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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3 Comments To This Article

  • 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.]