Guide to Finding Classes



  • FAQs: essential background information on Spanish university system and instructions on how to look for classes on the host university websites 
  • Finding Classes: USAL
  • Finding Classes: UPSA              
  • Universidad de Salamanca (USAL): Links to Facultad websites; Facultad degree programs   
  • Universidad Pontificia (UPSA):Links to Facultad websites; Facultad degree programs 
  • Useful Academic Vocabulary and Abbreviations

NOTE: all terms marked with an asterisk are defined in the last section

Website, Universidad de Salamanca

Website, Universidad Pontificia de Salamanca


Important Background Information: degrees, types of classes, finding classes.

Important: read this section before starting to look for classes!

How are Spanish degrees structured? 

The Spanish undergraduate degree is called the Grado. The structure can vary somewhat from Facultad* to Facultad, but here is a general outline.

Spanish students choose a major before starting university studies and most of their classes are required classes. A limited number of elective classes are offered, generally in the last two years. Students must do an undergraduate thesis (“Trabajo de Fin de Grado”) in their last year.  Classes are laid out, year by year, in the “Plan de estudios” * (Freshman year = Primer curso*; Sophmore year = Segundo curso, etc.).

 What are the different kinds of classes (“asignaturas”) available in the Grado?

Formación Básica*: These classes are concentrated in the first 2 years of the degree. Formación Básica classes, which always carry 6 ECTS, are general classes related to different branches of knowledge, (for example, “Humanities” or “Natural Sciences”). Formación Básica classes count across majors related to the same branch of knowledge.  

Obligatorias*: These classes are specific to each major.

Optativas*: Electives.

What is the relationship between a “Grado” and a “Facultad”?

Grados (undergraduate degrees) are grouped into umbrella Facultades* (schools). The facultades in which different grados will be found in varies slightly from university to university. For example, in the Universidad de Salamanca, the grado in "Comunicación Audiovisual" is included in the Facultad de Ciencias Sociales, whereas in the Pontificia, it is included in the Facultad de Comunicación.  For a list of the way Grados are divided up into Facultades at both the Universidad de Salamanca and the Universidad Pontificia, refer to the list below of links to Planes de Estudios and syllabi

How should I start to find and choose possible classes?

The best way to start selecting your classes is to look at different “Planes de Estudios.”  As a foreign student, you are not tied to the Spanish “planes de estudio” of one degree, but may choose classes from different degrees and years. However, do keep in mind that if you are considering a 3rd or 4th year class (especially a required class), it is essential to see what students in that degree have studied in previous years so you can determine whether or not you have sufficient background to be successful. In addition, past students have found that taking 2 or more classes in the same year of the same degree is helpful in integrating into the host university.

Important: as you explore the academic offering, keep a list of classes you might want to come back to, taking note not only of the class names, but also of what Grado, year and semester they are given in. If you don’t jot down key information, it is surprisingly easy to forget where you found a certain class, especially since classes offered in different grados can have the same name

II. Finding Classes: USAL

1) How do I find the Planes de Estudios of USAL Grados?

1) Click here for a list of Grados at the USAL (do not select a “Doble Titulación” Grado)

2) Click on the specific Grado you are interested in

3) The "Plan de Estudios" link for that Grado is an option on the top of the page

2) Alternate way of finding classes in the USAL: https://matriculaccii.usal.es/consultapci/

This link is primarily a tool for foreign students to be able to look up enrollment caps for different classes. However it is also a very useful starting point for finding classes, since it offers you the possibility of searching by "Centro" (facultad),  "titulación" (degree program), class code number and/or class name. You can enter as many fields as you want (or as few) and can also search by keyword in the “nombre de asignatura”* field.

NOTE: To find Planes de Estudio, syllabi and class and exam schedules in the Facultad de Filología, you should look in this facultad’s website (to the side under “Importante”).

Key to column abbreviations: https://matriculaccii.usal.es/consultapci/

Centro: Facultad

Código Asignatura: class code

Asignatura: class name

Titulación: name of degree (only “grados” degrees are available)

Tipo: kind of class (obligatory, elective, etc)

Cr: créditos (in the European ECTS system)

Pe: “S” = semestral; “A” = anual (students staying only a semester, usually cannot take annual classes)

Va: “1” = Fall; “2” = Spring

Cu: year in the degree (“1” = first year class, etc)

Plazas: number of seats available to foreign students (“sin límite” = no cap)


3) How can I find a class syllabus (“programa”) at the USAL?

1) Click on the Grado you are interested in 

2) On the top of the page, click on "Guía Académica" (make sure you are clicking on the correct year! Some facultades keep last year’s Guia up)

3) Under “Asignaturas,” click on the year ("Curso") the class is in (some Grados offer you the option of choosing the semester too)

4) Scroll through or search the pdf to find the class you are interested in 

     NOTE : “Grados” syllabi are several pages long and include a lot of information that is not relevant for you.  To find the most important information initially, look for sections titled “Objetivos” (goals) “Contenidos” (content) and “Métodos de evaluación” (where grading should be broken down).

4) What other relevant information can I find in each USAL Grado's "Guía Académica"?

1) Facultad academic calendar ("Calendario de Actividades Docentes"). Especially important because different facultades have different end dates, especially the Facultad de Geografía e Historia.

2) Profesors’ emails ("Profesorado y tutorías”)

3) Class schedules ("Horarios")

4) Exam schedules (“Pruebas de evaluación”) Fall students: As a foreign students, your exams will always be scheduled before Christmas break, even if the official date falls afterwards. You will need to talk to your professors about scheduling your exams. Spring students must take the exams on the oficial dates.

III. Finding Classes: UPSA

1) How do I find “Planes de Estudio” at the Universidad Pontificia (UPSA)?

  • Click here to find a list of grados    
  • After clicking on the Grado you are interested in, click on “Plan de Estudios” at the top of the page.
  • To find a brief syllabus, just click on the class name in the “Plan de Estudios
  • To find Theology classes and schedules, etc., click here. Theology classes are considered a “Título eclesiástico” and are not included with the regular grados.

2) What other information can I find on each Grado at the UPSA?

After clicking on the Grado you are interested in, to the bottom of the page you will find: “Horarios” “Fechas de exámenes” and “Prácticas

Other Questions

1) Will I have problems with classes being full?

At the USAL, this depends on the Facultad. Some facultades have enrollment caps for non-European students. Click here to find out registration limits for specific classes. In this link, you can search by "Centro" (facultad), "titulación" (degree program), class code number and/or class name. You can enter as many fields as you want (or as few) and can also search by keyword in the “nombre de asignatura”* field.

At the Pontificia there are almost no enrollment caps unless the class requires lab or other special equipment (check on-site if the class is not crucial to you).

If there is any class you MUST be able to take in order to come to Salamanca, please communicate this to your advisor at OGE, who may refer you to  the Salamanca Resident Director.

2)What if I find the same class offered in different departments? Which should I choose?

For example, if there is an econ class offered in the USAL in both Económicas and Ciencias Políticas, Economics majors should usually choose the Económicas department class and non-Econ majors should choose the Ciencias Políticas class. Remember also that you can try different classes during the Add-Drop period. Sometimes a good place for general classes is the Humanities department, since like GU students, Humanidades students take a great variety of classes rather than specializing in one area right from the start.

IV. Universidad de Salamanca:

Facultades: links and list of grados by commonly chosen Facultades

For other facultades see: www.usal.es


Grados en: Biología, Biotecnología (Biotechnology classes are closed to foreign students)


Grados en: Comunicación Audiovisual, Relaciones Laborales y Recursos Humanos,  Sociología, Trabajo Social


Grados en: Ciencia Política y Administración Pública, Criminología, Derecho


Grados en: Administración y Dirección de Empresas (“ADE”), Economía, Gestión de Pequeñas y Medianas Empresas

NOTE: classes worth 3 ECTS end (or start) in the middle of the semester


Grados enEstudios alemanes, Estudios Árabes e Islámicos, Estudios Franceses, Estudios Hebreos y Arameos, Estudios Ingleses, Estudios Italianos, Estudios Portugueses y Brasileños, Filología Clásica, Filología Hispánica, Lenguas, Literaturas y Culturas Románicas


Grados enCiencias de la Música, Geografía, Historia, Historia del Arte, Humanidades


Grados en: Traducción e Interpretación, Información y Documentación


V. Universidad Pontificia:

Facultades: links and list of grados by Facultad


Grados en: Enfermería, Logopedia (“Speech Therapy”)


Grados enComunicación Audiovisual, Marketing y Comunicación, Periodismo, Publicidad y Relaciones Públicas


Grados en: Ciencias de la Actividad Física y del Deporte, Educación Social, Educación Infantil, Educación Primaria, Pedagogía


Grado enGU students may choose clases only from the “Bachiller/Grado de Filosofía” only


Grado en: GU students may choose clase only from the Bachiller/Grado en Teología

NOTE: In the Pontificia, Theology classes are taught from the point of view of the Catholic Church, with most professors being Catholic priests.


 VI. Useful Academic Vocabulary

 Aula: classroom

Asignatura: course, class

Asignatura de Formación Básica: courses that concentrate on skills and knowledge that are basic to a general area of study (Humanities, Social Sciences, etc).

Asignatura obligatoria: required course

Asignaturas optativas: optional classes for students in the degree program

Curso: school year (1º curso, 2º cursoetc: first, second, etc., year classes within a program)

Docente: n. teacher. Adj. anything related to teaching

1ª convocatoria: regularly scheduled final exam

2ª convocatoria: make-up final exam (for those students who failed in the 1ª convocatoria)

Docencia: instruction, teaching

Sin docencia: Class that is not offered in the calendar year

ECTS: This acronym stands for “European Credit Transfer System” but can just be translated as “credit.” Each credit implies 25 hours of student work (including attendance, reading, research, etc.). Most Grados classes carry 6, 4.5 or 3 ECTS.

Facultad: a “school” within the University which offers degrees in different, but related fields. For example, in the Universidad de Salamanca, the Facultad de Ciencias Sociales offers degrees in Sociology, Audiovisual Communication, Social Work and Labor Relations.

Plan: or plan de estudios. This is the degree structure, which specifies the courses and credits which must be taken to qualify for a specific degree.

Prácticas or horas prácticas: Depending on the field of study, prácticas may be recitation groups or actual hands-on practice with specialized equipment or in medical facilities (as opposed to teóricas*)

Programas: syllabi

Teóricas or horas teóricas: Lectura class (as opposed to prácticas*)

Título/titulación: degree

Tutorías: office hours

VII. Some abbreviations used in academic schedules:

L = lunes

M = martes

X = miércoles

J = jueves

V = viernes

1º, 2º, etc = primero, segundo, etc

1ª, 2ª, etc = primera, segunda, etc

Hours of classes will often be written in “military time”, so for example 1pm is 13 h., 2 pm is 14 h, etc.