Spain is a top destination for international postgraduate students. About 50,000 international master's degree students go to Spain every year, according to FindaMasters.com. The country is on the leading edge in many fields, and some of its higher education institutions were established in the 13th century.
You can find many master's degree programs in Spain are taught in English, meaning you won't have to master's Spanish to earn your master's. However, learning Spanish for everyday life would definitely be a good idea.
You'll spend between 12 and 24 months earning a master's degree in Spain, and some programs, such as MBAs are 10, 16, or 18 months. School usually starts in September or early October, and you may be able to enroll in some cases for the spring in mid-January or early February. July is the deadline for many courses, but each university is different.
Documentation requirements for admission applications will vary, but you'll usually need your transcripts, resume/CV, reference letters, personal statement, and visa/residence permit. You'll need to get an IELTS or TOEFL score that meets the university's requirements for English proficiency if the course is delivered in English. If you're going for a Spanish degree, you can show your knowledge of Spanish with the Diploma of Spanish as a Foreign Language, and you'll need about a B2 level or above.
You'll have to follow more complex procedures for applying if you're not a student from the EU, EEA, or Switzerland, and you'll likely have to pay more fees. You may also need your birth certificate, Social Security card (U.S. students), and a detailed budget for your time in Spain.
Start applying for your visa early. You'll need proof you were accepted at the university, your passport, completed visa application, photo identification, and birth certificate.
Spain is known for its relatively inexpensive university tuition, and its universities usually charge per credit instead of per semester. So a credit is about 10 hours of academic teaching, and a master's fee costs typically between €30 and €70. Check out how long your course is on your university's website to roughly calculate your total tuition, and talk to your university to get a more formal estimate of cost.
One of your biggest concerns in getting a master's degree in Spain is where you're going to live. Your university may offer individual rooms or studio flats. Your other option is private rental (Work with local Spanish leasing and rental agents or with your university, which may offer a service to help you find accommodation with other students.) or boarding with a local Spanish family. Apply early to the institution to make sure you have the best selection of accommodation.
Prices will depend on where you live, and the cost of utilities will vary. You may spend about €360 per month for one room with a private bath and €500 per month for a studio flat, including utilities and Internet. Another source states that you may pay between €800 and €1,000 for a private rental, and the cost could be much less when shared.
Eating at university restaurants will cost you about €180 a month for half board and €300 per month for full board. Getting your own food from supermarkets will be a lot cheaper, though, if you're willing to shop and cook yourself. Estimates range between €300 and €400 for the cost of food for one person per month.
With food, transport, utilities, basic leisure, etc., you can expect to pay around €900-1,000 per month, depending on where your university is.
You can work up to 20 hours in Spain while you study, but there are many rules that affect this. If your work will impede your studies, you may not be allowed to work, and employers have to get Spain's Foreign Nationals Office's okay to make you an employee. You can't work past when your student visa ends. If you're an EU or EEA student, the rules for you will probably be less strict, but talk to the international office of your university for more details.
Take advantage of discounted monthly passes to travel by metro and tram networks in Spain, which will cost about €40 to €50 per month. You'll be able to travel by road if you have access to a car, but highways are toll roads. The rail system and air travel networks are extensive, and you can get to Spain's Islands, like the Balearics or the Canaries, by ferry.
You must have health coverage as an international student. If you're from the EU, you need to show your healthcare status from home to get access to the EU system. You can get the required documents from your home country or just show a European Health Insurance Card. If you're a non-EU country student, you can see if there is a healthcare agreement between your country and Spain. You'll need private healthcare insurance if there is no such agreement.
It's easy to open an account in Spain: show your National Identity Number (which you'll get when you register as a foreign student) to the bank. You may be able to open an account if you have a non-resident certificate from the police station nearest your home along with your passport.
Studying in Spain for a master's degree requires some planning, but the benefits of a high-quality, relatively inexpensive education in a beautiful country with a long history is worth the effort.