Getting a university degree recognised in Spain

Getting a university degree recognised in Spain

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After eight months of waiting, blogger Chris Showers is proud to say his degree from the States has been officially recognised by the Spanish ministry of education.

I’m pretty happy. Why? The answer’s simple, really. My university degree from the USA has recently been officially recognised by the Spanish ministry of education.

The process of getting a university degree recognised here in Spain is known as homologación and it’s both a very lengthy and a very time-consuming ordeal.

Let me give you the rundown on the whole “homologation process” (does anybody know if “homologation” is really a word in English??). To have your degree “homologated” (another possibly made up word in English), the ministry you need to talk to is the Ministry of Education; which, incidentally, has changed its name about three times in the past year.

Two types of degree recognition
Basically, there are two types of university degree recognitions in Spain. The first type is what they call Homologación a un Grado Académico Español. This first type gives you a piece of paper saying that your degree is similar in difficulty and duration to a Spanish Diplomado or Licenciado degree. Thus, it does what its name suggests: it aligns your degree to a specific academic grade or level but it doesn’t align your degree to a specific academic major.

The second type aligns your degree perfectly to a Spanish degree from the Official Spanish Catalogue of Degrees. With this type of homologation, not only do you have your level of studies recognised but also your major. In both cases you have to submit legalised copies of your university degrees and transcripts, along with sworn translations.

I have the first type of degree recognition for two reasons. First, it’s faster than the second type (my homologación a un grado académico took about eight months, people tell me that the other type can take over a year). Second, my degree from the USA doesn’t really align perfectly with any degree from Spain’s Official Catalogue, so I figured the chances of them actually giving me a “type-two homologation” were pretty slim.

You can find information about the recognition of foreign studies on the ministry of education’s website.

In any case, I got a letter the other day in the mail stating that my degree had been “homologated” and telling me that I had to go to the central office in Madrid to pick up my official certificate. Making a trip to Madrid from Burgos just to pick up a piece of paper… convenient, right?

In fact, the exact words in my “homologation letter” were the following: “Con objeto de ofrecerle un mejor servicio, le rogamos no demore la recogida de su documentación.”

Translated, that basically means: “In order to serve you better, we respectfully request that you don’t delay in picking up your documentation.”

Photo Wikimedia Commons

I love that logic: in order to serve me better, I have to make a three-hour trip to Madrid ASAP to pick up a certificate that they could have easily sent to me in the mail. Oh well, it’s not the first time I’ve had to handle Spanish bureaucracy and it probably won’t be the last.

So I went to Madrid and picked up my official document and now I can proudly say that I have my degree recognised to the level of Licenciado in Spain. I’m hoping to do a master’s degree here soon, so this recognition should be helpful with that in the near future.


Chris Showers / Expatica

Chris Showers is an American expat who left his life behind in the USA to move to Spain and start a career as an English teacher. His blog, Abroad in Spain: Travel Blog , gives a uniquely American perspective on Spanish life -- with a touch of humour.

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11 Comments To This Article

  • Dania posted:

    on 26th May 2017, 10:47:19 - Reply

    Hello everyone, I would love to know the process, I am an Australian graduate and looking to get the process going. 8 months sounds a lot! has anyone used a lawyer? any recommendations. feel free to contact me.

    [Moderator's note: You can also post questions on our Ask the Expert free service.] 

  • Robert posted:

    on 4th April 2017, 01:11:39 - Reply

    I want to get my Bacherlor's In Psychology degree validated here in Spain to a 'magisterio degree', would like to teach primary education here. What's the best and fastest way to do this? Would paying a lawyer speed things up any? Thanks.

    [Moderator's note: You can also post questions on our Ask the Expert free service.]

  • Elizabeth posted:

    on 27th February 2017, 20:58:31 - Reply

    Hi Chris,

    I was wondering if you could help me; I have to go through the same process. Somebody told me it would take about a month though; has the process been changed recently? Also, I am currently getting my master's in Spain, and I have not done the "homologaci�n" yet. My university also requires that I need to present the same documents that the "homologaci�n" does; is it the same process? Or do I just have to go through it twice? My university was not very helpful in responding.

    [Moderator's note: You can also post questions on our Ask the Expert free service.]

  • Anthony posted:

    on 20th February 2017, 11:08:48 - Reply

    Hi Chris,

    I would love to ask you a few questions about this process via email if at all possible. Let me know if you can help.

  • Emily posted:

    on 19th November 2015, 11:00:27 - Reply

    Hi, I was wondering what kind of transcripts you have to have translated. Does it have to be a detailed description of each course taken in university or is it the basic transcript that the Business office at the university sends to you when you want to apply to a masters degree or other university?

    I would like to start the process but I'm not sure if I need the normal transcripts or a detailed outline of description of every single course taken.

    Thanks for any help you can offer!

    Ask our expert

    [Moderator's note: You can also post questions on Ask the Expert service]

  • Jessica posted:

    on 21st July 2015, 12:32:52 - Reply

    Hi, I have the same problem as well. Did you ever solution it?
  • Teddy posted:

    on 11th July 2015, 18:01:33 - Reply

    Hola! I live in Zaragoza and I'm trying to have my Bachelers Degree Cal Poly Pomona convalidated as well in Spain. How do you get your oficial transcript with an apostille? Wondering if I can do it from Zaragoza without going to Los Angeles to have it done personally...

  • Claire posted:

    on 2nd July 2015, 19:22:41 - Reply

    I've had the same issue about "carga horaria total" in my documentation for my US Bachelor's Degree. How did you solve this problem?
  • niki posted:

    on 29th November 2014, 03:53:01 - Reply

    hi Cris, can you give me a detailed information of documents you submitted for homologation becoz even i am struggling for same..thanks..
  • Jared posted:

    on 14th April 2014, 16:20:48 - Reply

    [Note from the moderator: You may wish to try our Ask the Expert service:] I've been trying to get my CA bachelor's degree "homologado" for over a year now - twice they've sent me a letter of missing documentation because they require "la carga horaria total", however, my transcript only uses units per course.
    They don't know how to interpret the class hours. Does your US university transcript have units/credits or hours? I need to figure out how to show them the equivalent of my units into hours.
  • Kerry posted:

    on 9th January 2013, 12:40:12 - Reply

    [Edited by moderator. Please post (elaborate) questions on Ask the Expert or on our Forums. If you have questions for the Expatica staff, please contact us directly.]