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Study in Spain

Spain is a popular destination for international students seeking quality and affordable higher education. There are around 85,000 international students studying in Spain each year. With lots to offer, there will be something for everyone is this fantastic country.

Why Study in Spain?

There are 76 universities in Spain, and they are a mixture of public and private. Of the 76, 24 are private, and 7 of these are associated with the Catholic Church. The public universities are state-funded, meaning that their fees are set by the local government. Spain has a long and rich tradition of higher education, and therefore their institutions are consistently well ranked. In the 2018 QS World University Rankings, 11 Spanish institutions are ranked in the top 500. The highest of these is the Universitat de Barcelona, sitting at 156th.

You are able to study at all traditional levels in Spain. This includes bachelor’s, master’s and PhD level study. A bachelor degree usually lasts 4 years, and you will be required to gain 240 ECTS credits to pass (find out what the ECTS is from Anna, our study abroad expert). A master’s degree usually lasts 1-2 years, and you must hold a bachelor’s degree or equivalent to be accepted. A Spanish Doctoral degree (PhD) usually lasts up to 3 years, or 5 years if you study part-time. You will need to have been awarded a bachelor’s and master’s degree to gain entry on a Doctoral programme. There are many options for types of courses available, and what fields they are offered in. You are highly likely to find a programme that suits you at an institution in Spain.

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About Spain

Spain is a beautiful country in Western Europe with a rich history and culture. Spain is one of the biggest European countries and the fourth most popular tourist destination in the world.

The country provides exciting cultural experience for all tourists, residents and students. It mixes a professional, cosmopolitan life with more vibrant and charming regional cultures. It also has plenty of chances for relaxation and fun.

Spain offers countless opportunities for international students who wish to experience its culture, exciting lifestyles as well as have an excellent academic experience. Spain is one of the most popular European destinations for international students, and it’s very welcoming to all who wish to study at one of its institutions of higher education.

The top tourist attractions in Spain include:

  • Alhambra, the famous palace, fortress and garden constructed in the 14th century by the Nasrid sultans and situated on a plateau overlooking the city of Granada in southern Spain.
  • Sagrada Familia, a Roman Catholic church in Barcelona, designed by Antoni Gaudí.
  • The Palacio Real (Royal Palace) of Madrid, the official residence of the King of Spain.
  • Mezquita of Cordoba, a famous building known for its forest of pillars and arches in the main hall. Originally built as a Roman temple, it later became a Visigothic church, before the Umayyad Moors built the Mezquita (Mosque).
  • Cuenca, a medieval city built on the steep sides of a mountain.
  • El Escorial, an old political center of the Spanish Empire under King Philip II.

Cost of Studying & Living in Spain

It is important to know that if you are from an EU country, you will pay the same fees as Spanish students, but if you are from a non-EU country, your fees might be higher.

Tuition fees at public universities are set by the government, and will vary depending on your level of study and chosen course. For a bachelor’s degree, fees can vary between €750 and €2,100 per year. Fees for a master’s degree at a public university can vary between €1,320 and €4,320 per year. Tuition fees are calculated per credit studied as opposed to semester or academic year. Private universities will likely charge higher tuition fees at all study levels.

Depending on where you choose to study, your living costs are likely to be between €900 and €1,100 per month. Bigger Spanish cities such as Madrid and Barcelona will be much more expensive than smaller cities and towns. Although both EU and international students are permitted to work part-time during their studies, you should not rely on this income to finance your studies. If you do wish to get a part-time job, having good Spanish language skills will help your applications.

If you hold an EHIC card, you will not need to purchase health insurance, and will have access to the same health treatments as Spanish citizens at the same price they pay. If you do not hold an EHIC card, you will have to purchase health insurance in order to study in Spain. This document will be required when applying for your student visa, so make sure you sort out your health insurance in plenty of time!

Visas

Depending on your nationality, you may need to obtain a visa or residence permit to study in Spain.

EU students, as well as those who are from Switzerland, Norway, Liechtenstein and Iceland, will not need a visa in order to live and study in Spain. They will need to register with your local Spanish authorities in order to obtain a residence certificate. This needs to be done within three months of your arrival into the country.

If you are a student coming from any other country, you will need a visa to study in Spain for more than three months. You can start the application at the Spanish consulate or embassy in your home country. You cannot start this visa process until you have received an official offer from an institution.

It is recommended that you arrange your accommodation in advance, as you may be required to provide details of where you are planning to live when you apply for a visa.

Language

The official language of Spain is Spanish. Studying in Spain will be a fantastic chance to pick up a new language, or improve your current skills. This will look great on your CV, as Spanish is the second most spoken language in the world!

Most programmes are taught in Spanish, but there are an increasing amount of spanish universities offering programmes taught in English. If you choose to study in Spanish, you will have to prove that your language skills meet the teaching standard. If you choose to study in English, you will also need to prove that your language skills meet the required standard. For more information regarding the language requirements for your course, contact your chosen institution. Even if you do study in English, it is recommended that you still make an effort to improve your Spanish, and that you communicate with the locals and other students as much as possible.

Cities

Madrid

As the capital city, Madrid is home to almost 3.2 million people, making it the most populous city in Spain. Madrid is the seat of government and residence of the Spanish monarch, currently King Felipe VI. The city is the political, cultural and economic centre of Spain, and has large influences in all of these areas. There are two famous football teams who call Madrid their home, Real Madrid and Atletico de Madrid.

There are a number of both public and private higher education institutions in Madrid. These include some of the oldest universities in the world, for example the Complutense University of Madrid which has around 117,000 students. The Autonomous University of Madrid is particularly well known for its research strengths in theoretical physics. Also located in Madrid is the Madrid Royal Conservatory, which boasts many notable alumni.

Barcelona

With a population of 1.6 million, Barcelona is the second most populous city in Spain, and the capital of Catalonia. The city has a rich cultural heritage, and is a popular tourist destination. It is particularly renowned for the architectural works of Antoni Gaudi and others, which have been  designated UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

There is a well developed system of higher education institutions in Barcelona. The most prominent of those is the University of Barcelona, founded in 1450.  It is a world renowned research and teaching institution and has campuses around the city. Also located in Barcelona is Barcelona Technology School, which is specifically for graduate students. You will also find two EU Business School campuses, which offers English taught business programmes.

Institutions in Spain

Browse higher education providers in Spain on the map or select from the list to learn more

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