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Education in Spain

education in spain

The Spanish educational system has been reorganized in order to raise the standards of education and align them with the general European criteria. This educational reform has had an impact on primary, secondary, and higher education. One of the major changes began in May of 2006: foreign students are now allowed to study full-time in Spanish public and private universities. In our article, we offer you the answers to the most frequently asked questions about education in Spain.

Education in Spain: FAQ

Mandatory education in Spain begins at 6 years old. However, almost all schools offer preschool education starting from 3 years (Infantil). This educational period is not mandatory, but the majority of parents prefer starting school preparation at this early educational stage. Preschool education enables a child to become accustomed to the rules and requirements of the educational process: the children learn and practice skills such as communicating, drawing, singing, playing, reading, writing, and counting. Many parents feel that the transition to the first grade of the elementary school program thereafter is a more natural and enjoyable experience.

How do I choose a school in Spain correctly for my child?

The process of selecting a school is an important step in itself. The selection criteria often depend upon the preferences of each family. As a starting point, one should consider geographic and linguistic factors, as well as plans concerning future higher education.

What types of schools exist in Spain?

It is possible to choose one of the three types of general education schools in Spain:

  • In public schools the education is conducted in Spanish or in the language of the autonomous region (this depends on the regional location of the school). Education in these schools is largely free of charge, with the exception of some fees, including the purchase of textbooks and other school materials that are paid for by the parents. The cost of these additional materials may vary depending on the region.
  • Semi-public schools, as a rule, are Catholic schools. It should be mentioned that these schools are not strictly religious, and their curriculum is not much different from that of the public schools. There is a fee to be paid, but it is rather low and can vary across different regions of Spain. On average, it might constitute 100-300 euros per month.
  • Private schools may be based not only on the Spanish educational system but also on the standards of educational systems of other countries like English, American, French, and German. In addition, some international schools use the system known as the international Baccalaureate (IB). Today, many private schools have a mixed system of education. When graduating from these schools, students can receive diplomas of two types: a Spanish certificate and a certificate of the country upon which the school’s curriculum is based. Private schools are the most prestigious option among the three but also the most expensive. To study in a school of this kind costs up to 1000 euros per month. In addition to the tuition, one must pay for the uniform, extra-curricular activities, and other expenses.

 types of schools spain

Which schools are the most prestigious in Spain?

Every year, the influential Spanish periodical, El Mundo, publishes a list of the best private schools in Spain. Consistently among the leaders are the private schools in Barcelona, Madrid, and Valencia. British and American schools are also included on the lists of the best schools. However, we do not recommend choosing a school based solely on its position in the rankings because it is equally important to evaluate the schools on the basis of which would be the ideal option for your child.

How is the process of admission to a school carried out in Spain?

The admission process depends on the type of school. Private schools establish their own requirements and criteria for selecting students. In general, the admission process consists of the following stages: an interview with the parents, an entrance exam determining the child’s general knowledge level, and an evaluation of the command of the primary language used in school. Also, the school might consider the academic excellence of a potential student in a previous school.

The admission process into the public and semipublic schools is carried out through special state authorities. At the moment of admission, these authorities take into account the student’s registration and the presence of siblings in the same school.

At what age is it best to begin education in Spain?

The answer to this question depends on the individual circumstances in every family. If moving to Spain is planned with the purpose of sending a child to school in Spain, it is better to do so as soon as possible. First of all, it will be easier for a child to begin school right away because adaptation to a new educational system, a new country, and new friends requires time. Second, when applying for admission to private schools in Spain, student requirements are directly proportional to the student’s age: the younger the child, the fewer the requirements for admission.

How many years does one need to study at school in Spain?

Mandatory school education in Spain lasts for 10 years: from 6 to 16 years old. The curriculum is divided into primary education (Primaria is for students from 6 to 12 years old) and secondary education (ESO is from 12 to 16 years old). After completing the mandatory secondary education, the students are free to continue studying in a Bachillerato program, a traditional block of further secondary education for students aged 16-18 years, designed for those who plan to obtain a higher education degree in the future. For students who do not plan to study in the university, there is a wide range of professional education courses available.

Of what educational levels does Spanish higher education consist?

Similar to many other countries, university education in Spain is divided into three levels: Bachelor’s degree (Grado), Master’s degree (Master), and Doctoral degree (Doctorado). Apart from the main three degree levels, the Spanish universities offer a great variety of certificate courses, as well as postgraduate education.

At which universities can one complete a higher education in Spain?

Apart from public, private, and international universities that offer higher education programs, Spanish business schools and higher university schools also offer these types of degrees as well as specialization programs, such as degrees in tourism, design, dramatic arts and dance, vocal arts and musical education, shipping industry, and physical training.

How long does studying in Spain last?

The duration of the studying process depends upon the student’s educational level and specialization. As a rule, the Bachelor’s programs are designed for 3 to 4 years; however, some specializations require one to study for 6 years. The duration of the Master’s program is 1 to 2 years, and the Doctoral program may last from 3 to 5 years.

Are Spanish diplomas recognized in other countries?

Spain is a member-state of the Bologna process; therefore, all Spanish university programs correspond to the general European standards, and the diplomas are recognized all over the world, opening up new horizons for graduates on the job market.

How many universities are there in Spain?

universities spain

Spain is renowned for its academic traditions and ancient universities. In contrast to many other countries, Spain puts an emphasis on the quality of education and not on the number of universities. For this reason, the country does not have a great quantity of universities. As of the 2015-16 academic year, 84 universities were officially registered in Spain, with the majority of them being public universities.

Which Spanish universities are considered to be the best in the country?

Almost all of the Spanish universities offer high-quality, diverse, and sought-after educational programs. The majority of the Spanish universities are included in various prestigious world rankings. The consistent leaders in these rankings are the universities in three Spanish cities with the highest number of students: Barcelona, Madrid, and Valencia. Traditionally, the top 5 universities are the following: University of Barcelona, Universitat Autónoma de Barcelona, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, University Complutense Madrid, and Universitat Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona.

In which language does one study in Spanish universities?

Currently, education in Spain is internationally-oriented, attracting an increasing number of foreign students. For this reason, with every year, the number of English-speaking programs offered in Spanish universities has been increasing steadily. However, the Spanish-language programs are still more diverse than their English-language counterparts. There are also bilingual programs offered. It is worth mentioning that in the public universities of certain autonomous regions of Spain, the official language of the region is used in the studying process (example include Catalan, Valencian, Galician, and Basque).

What is the cost of education in Spain?

cost of education spain

Spanish universities offer high-quality education at affordable prices. The cost of education varies and depends on the level of education, the particular school, program, and region. The minimum cost for one year of the educational program may be between 1500 and 2000 euros, while the maximum cost in the most prestigious business schools can be up to 20,000 euros per year.

Are there any free higher educational programs for foreigners in Spain?

There is no completely free university education available, even for Spaniards. Nevertheless, one should remember that all university students, including foreign students, are eligible to apply for various scholarships and grants. Public grants are issued by different ministries and governmental authorities, as well as private funds, financial organizations, and banking structures.

What are the admission requirements for the Bachelor’s programs?

The admission requirements and the requirements for the documents depend on the program, type of university (public or private), age of the student, and his or her educational level and nationality. Thus, when applying for admission to the bachelor’s program right after graduation from secondary school, a diploma or certificate of graduation is required. The certificate must be legalized, translated into Spanish, and made equivalent to the Spanish analogue (the procedure of equalization and legalization of the certificate depends on the country in which the student graduated).

In order to access education in Spain, some programs might demand a certificate of English or Spanish proficiency level (this refers only to those students who are not native speakers of the previously named languages). Private schools or business schools can also conduct their own in-house entrance exam to determine the general knowledge level of the student, as well as require an interview with a program curator. Also, university graduates, practicing specialists, and experienced workers are allowed to enter the schools.

What are the admission requirements for the Master’s programs?

In order to pursue a Master’s education in Spain, it is necessary to have a diploma that confirms the first level of higher education, a Bachelor’s program, has been completed. A Bachelor’s diploma is a mandatory document when applying for a Master’s degree program. The admission committee of the university examines the academic excellence of the document, as well as the percentage of similarities that match the university requirements of the program. Apart from the diploma, the applicants have to submit a CV and a letter of motivation. Other requirements can vary depending on the selected program and the university.

Is it possible to get an internship while studying in Spain?

The programs of higher education in Spain are developed in such a way as to promote not only the acquisition of theoretical skills but also valuable practical knowledge during the duration of study. To this end, a professional internship is an indispensible element of the program. Many universities have special agreements with major companies so that students who have demonstrated excellent performance during the internship period may have a chance to be employed after graduating from the program.

Can one participate in exchange programs when studying in Spain?

If, during the period of study in Spain, you would like to have the unique experience of studying in other EU countries or in other international locations, Spanish universities may permit you to do this. The students of Spanish universities can take advantage of the following programs: Erasmus, Erasmus +, Erasmus Mundus, Fulbright, DAAD, and many others.

Education in Spain is a unique life opportunity. You have access to everything: top universities, excellent academic programs, prestigious diplomas, new social capital, and, of course, student life in a gorgeous Mediterranean country! Furthermore, you can experience superb cuisine, a great climate, incredible traditions and holidays, and historical and cultural treasures. All these things are waiting for you. What could be better than pursuing your education in Spain?

The specialists at our company will be sure to help you take advantage of this opportunity. We will assist you in choosing the best programs and schools, help you submit applications, find you accommodations, and take care of all the paperwork related to coming to Spain. We are working so that can get a prestigious education in Spain.


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