Higher Education Degree Programs in Spain

Universities in Spain have the right to issue official degrees as per the organic law 6/2001 and these are valid throughout the country.  There are “official” and “own” titles given in Spain:

Official titles: College official titles are valid throughout the state. These are established by the government and are adjusted to the European Higher Education Area (EHEA).  

Titles own: Own or unofficial titles are produced by universities and receive official acknowledgement and acceptance in the European Higher Education Area (EHEA).  

Following are the degrees offered by the Universities in Spain:

Bachelor Degree 

The first Cycle of the University studies in Spain is Bachelor degree programs. Also, referred to as “Grado”, in Spanish. This degree focuses on providing basic general outline of a study. At the end of the degree program, a thesis is must to be submitted. It holds a value of 30 credits.

Duration: 4 years

Credits Required: 240 ECTS credits (300 ECTS credits for degree in Dentistry, pharmacy, veterinary and architecture, while 360 credits for Medical degree)

Subjects/Types of Bachelor degree programs- Arts and Humanities, Social Law, Science, Engineering, Health Sciences, Architecture, and Business Law.

Structure of Bachelor’s Degree
The Bachelor's Degree is structured as:
  • Basic training subjects: These subjects required at least 60 ECTS credits
  • Mandatory subjects
  • Optional subjects
  • External practice: Requires 60 ECTS credits
  • End of Degree Project: This includes a dissertation that has a value of 30 ECTS credits 
  • Recognition/Appreciation for cultural activities: By getting involved in extracurricular activities, you can earn 6 ECTS credits
Therefore, the maximum number of credits that a student can receive each year is 90 ECTS credits.

Few More Bachelor (Undergraduate) Degrees in Spain those are still valid:
  • Technical Engineer (In Spanish: Ingeniero Tecnico): The course lasts for 3 years. 
  • Engineer (In Spanish: Ingeniero Superior): The course lasts for 5 years.
  • Technical Architect (In Spanish: Arquitecto Tecnico): The course of study lasts for 3 years. 
  •  Architect (In Spanish: Arquitecto Superior): The program lasts for 5 years. 

Master’s Degree (Master)

The second cycle of University studies in Master Degree programs. These degree programs emphasize on a particular subject. They provide specialisation in the academic, professional or research education and conclude with the conferring of a Master's degree valid in all the participant countries to the European Higher Education Area (EHEA).

Credits Required: 60 to 120 ECTS credits 

Duration: 1-2 years

Entry Requisite: Bachelor’s degree

Subjects: Accounting and Finance, Economics, International trade, Communication and PR, Tourism, Human resources, Entrepreneurship, etc. 

Doctorate Degree Program (Doctorado)

The third cycle of University studies in Spain is doctorate degree programs. The doctorate degree program focuses on advanced training in research techniques. They are broken down into 2 cycles:
  • Cycle 1: Involves at least 60 credits 
  • Cycle 2: Involves original research which concludes in the public defence. 
Duration: 3 years for full-time study, and 5 years for part-time study 

Subjects: Arts and Humanities, Health Sciences, Science, Social Sciences and Law, and Engineering and Architecture.

Entry Requisite: Master’s degree and at least 60 credits in official graduate studies.

European Doctorate

An “International Doctor” title is given if a doctorate student completes at least 3 months of stay out of Spain in a higher education institution or research institute, studying or carrying out research.  A section of the doctoral thesis, mainly the summary part and conclusions, must be written and introduced in one of the common languages for scientific communication in their sphere of knowledge, unlike any of the official languages in Spain. The thesis must be reviewed by at least two expert doctors belonging to non-Spanish higher education institution or research institute.  At least one non-Spanish expert with the title of doctor must be a part of the evaluation panel of the thesis. 

ECTS Credits

The European Credit Transfer System (ECTS) is the standard criterion acquired by all universities in the European Higher Education Area (EHEA). ECTS credits are predicated on the student's performance and personal work: classroom study and hours, and development of work practices. One ECTS credit equates to 25 hours of student work. One academic year is equal to 60 ECTS credits, provided it is a full-time study.

For each degree program, you are required to earn a minimum number of credits. These credits are earned by taking different classes, such as:
  • Major Classes: Related to a particular degree in any university 
  • Compulsory Classes: Classes which are made mandatory by the university. They are in the curriculum and every student has to take these classes as part of the program.
  • Elective Classes: Classes that student can select for specialization in a specific area of study. 
  • Free Configuration Credits: Hold a value of 10% of the degree. Includes classes of interest and extra-curricular academic activities that are unrelated to the degree program.

Non-University Higher Education

Non-University higher education encompasses vocational degrees that last for 1-2 years. 

Vocational Degrees 

The vocational degree comprises of an Intermediate Vocation Training Program: (In Spanish: Formacion profesional de Grado Medio) and an Advanced Vocation Training Program (In Spanish: Formacion profesional de Grado Superior). 
  • Duration: 1-2 years
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