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Study in Spain: Information Guide for Indian & International Students in 2024

Updated on 09 April, 2024

Shivangi Mishra

Shivangi Mishra

Sr. Content Editor

Many students look for international destinations for higher studies, and Europe is one of the favourite choices among students. Spain is much more underrated than the other popular study destinations in Europe. The country is perceived as a holiday destination rather than a study abroad choice. But, students can also choose to study in Spain as the educational system is well-organized and properly executed, designed to provide students of all levels with the utmost learning opportunities.

Spain’s diverse culture, warm climate, lavish lifestyle, top-notch higher education system, and exchange opportunities make it a major attraction for international students worldwide. 

As per media reports, around 1.2 lakh international students chose Spain as their study abroad destination in 2019. Of them, 4500 were Indians, as mentioned in the data shared by the Embassy of Spain official.

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Reasons to Choose Spain for Studying Abroad

Every year, Spain welcomes large numbers of students from all over the world. Whether you go for a short-term course or a degree program, getting to know Spain’s quality of life and adapting to its culture is worth considering. Some reasons why Indian students choose to study in Spain are:

1. Quality Education

Spain has a well-organized educational system and offers excellent opportunities to students pursuing a course in any field. The academic structure of the country provides ample learning opportunities. It prepares students for real-life experiences, and the education system reflects the same in totality. Hence, a large number of international students flock from various countries for higher studies in Spain. 

2. Fascinating History: 

Spain has witnessed many significant historical events from the ‘Golden age’ to the War of Independence. The students can feel the history of Spain embedded in every building, street, and architecture. Spanish architecture is fascinating in several ways and is influenced by the Romans and the Moors. The breathtaking monuments with fine detailing make Spain a country full of history and beauty. 

You will find elegant features, along with Baroque and Renaissance details, in many of the Spanish historical buildings and famous monuments.

3. Cost-Effective:

In terms of affordability, cities in Spain are usually less expensive than those in other European countries. Some of the most economical cities of Spain are Bilbao, Valencia, Granada, Alicante, Cordoba, Santiago De Compostela, Cadiz, Palma De Mallorca etc. These cities offer affordable accommodation and recreational activities options, making living costs more reasonable.

4. Home to Well-Known Universities 

Being home to the most renowned universities in the world, Spain provides a wide range of opportunities for international students. These universities offer both undergraduate and postgraduate programs to students. Here is a list of top universities in Spain as per Times Higher Education:

UniversityLocationSpain Ranking 2022World University Rank 2022
Pompeu Fabra UniversityBarcelona1156
Autonomous University of BarcelonaBarcelona2170
University of BarcelonaBarcelona3190
University of NavarraPamplona4251-300
Autonomous University of MadridMadrid5301-350
Universitat Ramon LlullBarcelona6401-500
University of ValenciaValencia6401-500
University of Vic – Central University of CataloniaBarcelona6401-500
CEU UniversitiesBarcelona, Madrid, Valencia9501-600
Complutense University of MadridMadrid9501-600

Source: Official website of THE ranking 2023

Top Universities of Spain as per the QS Work Rankings 2023

UniversityLocationUniversity Ranking
Universitat Autònoma de BarcelonaBarcelona178
Universitat de BarcelonaBarcelona184
Universidad Autónoma de MadridMadrid=215
Universidad Autónoma de MadridMadrid=226
Complutense University of MadridMadrid=233
Universitat Pompeu Fabra (Barcelona)Barcelona=253
University of NavarraPamplona=320
Universidad Carlos III de Madrid Madrid=343
Universitat Politècnica de CatalunyaBarcelona=347
IE UniversitySegovia=400

Source: Official website of QS World Rankings 2023

5. Best Cuisine in Europe

Besides a luxurious lifestyle, another aspect that makes Spain widely known is its cuisine. Spanish cuisine has developed over the centuries into delicious dishes made from natural ingredients from all parts of the country. Students get a chance to not only enjoy the Spanish cuisine but learn to cook the same. A few Spanish traditional dishes which include an abundance of cheese are Mahón, Herreño Manchego, semi-curado, Arzúa-Ulloa and Cabrales

6. Chance to Learn Spanish 

Spanish is a language you learn in a short period when you visit Spain for your studies. Being the second most widely spoken language globally, Spanish is easier to learn than other languages. Though there may be some complexities in grammar, it is comparatively easy if you are an English speaker. Even the basics of the language can help students improve their knowledge and skill. 

7. English-taught Courses 

This is probably the most beneficial factor attracting English speakers to Spain from all over the world. You don’t need to worry if you are not familiar with Spanish, as you can find plenty of course options taught in English. However, some bilingual programs are offered in English and Spanish. Students can also opt for them if they choose the option after reaching the country and grasping a proficiency in the Spanish language. 

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Education system in Spain

The Spanish education system is compulsory and free for all children aged between 6 and 16 years. The school education has four stages – Pre-school (for children under the age of six), Primary (from Grade 1 to Grade 6), Secondary (From Grade 7 to Grade 10), and Post-16 Education (Grade 11 and 12).  The country has both public and private schools and universities. There are 76 universities in Spain, most of which are supported by state funding. 24 Spanish universities are private. Education in public universities is free for all including international students i.e. there is no tuition fee.

Requirements to Study in Spain for Indian Students

The foremost requirement that students need to fulfill to study in Spain is a student visa. Even though citizens of many countries are eligible to travel to Spain without a visa, residents of some countries will have to get a student visa to pursue higher studies in Spain. 

Types of student visas for international students

There are three types of student visas for international students in Spain

1. Schengen Student Visa 

A Student Schengen Visa is a permit to enter the Schengen Zone. It is provided to the third-country nationals who wish to stay in any of the member states of the European Union for shorter durations in order to fulfill their study-related purposes. This visa allows students to stay in the Schengen territory for 3 months. 

If your study program or training course is longer than three months, you should apply for a Long-Stay Study Visa at the embassy of the respective country.

2. Short-Term Student Visa

A Short-Term Student Visa lasts up to 3 to 6 months. Students who wish to pursue a course in Spain for the same duration should apply for this visa. The application process for this visa is not complex. 

If the length of your course is more than 180 days, you can apply for a long-term student visa to Spain.

3. Long-Term Student Visa 

A Long-Term Student Visa allows you to pursue courses that are longer than six months. The application process for this visa demands more paperwork than the previously explained visas. The procedure to apply for this visa involves providing proof of financial funds and medical insurance along with the visa application.

Once you get a long-term Spanish student visa, you will also need to apply for a student residence card within a month after arrival.

Documents Required for Spain Student Visa

Documents required for a Spanish student visa depend on many factors, one being the country of your origin. Generally, the set of documents required for your student visa application are: 

  • Two correctly completed application forms
  • Valid passport
  • Identification card (ID card)
  • Two recent passport size photographs
  • Letter of admission from the selected university
  • Proof of health insurance
  • Evidence of sufficient funds 
  • Account statement from your bank 
  • Document Proving that you have been awarded a scholarship
  • Notarized letter from parents or legal guardian
  • Letter from university/school 
  • Proof that you have paid the fees of the university
  • Medical certificate
  • Certificate of criminal record (not more than three months old).

Average Tuition Fee Cost in Spain?

For Bachelor Programs

The tuition fees for Bachelor’s programs in Spain range from €750 to €2,500 per annum.

For Master Programs

The tuition fees for Master’s programs in Spain is between  €1,000 to €3,500  per annum.

Best Courses to Study in Spain

Being home to over 25 top-ranked universities in the world, Spain provides a wide range of courses for international students. The most prominent of them are :

1. Courses for Natural Science

The courses offered in natural science open a wide range of opportunities for students in research and other respective science fields. 

Some of the universities of Spain that provide courses in natural sciences are:

UniversityLocation QS Subject Ranking
Universitat de BarcelonaBarcelona66
Universidad Autónoma de MadridMadrid79
Universitat Autònoma de BarcelonaBarcelona117
Complutense University of MadridMadrid=160
Universitat de ValenciaValència=169

Source: QS World University Rankings by Subject 2022

2. Hospitality Management Courses

These courses are best for students interested in learning how to manage the guests at hotels and restaurants. They aim to teach students about every aspect of the hospitality industry. Courses of tourism and event management also fall under the same category. 

One of the factors that makes this an ideal course to pursue in Spain is the demand for hospitality and tourism in Spain. Some top universities that provide courses in hospitality are:

UniversityLocation QS Subject Ranking
University College of Hospitality Management and Culinary Arts Sant Pol de Mar12
Universidad Autónoma de MadridMadrid51-100
Universidad de SevillaSeville51-100
Universitat Autònoma de BarcelonaBarcelona51-100
Universitat Ramon LlullBarcelona51-100

Source: QS World University Rankings by Subject 2022

3. Computer Science & Information Technology

Computer Science & Information Technology includes courses in Data Science and Management, Information Technology, and Data Analysis. Some of these universities in Spain offering programs in this domain include: 

UniversityLocation QS Subject Ranking
Universidad Politécnica de MadridMadrid=58
Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya · BarcelonaTechBarcelona60
Universitat de BarcelonaBarcelona=118
Universitat Politècnica de ValènciaValència141
Universidad Autónoma de MadridMadrid=218

Source: QS World University Rankings by Subject 2022 

4. Arts and Humanities

Arts and humanities are one the most popular disciplines taught in Spain. The highly ranked universities in Spain offer some of the best courses in this discipline. Generally, the discipline consists of fine and performing arts and the courses related to Humanities. The top universities in Spain to study Arts and Humanities as per the QS World University rankings are:

UniversityLocation QS Subject Ranking
Complutense University of MadridMadrid=58
Universitat de BarcelonaBarcelona=80
Universitat Autònoma de BarcelonaBarcelona=108
Universidad Autónoma de MadridMadrid150
Universitat Pompeu Fabra (Barcelona)Barcelona=180

Source: QS World University Rankings by Subject 2022 

5. Business & Management Courses

Business & Management is the most sought-after discipline in Spain. It consists of MBA and EMBA courses that are globally recognized.

UniversityLocation QS Subject Ranking
Universitat Ramon LlullBarcelona17
University of NavarraPamplona23
IE UniversitySegovia=25
Universidad Carlos III de Madrid Madrid=132
Complutense University of MadridMadrid201-250

Source: QS World University Rankings by Subject 2022 

What is the Cost of Living in Spain? 

Though the living expenses depend on the city you choose to reside in Spain, the average cost of living in Spain for a student will range from EUR 900 to EUR 1,000, including rent, utilities, food, and other miscellaneous expenses. Some of the most student-friendly cities to live in are Madrid, Barcelona, Seville, and Valencia. 

Student housing may cost anywhere from 300-350 euros a month. Sharing a rented apartment may cost you around 400-500 euros. Fruits and vegetables are inexpensive in Spain, so cooking your own food will save you a lot of money. You will spend around 80-100 euros on groceries every week. 

Scholarships in Spain

The Spanish Government, as well as universities, provide several scholarships – partially and fully funded – to international students. 

Spain Government Scholarships: The Ministry of Education grants scholarships at undergraduate, graduate and Phd level. The grant may cover full tuition fee as well as living allowance.

European University of the Atlantic: Up to 20 undergraduate students get funding from the European University of the Atlantic. The scholarship will cover the entire tuition fee. 

CIEE Scholarships and Grants: The CIEE’s need-based grants help students who are unable to study abroad due to financial hardships. The Gilman Go Global Grant provides students with flight tickets worth $750-$2,000 and $2,500 for semester program fees or $1,000 for summer program costs. 

UIC Barcelona Scholarship: The university offers a 20% waiver on the academic fees of the approved program to select students.

Post-study work visa in Spain 

In Spain, you are eligible to apply for a post-study work visa after completing your studies. Based on this visa, you can stay in Spain for one year and look for a job. However, make sure that you apply for this transitory residence permit at least 60 days before the expiry of your student visa. 

The documents required to apply for a post-study work visa are: 

  • Proof that you have completed your studies- Degree completion certificate (bachelors, masters, diploma)
  • Proof of finances (to show that you can support yourself during your study in Spain)
  • Health insurance covers the duration of your stay.
  • Fee payment confirmation. 

During one year, your focus should be on securing a job. Once you successfully get a full-time employment contract, you should initiate the process of obtaining a work permit to begin working. 

How to get a PR in Spain after study? 

Getting a PR in Spain allows you to stay and work in the country for five years. You must spend a few years in the country on another visa to become eligible for a PR in Spain. 

What is the Process of Getting a PR?

Once you submit your application for permanent residency, it goes to your local police authorities. They look into your application and forward it to the Ministry of Interior responsible for handling the immigration services in Spain.


Requirements for Getting a PR in Spain 

For Non-EU Nationals

If you are a non-EU national who wants to get a permanent residency in Spain, you must have legally lived in Spain with an NIE number for five years. 

What is an NIE number? 

The NIE number is the legal number assigned by the Spanish National Police foreign residents to perform certain legal activities in Spain. These activities include:

  • Opening a bank account in Spain
  • Being legally employed
  • Paying taxes in Spain
  • Purchasing or selling property in Spain
  • Purchasing or selling motor vehicles
  • Being self-employed in Spain
  • Starting a business in Spain
  • Studying in Spain
  • Getting a driver’s license in Spain
  • Arranging utilities in Spain

The other criteria you must meet include. 

  • Proof that you have enough financial resources to support yourself 
  • Proof that you have health insurance that is legal in Spain

Also, to get a PR in Spain, you must have spent five years in Spain on a different visa (work visa). The validity of these visas is usually one or two years. Therefore, you must renew them to meet the requirement of five years. 

For EU Nationals

If you are an EU citizen, you only need to live in Spain for two years to apply for a permanent residency. 

How to apply for permanent residency in Spain? 

Once you have lived in Spain for the required number of years for living in Spain, applying for a permanent residency (PR) becomes easy. You can take the application form and required documents to your local police station in Spain. 

In some cases, you can directly visit the immigration department to apply for a PR. However, you must apply around three months before your current visa or permit expires. The documents required to apply for a PR are:

  • Your current passport and residency permit 
  • Proof of residence in Spain (rental agreement)
  • Medical certificate and Health insurance 
  • Proof that you lived in Spain for five years (tax returns or payrolls)

If your application for a PR gets approved, you will get an official notification. After this, you can visit your local police station to submit your fingerprints to complete the application process. Then, within a month, you will have to go back to the police station to collect your permanent resident card.


In conclusion, the prospect of studying in Spain in 2024 continues to be an enticing opportunity for Indian and international students alike. With its rich cultural heritage, diverse academic programs, and welcoming atmosphere, Spain offers a unique educational experience. For students venturing from India and other countries, Spain not only provides a chance to immerse themselves in a new cultural and linguistic landscape but also to benefit from an education system known for its balance of traditional methodologies and innovative approaches. The guide for 2024 underscores the importance of early preparation, understanding visa requirements, and getting to grips with the cost of living and academic structures in Spain. Embracing this opportunity enables students to broaden their horizons, both personally and academically, setting them on a path to global citizenship and career success in an increasingly interconnected world.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Can I study in Spain without IELTS?

Yes, you can study in Spain without IELTS. Since Spain offers both Spanish and English-taught programs, some universities allow students to enroll in English-taught programs without IELTS. Some of these universities are -the University of Valencia, Pablo de Olavide University, and the University of Salamanca.

How much does it cost to study abroad in Spain?

On average, the yearly cost of studying in Spain for bachelor’s programs ranges between INR 6,4200 to INR 2,14002, and for master’s programs, it is between INR 8,5600 to INR 2,99603.

Why study in Spain?

There are plenty of reasons to choose Spain as your study destination. Some of the top reasons include the country’s affordability, multiple locations to choose from, cuisine, fascinating history and culture, quality of education, globally recognized universities, English-taught courses, and a chance to learn the Spanish language.




What are the study in Spain requirements?

The foremost requirement to study in Spain is a student visa. There are three types of student visa- Schengen Student Visa, Short-term student visa, and Long-term student visa. Students must have certain documents to apply for a student visa. Some of these documents include a valid passport, id proof, letter of application from the selected university, proof of sufficient funds, health insurance, medical certificates, and many more.




How to get a PR in Spain after study?

To apply for a PR in Spain after completing your studies you must provide certain documents such as your current passport and residency permit, proof of residence in Spain (rental agreement), medical certificate and health insurance and proof that you lived in Spain for five years






Shivangi Mishra

Sr. Content Editor

She is an experienced writer and journalist who has extensively covered the education sector in India and Abroad. Now helping Indian aspirants realise their foreign education dream by providing them with relevant content and information through upGrad Abroad. Amateur traveller, loves to read Architectural Digest!

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