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CIEE: Madrid, Spain - Liberal Arts Program
Madrid, Spain
Program Terms: Academic Year,
Homepage: Click to visit
Program Sponsor: CIEE 
Program Dates &
Click here to view
Restrictions: CU applicants only
Fact Sheet:
 Lang. of Instruction:
 Lang. Courses Offered:
 Program Type:
Direct Enrollment
 Minimum GPA:
Housing: Homestay
 A&S Approved?:
Fields of Instruction: Business Management, Communication, Computer science, European studies, Film Studies, Government (Political Science), History, Humanities, Journalism, Law, Literature, Media Studies, Sociology, Spanish Language
 Class Rank:
Study Abroad Advisor : Ann Hoover
Program Description:


Ready to put your advanced Spanish language skills into practice? Come immerse yourself in Madrid.

Live with a local family, take part in an internship, volunteer, teach English at a local school, and enroll directly in a wide variety of courses at one of the country’s most prestigious universities. Studying abroad in Madrid allows you to advance your Spanish proficiency while deepening your understanding and appreciation of Spanish culture among American, Spanish and international students, in a beautiful, lively, and artistic metropolis.

Study abroad in Madrid and you will:

  • Take classes on an accessible and modern, wireless, green campus offering students regular University courses alongside Spanish students; perfect your spoken Spanish with tutors and conversation exchanges
  • Participate in a cultural agenda and volunteer program, or join University student clubs, from theater and sports to dance, choir, and orchestra
  • Intern in the local community based on your major and add real-life work experience to your résumé
  • Explore Madrid and Spain through cultural and educational activities
The CIEE Difference


Enroll in a combination of content courses in Hispanic studies (Estudios Hispánicos) and regular University courses in the social sciences, humanities, journalism, pre-law, and engineering.

Each semester the Humanities department also holds as many as thirty seminars taught by field experts in which you can participate alongside Spanish students for credit. These short-term seminars are discussion-size classes with various topics including but not limited to gender, environment, architecture, contemporary Spanish issues, mediation, cinema, literary movements, classical studies, history, religion, philosophy, and the sciences.


Take part in a number of day long and weekend excursions to site of cultural significant in and around Madrid. Past trips have included Toledo, the Natural Park of Hoces de Duratón, the Monastary of El Escorial, and the Royal Palace and gardens of Aranjuez. The weekend field trip may be to visit Asturias, Galicia, Cataluña, Andalusia or one of the Spanish islands.


CIEE study abroad in Madrid offers a number of programs and activities to help integrate you into the local and university communities. From conversational exchanges, and volunteering opportunities with local schools, to professional skill development and cultural workshops, there are dozens of ways to immerse yourself in your host community.


Total recommended credit and a full course load for the semester is 15 semester/22.5 quarter hours, and for the academic year 30 semester/45 quarter hours.

Course contact hours are 45 hours and recommended credit is 3 semester/4.5 quarter hours per course, unless otherwise indicated. Seminars are one to two credits and 10 to 20 hours, unless otherwise indicated.

Program Requirements

In the fall, study abroad students take a minimum of one required Spanish language course and four elective courses. These electives can be chosen from any coursework in Estudios Hispánicos; CIEE courses, or any of the regular university courses offered if they demonstrate an adequate language level.

In the spring, students take a minimum of one required Spanish language course and one regular course, and at least three courses chosen from Estudios Hispánicos ,the regular university departments, or  the CIEE courses. Students eligible to do so must take one regular university course.

Academic year students are not required to take Spanish language in their second semester and matriculate in at least fivecourses (totaling a minimum of 15 semester credits) chosen from the Estudios Hispánicos, CIEE, or regular university offerings, with at least two regular university courses. Bilingual students may be exempt from the language course by the University faculty upon completing the on-site placement exam and can substitute it with another university course.

Upon arrival in Madrid, all study abroad students take a placement exam. Students who place below the advanced level may be required by the Estudios Hispánicos faculty to enroll in an additional language course for advanced intermediate composition.

About Madrid

Madrid, the capital of Spain, is located in the geographic center of the Iberian Peninsula. Points of interest include the historic center dating back to the Hapsburg Empire and world-renowned art museums, including the Prado, Reina Sofia, and Thyssen-Bornemisza. In addition to being a rich cultural heritage site, Madrid is a lively, artistic metropolis that can be experienced through its variety of food, tapas bars, dance shows, opera house, music concerts, outdoor parks, jazz clubs, soccer matches, ethnic neighborhoods, and contemporary theater and cinema.

Where You’ll Study

Established in 1989, the Universidad Carlos III de Madrid has become one of Europe’s preeminent public universities, and after receiving the European Campus of Excellence award in 2010, is now recognized as Spain's most prestigious institution of higher education. It was the first and one of a few public universities to have adopted a U.S.-style academic calendar, and it has one of the highest percentages (42%) of full-time and tenured female faculty in Spain. The University is the educational center for some 20,000 students with 4,000 students attending programs at the Getafe campus, located in the southern metropolitan area.

Housing & Meals

Housing and meals are included in the study abroad program fee. Students live with one or more Spanish hosts each of whom have unique backgrounds and are actively involved in the community. Housing is in central Madrid with a commute to campus of 30 to 45 minutes. Meal options vary and may include one or two meals per day provided by the host or by the CIEE program. Any meals not provided by the host are facilitated by university meal tickets.

Academic Program

The CIEE Study Center in Madrid opened in 2005 at the Universidad Carlos III. The CIEE academic program is geared towards advanced level Spanish speakers who seek a quality academic experience, including a for-credit internship with Spaniards, to complement their cultural immersion in an urban setting and at a Spanish campus.

The study abroad program is suitable for advanced Spanish undergraduates with strong language skills, serious dedication to academic work, and a background in the humanities, social sciences, journalism, communications, or engineering. All students must complete a Spanish placement test on site to determine their language level.

Each semester the Humanities department holds as many as thirty seminars taught by field experts in which CIEE students can participate alongside Spanish students for credit. These short-term seminars are discussion-size classes with various topics including but not limited to gender, environment, architecture, contemporary Spanish issues, mediation, cinema, literary movements, classical studies, history, religion, philosophy, and the sciences.

Students interested in taking business, engineering or economics courses should consider applying to CIEE study abroad programs in those fields. 

Academic Culture

Classes are small- to mid-sized (15 to 60 students). All courses meet twice a week and classes are scheduled every day, Monday through Friday. Instruction is usually lecture style and in practice groups. Carlos III faculty has worked with American, European, and other foreign students for many years and is familiar with their expectations. Students should expect to maintain an active academic schedule that includes a variety of structured extra-curricular activities with Spanish students from the University.

When choosing regular university courses, keep in mind that Spanish students begin to study in their area of concentration from their first day at the University. They specialize and do not tend to take general or core courses. Spain does not have a liberal arts educational tradition and different degrees do not have survey or introductory type classes as in the United States. Students should not enroll in upper level direct enroll courses for subjects they have not previously studied at the college level.

Estudios Hispánicos and regular university courses run from early September until early December in the fall, and from late January to late April or late May in the spring. The special Humanities seminars are taught for 10–30 hours at varying times throughout the semester. Please note that exams for regular university fall semester courses can take place as late as late January. Early exams must be arranged before confirming final class registration on site.

While extra-curricular activities and personal travel contribute to the student’s overall European experience, attendance in class is mandatory. Early departure for or late return from vacations is not allowed. Any extended travel should take place prior to the start of the program, during the vacation periods, or upon completion of the program.

Nature of Classes

Participants take classes with other international students in the Estudios Hispánicos Department and have the opportunity to enroll directly in regular host university courses and seminars with Spanish students.

CIEE Community Language Commitment

Study abroad students take part in the CIEE Community Language Commitment by speaking Spanish at all times (except in emergencies). This fosters a learning community that contributes to both Spanish language proficiency and the understanding of Spanish culture and society.

Grading System

Students are graded on the basis of mid-term and final examinations, class participation, and attendance. In some regular university classes there may be term papers, group projects, or class presentations, and in others, only an oral or written final exam with the professor. Most examinations are written essays. Numerical grades are given based on a 10-point scale and converted to the U.S. letter grading scale.

Language of Instruction



Courses are taught by faculty from the Universidad Carlos III.


Dates / Deadlines:
Term Year App Deadline Decision Date Approx. Start Approx. End
Spring 2015 09/15/2014** Rolling Admission TBA TBA

** Programs may fill long before their final deadline. * Recommendation--For SPRING: APPLY in MAY to study abroad the following spring. For FALL/YEAR: APPLY in DECEMBER. Later applications are always welcome, but colleges may need time to process your approval.