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Spain:National Reforms in Higher Education

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Overview Spain

Contents

Spain:Political, Social and Economic Background and Trends

Spain:Historical Development

Spain:Main Executive and Legislative Bodies

Spain:Population: Demographic Situation, Languages and Religions

Spain:Political and Economic Situation

Spain:Organisation and Governance

Spain:Fundamental Principles and National Policies

Spain:Lifelong Learning Strategy

Spain:Organisation of the Education System and of its Structure

Spain:Organisation of Private Education

Spain:National Qualifications Framework

Spain:Administration and Governance at Central and/or Regional Level

Spain:Administration and Governance at Local and/or Institutional Level

Spain:Statistics on Organisation and Governance

Spain:Funding in Education

Spain:Early Childhood and School Education Funding

Spain:Higher Education Funding

Spain:Adult Education and Training Funding

Spain:Early Childhood Education and Care

Spain:Organisation of Early Childhood Education and Care

Spain:Teaching and Learning in Early Childhood Education and Care

Spain:Assessment in Early Childhood Education and Care

Spain:Organisational Variations and Alternative Structures in Early Childhood Education and Care

Spain:Primary Education

Spain:Organisation of Primary Education

Spain:Teaching and Learning in Primary Education

Spain:Assessment in Primary Education

Spain:Organisational Variations and Alternative Structures in Primary Education

Spain:Secondary and Post-Secondary Non-Tertiary Education

Spain:Organisation of General Lower Secondary Education

Spain:Teaching and Learning in General Lower Secondary Education

Spain:Assessment in General Lower Secondary Education

Spain:Vocational Lower Secondary Education: Basic Vocational Training cycles

Spain:Organisation of General Upper Secondary Education

Spain:Teaching and Learning in General Upper Secondary Education

Spain:Assessment in General Upper Secondary Education

Spain:Organisation of Vocational Upper Secondary Education

Spain:Teaching and Learning in Vocational Upper Secondary Education

Spain:Assessment in Vocational Upper Secondary Education

Spain:Post-Secondary Non-Tertiary Education

Spain:Higher Education

Spain:Types of Higher Education Institutions

Spain:First Cycle Programmes

Spain:Bachelor

Spain:Short-Cycle Higher Education

Spain:Second Cycle Programmes

Spain:Programmes outside the Bachelor and Master Structure

Spain:Third Cycle (PhD) Programmes

Spain:Adult Education and Training

Spain:Distribution of Responsibilities

Spain:Developments and Current Policy Priorities

Spain:Main Providers

Spain:Main Types of Provision

Spain:Validation of Non-formal and Informal Learning

Spain:Teachers and Education Staff

Spain:Initial Education for Teachers Working in Early Childhood and School Education

Spain:Conditions of Service for Teachers Working in Early Childhood and School Education

Spain:Continuing Professional Development for Teachers Working in Early Childhood and School Education

Spain:Initial Education for Academic Staff in Higher Education

Spain:Conditions of Service for Academic Staff Working in Higher Education

Spain:Continuing Professional Development for Academic Staff Working in Higher Education

Spain:Initial Education for Teachers and Trainers Working in Adult Education and Training

Spain:Conditions of Service for Teachers and Trainers Working in Adult Education and Training

Spain:Continuing Professional Development for Teachers and Trainers Working in Adult Education and Training

Spain:Management and Other Education Staff

Spain:Management Staff for Early Childhood and School Education

Spain:Staff Involved in Monitoring Educational Quality for Early Childhood and School Education

Spain:Education Staff Responsible for Guidance in Early Childhood and School Education

Spain:Other Education Staff or Staff Working with Schools

Spain:Management Staff for Higher Education

Spain:Other Education Staff or Staff Working in Higher Education

Spain:Management Staff Working in Adult Education and Training

Spain:Other Education Staff or Staff Working in Adult Education and Training

Spain:Quality Assurance

Spain:Quality Assurance in Early Childhood and School Education

Spain:Quality Assurance in Higher Education

Spain:Quality Assurance in Adult Education and Training

Spain:Educational Support and Guidance

Spain:Special Education Needs Provision within Mainstream Education

Spain:Separate Special Education Needs Provision in Early Childhood and School Education

Spain:Support Measures for Learners in Early Childhood and School Education

Spain:Guidance and Counselling in Early Childhood and School Education

Spain:Support Measures for Learners in Higher Education

Spain:Guidance and Counselling in Higher Education

Spain:Support Measures for Learners in Adult Education and Training

Spain:Guidance and Counselling in a Lifelong Learning Approach

Spain:Mobility and Internationalisation

Spain:Mobility in Early Childhood and School Education

Spain:Mobility in Higher Education

Spain:Mobility in Adult Education and Training

Spain:Other Dimensions of Internationalisation in Early Childhood and School Education

Spain:Other Dimensions of Internationalisation in Higher Education

Spain:Other Dimensions of Internationalisation in Adult Education and Training

Spain:Bilateral Agreements and Worldwide Cooperation

Spain:Ongoing Reforms and Policy Developments

Spain:National Reforms in Early Childhood Education and Care

Spain:National Reforms in School Education

Spain:National Reforms in Vocational Education and Training and Adult Learning

Spain:National Reforms in Higher Education

Spain:National Reforms related to Transversal Skills and Employability

Spain:European Perspective

Spain:Legislation

Spain:Institutions

Spain:Bibliography

Spain:Glossary

Higher education is integrated by:

  • university education
  • advanced vocational training
  • specialised education: advanced artistic education, plastic arts and design professional studies and advanced sports education.

Advanced vocational training: post-compulsory non-university education with a clear professional orientation.

University education: with an academic orientation and longer than non-university higher education.

Contents

2016

Extension of the schedule for implementation of the 2013 Act on the Improvement of the Quality of Education

The Government has entered into a dialogue process with all other political groupings and the educational community to reach a social and political State pact for education, in order to ensure the regulatory stability of the education system. Different decisions have been made within this process:

Final evaluation in Bachillerato

  • it is only taken into consideration for university access
  • students are not required to pass it in order to obtain the Bachillerato certificate
  • it only covers the general subjects taken from the set of core subjects of the 2nd year of Bachillerato and, where appropriate, the relevant co-official language and literature
  • students who want to improve their university entrance mark may be examined in, at least, two optional subjects from the set of core subjects of the 2nd year of Bachillerato
  • until the entry into force of the legislation produced under the State Pact, students holding an Vocational Training Technician or Advanced Technician certificate, or a Professional Music or Dance Education certificate, may obtain the Bachillerato certificate provided they pass the general subjects within the set of core subjects of any Bachillerato branch.

For more information, see Teaching and learning in general upper secondary education.

For more information, see Design of external evaluations at the end of the stage, implemented from the 2015/16 academic year and Design of external evaluations at the end of compulsory secondary education and Bachillerato.

Changes regarding access to official Bachelor degrees

Access requirements for students who have obtained the Bachillerato certificate:

  • before the 2017/18 academic year: they must have passed the university entrance examination. For more information, see University entrance examination
  • 2017/18 academic year and until the entry into force of the legislation produced under the State Pact:
  • the grade obtained in the final evaluation of Bachillerato is the arithmetic average of the grades obtained in each one of the general subjects within the set of core subjects and, where appropriate, the relevant co-official language and literature, on a scale from 0 to 10, expressed to two decimal places and rounded to the nearest one-hundredth
  • 4 points or more are required for the grade to be taken into consideration for access to official Bachelor degrees
  • the final mark for access to university studies is calculated by weighting a 60% of the final grade for Bachillerato and a 40% of the grade obtained in the final evaluation of Bachillerato
  • in order to meet access requirements, students are required to get 5 points or more out of this weighting.

The education authorities in collaboration with universities are in charge of conducting the final evaluation in Bachillerato in order to have access to university. Each education authority may determine the scope of their universities’ collaboration regarding the conduct of the evaluation.

This evaluation provides access to the different degrees offered by Spanish universities.

Grants and financial support in university education. 2016/17 academic year

There are two new features in the system of grants and financial support for the 2016/17 academic year regarding university beneficiaries:

  • students holding an official Graduated, Technical Architect, Technical Engineer or School teacher degree who have obtained their correspondence with level 2 (Bachelor) of the Spanish Qualifications Framework for Higher Education may be awarded a grant in order to take the extra credits or the complementary training required to obtain an official Bachelor degree
  • beneficiaries of this financial support who may want to change to a different degree programme may apply for a grant in the new studies once they have enrolled for, at least, 30 credits more than the number of credits they have already passed as beneficiaries in the previous studies.

Establishment of a Committee for the monitoring of the Strategy for the Internationalisation of Spanish Universities

The Strategy for the Internationalisation of Spanish Universities, presented in 2014 as a response to the needs of the European Higher Education Area (EHEA), established the creation of a Monitoring Committee to evaluate the actions carried out within its framework. 

The first meeting of the Committee was held in March. It comprises:

  • members of the Working Group involved in the development of the Strategy
  • representatives of the Autonomous Communities
  • representatives of the Social Councils of universities
  • representatives of the State University Student Council
  • representatives of other bodies such as the Marca España and the Instituto Cervantes.

In this first meeting, the Committee agreed on the methodology and the scheduling of the actions to be carried out during the first six months. Some of these actions are the following:

  • revision of the legal framework related to internationalisation
  • development of an Internationalisation Manual for training programmes
  • simplification of entry and residence permits for students and university staff 
  • Bachelor and Master degrees in English
  • joint programmes
  • improvement of the positioning of Spanish universities in global rankings
  • participation in international projects and networks of Community programmes such as Erasmus+, Horizon 2020, etc.
  • full adoption of the EHEA framework and instruments
  • leadership participation in higher education programmes and initiatives with Latin America.

2015

Expenditure on education policy in 2015

The State Budget for 2015 was approved in December 2014. The expenditure on education policy in 2015 amounts to EUR 2 272.86 million, a 4.5% more as compared to 2014.

The Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport, in collaboration with the Autonomous Communities, and under the policy of containing public spending, intends to concentrate available financial resources on programmes which are strategic for the education system.

Vocational training, secondary education and official language schools budget programme

For 2015, this Programme’s allocation amounts to EUR 237.35 million, a 135.2% more than in 2014. The funding targets of vocational training include:

  • development of academic organisation regulations
  • reinforcement of the procedure for the recognition of professional competences acquired through work experience
  • development of the dual vocational training model
  • development of an integrated vocational information and guidance system
  • quality assurance, evaluation and monitoring of vocational training through the Quality Assurance Reference Framework and the implementation of the Spanish Quality Network
  • establishment of the framework and European dimension of vocational training
  • programming of other types of provision in order to facilitate lifelong learning. 

Public funds are not only allocated to public educational institutions offering the different types of provision regulated by the education system; on the contrary, private ones may also benefit from public financing by means of agreements with the education authorities or grants and financial support for students of the different educational stages.

University education budget programme

For 2015, the budgetary allocation for this Programme amounts to EUR 118.14 million, a 2% less than in 2014. The funding targets at this level are the following:

  • consolidation of adaptation to the European Higher Education Area
  • internationalisation and excellence of the Spanish university system
  • social dimension of education: maintenance and reinforcement of the equity of the system (grants)
  • promotion of the mobility and training of university teaching and research staff
  • design of a system of indicators (University Information Integrated System) and progress towards the implementation of an analytical accounting model for Spanish public universities
  • improvement of the employability of university students
  • coordinated management of the actions of the Lifelong Learning Programme and the Erasmus+ Programme
  • financing of the teaching and research activities of the Menéndez Pelayo International University.

Grants and financial support programme

The budget for the programme of grants and financial support for students is EUR 1 469.60 million. This programme provides for, among others, general grants and financial support for university and non-university education, including grants and financial support for vocational training, with an allocation of EUR 1 413.52 million.

Conditions for national accreditation in order to have access to the university teaching staff

The conditions for national accreditation in order to have access to the university teaching staff were modified in May. These changes concern the composition of evaluation commissions, the evaluation system itself, or the requirements for accreditation:

  • accreditation according to branch of knowledge: accreditation is granted in one of the five branches of knowledge (Arts and Humanities, Sciences, Health Sciences, Social and Legal Sciences, Engineering and Architecture), so that evaluations are carried out in accordance with specific criteria of the branch in question
  • procedures for simultaneous accreditation in several fields of knowledge for applicants with a multidisciplinary specialisation, or coming from interdisciplinary scientific fields, are established
  • structure of accreditation commissions: the creation of more specialised commissions responding to the specific features of the different scientific and academic fields is promoted.
  • each commission can be responsible for accreditation for both senior lecturers and senior professors within a field, harmonising the requirements with regard to both accreditations
  • simplification of the procedure of evaluation commissions: certain elements, such as external reports, disappear, and procedures are simplified by making it possible to complete them by electronic means
  • a Code of Ethics that defines the rights and duties of members of the commissions and the rights of applicants, as well as the mechanisms to ensure compliance with the principles of transparency and access to public information, is established
  • updating of the evaluation system: the new evaluation system establishes a more simple evaluation model and hopes to obtain a more balanced evaluation concerning the qualitative and quantitative aspects of the merits of the applicant
  • exemptions when applying for accreditation in order to have access to the category of senior professors:  applicants must belong to the body of senior lectures, although the following exceptions are introduced:
    • holders of a PhD for at least 8 years who get a positive report in their accreditation as senior lecturers and whose research activity has been qualified as ‘Exceptional’
    • officials belonging to the research staff who must have held a PhD (actually required in order to have access to the position) for at least 8 years
    • teaching staff from universities of the Member States of the European Union where they hold a position equivalent to, at least, a senior lecturer
    • teaching and research staff from non-Spanish universities or non-university research centres may simultaneously apply for accreditation as senior lecturers and senior professors, providing that they have held their PhD for at least 8 years. 

Reform of the requirements for the creation, recognition, authorisation and accreditation of universities and university institutions

The updating of the regulatory regime of universities and university institutions, in order to adapt it to the agreements reached over the past few years regarding higher education policy, was passed in May:

  • regulation of the basic requirements for the creation and recognition of public and private universities and university institutions, as well as of the procedure for their authorisation, simplifying and rationalising the requirements established so far
  • adaptation of the regulations to the new European Higher Education Area (EHEA) and to blended learning education, which did not exist when the previous legislation was drafted
  • measures to improve the quality of higher education institutions, such as the obligation to submit a development plan for the degrees they offer and a multiannual programme of their research activity, the introduction of information and communication technologies in university infrastructures, or submission of an annual report including all the teaching and research activities
  • regulation of institutional accreditation, as an alternative to the current accreditation model. In line with the requirements of the EHEA, it intends to enable institutions that have achieved an institutional accreditation to renew the accreditation of the official degrees they offer, without having to go through the laborious procedure established by the previous legislation.

Reform for the flexibilisation of official university education and new access requirement for PhD programmes

The modification to official university and PhD programmes was approved in January. Its aim is to flexibilise the duration of Bachelor and Master degrees in order to bring their structure closer to that of the rest of European countries.

The current structure of the Spanish university system is the following: Bachelor degrees have 240 and Master degrees have 60 credits, corresponding to 4 and 1 year respectively. With this reform, the structure of university education might be flexible:

  • Bachelor degrees: may have between 180 and 240 credits, corresponding to 3 or 4 years respectively
  • Master degrees: may have between 60 and 120 credits, corresponding to 1 or 2 years respectively.

Whereas Bachelor degrees provide general training, the contents of Master degrees offer more specialised training.

The organisation of credits within Bachelor programmes is also modified:

  • the programme must include a number of credits of basic training that represents at least 25% of the total number of credits of the degree
  • if programmes include placements, they will represent a maximum of 25% of the total number of credits of the degree, and be preferably completed during the second half of the programme
  • the final project will have a minimum of 6 credits and represent a maximum of 12.5% of the total number of credits of the degree. It will have to be carried out at the final stage of the degree and oriented towards the evaluation of the skills associated with the degree.

As a result of this flexibilisation, Spanish universities may offer Bachelor and Master degrees of 3 and 2 years’ duration respectively, which facilitates the mobility of both Spanish and foreign students. Universities are free to decide whether to implement this new structure or not. If they decide so, implementation can be gradual from the 2015/16 academic year.

Regarding access to PhD programmes, it is established that students must have completed a total of 300 credits, including both Bachelor and Master degrees.

Conditions for the issuance of the Diploma Supplement (Bachelor and Master degrees)

The Diploma Supplement is an official document accompanying a higher education diploma with standardised and personalised information.

Its aim is to ensure the transparency of the level, the contents and the context of diplomas in order to promote the mobility, both national and international, of Spanish students and graduates.

The Diploma Supplement will be issued together with the relevant official diploma when requested by university students on completion of their studies. The issuing of the first copy will be free of charge.

It must have the following sections of information:

  • holder of the qualification
  • qualification
  • level of the qualification
  • contents and results gained
  • function of the qualification
  • additional information
  • certification of the Supplement
  • information on the national higher education system.

The Diploma Supplement must be issued in paper format, although universities may also issue it in electronic format with the same structure and contents as the physical one. 

Correspondence between the Spanish Qualifications Framework for Higher Education and the European Qualifications Framework

With this correspondence, the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport intends to ensure the internationalisation of Spanish graduates, not only in the business world but also when it comes to university and scientific activity.

Correspondence between the levels of the two Qualifications Frameworks

Spanish Qualifications Framework for Higher Education

European Qualifications Framework

Level 1: Advanced Technician

Level 5

Level 2: Bachelor

Level 6

Level 3: Master

Level 7

Level 4: PhD

Level 8

Source: Drawn up by Eurydice Spain-Spanish Network for Information on Education (National Centre for Educational Innovation and Research, Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport) on the basis of current regulations.

Reform of the procedures for admission to official Bachelor degree programmes for people aged over 25 and over 45 who do not hold any qualifications to gain access to them

Entrance examinations for official Bachelor degree programmes for people aged over 25 and over 45

Requirements

Candidates do not hold any qualification to gain access to university education by other means.

University entrance examination for people aged over 25

Parts

General

It comprises the following four exercises:

  1. text analysis or development of a general issue of current interest
  2. Spanish language
  3. Foreign Language, choosing between English, French, German, Italian and Portuguese
  4. Co-Official Language (it is the responsibility of the Autonomous Communities with a co-official language to specify if this exercise is mandatory).

Specific

It is structured into five options linked to the five branches of knowledge: 

  1. option A (Arts and Humanities)
  2. option B (Sciences)
  3. option C (Health Sciences)
  4. option D (Social and Legal Sciences)
  5. option E (Engineering and Architecture).

University entrance examination for people aged over 45

Parts

Exercises

It comprises three exercises:

  1. text analysis or development of a general issue of current interest
  2. Spanish Language
  3. Co-Official Language (it is the responsibility of the Autonomous Communities with a co-official language to specify if this exercise is mandatory).

Candidates must have a personal interview, which will assess their  suitability.

Source: Drawn up by Eurydice Spain-Spanish Network for Information on Education (National Centre for Educational Innovation and Research, Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport) on the basis of current regulations.

The following aspects should be highlighted regarding the entrance examinations for people aged over 25 and over 45:

Characteristics of the examinations:

  • each education authority establishes the methodology, development, contents of the exercises and assessment criteria for both examinations within their own territory. Universities are in charge of organising and carrying out the test (in the case of the examination for people aged over 45, the test is only carried out in universities offering the studies chosen by candidates)
  • in the examination for people aged over 25, candidates must specify, when they register for the test, the foreign language chosen for the exercise of the general part, as well as the option(s) chosen in the specific part.

Carrying out of the examinations:

  • they are held annually. In the case of the examination for people aged over 25, the test is held for each branch of knowledge for which there is provision
  • candidates may sit the examination in as many universities as they want:
    • examination for people aged over 25: candidates may take the specific part in the option(s) of their choice, and will have preference in the university (or universities) where they have taken the entrance examination, as well as in the branch (or branches) of knowledge linked to the option(s) chosen in the specific part
    • examination for people aged over 45: candidates may only take it in universities offering the studies they have chosen, and they can only be admitted to those universities where they have taken the test.
  • once they have passed the entrance examination, candidates may resit the test at other examination sessions in order to improve their grade. The grade obtained at the last examination session, provided it is higher than the one obtained at the previous session, is the one taken into account for admission to official Bachelor degree programmes.

Grading of the examinations:

  • the final grade, as well as the marks received in the different exercises, is the arithmetic mean of the grades obtained in both the general and the specific part (in the examination for people aged over 25) or in the exercises (in the examination for people aged over 45), graded on a scale from 0 to 10 and expressed to two decimal places
  • in order to pass the examination, candidates must obtain a final grade of 5 points, and must obtain this same grade in both parts (in the examination for people aged over 25) or in any of the exercises (in the examination for people aged over 45. In this case, the result of the personal interview candidates also have must be a ‘Pass’).

Entrance examinations for people aged over 25 and over 45 start to be implemented in the 2015/16 academic year.

2015-2017 Comprehensive Plan to Support Families

This new project includes all policies and actions aimed at families for the 2015-2017 period and has a budget estimate of EUR 5 400 million for the first financial period. The 7 strategic lines that are the framework for the 227 measures of the Plan aim at achieving its 10 general objectives.

Although the general objectives are not formulated in educational terms, the 3rd strategic line, ‘Support for motherhood and favourable environment for family life’, includes measures to facilitate the training of pregnant minors in pre-university or university education or in vocational training, such as temporarily adapting these studies so that maternity does not become an obstacle to continue studying.

Grants and financial support in university education. 2015/16 academic year

The recent amendment of both the Spanish Qualifications Framework for Higher Education and the organisation of official university education has enabled the inclusion of certain Bachelor degrees in Level 3 (Master’s) of the Framework, due to their length and the fact that they allow access to doctoral studies.

Accordingly, in the 2015/16 academic year, students holding an official Bachelor degree that has been included in Level 3 of the Spanish Qualifications Framework for Higher Education, or an official Bachelor or Graduated degree recognised as equivalent to Level 3 of this Framework, may apply for a grant to pursue studies leading to the award an official Master’s degree.

Correspondence between the Spanish Qualifications Framework for Higher Education and official university degrees in the field of education

The following correspondences have been established:

  • official university degrees in Pedagogy, Psychology and Educational Psychology: they correspond to Level 3 (Master) of the Spanish Qualifications Framework for Higher Education and Level 7 of the European Qualifications Framework
  • official university degree in Social Education: it corresponds to Level 2 (Bachelor) of the Spanish Qualifications Framework for Higher Education and Level 6 of the European Qualifications Framework
  • official university degree in School Teacher, in the specialisations of Hearing and Speech, Special Education, Physical Education, Pre-Primary Education, Primary Education and Foreign Language: it corresponds to Level 2 (Bachelor) of the Spanish Qualifications Framework for Higher Education and Level 6 of the European Qualifications Framework.

2014

Reform of the procedures for admission to official Bachelor degree programmes

The educational reform under way changes the admission requirements for official Bachelor degree programmes. The university entrance examination is removed, whereas candidates must be in possession of certain qualifications. The qualifications required for admission to official Bachelor degree programmes, as well as the corresponding admission procedures and their characteristics, are detailed below. There are organised into two types:

  • type 1: admission for candidates holding the Bachillerato certificate or equivalent
  • type 2: admission for candidates holding other qualifications.

Type 1. Admission to official Bachelor degree programmes for candidates holding the Bachillerato certificate or equivalent

Qualifications required

  • Bachillerato certificate of the Spanish education system or equivalent
  • European Baccalaureate Certificate or International Baccalaureate Diploma.

Admission procedures

Final grade in Bachillerato, or admission procedure to be established by universities.

Characteristics of the admission procedure

The admission procedure that might be established by universities must include one or several of the followingcriteria:

  1. branch and subjects taken in previous studies equivalent to the Bachillerato certificate, related to the qualification chosen
  2. grades obtained in specific subjects taken in studies equivalent to the Spanish Bachillerato, or in the final evaluation of the studies equivalent to the Spanish Bachillerato
  3. additional academic or vocational training
  4. higher education previously pursued.

Universities may exceptionally establish specific knowledge and/or skill evaluations.

The weight of the final grade obtained in Bachillerato or equivalent studies must be, at least, 60% of the final result of the admission procedure.

Source: Drawn up by Eurydice Spain-Spanish Network for Information on Education (National Centre for Educational Innovation and Research, Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport) on the basis of current regulations.

Type 2. Admission to official Bachelor degree programmes for candidates holding other qualifications

Qualifications required

Group A

Vocational Training Advanced Technician certificate, Plastic Arts and Design Advanced Technician certificate or Sports Advanced Technician certificate belonging to the Spanish education system, or equivalent or recognised certificates, diplomas or studies.

Group B

  • official Bachelor or Master degree or equivalent degree
  • official Graduated, Technical Architect, Technical Engineer, Bachelor, Architect, Engineer degrees, corresponding to the previous organisation of university education or equivalent degree.

Admission procedures

Compulsory (for group A qualifications) and optional (for group B qualifications) admission procedure.

Characteristics of the admission procedure

The admission procedure, either compulsory or optional, that might be established by universities must include one or several of the following criteria:

  1. final grade obtained in the studies completed, and/or in specific modules or subjects
  2. relationship between the curricula of the previous studies and the relevant university studies. In addition, in the cases of the Vocational Training Advanced Technician certificate, the Plastic Arts and Design Advanced Technician certificate or the Sports Advanced Technician certificate, the branch of knowledge, as well as the relationship between the studies mentioned and the Bachelor degrees, must be taken into account
  3. additional academic or vocational training
  4. higher education previously pursued.

In addition, universities may exceptionally establish specific knowledge and/or skill evaluations.

Source: Drawn up by Eurydice Spain-Spanish Network for Information on Education (National Centre for Educational Innovation and Research, Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport) on the basis of current regulations.

The admission procedures described also apply to students from foreign education systems and to students who were in a position to have access to university according to the organisation of the Spanish education system prior to the Act on the Improvement of the Quality of Education.

(2013 Act on the Improvement of the Quality of Education, modifying the 2006 Education Act).

Candidates in possession of other qualifications may also have access to official Bachelor degree programmes:

Qualifications for which admission to official Bachelor degree programmes is similar to admission for candidates holding the Bachillerato certificate or equivalent (Type 1)

Bachillerato certificates, diplomas or studies from the education systems of the Member States of the European Union (EU) or from other States that have signed international agreements with Spain that are applicable in this regard, on a basis of reciprocity (students have to meet the academic requirements established in their countries of origin in order to have access to their universities).

Qualifications for which admission to official Bachelor degree programmes is similar to admission for candidates holding the qualifications included in Type 2

Group A

  • Bachillerato certificates, diplomas or studies from the education systems of the Member States of the EU or from other States that have signed international agreements with Spain that are applicable in this regard, on a basis of reciprocity (students do not meet the academic requirements established in their countries of origin in order to have access to their universities)
  • certificates, diplomas or studies equivalent to the Bachillerato certificate of the Spanish education system, obtained or completed in States that are not members of the EU and that have not concluded international agreements for the recognition of the Bachillerato certificate, on a basis of reciprocity.

Group B

  • certificates, diplomas or studies, different from those equivalent to the Bachillerato certificate, the Vocational Training Advanced Technician certificate, the Plastic Arts and Design Advanced Technician certificate, or the Sports Advanced Technician certificate of the Spanish education system, obtained or completed in Member States of the EU or in other States that have signed international agreements with Spain that are applicable in this regard, on a basis of reciprocity (students have to meet the academic requirements established in their countries of origin in order to have access to their universities)
  • students with partial university studies carried out in Spain or abroad, or students whose foreign degrees have not been recognised in Spain but who want to continue studying in a Spanish university (in this case, students have to be recognised at least 30 ECTS credits by the relevant university)
  • students who were in a position to have access to university according to the organisation of the Spanish education system prior to the Act on the Improvement of the Quality of Education.

Source: Drawn up by Eurydice Spain-Spanish Network for Information on Education (National Centre for Educational Innovation and Research, Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport) on the basis of current regulations.

University entrance examinations for candidates who do not hold any qualification to gain access to official Bachelor degree programmes by the means already mentioned and who accredit work or professional experience have also been changed:

Entrance examinations for official Bachelor degree programmes through accreditation of work or professional experience

Requirements

  • be 40 at the beginning of the relevant academic year
  • not hold any qualification to gain access to university education by other means
  • prove work or professional experience related to a discipline.

Parts

Personal interview.

Characteristics

The examination must be related to some specific studies, which must be offered by a university. Candidates must submit their application to the university of their choice.

Universities must include the accreditation criteria, as well as the areas of work or professional experience that are related to the different studies, in the report on the study programme, so that they can rank the candidates. These criteria must always include a personal interview with the candidate, which can be repeated on successive occasions.

Source: Drawn up by Eurydice Spain-Spanish Network for Information on Education (National Centre for Educational Innovation and Research, Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport) on the basis of consulted regulations.

The new procedures for admission to official Bachelor degree programmes will begin to be implemented starting from the 2014/15 academic year, with the exception of the admission procedure for students holding the Bachillerato certificate of the Spanish education system or equivalent, which will begin starting from the 2017/18 academic year.

During the 2014/15, 2015/16 and 2016/17 academic years, universities may take into account the subjects of the university entrance examination and use the grade obtained in them as an assessment criterion in admission procedures.

2015-2020 Strategy for the Internationalisation of Spanish Universities

Drawn up by the Working Group for the Internationalisation of Universities, this Strategy comes as a response to the Internationalisation Strategy for the European Union approved by the Commission in 2013.

The Working Group, coordinated by the General Secretariat for Universities under the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport, was broadly participatory and involved other ministerial departments, universities and other players of the university system, including companies and civil society organisations. On the basis of their diagnosis of the internationalisation of the system and university institutions, they identify the challenges to be faced in an open environment of collaboration and international competition in higher education, and propose a system of specific objectives and actions for their development.

The objective to be achieved by 2020 is 'to consolidate a strong and internationally attractive university system which promotes the mobility of the best students, teachers, researchers and administration and services staff, educational quality, the potential of Spanish as a language for higher education, the internationalisation of R&D&i training programmes and activities, contributing to improving Spain’s attractiveness and international competitiveness, as well as to the socio-economic development of its immediate environment based on knowledge'.

In order to achieve this objective, 4 main strategic lines are established:

  • consolidate a highly internationalised university system
  • increase the international attractiveness of universities
  • promote the international competitiveness of the environment
  • intensify cooperation in higher education with other regions of the world.

The Strategy presents the timing for the implementation of the results and indicators proposed for the first two years.

It will be monitored by a commission coordinated by the General Secretariat for Universities with the participation of the ministries involved in its development, the General Conference for University Policy and the Council of Universities.

Modification of the Spanish Qualifications Framework for Higher Education and of the organisation of official university education to include some Bachelor degrees in Level 3 of the Framework

The duration of some studies, generally in the field of Health, is longer than that established for Bachelor programmes and they provide access to PhD programmes, either directly or through complementary training.

The aim is to facilitate the movement of Spanish graduates abroad through a system that recognises the specificity of these university studies.

Grants and financial support in non-university and university post-compulsory education. 2014/15 academic year

Since 2012, grants and financial support in post-compulsory education have become an essential element of the right to education, which is based on a double principle:

  • compensation of unfavourable socio-economic conditions
  • award on the basis of student progress and performance.

In October, it was announced that priority would be given to grants for students in this level of education, ensuring that any student who meets the relevant academic and economic requirements is eligible for financial aid.

Advanced vocational training

The Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport established the grants and financial support, consolidating the system implemented in 2012/13. When it comes to advanced vocational training students:

  • they have to enroll for a year or in, at least, half of the modules of the cycle
  • the grant is not awarded to students who repeat part or all of a year
  • they must have passed all the modules of the previous year
  • they may receive a grant in the 2nd year provided they have passed 80% of the modules in which they were enrolled in 2011/12, which is equivalent to 500 hours.

University education

The Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport also consolidated the system of grants and financial support for university students established for the 2012/13 and 2013/14 academic years.

Other changes for all the beneficiaries of these grants and financial support

That same year, the thresholds of family income and assets above which students are not eligible were set and some changes were introduced, such as the new regulation of grant components for distance education students or the adjustment of the percentage of credits students need to complete to consider the grant or financial support was used for the purpose it was awarded.

In this regard, use the grant or financial support for the purpose it was awarded is understood as enrolment, class attendance, sitting of examinations, payment of the corresponding expenses, and completion of the relevant placement. Beneficiaries must complete, at least, 50% of the credits or subjects they took. Failure to comply with this last obligation will result in the repayment of all grant components, with the exception of the enrolment grant.