7 Great Universities for a Study Abroad Semester in Spain

Spain is one of the most popular study abroad destinations in Europe and with good reason. It’s cheaper than many other European nations, both in terms of living costs and tuition, plus it has a great climate, a fun lifestyle, and, most importantly, an excellent educational system.

Dig below the tourist image of bullfights and flamenco while you study here. Practice your Spanish, indulge in tapas with the locals, and explore the country from the ancient and cosmopolitan cities full of history and culture, to the idyllic beaches, mountains and countryside.

It’s hard to choose a city to study in with so much diversity. To make your choice easier, here are 7 of the top universities for your study abroad experience in Spain:

Universitat de Barcelona, Barcelona

The highest ranking university in Spain according to the QS World University Rankings, UB is one of the most prestigious schools in the country. There are over 70 undergraduate courses and over 400 postgraduate degree and diploma courses to choose from. Plus, Barcelona is a favourite city amongst students thanks to its combination of culture, beaches, cosmopolitan mix of students and famous nightlife. It’s also a great opportunity to learn Catalan, as in Barcelona they speak both Spanish and Catalan.

Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Barcelona

UAB, not to be confused with UB, is young – founded in 1968 – but has quickly gained prestige, also making the top 200 universities in the world. It is considered to be one of the top performing young universities in the world. The school has a great campus structure, with residence halls for both students and researchers, many societies, volunteer opportunities and great student services, ranging from a university village, health and fitness services, and help with jobs. There are more than 3000 international students, creating an interesting and cosmopolitan environment.

Complutense University of Madrid, Madrid

Located in the art-lover’s paradise of Madrid, UCM is one of the oldest universities in the world. The university has a strong tradition in the arts and humanities departments, as well as the sciences. It has a number of partnerships with universities in Europe and around the world, facilitating many international students. It is in fact the largest university in Spain with around 98,000 students. There isn’t much university-owned student accommodation, so most students live independently, but with access to extensive social, political and sport groups. This is a great study option for those looking for independent city living.

What’s your current level of Spanish? Test yourself with our free Spanish level test!

University of Granada, Granada

Considered one of the best places to learn Spanish, the University of Granada ranks top in the country for translation and interpreting studies. There are a wide range of degrees on offer, including interesting options for supplementary studies, with summer school, language courses and elective courses outside your degree program. Interestingly, the university has campuses in North Africa as well, making it the only European university to have campuses on two continents!

University of Seville, Seville

The main public university in Andalusia, the University of Seville, offers a range of degree programs at both undergraduate and postgraduate level. The university is located in the heart of the city, with beautiful buildings and Moorish architecture. The main campus actually used to be the Royal Tobacco Factory. Your study experience here will have the background soundtrack of flamenco, as Seville is the birthplace of this Spanish folk music and dance.

University of Málaga, Málaga

If your goal in studying abroad in Spain is to improve your Spanish skills, Málaga is a good option. The University of Málaga has a very popular Spanish Language and Culture course. Other popular areas of study here include history, business and international studies. One of the drawcards for many international students is Málaga’s location on the Costa del Sol on the Mediterranean. Fun fact: Picasso was born in Málaga.

University of Salamanca, Salamanca

Founded in 1218, this is the oldest University in Spain, making Salamanca an important university city. The university is medium sized, with around 30,000 students, so it’s a good choice for students who don’t want to go to one of the larger universities in one of the more popular metropolitan areas. It has a strong humanities department, and is particularly well-known for language studies, including a great Spanish program for foreign students.


To get the most of your experience, whichever university you choose, make sure you work on your español before you go. Whether you’re looking for beginner or advanced Spanish lessons, contact us to find the right option for you.