogue of official university degrees.
  • Rejection of the requested accreditation.
  • The accreditation granted upon prior compliance of the additional academic requirements. In this case, the outcome should explicitly state the academic shortcomings noted that warrant these additional academic requirements, as well as the aspects that the requirements should focus on.
  • Outcomes of the process to accredit with an academic degree:
    • The accreditation of a foreign degree with the corresponding Spanish academic degree.
    • Rejection of the requested accreditation.
    • These outcomes will be formalised by means of an accreditation granted by the Sub-Directorate General of Degrees and Recognition of Qualifications of the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport.

If the accreditation depends on prior compliance with additional academic requirements, it will be issued when proof of meeting the requirements is presented to the governing body.

For further information on accrediting foreign higher education degrees with Spanish University Qualifications and Academic Degrees, visit the website.

Legalisation of academic documents and degrees

Documents issued in EU member states or signatories of the Agreement on the European Economic Area.

No legalisation is required for documents issued in European Union member states or signatories of the Agreement on the European Economic Area:Germany, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Denmark, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Estonia, Finland, France, Greece, Holland, Hungary, Ireland, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malta, Norway, Poland, Portugal, UK, Czech Republic, Romania, Sweden, Switzerland, on the basis of a bilateral agreement with the EU.

Documents issued by all other countries

In all other cases, documents issued abroad for which validation is sought in Spain should be duly legalised under the following conditions:

  • Documents issued in countries that have signed the Hague Convention of 5 October 1961: a unique legalisation or "Apostille" issued by the relevant authorities in the country is required. This procedure, which must be carried out in the issuing country of the document, entails stamping the document with an Apostille to certify the authenticity of the public documents issued in another country. Signatory countries therefore recognise the authenticity of the documents bearing the Apostille that have been issued in other countries.
  • Non-university education certificates issued in countries that have signed the Andrés Bello Agreement should be legalised through diplomatic channels. (When the country has also signed the Hague Convention, the corresponding procedure may be used, which is more straightforward).
  • The legalisation should appear on the original document.

They should be submitted to:

  • Ministry of Education in the country of origin for degrees and study certificates and to the corresponding Ministry for birth certificates and certificates of citizenship.
  • Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the country where said documents are issued.
  • Spanish Diplomatic Delegation or Consular Office in said country. Bolivia, Colombia, Cuba, Chile, Ecuador, Spain, Panama, Paraguay, Peru and Venezuela.

Documents issued in all other countries should be legalised through diplomatic channels.

Information concerning this legalisation should be provided by the university where the studies were completed, by the relevant authority or by the consular services of the country of origin of the documents. The legalisation should appear on the original document.

To this end, they should be submitted to:

  • Ministry of Education in the country of origin for degrees and study certificates and to the corresponding Ministry for birth certificates and certificates of citizenship.
  • Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the country where said documents are issued.
  • Spanish Diplomatic Delegation or Consular Office in said country.

Documents issued by the diplomatic or consular authorities of other countries in Spain should be legalised in the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation.

For further information on the legalisation of documents issued abroad, you can visit the website for the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Students who study at university in Spain are advised to pay the relevant fees for issuing and legalising degrees before they return to their country of origin.

Rules for access

This section entails the comprehensive rules for access to Bachelor's Degree, Master's Degree and Doctorate studies, as well as information on how to obtain the Hague Apostille, official translations of degrees, academic transcripts and all other documentation necessary to be accepted into a Spanish university.

Access to Bachelor's Degree studies

In general, in accordance with the last amendment (Organic Law 8/2013) of Organic Law on Education, and with Royal Decree 412/2014, in order to access official Bachelor's Degree studies students are not required to take the University Admissions Test. However, it is essential to hold a qualification that grants access to university:

  • Baccalaureate diploma.
  • Degree, diploma or equivalent studies.
  • Diploma of Advanced Technician in Vocational Training, Advanced Technician of Visual Arts and Design or Advanced Sports Technician.

IMPORTANT NOTE: This new regulation will be applicable:

  • From academic year 2017-2018, for students who have obtained the Baccalaureate from the Spanish Education System.
  • From academic year 2014-2015 for all other students.

In accordance with this new regulation, the Spanish universities will determine, in compliance with the different assessment criteria, the admission of students who have obtained the qualification that grants access to university.

Until the regulation has been implemented, universities may use the following assessment criteria in admission procedures for the 2014-2015, 2015-2016, and 2016-2017 academic years for the admission of students who have not obtained the Baccalaureate diploma from the Spanish education system:

  • A pass mark for the subjects (specific) covered in the University Admissions Test.
  • Accreditation issued by the National University of Distance Learning for admission into a Spanish university. For further information on the accreditation, visit the website for the National University of Distance Learning (UNED).

The new regulation determines university access for international students on the basis of three different categories:

  • Category 1: Students from the EU, Switzerland, Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein, Andorra and China that hold a high school diploma equivalent to the Spanish baccalaureate, a European baccalaureate or an international baccalaureate.
  • Category 2: Students from EU-member countries, Switzerland, Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein, Andorra and China who do not meet the university entry requirements in their countries or students from other countries with studies accredited in Spain.
  • Category 3: Students who have partially completed university studies abroad or in Spain, or who having completed university studies abroad have not obtained their accreditation or equivalence in Spain and wish to continue studies in a Spanish university.
Category 1

Students from the EU, Switzerland, Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein, Andorra and China that hold a high school diploma equivalent to the Spanish baccalaureate, a European baccalaureate or an international baccalaureate.

These students may be accepted into a Spanish university without taking the University Admissions Test by accrediting the corresponding qualification:

  • Students holding the European Baccalaureate.
  • Students who have obtained the International Baccalaureate, issued by the International Baccalaureate Organisation, with headquarters in Geneva (Switzerland).
  • Students from education systems in EU member states or other States that have signed international agreements applicable in this context, on a mutual basis, provided that these students meet the university entry requirements in their education systems. (Switzerland, Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein, Andorra and China).

In accordance with Royal Decree 412/2014, in any of these cases the Universities may determine the admission to official university Bachelor's Degree studies by using:

  • Only the criteria of the final mark obtained in the Baccalaureate.
  • Or by establishing an admissions procedure.

In the event the Universities deem it necessary to establish an admissions procedure, the assessment criteria will be any of the following:

  • Modality of the course and subjects taken for previous studies equivalent to the Baccalaureate, in relation to the chosen degree.
  • Marks obtained in specific subjects studied in courses equivalent to the Spanish Baccalaureate, or those obtained in the final assessment of courses equivalent to the Spanish Baccalaureate.
  • Additional academic or professional training.
  • Higher education courses studied previously.
  • In addition, under exceptional circumstances, they may establish specific assessments of knowledge and/or skills.

The weighting of the final mark obtained in the Baccalaureate or equivalent studies should equate to, at least, 60% of the final result of the admissions process.

To recap, the entry requirements and admissions process is the following:

  • Accreditation of the corresponding qualification.
  • Following the admissions process set by the university where you wish to study.

REMEMBER: n accordance with the last amendment of Organic Law on Education, in academic years 2014-2015, 2015-2016 and 2016-2017 (transition period) the University Admissions Test will continue to be compulsory for students who have obtained the Baccalaureate diploma in the Spanish education system.

For all other students, the universities may require them to pass the specific University Admissions Test phase and may take the mark into account when granting admission onto official Bachelor's Degree studies.

From the 2017-2018 academic year onwards, any student that wishes to study at university will not be required to sit the University Admissions Test; however, each university will establish their own admissions process.

Category 2

Students from EU-member countries, Switzerland, Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein, Andorra and China who do not meet the university entry requirements in their countries or students from other countries with studies accredited in Spain.

*This category involves students who have completed their Baccalaureate studies in a country that does not belong in the European Higher Education Area (EHEA). Consult the list of EHEA member countries at link

In this case they may be accepted into a Spanish university without taking the University Admissions Tests, provided they have accredited their studies with the corresponding Spanish studies:

  • Students from education systems in EU member states or other States that have signed international agreements applicable in this context, on a mutual basis, provided that these students do not meet the university entry requirements in their education systems. (Switzerland, Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein, Andorra and China).
  • Students from education systems in countries that have not signed international agreements to mutually recognise qualifications.

In accordance with Royal Decree 412/2014, in conjunction with the accreditation of the corresponding degree, in any of these cases, the Universities will decide on the admission to official university Bachelor's Degrees by establishing an admissions process.

The assessment criteria will be any of the following:

  • Final mark obtained in courses studied, and/or in specific modules or subjects taken.
  • Correlation between the curricula of previously studied courses and the university degrees that have been applied to.
  • Additional academic or professional training.
  • Higher education courses studied previously.

In addition, under exceptional circumstances, they may establish specific assessments of knowledge and/or skills.

To recap, the entry requirements and admissions process is the following:

  • Prior accreditation of studies with the Spanish Baccalaureate diploma. For further information on the accreditation, visit the website for the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport.
  • Following the admissions process set by the university where you wish to study.

REMEMBER: In accordance with the last amendment of Organic Law on Education, in academic years 2014-2015, 2015-2016 and 2016-2017 (transition period) the University Admissions Test will continue to be compulsory for students who have obtained the Baccalaureate diploma in the Spanish education system.

For all other students, the universities may require them to pass the specific University Admissions Test phase, and may take the mark into account when granting admission onto official Bachelor's Degree studies.

From the 2017-2018 academic year onwards, any student that wishes to study at university will not be required to sit the University Admissions Test required for all students; however, each university will establish their own admissions process.

Category 3:

Students who have partially completed university studies abroad or in Spain, or who having completed university studies abroad have not obtained their accreditation or equivalence in Spain and wish to continue studies in a Spanish university.

Students with partially complete foreign university studies or students who have completed the foreign university studies and wish to access official Bachelor's Degree studies in Spanish universities, should contact the Spanish university where they wish to study.

In accordance with Royal Decree 412/2014, in any of these cases the Universities may establish the admissions process for official university Bachelor's Degree studies.

The assessment criteria will be any of the following:

  • Final mark obtained in courses studied, and/or in specific modules or subjects taken.
  • Correlation between the curricula of previously studied courses and the university degrees that have been applied to.
  • Additional academic or professional training.
  • Higher education courses studied previously.

In addition, under exceptional circumstances, the universities may establish specific assessments of knowledge and/or skills.

Applications from students with partial or complete university students who have not obtained the equivalence or accreditation of their degrees in Spain shall be subject to the decision of the University Rector, in accordance with the following rules:

  • Applications from students with foreign university studies in which a minimum of 30 ECTS credits (European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System) is recognised shall be settled by the University Rector.
  • In terms of equivalence, the recognised subjects will equate to the same mark obtained in the centre where the student comes from, in accordance with the equivalences set by the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport between the marks from foreign systems and those from the Spanish Education System.

Access to Master's Degree studies

International students interested in studying a Master's Degree in Spain can apply directly to the Spanish university where they wish to study.

To be accepted onto a Master Program, students are required to meet any of the following requirements:

  • Hold a Bachelor's Degree obtained from a Spanish university or from a university within the European Higher Education Area (EHEA).
  • Hold a Bachelor's Degree obtained from any other country with validation from the university to which the student is applying that the level of studies is equivalent to the level of Bachelor's Degree studies in Spain.

Access to Doctorate studies

In order to be accepted onto a doctoral program, students are generally required to hold an official Spanish Bachelor's Degree, or equivalent, and a University Master's Degree.

Admission may be granted to those who meet the following requirements:

  • Hold an official university Bachelor's Degree, or one from a country within the European Higher Education Area, which grants access to a Master's Degree in accordance with the provisions of Royal Decree 1393/2007 and to have passed a minimum of 300 ECTS credits throughout all official university studies, at least 60 of which must be at Master's Degree level.
  • Hold an official Spanish Bachelor's Degree that in accordance with rules of Community law comprises at least 300 ECTS credits. These graduates will be required to take additional training outlined in Royal Decree 99/2011which governs official doctoral programs, unless the curriculum of the corresponding Bachelor's Degree includes research credits that in terms of educational value equate to the research credits in Master's Degree studies.
  • University graduates who, upon obtaining a training place in the corresponding admissions test to specialised healthcare training, have successfully passed at least two years of training of a programme to obtain the official degree in any of the Health Sciences specialisations.
  • Hold a degree obtained from a foreign education system, with no need for accreditation, provided the university validates that the academic level is equivalent to the official Spanish University Master's Degree and that it grants access to doctoral studies in the issuing country. This admission does not involve, under any circumstances, the accreditation of the previous degree that the applicant holds, or the recognition for other purposes that it grants access to doctoral studies.
  • Hold another Spanish Doctorate Degree obtained in accordance with previous university regulations.
  • If the degree has been issued by a university within the European Higher Education Area, a copy of both the degree and the academic transcript must be provided, both legalised (if issued in a non-EU member country or not Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein or Switzerland) and with the official translation to Spanish, along with the rest of the documentation that may be required to enrol.
  • If your degree has been issued by a university outside of the European Higher Education Area, you are not necessarily required to obtain an accreditation, although you may need to prove that the degree grants access to postgraduate studies in your country of origin.

Admission cut-offs

Admission cut-offs are determined as a the result of the interaction between the number of places offered on a degree and the marks of students wishing to study it, and do not represent how difficult or easy a speciality is.

The admission cut-off for a degree is:

  • If all places have been filled, it is the mark obtained on the University Admissions Test of the last student offered a place.
  • If not all places are filled, it is 5.0.
  • On account of this information, a high admission cut-off is the outcome of when the number of places available is considerable lower than the number of students wishing to study the degree. This situation may arise due to a high demand of students wishing to study the degree, or due to a low number of places offered by the university.
  • You can consult the admission cut-offs for all Spanish universities on the website for the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport.
  • See data table

Academic internships

In accordance with current regulations (RD 592/2014 of 11 July, governing external academic internships of university students), for the purpose of furthering their learning, foreign Bachelor's Degree and Master's Degree students may complete external academic internships that enable them to apply and enhance the knowledge acquired during their academic learning, encouraging the acquisition of skills that prepare them for professional practice.

Who can complete internships?
  • Students enrolled in any course taught by a university or by its associated centres.
  • Students from other Spanish or foreign universities who, as a result of academic mobility programs or inter-university agreements, are studying in the university or in its associated centres.

What are the requirements to complete internships?

  • Students are required to be enrolled in a university course with which the core, general and/or specific skills to be acquired by the student in the internship are associated.
  • In the case of external curricular internships, students are required to be enrolled in the corresponding subject, depending on the syllabus in question.
  • Students are not permitted to enter into any contractual relationship with the company, public or private institution or company or the university itself where they are going to undertake the internship, unless authorised as per the internal regulations of each University.

Types of internships:

  • Curricular internships: if they are regulated and supervised academic activities that are part of the syllabus.
  • Extracurricular internships: those voluntarily carried out by students during their studies and which are not a part of the syllabus.

Duration of internships:

  • Curricular internships: the duration determined by the syllabus.
  • Extracurricular internships: preferably no more than 50% of the academic year. Universities usually set a limit to ensure that internships do not affect the normal course of study.

Where are they completed?

Internships should be supervised by the host university and, depending on the nature of the studies, may be carried out in:

  • The University
  • In collaborative entities: companies, public and private institutions or entities.

Collaboration agreement:

  • Universities have collaboration agreements with companies and institutions (collaborative entities) whereby students carry out internships.
  • Students in internships should have civil liability insurance at the expense of the host university.

Monitoring internships:

  • External curricular internships: students will be assigned an academic supervisor from the university and a supervisor from the collaborative entity, who will agree on and monitor a training plan for the student.
  • External extra-curricular internships: the university and collaborative entity will supervise the internship in accordance with the terms of the collaboration agreement.

Financial remuneration:

Given the training nature of internships, the companies, public or private institutions or entities that offer students internships are not required to provide any financial remuneration, bonus or grant.

That said, the relevant entities may specify funding in the collaboration agreement in the form of student grants.

If students receive any financial compensation from the company, public or private institution or entity where they are undertaking internships, they should be registered in the social security system (RD 1493/2011).

In relation to external curricular internships, students will receive a 100% discount on Social Security contributions as of 1 August 2014 (Royal Decree-law 8/2014).

In relation to external curricular internships, students will receive a 100% discount on Social Security contributions as of 1 August 2014 (Royal Decree-law 8/2014).

Undertaking internships shall not lead to any employment relationship between the parties.

Students may request guidance in the external internships office at their host university.

Sworn translations of academic qualifications and transcripts

In accordance with current regulations, the language of procedures carried out by the Central State Administration will be Castilian Spanish. In view of this, students are asked to provide official Spanish translations of any documents issued abroad that they wish to be validated in Spain.

To the extent possible, when the original document is written with a non-western alphabet, it is advisable for the translation to include the title of the qualification in its original language, but transcribed into the western alphabet, instead of simply translating the title.

Therefore, documents issued in any other language other than Spanish must be submitted and accompanied by their corresponding official translation into Spanish. If the document has to be legalised, the official translation should be done once the legalisation process has been completed; therefore, the official translation should include the legalisation of signatures.

IMPORTANT: the submission of the official translation does exempt the student from submitting the original document.

The documents that must be translated are the following:

  • Academic Qualifications
  • Academic Transcripts
  • Certificate issued by the Ministry of Education and Science of the issuing country, or from the competent body, which certifies that the degree obtained by the student entitles them to access University Master's Degree / Doctorate studies
  • Diploma Supplement

Other documents necessary to complete the application that are required by the competent bodies of the corresponding university to finish the relevant procedure.

The official translation can be done by:

  • Sworn translator/interpreter legally registered in Spain: the official translation shall only be valid if the translator/interpreter is included in the "Updated list of sworn translators/interpreters" posted by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation in Spain (MAEC). The content of the official translation should correspond in full to the original document, including the legalisation. The translation should be stamped by the sworn translator/interpreter.
  • o Any Spanish diplomatic delegation of consular office abroad or by any diplomatic delegation or consular office in Spain of the country in which the applicant is a citizen or, in other cases, the country that the document has come from: diplomatic delegations of countries of origin or destination of the documents can translate or validate translations.

In any of the two cases, the diplomatic delegation that translates or validates the translation must certify the accuracy of the translation and its content should correspond in full to the original document, including the legalisation.

IMPORTANT: Translations that simply contain the diplomatic legalisation of the translator's signature are not valid.

Mobility platforms

Access to different online mobility platforms for international students:

  • Ciencia sin Fronteras (Brasil)
  • Programa de Maestrías (Ecuador)
  • Programa Piloto de Formación Continua (Ecuador)
  • Información, movilidades de estudiantes universitarios chinos

Contact

Any questions about internationalisation?