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Education in Spain

Education in Spain
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Spanish education is gaining in popularity. People immigrating to Spain have access to a wide range of nurseries and schools while universities offer high standards of European academic tuition.

Preschool, primary and secondary education

The Spanish education system is divided into three levels.

1. Early education (Educación Infantil)

This stage accepts children from birth to six years old and is divided into two levels: kindergartens children until three (optional & paying) and compulsory preschool (free) for children aged 3–6 in public institutions.

2. Elementary education (Educación Primaria)

From six to twelve, children attend compulsory elementary school. Both public elementary and secondary schools are free. Alternatively, a child can attend a private or religious school. In several provinces (e.g. in Catalonia and the Basque Country), some lessons are taught in local language and these language lessons are included in the curriculum.

3. Secondary education (Educación Secundaria Obligatoria or ESO)

From twelve to sixteen, teenagers attend compulsory and free secondary school. After three years, they must choose between vocational or academic studies and pass the secondary school certificate (Titulo de Graduato ESO). Holders of this certificate can choose to go to university, continue their vocational studies or leave and find a job.

Those who want to attend university must obtain a baccalaureate (Titulo de Bachiller). Others can continue on to complete secondary vocational, arts or sport courses (Titulo de Técnico).

Higher education

More than 50,000 international students come to the country every year to study Design, Hospitality Management, Medical Science, Law, Architecture and Engineering in Spain’s institutes of higher education (Educación Superior). Madrid, Barcelona and Valencia are particularly popular among the students as well as Granada, Salamanca, Santiago and Zaragoza.

Spain has more than eighty universities. The top-ranking institutes include the University of Barcelona, Autonomous University of Barcelona and Autonomous University of Madrid.

Spain Worldwide University Spanish name
1 166 University of Barcelona Universidad de Barcelona
2 173 Autonomous University
of Barcelona
Universidad Autónoma
de Barcelona
3 178 Autonomous University
of Madrid
Universidad Autónoma
de Madrid
4 212 Complutense University
of Madrid
Universidad Complutense
de Madrid
5 254 University of Navarra Universidad de Navarra
6 298 Pompeu Fabra University Universidad Pompeu Fabra
7 299 Polytechnic University
of Catalonia
Universidad Politécnica
de Cataluña
8 355 Carlos III University
of Madrid
Universidad Carlos III
de Madrid, U3CM
9 385 Technical University
of Madrid
Universidad Politécnica
de Madrid
10 421–430 Polytechnic University
of Valencia
Universidad Politécnica
de Valencia

Knowledge of the Spanish language is necessary to get into university. There are plenty of Spanish language schools and the best ones will have a CEELE (Calidad en la Enseñanza del Español como Lengua Extranjera) or Quality Certificate for Teaching Spanish as a Foreign Language.

There are entrance exams for courses like Architecture, Engineering, Medical Science and Pharmacy covering the subjects of Spanish and Foreign languages, History of Spain and a fourth subject depending on the academic program. Foreign applicants don’t have to take a Spanish as a Foreign Language test if they already have a DELE certificate (Diploma de Español como Lengua Extranjera).

Universities in Spain offer the standard EU academic cycles (ECTS): Bachelor’s (six semesters), Master’s (four semesters) and Doctorate (six semesters). Spanish degrees are recognised across Europe, entitling the holder to work at that level anywhere in the EU.

Fees for studying in Spain are about €6,000 per year and student livings costs are approximately €700 per month including accommodation, meals, commuting and entertainment.

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