Universidad Complutense de Madrid - Semester or Year Abroad


GlobaLinks Learning Abroad offers programs at Universidad Complutense de Madrid through our partner International Studies Abroad.

Please click here to apply or learn more about Universitdad Complutense and all other Spain program options.   

Quick Links

General information applicable to all Semester and Year Abroad Programs:

Use the left-hand navigation for information specific to this program.


Universidad Complutense was founded by Cardinal Cisneros in the ancient town of Complutum, the present day Alcalá de Henares, by a Papal Bull granted by Pope Alexander VI in 1499. Later, in 1927, a university campus was planned in the Moncloa area on land granted for this purpose by Alfonso XIII. In 1970 the Government embarked on a reform of higher education and the Central University was renamed Universidad Complutense, in reference to its origins. At the same time the Somosaguas campus was created to house most of the Social Science faculties and provide more space on the Moncloa campus. Today it is the largest university in Spain with some 90,000 students and 7,000 teaching and research staff. The university is centrally located in Madrid.


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Madrid, the capital of Spain since 1561, is a cosmopolitan city of 3.2 million people, and covers a metropolitan area of 5 million people. It is well known for its hospitality and openness, since many of its inhabitants comes from other cities of Spain and the world. It is always easy to feel at home in Madrid.


Madrid is Spain’s major business and financial center and home of many large Spanish and international companies in the Iberian Peninsula. It is also the seat of the government of Spain, and one of the liveliest cities in Europe, combining cultural and leisure activities for all tastes. Its impressive cultural heritage combines the historic with the modern, and is evident in its museums (Prado, Reina Sofia, Thyssen-Bornemisza) and monuments (Royal Palace, Plaza Mayor, Cibeles Fountain, Puerta de Alcalá, Neptuno Plaza)


Located at the geographical center of Spain, Madrid is the perfect place to travel to other parts of Spain - Barcelona, Seville, Valencia, Costa del Sol (by high speed train); Toledo, Segovia, Salamanca (by bus or train); or to other cities in Europe - Paris, London, Rome, Amsterdam – all in a 2 hour flight.


University Complutense is located in an area called “University City”. It is the largest university campus in Spain and is very close to the city district of Moncloa. The campus has two metro stops and many bus lines.

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Academic Highlights

Program Overview

  • Minimum GPA: 2.50
  • Language of instruction: Spanish and English
  • Language requirements: None. Open to all levels.
  • Place of instruction: Universidad de Complutense
  • Participants: International students
  • Upon arrival students take a placement exam to determine language proficiency


Subject Area:

  • Language & Spanish Studies


Students choose any combination of courses. Culture courses in Spanish (Art, Literature, Philosophy, History, Culture, Applied Language) are open to intermediate and above level students. Other English electives (Politics, Marketing, Society, Culture, and Literature) are open to all students.

Students at the beginning level are required to take 120 hours of Spanish language, divided in 3 different courses of 40 hours each on Grammar, Written Expression, and Oral Expression. They may complete their course load with supplemented 20 hour language courses or English electives.


Please view the course catalog to see a complete list of courses available.  

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Students may choose from the following housing options: homestay, residence halls, or shared apartments. We always try to provide students with their first housing choice, but we cannot guarantee it. It is why we recommend students apply in advance so they have a better chance to obtain their preferred option.



Staying with a host family is a way to enrich student’s experience and to reinforce the knowledge gained during the program. We select our families carefully and have known them for years. All of them have extensive experience accommodating foreign students. Upon arrival students receive a key of the house so they may come and go as they please. Students will be able to receive telephone calls, but most likely will not be able to have guests over. Two daily meals are provided and one laundry load per week.



This is an off-campus student’s residence. Spaniards and international students are residents of this option mostly in double rooms, depending on availability some singles may be offered as well. Kitchen and bathroom may be private or shared. There are also common areas. Usually, the residence offers laundry facilities and meals may or may not be included. 


Shared Apartment

These apartments are shared by international students. They have single and double bedrooms, a fully equipped kitchen with cooking utensils, washing machine, refrigerator, and shared bathrooms. Students must respect building community rules and maintain the apartment in decent conditions. The price of accommodation includes the cost of utilities (electricity, gas, water) within reasonable expending and, in most cases, a weekly cleaning of the communal areas. Meals are not included.


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University Services

Students receive a university ID that allows them to use sports facilities, computer labs and libraries. There are also cafeterias and restaurants. Complutense also organizes cultural visits to the most relevant museums and historical sites in Madrid and students may participate in excursions to other cities in Spain for an additional fee. The university also has a team of professionals who provide psychological and academic support to students when needed.


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Bridging Cultures Program

The GlobaLinks Learning Abroad Bridging Cultures Program is our signature orientation program for all semester and year abroad students. The cost for this multi-day program is included in your program fees and covers several nights accommodation, most meals, local transportation, and excursions.

Typically 4-6 days in length, each orientation program includes:

Exciting excursions and activities

A chance to meet other students

Orientation sessions to help you adapt to your new country

Orientation sites vary based on the location of your program. Each site is selected based on the proximity to your host university as well as for the unique activities available within the area. Read more about the Bridging Cultures Program>

University Orientation

In addition to the GlobaLinks Learning Abroad Bridging Cultures Program, all students will participate in a university specific orientation. Students receive an official orientation given by the staff of the international students program. This orientation provides valuable information on academics, exams, and other related matters.


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Overseas Staff and Support

GlobaLinks Learning Abroad and Active Learning Abroad have forged a unique partnership to provide high quality study abroad opportunities in Spain. Active Learning Abroad (ALA) is GlobaLinks’ partner and overseas office for all students studying for a summer or semester at a university in Spain. The ALA offices and staff in Barcelona, Sevilla, Salamanca, and Madrid work closely with GlobaLinks Learning Abroad staff in the U.S. to provide all students with services and support throughout the experience. This ensures that each student is ensured an individualized experience both during the pre-departure stage and while in country. The ALA team in Spain delivers the Bridging Cultures Program onsite and Discovery Activities throughout the semester or summer and are also available 24/7 for emergency support.


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Scholarships Available

GlobaLinks Learning Abroad strives to offer the most reasonable abroad fees to Europe. To further enhance the affordability of the semester/year study abroad program, we encourage you to apply for scholarships through all available scholarship sources. Learn more about our scholarship opportunities.


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Get Involved Abroad

Extracurricular Activities

There are a variety of ways to get involved while you're abroad. Our in-country staff can connect you with resources and opportunities at Complutense. Language exchange opportunities are available and are highly recommended in order to practice the language with native speakers while you are abroad. Round tables and other types of activities are also organized by Complutense University.

Community Involvement

We encourage our students to experience the local customs and immerse in the local culture by participating in our organized cultural and social activities. We will have a guided tour of the city, visiting the Royal Palace, the Plaza Mayor, the Habsburg quarter, the Retiro Park, the Puerta del Sol, the Gran Vía, and other landmarks of the city.

All students are encouraged to participate in volunteer activities at or near their campus, where permitted under host-country immigration regulations. Service learning is an integral piece of a well-rounded education, and we support students’ efforts to integrate into the local culture through volunteer activities. Students are provided with information on volunteer opportunities on campus or within the community during the orientation and preparation process.


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Special Programs and Excursions

GlobaLinks Learning Abroad and Active Learning Abroad will provide excursions to all students participating in a semester/academic year program. This will allow students to get familiar with some of the most interesting cities and areas in Spain from cultural, artistic, and historic perspectives. Semester abroad students usually have two overnight trips and two day excursions. Below are some examples of previous excursions. Please note not all excursions will be offered each term and locations are subject to change.



Located in the region of Andalucia, or "Al-Andalus" as it was known during the Moorish rule, this vibrant and traditional city is home to many examples of Arab influence, including the Giralda tower (bell tower) next to the cathedral. Other popular sites include the Alcazar (Arab fortress and royal gardens), the old Jewish quarter (Barrio Santa Cruz), Plaza de España & Maria Luisa park. You will discover the traditional culture of Spain in this beautiful southern city.



Barcelona is a cosmopolitan, avant garde city in the North East of Spain on the Mediterranean coast. It is famous for its artistic works and culture and represents the spirit of the different Mediterranean peoples that have formed its present personality. Barcelona has many museums and architectural creations that will captivate its visitors. Barcelona’s mild climate and its cosmopolitan atmosphere are other two reasons to spend some time there.



Toledo was the capital of Visigoth Spain during the Middle Ages, which explains its impressive medieval architecture. The city is famous for its rich history and for the coexistence of the Christian, Islamic, and Jewish cultures. In the Middle Ages, Toledo was the European capital for the study of languages and natural sciences. Its privileged location, and the natural turn of the of the Tagus River, together with its continuous population from ages ago, create a unique city in which beautiful and harmonious buildings of an array of architectural styles.



The old city of Segovia is located at the top of a promontory, originally for defensive purposes, and offers a series of magnificent monuments to its visitors. The most impressive one is the Roman aqueduct. It is one of the most prefect examples of Roman civil architecture, and it was build around 1st century BC. The city is full of medieval and renaissance examples of civil, military and religious architecture among which the Alcázar (fortress) and Cathedral stand out.



The city of the Alhambra was the last Muslim city in Spain to be retaken from the Arabs by the Catholic Monarchs in 1492. At the foothills of Sierra Nevada and 30 minutes away from the Tropical coast of the province Granada offers endless opportunities for visitors to immerse themselves in the old Muslim and Jewish quarters of the city and visit the traditional gypsy caves of El Sacromonte where the purest flamenco is performed.



The most breathtaking combination of nature and architecture can be seen in Cuenca´s famous “Hanging Houses”, which perch above the deep gorges that surround the town. Inside the houses one may visit the Museum of Spanish Abstract Art and a restaurant, which gives its name to the monument.



It is the capital of the Valencia region and the Spanish Costa Blanca. This Mediterranean city, which is the third largest city in Spain, is known for creating the Spanish dish paella. The old medieval town and the modern Palacio de las Artes y las Ciencias provide visitors with a mixture of old and new architecture expressions. Do not forget to stroll along the Malvarrosa beach and enjoy the social life the city offers.


El Escorial

Built in 1557 during the kingdom of Philip II, El Escorial is a temple in honor of San Lorenzo. It is a magnificent mausoleum and a combination of temple, pantheon, and study center and meditation refuge. The great expounders of the Humanism of the Renaissance helped the King accomplish his project which was defined by reason, symmetry and balance, without forgetting even for a moment the all important austerity he desired. The Monastery can be considered a symbol of the power of the Spanish empire in the 16th Century. The Mausoleum of the Kings holds the remains of all the Spanish monarchs from Charles I to Alfonso XIII.



Ground transportation, entrance fees, and guided tours are included in program fees for all excursions. Hotel accommodation and breakfast are also included in all overnight excursions.

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Course Catalog

To determine if the classes you need are available at this university, select Courses/Subjects to view the specific course options.

Tips: For advice on navigating the university’s course catalog, use the Selecting Courses link. You may also view the suggested grade and credit transfer information through the Grade Conversion.

If you have any questions about course availability, please contact studyabroad@globalinksabroad.org.


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Photo Slideshow

Watch a slideshow of photos of Madrid

Ask Our Alumni

Ever wonder what it's like to live in Europe? Are you having trouble finding the right university for you? Speak to students that were already there! They are truly experts on their universities and cities, and want to help you go abroad too.


Email studyabroad@globalinksabroad.org with your name, email, and your specific program of interest and we'll email you with the contact details for one of our 20,000 alumni!


Please don't hesitate to contact us as well with any questions.




Universidad Complutense de Madrid
All fees listed are for first term onlyYear Abroad Advice
Program FeesTBD
Housing with MealsApproximately $3,000 - $3,800
Housing without MealsApproximately $2,300 - $2,600
What's includedSee below

Fee Includes

Your Personalized Semester/Year Program Includes

  • Tuition and instruction
  • Host university activity and insurance fees
  • 24/7 support for students and parents at home and abroad
  • Pre-departure materials and travel gear
  • Comprehensive assistance
  • Personal program manager
  • Scholarship and financial aid assistance
  • Facilitation of course selection / credit transfer

Activity and Excursion Package

Housing amenities are generally:

  • Single or shared room
  • Technology package available
  • Linen package available

An additional refundable housing deposit may be required for your housing selection. If the housing is self-catered (no meals), you will have access to a kitchen where you can prepare your own meals. If you would prefer housing with meals, it is available for an extra fee either as a homestay or in a residental hall. Contact us for more information.

*All fees are subject to change.


Should you receive an offer, your offer letter will provide you with the most up to date university start dates. GlobaLinks Learning Abroad will attempt to provide you with the most up-to-date information as we receive it. Be sure to confirm dates before finalizing any travel plans. 

Entry Requirements

Applicants must have the required GPA and have completed at least the equivalent of one year of full-time study at the university/college level prior to the time of participation. Prior study of Spanish is not required. A Spanish placement test will be administered upon arrival.

Required GPA: 2.50

GlobaLinks Learning Abroad Program Team

Program Manager
Program Manager