Higher education is tertiary education leading to award of an academic degree. Higher education, also called post-secondary education, third-level or tertiary education, is an optional final stage of formal learning that occurs after completion of secondary education. University studies in Spain are grouped into three different degree levels: Grade degrees (undergraduate studies), University Master degrees (graduate studies) and Doctoral degrees (postgraduate studies).
- Undergraduate degree studies, which lead to the award of a degree, are organized in the following areas and sub-areas: Arts and Humanities, Sciences, Health Sciences, Social Sciences and Law, Engineering and Architecture. These studies require a total of 240 credits for obtaining a grade degree with an avarage duration of three or four academic years.
- Graduate studies leading to the award of University Masters degrees: These studies require between 60 and 120 credits for obtaining a Masters degree and consist of one to two academic years of study. They also require the public defense of a thesis between 6 and 30 credits.
- Postgraduate studies leading to the award of a Doctoral degree: To obtain the doctoral qualification a Masters degree is required. The doctoral studies are divided into two phases. The first consists of 60 credits of theoretical study and the second is research-based. It requires the public defense of a doctoral thesis as an original research work in a particular field. There are no time limits for completing doctoral programs but they usually require three to four academic years of study and research.
Besides these official degrees, each university offers a wide range of unofficial specific qualifications (Masters). These degrees, which are usually obtained in one or two years, require a prior graduate or postgraduate degree and are widely appreciated because of their value in the labour market. These degrees offer a highly practical training focusing on the various specialized professional sectors.
Spanish universities cover close to all subject areas offered by the Spanish official degrees recognized by the Ministry of Education as well as a very wide range of specific degrees in a large number of professional areas.
“I haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on my list.” – Susan Sontag.