Studying Abroad

Studying in Spain

James Birch  · Sep 21st 2020

Tuition fees in Spain are actually among the lowest in the whole of Europe, so the possibility of studying in this beautiful country is more plausible than you think!

Spain flag

While studying in España, you could really learn the lingo and brush up your skills of the second most spoken language in the entire world. Students also have the chance to network and create lots of international connections as Spain is the third most popular choice of country for international students.

The Mediterranean climate offers so much for students to do in their free time, from lazy tapas lunches to exploring the glorious cities such as Barcelona and Madrid. When students aren’t cooped up in the library, this vibrant country offers a number of activities to take part in as well as a host of clubs, museums, theatres and street fairs.

Studying in Spain

Spanish Education System

There are two different types of higher education systems in Spain that you should be aware of when studying in Spain:

  • A Public system – universities that are created by a public entity (the government)
  • A Private system – institutions which are created by legal bodies or individuals

The university system in Spain has been adapted to meet the requirements of the European Higher Education Area (EHEA); therefore university studies generally follow 3 cycles; bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees.

Studying a Bachelor’s degree combines basic training, optional subjects, mandatory subjects and external and cultural placements as well as activities and a final course dissertation. Students need to earn a total of 240 ECTS credits over a four year period of study to earn a bachelor’s degree. A master’s degree aims to prepare students for research, academic or professional work and is usually taken over a one or two year period. Doctoral degrees take a maximum of three years full time or five years part-time. Studying a PhD offer to train students in advanced in research techniques.

The academic year is split into two semesters or terms, and although it might vary slightly for each university, the dates will be similar wherever you study. The first semester usually starts the middle of September or early October with exams scheduled in January. The second term then begins early February and will continue with exams in June.

What do I need to get into a Spanish university?

The competition at Spanish universities can be very high, especially as more and more students want to study in the country. EU nationals are entitled to compete for student places at Spanish universities equal to Spanish natives. Some Spanish universities will require you to complete an admissions tests, this a way they can pick what students they take on.

Any foreign qualifications that are outside of the European Union or China have to be approved by the Spanish Department of Education and Culture, if for example you were looking at studying Medicine in Spain. This process is known as homologation but is only necessary if you have finished your secondary studies outside the EU and wanted to study a bachelors degree, or if you wish to pursue a professional career in Spain and you carried out your university studies outside of the European Union.

While there may be a few degree courses taught in English, it can be useful to have some language skills. Some universities provide summer language degree courses which could help tremendously, find out more about studying in Spain.

Studying at uni in Spain

How much will it cost to study in Spain?

All EU citizens are entitled to attend universities in any other EU country at the same price as natives, meaning you are not required to pay more than home fees. Students will also be eligible to apply for any grants available to help with the tuition fees. This is very useful when looking at studying in Psain for international students.

University degree courses in Spain are among the lowest in Europe for EU nationals. Public university enrolment fees for bachelor’s degrees are set by the government and can vary between 600 and 1400 euros per academic year – pretty great considering the UK’s can be as high as £9,000! The tuition fees are calculated on a pay-per-credit system, meaning the credits are based on what type of course you are studying and what university you study at. For example each credit, for a degree worth 120 credits, may cost between 20 and 40 euros each. Therefore you are only paying for the amount of work and credits you achieve.

Living expenses are important too, and some students can expect to pay between 900 and 1,100 euros a month on their student accommodation, depending on where they are based as this can alter costs a lot, therefore knowing what student budgeting tips and the cheap options for undergraduates could be very helpful.

Will I get funding to study in Spain?

EU and Spanish students are entitled to grants and scholarships; however, there aren’t as many available like other European countries. To research scholarships, you can visit here (Universidad – Scholarships).

Studying at university in Spain

Will I need a student visa to study in Spain?

Students from the EU do not need a visa to study in Spain; however, they should apply for an NIE (Foreign National Identity) upon arriving in the country. This NIE document will become extremely useful for opening a student bank account, purchasing discount travel cards and/or accessing Spanish healthcare – also remember your EHIC card!

As an EU citizen, you are allowed to live in any country in the European Union whilst studying if you are there for more than three months, enrolled at an approved university, have enough income to support yourself (job or savings) and health insurance cover. EU and Spanish students under the age of 28 are covered by a student’s insurance fund if they are registered at a higher education institute.

Non-EU students must apply for a visa if they wish to stay longer than three months, and can apply for a visa at the Spanish Consulate or embassy at their home country.

Cost of living

It can be hard to judge how much things will cost you when studying in another country so we have rounded up some of the things you may have forgotten! Check out the average prices of these everyday items below:

Dining out: 10.00/£8.90 euros per person

McDonalds: 7.00/£0.88 euros per meal

Beer: 2.00 euros/£1.76 per pint

Coke: 1.70 euros/£1.50 per can

Water: 1.18 euros/£1.04 per bottle

Milk: 0.38 euros/£0.33 per pint

Bread: 0.94 euros/£0.83 per loaf

Bus ticket: 1.40/£1.23 euros one way

Bus ticket: 40.50/£35.64 euros monthly

Utilities: 118.00 euros/£103.85 per month

Internet: 33.00 euros/£29.05 per month

Cinema: 7.50 euros/£6.60 per ticket

Rent: 485.00 euros/£426.80 per month

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