Pompeu Fabra University, Barcelona; Autonomous University of Barcelona; University of Barcelona; University of Navarra and Autonomous University of Madrid.
Many students are attracted to Spain for its vibrant cities, local festivals, beach resorts and beautiful architecture. Spain has 38 universities featured in the Times Higher Education World University Ranking 2019, with some of the most highly ranked based in Madrid, Barcelona, Seville and Granada.
One of the big reasons Spain is popular with visiting students is that, generally speaking, the cost of living is relatively cheap. The cost of goods and services in Spain is below the average of other European countries.
While most courses are taught in Spanish, there are also a number of courses taught in English to accommodate overseas students.
1. Pompeu Fabra University
Pompeu Fabra University is still a fairly young public university in Barcelona, having been created by the Autonomous Government of Catalonia in 1990. It has around 10,000 undergraduate and 4,000 postgraduate students.
The university’s particular strengths lie in the health and life sciences, social sciences and humanities and communication and ICT.
The university is named after Pompeu Fabra, a linguist who was an expert on the Catalan language and who is recognised with giving the language the status it has today. The official language of Pompeu Fabra University is Catalan. Students who wish to learn Catalan will have plenty of chances in Barcelona and throughout Pompeu Fabra.
Around the city of Barcelona, there are three campuses, Ciutadella, Mar and Poblenou. Social and human sciences are studied at Ciutadella, health and life sciences at Mar and communication and IT at Poblenou. There are seven colleges and one engineering school: Humanities, Health and Life Sciences, Economics and Business, Political and Social Science, Communication, Law, Translation and Language Sciences and Engineering School.
2. Autonomous University of Barcelona
The main campus for the Autonomous University of Barcelona (also known as UAB), is located in Bellaterra, in one of the chief industrial and technological locations of Mediterranean Europe. It is just 25 minutes away from the center of Barcelona.
This university delivers 87 bachelor’s degrees, 315 master’s degrees and 68 PhD programmes. It offers Undergraduate degrees in business management and administration, economics, primary education and tourism, fully in English, and various other degrees offer courses in English, because of this, the Autonomous University of Barcelona attracts many international students.
Vila Universitària is the residential complex of the university, located on its campus, it has 812 apartments with a total available capacity for 2193 people. The apartments at Vila Universitària enjoy a very fortunate setting: they are situated between the campus and the forest and have magnificent views, good train and bus connections and are only around 45 minutes from the centre of Barcelona.
The university has 13 faculties including communication, arts and humanities, biosciences, medicine and translation and interpreting.
3. University of Barcelona
The third best Spanish university is also located in the vibrant city of Barcelona. The University of Barcelona is the primary centre of university research in Spain and has become a European yardstick for research activity, in terms of both the number of research programs and the excellence achieved.
The University was established under royal privilege granted by King Alfonso V of Aragon, in Naples in 1450. Now one of the biggest universities in Spain, the University of Barcelona welcomes a large number of students from both Spain and other countries every year.
There are 73 bachelor’s degree courses by the University of Barcelona, more than 140 official university master’s degree courses, more than 400 University of Barcelona-specific master’s degree courses and postgraduate diplomas and 48 doctoral programmes on offer to over 63,000 students.
Two of the degree courses are taught wholly in English, international business and English studies and five are taught partially in English.
The university consists of 100 departments assembled into 18 faculties and two university schools, one school and eight attached schools.
4. University of Navarra
The private not-for-profit University of Navarra, is located on the south-east border of Pamplona in Spain and was founded by the founder of Opus Dei, Josemaría Escrivá de Balaguer, to broadcast the movement’s values in 1952.
It originally started as a law school and now has two university schools, 14 faculties, 17 institutes, a business school and many more centres and institutions. The university offers over 120 degrees but all of its courses include aspects of theology.
The university runs a teaching hospital, where 2,045 qualified professionals handle more than 100,000 patients each year and a medical research centre, that focuses on four main areas: Neuroscience, Cardiovascular Sciences, Oncology and Gene Therapy and Hepatology.
The university has agreements with various other universities including the University of Hong Kong, the University of Washington and the University of Edinburgh, this is to encourage international exchanges with students.
Pamplona, where the university is situated is famous for the running of the bulls during the San Fermín festival.
5. Autonomous University of Madrid
The Autonomous University of Madrid is a public university established in 1968. The main campus is situated on the outskirts of Madrid in the Cantoblanco area near the cities of Alcobendas, San Sebastián de los Reyes and Tres Cantos and is linked to Madrid by commuter train.
The university is divided into eight faculties, each faculty is divided into departments that coordinate the teaching and research of the different subjects. The university has 59 departments and eight research institutes, it also has seven associate schools. There are sports pitches and beach volleyball courts, a medical centre, 16 cafes and canteens, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, as well as a train station and bus services all on campus.
Notable alumni include several former government ministers, HM King Felipe VI of Spain who graduated with a degree in law and courses in economics and HM Queen Sofia of Spain who studied Humanities. Queen Sofia began her studies at the university as Princess of Spain and finished them as Queen of Spain.