Types of university studies –

The university studies are Voluntary higher official education that train the student for the exercise of professional activities.

These studies are recognized within the European Higher Education Area (EHEA) and are organized into three levels: grade, master and doctorate.

The unit of measurement used in the framework of the EHEA to structure the curricula of university education are the ECTS credits (European Credit Transfer System). Each credit includes between 25 and 30 hours of activity by the student, which include the hours of learning in the classroom, those of study, tutorials, work, etc. In general terms, 60 ECTS credits are equivalent to one academic year.


Studies of grade They offer general training aimed at the performance of certain professions or to prepare students for more specialized further training.

Some university degrees qualify for the exercise of regulated professions, as is the case, for example, of the degrees in Nursing, Dentistry and Primary Education.

There are different possible ways to access undergraduate studies. The most common access modality is the selectivity or EBAU.

The study plans of most university degrees have a study load of between 180 and 240 ECTS credits, which correspond to a duration of between 3 and 4 years. However, there are some degrees such as Medicine, Dentistry, Veterinary Medicine or Architecture that reach 300 credits and have, therefore, a longer duration.

University degrees include subjects of three types:

  • Basic subjects: They are mandatory and are linked to the different branches of knowledge in which undergraduate teachings are organized. In each degree, a minimum of 60 credits of basic subjects must be taken, which will be recognized if a student transits between related degrees.
  • Compulsory subjects: Subjects with specific content of the degree that must be taken by all students.
  • Optative subjects: They are subjects that the student must choose from among those proposed by the degree based on their academic or professional interests. They can be grouped into itineraries.

In addition, the study plan of a university degree necessarily culminates with the elaboration of the final degree project (TFG), and can also contemplate the realization of external practices and other training activities such as, for example, seminars.

The branches of knowledge to which undergraduate and graduate degrees can be assigned are:

Master’s degree

The master’s degrees are graduate studies that They provide advanced training aimed at professional specialization or the acquisition of research-focused skills.

As with degrees, some official masters qualify for the exercise of certain regulated professions.

University centers also offer their own master’s degrees, with less demanding access requirements, but if you want to take an official master’s degree (also called “university master’s degree”) it is essential to have a bachelor’s degree. Official master’s degrees allow you to apply for doctoral studies.

The study plans of the official master’s degrees have a duration of between 60 and 120 credits and are organized in:

  • Compulsory subjects
  • Optional assignatures
  • Seminars
  • External internships
  • Final Master’s Thesis (TFM)


Studies of doctorate They offer you advanced training in research techniques in order to enable you to carry out quality scientific research. They consist of cross-sectional and specific training, and may include carrying out different activities aimed at research training, such as courses or seminars. In any case, they always include the preparation and presentation of the doctoral thesis. Its duration is a maximum of three years full-time and five years part-time.

To access doctoral studies, it will be necessary for you to be in possession of official bachelor’s degrees (or equivalent) and official university master’s degrees (or equivalent), provided that you have passed at least 300 ECTS credits in all of these two teachings. Article 6 of Royal Decree 99/2011, which regulates official doctoral studies, contemplates other possible access routes.

Successful completion of a doctoral program leads to obtaining the title of doctor or female doctor.

University degrees in the EHEA

To facilitate academic and professional recognition in other EHEA countries, you can request the European Diploma Supplement (SET), a personalized document for each university degree that contains information about the studies completed, the professional skills acquired and the level of the degree in the Spanish Qualification Framework for Higher Education (MECES).

Regulations for university studies

Organic Law 4/2007, of April 12, which modifies Organic Law 6/2001, of December 21, on Universities.

Royal Decree 43/2015, of February 2, which modifies Royal Decree 1393/2007, of October 29, which establishes the organization of official university education.

Royal Decree 412/2014, of June 6, which establishes the basic regulations for admission procedures to official university degree courses.

Royal Decree 99/2011, of January 28, which regulates official doctoral studies.

Royal Decree 1393/2007 of October 29, which establishes the new organization of official university education, following the structure set by the general lines of the European Higher Education Area (EHEA).

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