Top 10 universities in Spain
Scroll down for the full list of best universities in Spain
|Spain rank 2023||WUR rank 2023||University||City|
|1||182||University of Barcelona||Barcelona|
|2||=183||Autonomous University of Barcelona||Barcelona|
|3||186||Pompeu Fabra University||Barcelona|
|4||251–300||University of Navarra||Pamplona|
|5||301–350||Autonomous University of Madrid||Madrid|
|6||401–500||Complutense University of Madrid||Madrid|
|=7||501–600||Open University of Catalonia||Barcelona|
|=7||501–600||Universitat Ramon Llull||Barcelona|
|=7||501–600||University of Valencia||Valencia|
|=7||501–600||University of Vic – Central University of Catalonia||Barcelona|
Many students are attracted to Spain for its beaches, vibrant cities, festivals and beautiful architecture.
Spain shares the Iberian Peninsula with Portugal at the western end of the Mediterranean Sea. Interestingly, it is the country with the third-largest number of Unesco World Heritage Sites – after Italy and China. There is an abundance of things to do including eating at quirky restaurants, visiting the many art galleries and museums and spending time at the beach and in the countryside.
Spain has 55 universities in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2023, with some of the most highly ranked and popular located in Madrid, Barcelona and the smaller cities of Seville and Granada. Each region of Spain is different, so students should base where they want to study not just on the university but also on the lifestyle associated with the region.
One of the reasons for Spain’s popularity with international students is that, generally, it is relatively cheap to live there. The cost of goods and services in Spain is below average in comparison with other European countries.
One of the major reasons students choose to study abroad is the opportunity to learn another language, and as Spain’s national dialect is the second most spoken language in the world it has become a popular destination for international students.
While the majority of courses are taught in Spanish, there are also a number of courses at both undergraduate and postgraduate level in English to accommodate overseas students.
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The main campus of the Autonomous University of Madrid is situated in the Cantoblanco area on the outskirts of Madrid and is connected to the city centre by commuter train.
Famous alumni include several former government ministers; Gaspar Llamazares, former leader of the United Left Party; and HM King Felipe VI of Spain, who graduated with a degree in law.
The university has 16 cafes and canteens, indoor and outdoor pools, a medical centre, sports pitches and beach volleyball courts, as well as a train station and bus services on campus.
The University of Navarra is a private non-profit university founded in 1952.
It initially started as a law school and now has 14 faculties, two university schools, 17 institutes, a business school and many other centres and institutions. The university offers more than 120 degrees, but all courses include aspects of theology.
The university has agreements with other institutions, including the universities of Washington, Hong Kong and Edinburgh, to encourage international exchanges between students.
The university is located in Pamplona, which is famous for the running of the bulls during the San Fermín festival.
Pompeu Fabra University is still a fairly young university, having been set up in 1990 in Barcelona.
The university’s strengths lie in the social sciences, humanities, health, life sciences, communication and ICT.
It is named after the linguist Pompeu Fabra, an expert on the Catalan language, who was credited with giving the language the status it has today. Catalan is the official language of Pompeu Fabra University. Students wishing to learn Catalan will have plenty of opportunity in Barcelona and around Pompeu Fabra.
There are three campuses located across Barcelona. Social and human sciences are studied at Ciutadella, health and life sciences at Mar and communication and IT at Poblenou.
The main campus is located in Bellaterra, one of the main industrial and technological districts of Mediterranean Europe, and only 25 minutes from the centre of Barcelona.
The institution has 13 faculties, including biosciences, communication, arts and humanities, medicine and translation and interpreting.
The university offers 87 bachelor’s degrees, 315 master’s degrees, and 68 PhD programmes. Undergraduate degrees in business management and administration, economics, primary education and tourism are offered fully in English, and many other degrees offer subjects in English. The university attracts many international students because of this.
The University of Barcelona is one of the biggest universities in Spain, and welcomes a large number of students from both Spain and abroad every year.
There are 73 bachelor’s degree courses, more than 140 standard master’s degree courses, more than 400 UB-specific master’s degree courses and postgraduate diplomas, and 48 doctoral programmes.
Two degree courses are taught wholly in English (international business and English studies) and five are taught partially in English.
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Top universities in Spain 2023
Click each institution to view its full World University Rankings 2023 results
Explore the top universities in Spain using data from the Times Higher Education's World University Rankings