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Masters in Spain

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For many Spain is one of the most exotic tourist destinations in the world. And it is easy to understand why – just think about the beautiful Spanish beaches, jaw-dropping landscapes and vibrant streets.

But what if you can become a permanent resident of España for at least a few semesters thanks to modern higher education? Would you enjoy studying in a country where people usually go on vacation? Sí, sí, we thought so!

Spain – more than a tourist destination

Now let’s get this straight – Spain has long ago laid its foundations in higher education. In fact, the country is home to one of the oldest academic institutions in the world – the University of Salamanca, founded in the 11th century. 

As of today, there are more than 70 universities across the peninsula offering excellent Masters education both in Spanish and English. And talking about an opportunity – studying in the 2nd or 3rd most spoken language in the world! Or maybe even both!

Note: Did you know that more than 700 programmes are delivered entirely in English at Spanish universities?

Even more, there are a total of 5 Spanish representatives in the Top 400 of Times Higher Education World University Rankings for 2019:

  • Pompeu Fabra University
  • Autonomous University of Barcelona 
  • University of Barcelona 
  • University of Navarra 
  • Autonomous University of Madrid 

But which are some of the most preferred study fields? These can be narrowed down to Business & Economics, Engineering, Fine Arts & Music and Medicine & Health Sciences

Considering professional development in one of these areas? No problem, especially when you consider global banks such as BBVA and Santander, the fashion giant ZARA and the highly-specialized industries of SEAT and Grifols. And to talk about the sports sector which brought some of the world’s most successful football and basketball teams. Outstanding!

But don’t be confused – these more than 55,000 international students seeking higher education in Spain are not in only for professional development. The multicultural environment and the overall safety of the country are also major factors. Did we mention the excellent climate as well?

So far, so good – Spain is definitely offering the perfect mix for an excellent Masters experience

Finding a Masters in Spain

The structure of a typical Masters degree in Spain is no different from the ones offered at other major European destinations. 

Generally, the study duration is between 12 and 24 months, with the exclusion of some specialized programmes taking up 10, 16 or 18 months, usually MBAs. Upon graduation, you can be awarded with one of the standard degrees – “Master of Arts”; “Master of Science”; “Master of Business Administration”; etc.

Annually, the study year starts in September or early October for the autumn/winter semester and in rare cases in mid-January or early February for the spring/summer semester. The ECTS is applied at most state universities, allowing you to earn 60 ECTS for a one-year Masters or 120 ECTS for a two-year study.

The delivery method of most areas of study is lecture-based and cooperative, with students having a chance to interact and discuss with their tutor. Research is fair, especially during dissertation work. 

With the helping hand of the Masters Search, you can easily filter and find the perfect degree opportunity waiting for you! And not just in Madrid or Barcelona, as Spain offers one of the widest university networks in Europe! Whether it is Bilbao, Granada, Salamanca, Seville, Valladolid or Valencia – you will find the Spanish trait everywhere. 

Your choice for the type of university is rich as well, as there are also university colleges and dedicated subject schools, usually in the area of business. 

Accreditation

The National Agency for Quality Assessment and Accreditation (ANECA) is the official and fully-authorized state body that ensures the high quality of Spanish higher education. This is achieved with periodic evaluation and certification or re-certification of the study programmes and the universities. 

Admission requirements, deadlines and application

Certain pieces of documentation are always essential upon application for postgraduate education. But as you might have expected, your Bachelors degree will be with highest priority. Other necessary documentary might be a/an:

  • Academic transcript;
  • Curriculum vitae;
  • Motivation/reference letter;
  • Personal letter/statement;
  • Visa/residence permit.

Depending on your language of instruction, there also might be certain requirements for English or Spanish proficiency (or both). 

For English, you can easily rely on IELTS with a score between 6.0 and 7.0, TOEFL with an overall grade of 500-550 for the paper-based or 80-90 for the Internet-based version and of course, Cambridge certification – with a minimum level of C1 Advanced. 

As for Spanish degrees, you can prove your language knowledge with a DELE (Diplomas of Spanish as a Foreign Language) diploma. There are levels ranging from A1 to C2 but it is recommended that you prepare for a requirement around B2 and above. 

Important: Always check for any additional, specific requirements that are usually mentioned on the official university websites for each listed Masters course. These can be academic tests, personal interviews and even presentations. 

Once you have your full set of documents prepared, you can check if you can submit an online application for your chosen university. If not, you might have to switch to postal services or even applying personally. 

Note that this procedure is usually more complicated for students coming from countries outside the EU/EEA or Switzerland and sometimes it even includes additional or higher application fees. 

As for deadlines, simply make sure to prepare your documentary before early January, as most Spanish universities open their application windows by then.

Tuition fees, scholarships and grants

One major difference when it comes to tuition in Spain is not only the relatively low amount charged at most universities but also the “per credit” system. In comparison with the regular payment each semester, it allows a clearer overview of your spent money. 

Typically, each credit equals around 10 hours of academic teaching, with the fee for a Masters varying between €30 and €70. In total, you might be looking at a sum in the area of €1800 to €4200 for a one-year long study as a student coming from the EU/EEA area or Switzerland. 

Of course, tuition fees might vary greatly depending on your subject area and of course, nationality. However, you can find detailed information on each official Spanish university portal. 

Note: Don’t forget to budget any additional administrative and application fees that might occur. Proceed with cautious financing for your required books and supplies. 

As for scholarships and grants, the Ministry of Education and Vocational Training in Spain offers an excellent amount of funding opportunities for interested students. You can also scout for business and religious associations offering financial aid. 

Health insurance

If you are a student from the EU/EAA or Switzerland, make sure to demand your eligibility for equal health services as a Spanish resident by registering your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)

If you are coming from a 3rd country, however, check up on your visa conditions if you are eligible for public healthcare. If not, you might have to pay for private healthcare services.  

Life in Spain – accommodation, food and transport

The first step of planning a longer stay is thinking about a place to stay. And as a student, you guessed it - university accommodation, or colegios mayores, is the cheaper and more preferable option. 

This type of residence is usually in the form of a shared room in a flat that can be either a part of the structure of the university or an individual building placed near-by.  

And as demand is greater than the supply, placings are limited with prices for a monthly stay varying between €400 and €500. However, these figures exclude the use of Internet, TV and utilities. 

In terms of private rentals, you might be looking at substantially higher pricing in the area of €800 to €1000. This type of accommodation is reasonable only when shared, as you might also have to include much higher utility pricing and some additional transportation and food costs

For this reason, ask and search for as much information as possible regarding application deadlines and requirements for university accommodation. 

When it comes to food, benefitting from university buffets and catering is your best option. Still, a visit to your local supermarket might change your mind, as the standard in Spain is not abnormal and groceries are cheap. For no more than €30 you can end up with a full basket!

As a monthly food budget, you should plan around €400 for a normal and healthy diet

Note: Open markets are quite popular in Spain – the ideal place to find fresh meat, fish and vegetables. Check out the Mercado de La Boqueria in Barcelona, you will love it!

Lastly, the monthly pass for public transport can range between €40 and €50, without a student discount. Even for this affordable price you can easily rely on a comfortable subway network and buses that can take you everywhere. 

Still, you can search for online listings in your area for a motorcycle, as this is the most preferred way of going around the city in Spain. Let’s remember that the Spaniards love their MotoGP racers - Marc Márquez and Dani Pedrosa.

Jobs, jobs, jobs

As a student coming from the EU/EEA or Switzerland, you won’t face any problems finding full-time or part-time employment. However, as an international student from a 3rd country, you might be limited to working for only a certain time period each week – usually 20 hours. 

Regardless, online job portals are the best option followed by specialized events such as fairs which might take place at your university. Career centers are also helpful as you can also resort to EURES part of an EU programme.  

Fun fact: Did you know that some smaller businesses in Spain still close down between 2 and 5 in the afternoon for a short nap? Indeed, the Siesta is not a myth or a legend! 

¡Vamos a la playa!

Finally, being a student also means enjoying some free time on some memorable experiences. And in Spain, you can do this on a daily basis – starting with the picturesque beaches!

Of course, you might not be lucky enough to study in a popular study and tourist destination like Alicante, Barcelona or Málaga but you can still easily book a cheap plane ticket under €100 and fly to some of the most popular beach locations like Ibiza and Mallorca! 

But once you get tired of swimming, sunbathing and drinking Sangria (which will most probably not happen), you might decide to take up one of the several popular sports in Spain! It’s up to you – basketball, football or tennis, they are all at the highest level. 

And in terms of sports, make sure to visit one of the most iconic clashes in football history – the El Clásico, and explore the football stadiums of these legendary teams – the Santiago Bernabéu and Camp Nou. Or if you are up for more, go visit a local match with Rafael Nadal or the F1 Barcelona Grand Prix to cheer for Fernando Alonso!

Running out of space on your calendar? We still haven’t even reached the part of city exploration. And where can we start from – the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, the Alhambra fortress in Granada or the Royal Palace in Madrid. There is a lot of nature as well even within the cities – just watch out for parrots flying around!

Museums with art and history are also around. Remember to shortlist Casa Mila, the Guggenheim and the Picasso Museum. 

Nightlife and parties? No worries, as Spain is the home of them! But don’t forget to taste some unique meals before switching to an Agua de Valencia or Estrella – Gazpacho, Tortilla Española and the popular Patatas bravas!

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