Since the adaptation of the Spanish university system to the guidelines of the European Higher Education Area (EHEA), the structure of university studies in Spain is now comprises of three levels (or cycles): Bachelor’s degrees (in Spanish, Grado), Master’s degrees, and Doctoral degrees. The Bachelor’s and the Master’s degrees are taught in the following areas:
• Arts and Humanities
• Experimental Sciences
• Health Sciences
• Social and Legal Sciences
• Engineering and Architecture
Level 1: Bachelor’s degree
To obtain a Bachelor’s degree, students must earn a total of 240 ECTS credits over four academic years (including an end of degree dissertation).
ECTS credits (ECTS = European Credit Transfer System) are the standard credits adopted by all the universities in the European Higher Education Area (EHEA). Currently, European higher education systems are undergoing the process of convergence so that programs of study are more compatible and comparable.
ECTS credits are based on the work completed by the student including hours of class-time, individual-study, written work and practicums.
An ECTS credit represents 25 hours of study. A full-time student is expected to obtain 60 ECTS credits in an academic year.
In general terms, one US credit hour is equivalent to two ECTS credits.
The majority of Spanish universities divide the academic year into two semesters. The first semester typically starts in mid-September or early October. Classes finish in December and are followed by an exam period in January. The second semester starts at the end of January or the beginning of February, finishes at the end of May and is followed by an exam period in June. This schedule can vary between universities, and some schools have a trimester system.