Spain has a long history of higher education, with the university system dating back to the Middle Ages. The oldest functioning university called the University of Salamanca was founded in 1218.
Currently, Spain is home to 75 universities, of which 50 are public institutions and 25 are established on a private basis. Of the 50 public universities, 48 are run by the authority of Autonomous Communities while 2 run the Ministry of Education and Science. Of the 25 private universities, 7 of them pertain to the Catholic Church.
Spain also has a number of non-university higher education institutes for Physical Education, Tourism, Dramatic Arts and Music, as well as a number of highly ranked Business Schools.
In harmonization with the European Higher Education Space (EHES), created to facilitate the integration of learning across the entire European labor market, Spain along with more than 30 other countries has incorporated the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS), a credit system for measuring academic achievement. The ECTS assists the official recognition of the educational degrees in the European Union, the United States, Asia and Latin America.
Studies at Spanish Universities begin in September and end in June. The University education is divided into three cycles, in coordination with the European Higher Educational system. Each cycle pertains to the corresponding degree programme as follows:
Bachelor's Degree Programmes – consist of basic undergraduate degree education spread out over three to four years and requires 240 credits for completion of the degree in the fields of Arts & Humanities, Sciences, Health Sciences, Law, Social Sciences, Architecture and Engineering.
Master's Degree Programmes – pertaining to Graduate study can span one to two years, typically culminating in a Final Thesis, and require 60 – 120 credits for completion. The Master's study comprises of specialized or multidisciplinary advanced training, concentrating in academic or professional orientation. more