Top Universities in Spain

Spain has highly regarded universities of which most are state funded and run while half are private or are run by the Catholic Church.

Here are some top picks:

Universitat de Barcelona

University of Barcelona is one of Spain’s oldest universities and ranks in the world’s top 100 for many of the subject areas. With 18 faculties it offers a variety of courses to over 90, 000 students.

Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona

Una publicación compartida de UAB (@uabbarcelona) el

Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona has been featured in the QS top 50 Universities under 50. It has a central campus 20 km from the centre of Barcelona encouraging strong community spirit for its 36,000 students.

Universidad Autónoma de Madrid

Universidad Autónoma de Madrid ranks 210th in the world and is in the QS Top 50 Under 50. It is the alma mater of King Felipe VI of Spain and is noted for its Law Faculty.

University Complutense Madrid

University Complutense Madrid is the oldest University in Spain and the first Universities to give a doctoral degree to a female. It has over 85,000 students and is one of the top 50 Universities for Dentistry.

King Juan Carlos University (URJC)

King Juan Carlos University - URJC has grown rapidly with campuses for its 40, 000 students in 4 of Madrid’s satellite towns as well as the main campus at Vicálvaro. See the Spotahome guide.

Universidad Carlos III de Madrid

Universidad Carlos III de Madrid is among 20 best universities in the world. It has 5 modern campuses and offers lectures in English. See the Spotahome guide.

IE Business School

Instituto de Empresa, IE Business School is a multicultural private graduate school with a prestigious reputation. It is part of the larger IE University and has partnerships with global universities like the London Business School and the Yale School of Management. See the Spotahome guide.

Language and Teacher Training

If you are looking for English as a second language teacher training or Spanish language classes, these are great options:


As the leading teacher training centre, TtMadrid offers a 4 week accredited TEFL teacher training programme and free Spanish classes at LAE Madrid. See the Spotahome guide.


Located close to the city hall building and the Metrópolis, Inhispania offers Spanish language and culture courses for all levels. See the Spotahome guide.

Top Student Cities in Spain

Spain offers diverse experiences and each city has something different to offer. Here are the top student cities in Spain:


Una publicación compartida de Madrid (@topmadridphoto) el

  • Ranked 22nd among the world’s best student cities
  • One of the Europe’s largest urban hubs
  • Fast-paced modern life amidst beautiful historic architecture
  • Major international centre for business and finance
  • World-leading arts and cultural venues


  • Second-largest city and the capital of Catalonia
  • Renowned for modernist architecture (particularly Anton Gaudí’s work)
  • Close to Mediterranean beaches, vibrant nightlife and football


  • Small city with a large student population
  • Free tapas drinks
  • North African feel and Moroccan influence (great kebabs)


Spain’s flamboyant culture, beaches, Flamenco music and dance along with tapas and sunshine make it a top choice for international students. This guide highlights the top universities and top student cities as well as the requirements to study in Spain.
  • Historical city known for its tapas and festivals
  • The home of Spain’s national dance, the flamenco
  • Great for students who love music and nightlife

Requirements for Studying in Spain

University applications

Check with the university you are applying to for their requirements and remember that most of the teaching is in Spanish.

Student visas for Spain

EU Citizens

EU citizens don’t need a Visa but are required to present your passport (or national id card) and proof of acceptance into a Spanish University to the Central Registry Office for Foreigners. If you are a UK citizen you can get more information here.

Non-EU Citizens (Allow 3 months for processing)

If you are a non-EU citizen you will need:

  • A Type D Student Visa from your Home country
  • Acceptance by a Spanish University
  • Health insurance
  • Enough funds (or a letter confirming parental support)
  • (Potentially) a medical certificate and proof that you have no criminal record

Work Permit

You are entitled to work as long as you:

  • Apply for a 30 day temporary permit upon arrival from the Autorización de Estancia por Estudios
  • Renew it yearly (satisfactory academic performance required)

Fees and funding

Tuition Fees

EU applicants pay the same tuition fees as local students.

  • Usually between €715 -1350/year at public universities and between €5,360-18,500/ year if you study at a private-sector university.
  • Fees are marginally higher for non-EU applicants. Detailed fee information is found on University websites.

Scholarships and Student loans

There are few student scholarships or loans for foreign students. Available scholarships can be found online.


Spotahome can help you find sort out a place to stay before you even arrive in your new city.

You now have everything you need to enjoy an amazing academic and personal life when you study in Spain!

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