How is the Education System in Spain?

If you are a foreign student who is thinking of going to study in Spain, it is important that you are aware of all the educational stages that a person goes through during his or her academic training.

Before deciding on the career in which you will work during your life, you should know that there are many cycles that you must pass, some of them are mandatory and others are optional.

In Spain, education is supervised and regulated by the Ministry of Education and Sports, funded by the State and it is compulsory between the ages of 6 and 16. At the end of this stage, you can go on to study the Bachillerato cycle or Higher Vocational Training, and then you can go on to University.

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First, the student must complete infant or preschool education (0-6 years), then primary education (6-12 years) and finally compulsory secondary education (12-16 years). Each school year in Spain is divided into three trimesters, each one starting in September and ending in June, in order to have the summer vacation, which lasts approximately three months. In addition, they have days off at Christmas, New Year’s and Epiphany.

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Vocational Training

After finishing secondary education, you can start thinking about your professional training. An alternative to choose when you finish compulsory secondary education is the Middle Level Training (Ciclo de Formación de Grado Medio). Then, you can study the Higher Level Training (Ciclo de Formación de Grado Superior) after finishing the Middle Level or the Baccalaureate. In both cases, vocational training lasts two academic years and is usually practical, since it is mandatory to carry out pre-professional internships in different companies before completing the degree, so that students can apply the knowledge acquired during the training in real-life cases.


This stage is not mandatory for all students. However, if you are thinking of entering a university, you must complete the baccalaureate. Here you will learn specific knowledge about the area you will seek to specialise in later on. It lasts two academic years and you can choose to enter university after passing the selectivity test.


University expenses are paid by the student. You can choose to study in a private university, which has a price that is set by the institution itself, or also you can study in a public university, where the cost per credit will be much cheaper and is regulated by the State.

University degrees have a duration of four years. However, if you decide to do a specialisation or a double degree, these will last between one and two more years. At this stage you will learn all the theoretical knowledge related to the area you decide to study.

Master’s degree

In order to study for a master’s degree, it is necessary to have previously obtained a bachelor’s degree from a university. A master’s degree lasts between one and two years and you will learn more in detail about the specialty of your choice.

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Written by

Ryan Rosser

Master’s program, 2021

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