For all Latin-American students, Spain is an attractive destiny when thinking in pursuing a postgraduate program abroad. Not only because we share the same language-which reduces the time we have to spend in preparing the application process-but also because, by having 81 Universities, allows Spain to offer a wide variety of high quality Master and Doctorate programs. Along with it, tuition prices at Spanish universities may be cheaper than those at other European countries.
In order to help you take the best decision, we will explain you the following key details for you to accomplish your dream of studying in Spain:
· ¿Official or Non-Official Degree? What is the difference
· Cost of studying a postgraduate program
· Scholarships available
When deciding to study a postgraduate program in Spain, it’s important for you to clearly understand two aspects of the Spanish Education System:
1. The Spanish Education System is composed by two types of degrees: Official and Non-Official Degrees
2. Degrees in Spain are made up of ECTS credits (European Credit Transfer System). For each ECTS credit , students have to study between 25-30 hours (both classwork and homework)
About the degrees…
Official degrees are those that have been created directly by the Government of Spain, and, as Spain is a member of the European Union, these degrees are automatically recognized by the rest of the members of the community. These degrees are also academically recognized by countries outside the European Union, such as the Latin-American ones.
In Spain, you will find both Official Master Programs and Official Doctorate Programs (in fact, there are no Non-Official Doctorate Programs).
In order to finish an Official Master Program in Spain, you must study and approve between 60 and 120 ECTS credits, which will take one or two years depending on the program you choose. Usually, courses in Spain start at the end of September or at the beginning of October, and last until June. In some universities, courses start in February, but this is not very common.
Most Official Master Programs in Spain train students for both professional life as well as for research.
Doctorate Programs in Spain last approximately three years. These programs are divided in two cycles: the first cycle of study in which students have to attend courses (usually this cycle is equivalent to the Master Program), and a second cycle comprising the research in which students have to be completely focus on writing their doctoral thesis.
Meanwhile, Non-Official Degrees, as their name suggests, are those degrees that are created directly by the University that offers them, and therefore, have the recognition of the University but not necessarily of the Governments.
Non-Official degrees have been created taking into account the needs of society and the interest of the labor market. This is the reason why, if you decide to pursue a Non-Official Master program, the courses you will take will be more focused on practice and related with workplace experience. You will learn through case studies, and will be able to attend seminars lead by Spanish business-men.
So, before deciding to pursue an Official or Non-Official degree, you should think which is the academic and professional path you will like to follow after finishing your postgraduate studies.
If you feel that your destiny is to pursue a Doctorate Program, be a researcher, become a professor or even work in the public sector of your country, the best option for you will be to choose an Official degree. However, if you see yourself more working in the private sector, a Non-Official degree may also be an option for you.
Cost of studying a postgraduate program in Spain
Spain, as most countries, has both public and private universities. In that sense, the cost of tuition fees you will pay will depend on two factors: the degree you decide to study (official or non-official), and the university you choose to study in (public or private).
As you already know, academic programs in Spain are made up by credits. The cost of the credit of the Official Degrees offered by Public Universities, is set directly by the Government and can cost between 22€ and 34€. So, depending on the number of credits the program you are interested in has, the cost of tuition fees you will have to pay will be between 1300€ and 4080€.
Nevertheless, if after doing your program search, you find that the program of your dreams is a Non-Official degree, you must know that is the University that offers it-whether public or private-who decides the price of the tuition.
If you are asking yourself about other expenses you have to take into account to study your postgraduate program in Spain, it’s important to highlight that the average expenses of a student in Spain are between 700€ y 1100€ per month, depending on the city and also on your level of expenditure.
If after looking at the costs of studying in Spain, you think you may need some financial aid, don’t worry. In Spain you will not only have the possibility of working 20 hours per week by having a student visa, but this country also offers several scholarship programs that can help you make your dreams come true without having to spend all your savings.
Some of the most well-known Scholarship Programs in Spain are:
MAEC-AECID Scholarship Program for Foreigners: This scholarship program, created by the Spanish Ministry of External Affairs and the Spanish Agency for International Cooperation for Development, has the objective to facilitate the access to foreign students to study in Spain by providing them a monthly stipend for living expenses, tuition and fees payment, and health insurance during all the length of the postgraduate program. The amount given varies depending on the scholarship call. The average duration of the scholarship is one year but the scholar has the possibility to apply for a renewal. Both the fields of study and the opening dates of the call, change every year. Therefore, we recommend you to look in a continuous basis to the web page http://www.aecid.es/ , so you don’t miss the chance to apply.
Fundación Carolina Scholarships: The Scholarship Program of the Fundación Carolina aims to help Latin-American students to pursue studies in Spain. For the 2013 call, the total scholarships offered were 580. If you are interested in applying, you must know that there is only one call per year, which usually opens in December. Also, it’s important to highlight that the scholarships offered by the Foundation are linked to direct programs of study which are published every year by the foundation it its web page.
AUIP Scholarships: The AUIP has the goal of providing citizens for the Iberoamerican Community of Nations, the opportunity to study postgraduate and Doctorate programs. More than 40 Spanish higher education institutions are members of the association. Together with the association, these institutions offer diverse types of aids and scholarships to pursue master and doctorate programs. In this sense, we recommend you to visit their web page http://www.auip.org and check out for the member institutions. If one of them offers a program you may be interested in, don’t hesitate to apply to the scholarship.