How to Study Nursing in Spain for International Students

Despite a stable number of students entering nursing education and graduating in Spain each year, the country is facing a shortage of nurses that is far below the European Union average. Based on a 2017 OECD study, the number of practicing nurses per 1,000 inhabitants in Spain was 5.3 in 2015, while the EU average was 8.4. This is due to the fact that reduction in public spending and reforms in health care in Spain is causing a large number of nurses to seek employment opportunities outside of Spain after graduation.

Even though it may seem like a disadvantage to study nursing in Spain, the country remains an excellent option for international students looking to pursue a nursing education abroad. Besides the affordable and high-quality nursing education that is offered in a Spanish university, upon completion of the program, one can practice the profession in other countries.

What Degrees are there for Nursing in Spain?

In compliance with the Bologna declaration in 1999, nursing education in Spain was reformed into a program that recognizes bachelor, master, and doctoral degrees, thus enhancing the academic recognition and professionalism of nurses.

A bachelor’s degree in nursing, also known as Grado en Enfermería, is a four-year, eight-semester program that corresponds to 240 ECTS (European Credit Transfer System). The program consists of theoretical and practical training.

Upon successful completion of the degree, graduates will be able to begin work as licensed nurses. They may otherwise choose to further their studies by pursuing a master’s or doctoral program.

Cost of Studying Nursing

The choice to study at a Spanish university is popular among international students because of the high-quality higher education one can get at an affordable price. Depending on the university of your choice, the cost of an undergraduate degree in nursing in Spain can cost less than 1,000 euros a year! For example, the nursing program at the University of Granada is about 800 euros a year.

The cost of living in Spain varies depending on the city you live in and your lifestyle. In general, international students living in Barcelona or Madrid may need about 900 to 1,000 euros each month to pay for expenses such as accommodation, food, transportation, books, and others. On the other hand, students living in cities like Granada, Murcia, or Salamanca would need much less.

Requirements to Study Nursing in Spain

To study nursing in Spain, students must be proficient in Spanish as it is the language of instruction at most universities that offer this program. For instance, the University of Granada recommends a minimum level of B1 in Spanish proficiency for its international students.

For those who are pursuing nursing as their first undergraduate degree, applicants must hold a Spanish-Baccalaureate equivalent qualification. If you have completed your studies outside of Spain, you are required to have your existing qualification validated by the Spanish Ministry of Education. This validation process is also known as homologation.

Please check the admission requirements on the website of the school you are applying to in order to ensure a smooth application process.

Best Nursing Schools in Spain

1. University of Barcelona (UB)

The University of Barcelona is a public university located in the city of Barcelona. Established in the year 1450, this higher education institution has more than 5,000 staff and almost 63,000 students, thus making it one of the largest universities in Spain. With close to 900 active research projects and approximately 5,800 scientific publications, UB is the leading center of university research in Spain and is the benchmark for research activity in Europe.

This nursing school in Spain provides a wide range of higher education courses. Students who wish to study nursing in Spain can apply to the university’s Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, where the EHEA (European Higher Education Area) bachelor’s degree in Nursing is offered. Applicants are required to be proficient in Catalan, Spanish, and English; they should also have sufficient knowledge in biology, chemistry, physics, and mathematics. Please refer to the school website for more information on the admission requirements.

2. University of Granada (UGR)

The next top nursing school in Spain is the University of Granada, a public university founded in 1531. As the fourth-largest university in Spain, it has a total of 27 faculties and schools and it offers an extensive range of education programs (about 90 undergraduate degree programs and 130 postgraduate degree programs).

Applicants can apply to the university’s nursing program from June to September. The duration of the program is four years and the program will be taught in Spanish. Graduates of UGR’s nursing program enjoy a high employability rate not only in Spain but also outside of Spain. Besides working at public hospitals or private clinics, graduates can also work in NGOs or the military or choose to go into teaching, research, management, or consultancy.

3. University of Salamanca (USAL)

Founded in 1218, this higher education institution is the oldest of the existing Hispanic universities in the world. Each year, the University of Salamanca attracts a large number of students from across Spain and the world. There are nine campuses located in different locations – Salamanca, Ávila, Zamora, Béjar, and Villamayor – and the university has a total of 26 faculties and 12 research centers.

The nursing program at USAL is taught in the Faculty of Nursing and Physiotherapy and two other affiliated centers – Nursing School of Ávila and Nursing College of Zamora. Students in this program will undergo their clinical placements in hospitals that are under the Public Health System of Castilla y León of the Salamanca Area.

4. University of Murcia (UMU)

The University of Murcia is established in the year 1272 and it is the third-oldest university in Spain, behind the University of Salamanca (1281) and the University of Valladolid (1241). With five university campuses and 21 different faculties, UMU offers over 50 bachelor’s degree programs, 100 master’s, and numerous Ph.D. programs to about 33,000 students each year.

Students who wish to obtain their nursing degree from this nursing school in Spain can apply to the university’s Faculty of Nursing. Applicants can visit the official website to find out information pertaining to admission requirements and seat allocations. You can also utilize the tuition calculator provided on the website to determine the total amount of tuition for the program as the fee differs according to different registration categories.

5. University of Léon (ULE)

The final candidate in our list of best nursing schools in Spain is the University of Léon. Even though the University of Léon had been offering programs such as Veterinary Medicine since 1852, the university was officially founded in 1979 after it was separated from the University of Oviedo. The ULE has two campuses – Léon and Ponferrada campuses, and it offers an extensive range of studies, including Arts and Humanities, Sciences, Health Sciences, Social and Legal Sciences, and Engineering and Architecture.

International students can apply for the nursing program at the Faculty of Health Sciences of Léon campus or Ponferrada campus. Depending on your nationality and education qualifications, you will be required to meet different admission requirements. For example, students whose country of birth is outside of the European Union or have no international agreements with Spain must have their educational qualifications homologized by the Spanish Ministry of Education. This can be done at the Spanish embassy or consulate in the applicant’s country.


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