U.S students wishing to pursue a Bachelor’s degree in Spain have a variety of options. Below you will find information for three categories of students: those who have not yet started their undergraduate work; those who have started their studies at another university but wish to complete their degree at a Spanish university; and students who hold a Bachelor’s degree from a non-Spanish university but wish to pursue another undergraduate degree in Spain.
I. Admission to Bachelor’s degree studies for students from countries outside the EU or countries other than Switzerland, Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein or China, who have not started their university studies.
The application procedure is as follows:
1. Applicants must have their studies officially accredited. To carry out this process, known in Spanish as “homologación,” candidates should apply to the Ministry of Education. This process can take be lengthy (officially, about six months), so it is important to start as early as possible.
2. Applicants must take the Spanish university admission examination (PAU, or «selectividad»). Spain’s University of Distance Education (UNED) administers this examination for students from abroad. The entrance exam is structured as follows:
General part: Comprised of four exercises: Text Commentary in one of the following subjects, chosen by the student: Spanish Language and Literature, History of Philosophy or History of Spain; Foreign Language (either German, French, English, Italian or Portuguese); and, a subject to be chosen by the student related to the university degree that he/she wishes to study (artistic, social, technical, etc).
Specialized part: This part of the exam is voluntary. It includes at least two subjects and allows students to improve their university entrance grade.
Foreign students wishing to take this exam will find information on venues, dates and registration periods on the website of Spain’s University of Distance Education, UNED www.uned.es
For more information on obtaining official recognition of foreign academic qualifications («homologación» and «convalidación») please consult the website of the Ministry of Education
3. Complete university pre-registration. The student usually applies for a university place via the website of the university where he/she wishes to study. Once accepted, the student registers directly at the university.
Pre-registration usually takes place in the second half of June and the start of July.
II. Admission to Bachelor’s degree studies for students who have started university studies in another country and who wish to continue their studies in Spain.
Students who have started university in another country and who wish to continue their studies in Spain must apply for partial recognition of the studies they have already completed abroad (in Spanish, “convalidación de estudios parciales”). This procedure will be carried out at the Spanish university where they wish to study.
The effect of the Partial Recognition of Studies is solely academic, given that it allows students to pursue their studies inside the Spanish university system.
The documents issued abroad must be official and must be duly legalized either by an Embassy or Consulate or by the “Apostille of the Hague” (with the exception of studies carried out in the European Union). In the United States, the Apostille of the Hague is obtained by the Secretary of State / Department of State in the state in which the document in question was issued. For example, if you need an Apostille for your transcript and you attended Florida State University, then you need to contact the Secretary of State for the state of Florida. Information on how to obtain this seal is usually found under the “Notary Public” section on the Secretary of State’s website.
The documents must be accompanied by a corresponding official translation into Spanish. The official translation may be carried out by:
• A Sworn Translator duly authorized or registered in Spain.
• Any diplomatic or consular representation of Spain abroad.
Applicants who do not obtain partial recognition of the credits requested (the minimum being 60 credits) will be required to take the Spanish university admission examination.
III. Admission to Bachelor’s degree studies for students who have completed a Bachelor’s degree abroad (either in the EU or elsewhere) and who wish to pursue a subsequent Bachelor’s degree in Spain.
Students who have completed university studies at a foreign university or higher education center and who wish to pursue their studies at a Spanish university may choose to:
• Apply for official accreditation («homologación») of their degree as an official Spanish university qualification
• Apply for official partial recognition («convalidación») of their university studies