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Bologna process: Spain


There are over 70 universities in Spain with some 50 public or state provided universities and the rest coming through private provision including the Church. Universities are divided into facultades universitarias, escuelas técnicas superiores, escuelas universitarias, institutos universitarios, and other centres, notably the colegios universitarios.

The State through the Ministerio de Ciencia and Innovacion and provides the regulatory framework in which degrees can be issued and earned in both academic and professional settings. The Consejo de Universidades (where the Ministry, the Comunidades Autónomas and the Universidades are represented) coordinates the activities of all universities and is a sounding board for developing policy proposals for the Ministry. Universities are relatively autonomous with isolated exceptions in certain military, artistic and music degree programmes that are given in non-university institutions.

In line with many other countries in the EU, Spain undertook significant reform of its higher education system in 2007 by embracing the Bologna Process.

Overview of Types of Universities and Qualifications at Undergraduate and Postgraduate Level

(i) Structure

There are four different types of university establishments in Spain:

  • University schools (escuelas universitarias), where ‘short-term’ three-year courses are offered;
  • University colleges (colegios universitarios) where the first three years of study leading to a licenciado is completed;
  • Faculties (facultades) where long-term courses are offered in all academic disciplines (except technical courses) and
  • Higher technical schools of engineering and architecture (escuela superior de ingeniería y arquitectura) where long-term technical courses are completed.

(ii) Access

To gain access to university from secondary school, students must gain a final grade – the nota de corte – at the end of their two years of bachillerato. In addition they take the Prueba General de Bachillerato (PGB) examination and acceptance to university can depend on the result obtained. Based on this grade, students are admitted over the summer period to university with those gaining the highest marks being accepted first. EU nationals are entitled to compete for places at Spanish universities on equal terms with Spanish nationals, as are Spanish nationals in other EU countries.

(iii) Qualifications

Spanish higher education has adopted the three cycle degree system of the European Higher Education Area. As such three cycles of study exists.

1st Cycle (primer ciclo) - Bachelor's programmes. The first cycle of university studies (short term courses), which is followed in Escuelas Técnicas Superiores, Escuelas Universitarias and Facultades lasts for three years and leads to the Diplomado or Licenciado. More specific titles include Ingeniero Técnico or Arquitecto Técnico.

2nd Cycle (Segundo ciclo) - Master's programmes. A second cycle diploma is called a licenciatura or tesina, and is awarded after five or six years study at a facultad. The courses of study leading to Licenciado, Ingeniero and Arquitecto degrees consist of a combination of 1st and 2nd cycle studies and once completed a Licenciatura is awarded. The Ingeniero and Arquitecto degrees are awarded following an end-of-course project (proyecto fin de carrera). These long term courses are followed at Facultades and Escuelas Técnicas Superiores. The former offer courses in Humanities and Science and the latter offer courses in Technology, Engineering and Architecture. There are also second cycle only studies that lead to the Licenciado or Ingeniero degrees.

3rd Cycle – (Tercer ciclo, ciclo de especialización para la investigación y docencia) Doctoral programmes. The third cycle of studies is a PhD (doctorate) programme, for a Doctor en Filosofía y Letras The third stage is open to holders of Licenciado, Arquitecto or Ingeniero degrees and leads to the Doctor's degree (Título de Doctor) which is awarded after at least three years' further study and research. Another postgraduate degree, although it is not officially recognized (Título propio de la Universidad) is a Masters degree, awarded after 1 or 2 years of further study..

Universities in Spain (Teaching Either Economics or Business)

  1. Universidad Alfonso X El Sabio
  2. Universidad Aótonoma de Barcelona
  3. Universidad Autónoma de Madrid
  4. Universidad de Alcaló
  5. Universidad de Alicante
  6. Universidad de Almeróa
  7. Universidad de Barcelona
  8. Univesidad de Códiz
  9. Universidad de Cantabria
  10. Universidad Carlos III de Madrid
  11. Universidad de Castilla-La Mancha
  12. Universidad Complutense de Madrid
  13. Universidad de Cantabria
  14. Universidad de Castilla-La Mancha
  15. Universidad de Córdoba
  16. Universidad de Deusto
  17. Universidad de Extremadura
  18. Universidad de Granada
  19. Universidad de las Islas Baleares
  20. Universidad de La Coruóa
  21. Universidad de La Laguna
  22. Universidad de Las Palmas de Gran Canaria
  23. Universidad de León
  24. Universidad de Mólaga
  25. Universidad de Murcia
  26. Universidad de Navarra
  27. Universidad de Oviedo
  28. Universidad del Paós Vasco
  29. Universidad de Salamanca
  30. Universidad de Sevilla
  31. Universidad de Valladolid
  32. Universidad de Vigo
  33. Universidad de Zaragoza
  34. Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia
  35. Universidad Pontificia de Comillas, Madrid
  36. Universidad Póblica de Navarra
  37. Universidade de Santiago de Compostela
  38. Universitat Autónoma de Barcelona
  39. Universitat de Barcelona
  40. Universitat de Girona
  41. Universitat de Lleida
  42. Universitat de Valencia
  43. Universitat Jaume I de Castellón
  44. Universitat Politócnica de Catalunya
  45. Universitat Politócnica de Valencia
  46. Universitat Pompeu Fabra
  47. Universitat Ramón Llull
  48. Universitat Rovira i Virgili

International rankings

The Times Higher Education-QS World University Rankings are as follows:

University of Barcelona (Universitat de Barcelona/Universidad de Barcelona)
Autonomous University of Madrid (Universidad Autónoma de Madrid)

NR = no ranking or ranking outside top 200.


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