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Admission requirements for studies at university in Spain

General requirements

First cycle studies (bachelor's)

If you have successfully completed upper secondary studies in one of the signatory countries of the Lisbon Convention, are in possession of a valid school leaving certificate and qualify for higher education studies in your home country, you may also qualify for higher education studies in Spain. However, you are requested to prove your level of English and/or Spanish. In some cases, you are also requested to take additional qualifying courses.

[Find and compare bachelor's degrees in Spain]

Second cycle studies (master's)

If you are applying for a master's program at university in Spain, you are required to be in possession of a relevant Bachelor's or equivalent degree diploma.

[Find and compare master's degrees in Spain]

Third cycle studies (PhD)

In the event you are applying for doctoral studies at university in Spain, you are required to be in possession of a relevant diploma or master's degree program.

The Spanish university entrance examination: "la selectividad"

The Selectividad or Prueba de Acceso a la Universidad (PAU) is an exam Spanish students take after they finish their upper secondary school (high school) studies. The purpose of the Selectividad is to check the level of maturity and knowledge of students. When passing the Selectividad, students are able to apply for higher education studies.

» EU/EEA students

Following the application of the Lisbon Convention, EU/EEA students are entitled to access undergraduate studies (first cycle) in Spain provided they

  • have a valid school leaving certificate from another EU/EEA country.
  • have taken the university entrance examinations in their home countries with passing grades.

If you have not taken the university entrance examination in your home country and would like to study in Spain, you will have to pass the Spanish entrance examination, called Selectividad.

» Non-EU students

If you are not an EU student or you didn't take your upper secondary school studies in a school from a member state of the European Union, you can access the Spanish university provided you:

  • have a valid school leaving certificate.
  • pass the Spanish university entrance examination, called Selectividad.
Register online for the Spanish university entrance examination for foreigners: "selectividad para extranjeros".

Structure of the Selectividad exam

The Selectividad exam is formed out of 4 exercises as explained below:

  • First exercise: text analysis. You will be given two texts in Spanish out of which you will select one. You will then have to answer several questions related to the text and analyze its content.
  • Second exercise: questions about History of Philosophy or History of Spain. When registering for the Selectividad, you will be asked to indicate which one, either History of Philosophy or History of Spain, you would like to take.
  • Third exercise: foreign language exam. You may choose between English, French, German, Italian or Portuguese.
  • Fourth exercise: test about one of the subjects listed below. You will have to indicate which subject you would like to take.
  • Subjects related to Arts, Fine Arts, Music and Dance: Cultura audiovisual, Dibujo artístico I, Dibujo artístico II, Dibujo técnico I, Dibujo técnico II, Diseño, Historia del arte, Técnicas de expresión gráfico-plástica, Volumen, Análisis musical I, Análisis musical II, Artes escénicas, Cultura audiovisual, Lenguaje y práctica musical, Anatomía aplicada, Historia de la música y de la danza,Literatura universal, Economía, Economía de la empresa, Griego I, Griego II, Historia del mundo contemporáneo, Latín I, Latín II, Matemáticas aplicadas a las ciencias sociales I, Matemáticas aplicadas a las ciencias sociales II, Historia del arte, Geografía, Literatura universal
  • Subjects related to Science and Technology: Biología y geología, Dibujo técnico I, Dibujo técnico II, Física y química, Matemáticas I, Matemáticas II, Tecnología industrial I, Tecnología industrial II, Ciencias de la Tierra y medioambientales, Electrotecnia

In which language can you take the Selectividad exam?

The Selectividad exam is taken in Spanish. Therefore, if you are taking the Selectividad exam, we advise you check whether your level of knowledge of Spanish is sufficient for you to be able to understand the exam.

Language requirements for studies at universities in Spain

Spanish

According to Spanish regulations regarding access to university studies, no specific certificates are required to prove your knowledge of Spanish. In general, students can prove their level of command of Spanish by presenting the results received at the DELE test (Diploma de Español como Lengua Extranjera), by presenting the results from school studies or any other studies. Your university will check whether your level of Spanish is sufficient for you to be able to successfully pass your studies in Spain.

Please, note that the Selectividad exam is written in Spanish. Therefore, if you are taking the Selectividad exam, we advise you check whether your level of knowledge of Spanish is sufficient for you to be able to understand the exam.

[Learn more about the DELE test]

English

If your study program or course is taught in English, you will be required to prove your level of command of English by presenting the results you received at English courses. Please, always check with your university whether your English studies are sufficient for you to meet this requirement.

In general, higher education institutions in Europe request student to have a level of command of the language of instruction equivalent to a B1/B2 level according to the scale as described by the European language passport.

Minimum grade point requirement to access undergraduate studies (first cycle) in Spain

When applying for undergraduate studies (first cycle) in Spain, it is your grade point average from upper secondary school what actually determines whether you will be admitted. Therefore, always check with your Spanish university about the minimum grade point you need to obtain, the so called "Nota de corte".

You may use the European grades comparison chart to learn how you would score in Europe.

Source: UNED (Spanish National University for Distance Education. UNED is responsible for the recognition of foreign qualifications to access university studies in Spain)