Organization of university education

The structure of official university education in Spain is established in Royal Decree 1393/2007, of October 29, in line with the general guidelines issued by the European Higher Education Area (EHEA). Doctorate studies are governed by the provisions of Royal Decree 99/2011, of January 28.


Types of university

  • The public university is financed by the state which establishes the guidelines for its organisation.
  • The private university has private finance and some have public finance.
  • The Church University issues official and convalidated degrees with the same validity as public-private universities. It is mainly financed by the students themselves. Unlike private universities they are governed by agreements between Vatican City and the Spanish state and their educational project is based on Christian humanism.


Degrees awarded

  • Official degrees: the general guidelines for these degrees are established by the State and are valid throughout Spain. The official four-year degrees are being designed by the University following the general guidelines established by the State. These degrees must undergo a verification and accreditation process. The registration of a degree in the RUCT (Registry of Universities, Centres and Degrees) means that it is considered an official accredited degree.
  • Private degrees: these are designed by each university by virtue of its autonomy


Plans of study

The Curriculum for a degree is divided into various modules. Each subject or course has a concrete syllabus with specific objectives which must be reached within a specified period of time (in most cases, during an academic semester).

The unit that evaluates the time in which the subject will be given is the credit. The evaluation unit is the ECTS Credit (European Credit Transfer System) which measure the total workload required of the student to pass the course, including the time spent on theoretical and practical classes, the time dedicated to studying and preparing the course and taking exams. An ECTS credit equals 25 hours of work on the part of the student.


Access to Comillas

To be able to matriculate in Comillas as a newly admitted student for an official degree, some of the following academic requirements need to be met:

  • High School and PAU (university entrance test).
  • Advanced professional training degree which facilitates access to a specific qualification.
  • "Selectividad" for foreigners except students who have studied in educational systems in countries in the European Union or third countries that have signed agreements with the Spanish Government on this matter, and who fulfill the academic requirements for university access in their educational systems. "Selectividad" for foreigners, when applicable, is organised by the UNED (National University for Distance-Learning)

It is necessary to request admission within the established period and carry out an admission test or an interview. In any case, the previous academic record of the students requesting admission is always considered.
Students who have studied part of their degree course in another university are governed by specific admission regulations.


International students

Authorisation to study in Spain is processed by means of the consulate or Spanish diplomatic representation offices in the country of origin.
Community students do not require a visa.
Non-community students require a valid passport and a student visa.
To be granted a visa, it is necessary to comply with the requirements for entrance and residence in Spain, to have been admitted to an officially recognised public or private Spanish teaching centre, to plan to study a course for a period greater than three months with an established schedule and demonstration of the economic means to meet the cost of the study and residence.


Course cycles

University programs are structured in three cycles.

The first cycle leads to a Bachelor's degree (Grado), takes four years to complete - 240 ECTS, 60 credits per year- and includes basic and general courses together with others oriented towards future professional competencies. Postgraduate studies include the second and third cycle, and lead to Master's and Doctoral degrees. The aim of university master's degrees is to provide the student with advanced knowledge which is more specialised or multidisciplinary, oriented towards academic or professional specialisation, or designed to foster the beginning of research tasks; these degrees take between 1 and 2 years to complete (60-120 ECTS). Studies leading to a Doctoral degree have as purpose to provide the student with advanced training in research techniques. They are divided into two cycles: a cycle of studies of, at least, 60 credits that can form part of the Master's cycle; and a research cycle that concludes with the public defense of an original research project (the doctoral thesis) by the student.

Successful completion of the first cycle allows a student to gain access to the second cycle, and completion of the second cycle provides access to the third.