Spanish universities

Spanish universities

Several of the world's oldest universities are located in Spain or were founded by Spanish scholars across the world at the time of the Spanish Empire. The University of Salamanca, founded by King Alfonso IX of Leon in 1218 is the world's 8th oldest university. The oldest universities both in Asia (University of San Carlos) and the Americas (University of Santo Domingo) were founded by Spanish religious orders in the 16th century.

In Spain there are a total of 73 universities, most of which are supported by state funding. 23 Spanish universities are private, of which 7 are affiliated with the Catholic Church. A typical degree ("licenciatura" or "ingeniería") will last four or five years, although degree courses of shorter duration ("diplomatura" or "ingeniería técnica", 3 years) are becoming more popular (such as business studies). In 2008 the [ Webometrics Ranking of World universities] ranked Universidad Complutense as Spanish first and 52nd in europe. In 2007 Shanghai Jiao Tong University's Academic Ranking of World Universities ranked the University of Barcelona in the band 142 - 202 of the best universities in the world. In 2006 the University of Barcelona was ranked in the THES - QS World University Rankings top 200 universities in the world. [ [] — A 2006 ranking from "THES - QS" of the world’s research universities.] Nonetheless, Spanish universities continue to be plagued by endogamy which negatively affects the quality of both research and teaching as well as undermining mobility for Spanish and international researchers. [ [ The Angst of Ramón y Cajal Researchers - Science Careers - Biotech, Pharmaceutical, Faculty, Postdoc jobs on Science Careers ] ] [ [ El 70% de los profesores universitarios fueron los únicos candidatos para ocupar su plaza · ELPAÍ ] ]


Problems of definition make it difficult to date the origins of universities (the first medieval European universities were simply groups of scholars, the word "University" being derived from the Latin "universitas", meaning "corporation" - see University). Nonetheless, the University of Palencia appears to have been the oldest university in Spain, while the University of Salamanca (Universidad de Salamanca) is the oldest Spanish university that still exists today. Founded in 1218, during a period of expansion that had begun in the 11th century, this University is considered to be one of the oldest in Western Europe. The university was founded as a "General School of the kingdom" by King Alfonso IX of Leon in 1218 so that the Leonese people could study at home without having to leave for Castile.

The reign of Ferdinand, King of Aragon, and Isabella, Queen of Castile, saw a professionalisation of the apparatus of government in Spain, which led to a demand for men of letters ("letrados") who were university graduates ("licenciados"), especially of Salamanca and Alcala de Henares. These men staffed the various councils of state, including, eventually, the "Consejo de Indias" and "Casa de Contratacion", the two highest bodies in metropolitan Spain for the government of the Spanish Empire in the New World.

Many of the medieval universities in Western Europe were born under the aegis of the Catholic Church, usually as cathedral schools or by papal bull as Studia Generali. In the early medieval period, most new universities were founded from pre-existing schools, usually when these schools were deemed to have become primarily sites of higher education. Many historians state that universities and cathedral schools were a continuation of the interest in learning promoted by monasteries.

In Europe, young men proceeded to university when they had completed their study of the "trivium"–the preparatory arts of grammar, rhetoric, and logic–and the "quadrivium": arithmetic, geometry, music, and astronomy. (See degrees of Oxford University for the history of how the "trivium" and "quadrivium" developed in relation to degrees, especially in anglophone universities).

By the end of the Spanish Golden Age (1550-1650), the academic quality of all Spanish universities had declined. Professors and students rarely attended classes, degrees were awarded with less frequency, and their prestige receded.


Admission to the Spanish university system is determined by the "nota de corte" (literally, “cutoff grade”) that is achieved at the end of the two-year "Bachillerato", an optional course that students can take from the age of 16 when the period of obligatory secondary education ("Educación Secundaria Obligatoria", or ESO) comes to an end. A number between 1 and 10, the "nota de corte" is a combination of the grade achieved from the Bachillerato exams which the students take at school, and the average grade ("nota de media") obtained from the university selection exam (commonly known as "la Selectividad" but officially named "Prueba de Acceso a la Universidad" or PAU) that the students will take at the local university.

The most popular courses at public universities demand the highest "nota de corte", while for private universities cost is normally the factor that determines which course a student will follow (that is, the most popular courses are inevitably the most expensive).

For further information, see Education in Spain.

List of Public Universities

* Euskal Herriko Unibertsitatea / Universidad del País Vasco []
* Universidad Autónoma de Madrid []
* Universidad Carlos III de Madrid []
* Universidad Complutense de Madrid []
* Universidad de Alcalá []
* Universidad de Alicante []
* Universidad de Almería []
* Universidad de Burgos []
* Universidad de Cádiz []
* Universidad de Cantabria []
* Universidad de Castilla-La Mancha []
* Universidad de Córdoba []
* Universidad de Extremadura []
* Universidad de Granada []
* Universidad de Huelva []
* Universidad de Jaén []
* Universidad de La Laguna []
* Universidad de La Rioja []
* Universidad de Las Palmas de Gran Canaria []
* Universidad de León []
* Universidad de Málaga []
* Universidad de Murcia []
* Universidad de Oviedo []
* Universidad de Salamanca []
* Universidad de Sevilla []
* Universidad de Valladolid []
* Universidad de Zaragoza []
* Universidad Internacional de Andalucía []
* Universidad Internacional Menéndez Pelayo []
* Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia []
* Universidad Pablo de Olavide []
* Universidad Politécnica de Cartagena []
* Universidad Politécnica de Madrid []
* Universidad Pública de Navarra []
* Universidad Rey Juan Carlos []
* Universidade da Coruña []
* Universidade de Santiago de Compostela []
* Universidade de Vigo []
* Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona []
* Universitat d'Alacant []
* Universitat de Barcelona []
* Universitat de Girona []
* Universitat de les Illes Balears []
* Universitat de Lleida []
* Universitat de València []
* Universitat Jaume I de Castelló []
* Universitat Miguel Hernández d'Elx []
* Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya []
* Universitat Politècnica de València []
* Universitat Pompeu Fabra []
* Universitat Rovira i Virgili []

List of Private Universities

* Universidad de Deusto [] / Deustuko Unibertsitatea
* Mondragon Unibertsitatea []
* Universidad Alfonso X el Sabio []
* Universidad Antonio de Nebrija []
* Universidad Camilo José Cela []
* Universidad Cardenal Herrera-CEU []
* Universidad Católica de Valencia San Vicente Mártir []
* Universidad Católica San Antonio []
* Universidad Católica Santa Teresa de Jesús de Ávila []
* Universidad de Navarra []
* Universidad Europea de Madrid []
* Universidad Europea Miguel de Cervantes []
* Universidad Francisco de Vitoria []
* Universidad Pontificia Comillas []
* Universidad Pontificia de Salamanca []
* Universidad San Jorge []
* Universidad San Pablo-CEU []
* IE University []
* Universitat Abat Oliba CEU []
* Universitat de Vic []
* Universitat Internacional de Catalunya []
* Universitat Oberta de Catalunya []
* Universitat Ramon Llull []

ee also

*Education in Spain
**List of universities in Spain (organised by autonomous community)
**British universities
**Dutch universities
**French universities
**Italian universities
**US universities


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