Academic Year in Spain

The academic year in Spain has 220 days and usually runs from mid-September to June. Depending on the university, deviations are possible as the universities have the right to organize their academic year themselves. Therefore, students should inform themselves in advance about the exact dates of the academic year at the Spanish university of their choice.

In the summer months, outside of the regular academic year, Spanish universities offer so-called summer sessions. These courses only last a few weeks, how long exactly varies depending on the university.

Semester system in Spain

According to ehuacom, the academic year in Spain is divided into two semesters. A division into trimesters is not common in Spain. The first semester usually starts in mid-September and ends at the end of January. The second semester usually starts at the beginning of February and ends in June. The semester dates of some universities may differ from this.

At the end of the first and second semester, in the first semester until February, there are always the examination phases. During this time, the students usually no longer attend lectures or seminars. The follow-up exams will take place at a later point in time. Depending on the university, these fall in July or September.

Students in Spain have one vacation per semester: Christmas vacation in the first and Easter vacation in the second semester of the academic year.

The academic year in Spain at a glance:

Semester Period
Semester 1 September – January
Semester 2 February – June
(Summer Sessions) June – September

Residence Permit for Studying in Spain

Every year international students come to Spain to study abroad. Here you can complete a full course of study or visit a Spanish university as part of shorter study stays such as a semester abroad. Due to the freedom of movement within the European Union, entry and residence are usually uncomplicated for Germans and citizens of other EU countries.

Citizens from many other countries often need a student visa for Spain. Therefore, before starting your studies in Spain, you should inquire individually whether you need to apply for a visa. Contact points for such questions are usually the Spanish embassies or consulates.

Citizens of EU member states

Students from member states of the European Union only need their valid identity card or passport to enter Spain. After entering the country, they are allowed to stay in the country for up to 90 days. A residence permit for studying in Spain is not necessary for EU citizens.

Information about staying in Spain

However, if you are an EU citizen and want to stay in Spain for more than 90 days to study, you have to complete a few formalities. First is log in to the Ayuntamiento, the registration office in the town in Spain necessary. For this purpose, students should bring their identity card or passport as well as proof of their local place of residence. A rental agreement, for example, can be considered as such. It is advisable to have a few copies with you in addition to the original documents to be submitted.

After registering, you need to register as an EU citizen in Spain, where you also get a Spanish foreigner identity number (Número de Identidad de Extranjero, NIE for short). To register, you have to go personally to the relevant Oficina de Extranjeros or the responsible police station.

The Consulate General of Spain in Hamburg and the German representations in Spain can also provide information on this.

German students who want to work in Spain during the semester break to finance their studies do not need a work permit.

University Landscape in Spain

The higher education landscape in Spain consists almost entirely of universities. International students can complete a full bachelor’s, master’s or doctoral degree as well as a semester abroad. If you want to study at a university in Spain outside of the ERASMUS program, you have to pay tuition fees.

Universities in Spain

There are currently 85 universities in the Spanish university landscape. 50 of them are state sponsored, the rest are private universities. Some of these are borne by the Catholic Church. Among the 85 universities are six Fernunis and various Universidades Politécnicas. The latter roughly correspond to the technical universities in Germany and accordingly focus on subjects in the fields of technology and natural sciences. Two of the Spanish universities have special status as they only award postgraduate degrees.

A university in Spain consists of various institutions, such as the Facultades, i.e. the faculties, and the Escuelas Técnicas Superiores or Escuelas Politécnicas Superiores, which are faculties specifically for engineering sciences. The so-called Escuelas Universitarias or Escuelas Universitarias Politécnicas can also belong to the Spanish universities. These are similar to the universities of applied sciences in Germany, even though, unlike the German universities of applied sciences, they are not independent educational institutions. Also Colegios Universitarios, at which gaining professional degrees can be part of a university in Spain. The universities in Spain provide not only academic, but also vocational training.

For example, among the very few non-university colleges are private design schools.

Quality of Spanish universities

The Agencia Nacional de Evaluación de la Calidad y Acreditación (ANECA) is responsible for quality assurance and the accreditation of study programs in Spain. In addition, each university has internal quality assurance mechanisms, which in turn are subject to monitoring by ANECA and the regional authorities responsible.

Spanish universities can place themselves in various international university rankings, such as the ARWU, the QS ranking or the THE rankings.

Internationalization of the Spanish university landscape

In the course of the Bologna reform, the study system in Spain changed with the introduction of the internationally recognized bachelor, master and doctoral degrees. The state institution has the task of promoting Spanish universities around the world. Even if the Spanish universities mainly teach in Spanish, there are now also English-language courses and programs.

Special features of the Spanish university landscape

A special feature of the university landscape in Spain results from the multilingualism of the country. In the regions with a second official language in addition to Spanish, for example in Catalonia or the Basque Country, courses are often also held in this language. For international students, these universities usually offer language courses in which they can learn the relevant regional languages. The fact that the higher education landscape in Spain consists almost entirely of universities, as so many educational institutions are connected to the universities and thus not independent, distinguishes them from the higher education landscape in Germany.

Academic Year in Spain

Academic Year in Spain
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