What to Know Before You Study in Spain

Higher education has been an important part of Spain since medieval times. If you choose Spain as your study abroad destination, you will have the opportunity to study at universities that are revered and respected worldwide.

Spain’s universities have opened up to a broad and diverse student body. You too can be a part of that!

Universities in Spain

As with most European countries, the Spanish government regulates and operates the majority of universities. There are 79 universities in Spain; 50 of these are state operated, while the remaining 29 are private. The Catholic Church operates several of these.

University courses are divided into three stages, called cycles. These cycles, in general, are equivalent to bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs in the United States. The second and third cycles encompass certain professional degrees, such as law and medicine. Students who want to be licensed and practice these professions must complete these upper-level cycles.

Public, private and technical universities are all authorized to grant degrees. Technical universities offer degrees in engineering and architecture. All other courses of study and their respective degrees are offered at universities in the various cycles.

Application Process to Study Abroad in Spain

Students who want to study abroad in Spain are encouraged to apply to Spanish universities. Each university sets its own application and admissions schedule. A visiting student must apply at the individual institution in which they are interested.

The accepted application deadline for public universities is July 1. However, students who want to study abroad in Spain should apply well before this date because some universities have earlier deadlines.

To be admitted to an undergraduate (cycle 1) program, visiting students must obtain official recognition of their previous studies. Having completed university-level coursework successfully in the US usually will make a student eligible to study abroad in Spain. Additionally, and depending on the course of study, students from non-Spanish speaking countries must take a Spanish language examination to determine the student’s proficiency in the language.

Make sure to get professional translations of any personal documents that are required by the university you are considering.

Student Visas and Residence Permits to Study Abroad in Spain

Students who want to study abroad in Spain must first obtain a student visa prior to their arrival in the country. The best time to start the process is after acceptance to a program of study.

The Spanish consulate in your area is the only office that can issue student visas. Each consulate has slightly different paperwork. Students should call ahead so they know what they need to provide.

Students generally must provide a completed visa application, a valid passport, four passport photos, an acceptance letter, a medical note verifying the student is in good health, financial guarantees and proof of medical insurance. Two copies of each document are required.

Tuition and Costs to Study Abroad in Spain

Compared to studying abroad in other European countries, Spain is relatively inexpensive. Tuition and fees will range between 3,000 and 7,000 EUR depending on what course of study is taken.

The Spanish government estimates the cost of living for one year at 5,310 EUR for visiting students. To be on the safe side, students who study abroad should estimate the cost of living to be a bit more than the government’s suggestion. About 6,300 EUR is a safe estimate unless the student is accustomed to certain personal luxuries.

Whether you’re taking in a siesta or tasting some Mediterranean cuisine, Spain has much to offer as a study abroad destination. Good luck with the application and admissions process, and enjoy your experience in Spain!