Guide to Finding Classes



  • FAQs: basic background information on Spanish university system and how to look for classes on the host university websites                                    
  • 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 at the end of this document

Website, Universidad de Salamanca

Website, Universidad Pontificia de Salamanca



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 organization of grados into facultades will vary slightly according to the individual universities. For example, in the Universidad de Salamanca, the degree 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.

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

1) Click here for a list of Grados at the USAL and then on “Todos” to see a list of all “Grados”

2) Click on the specific Grado you are interested in (do not select a “Doble Titulación” Grado)

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

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.

 How can I find a class syllabus at the USAL?

1) Click on the Grado you are interested in 

2) On the top of the page, click on "Guía Académica"

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

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

  NOTE 1:

“Grados” syllabi are several pages long and include a lot of information that is not relevant for you.  To find the most important information in syllabi, look for sections titled “Objetivos” “Contenidos” and “Métodos de evaluación.”


The Facultad de Biología is transitioning to a new study plan. For 1st, 2nd and 3rd year classes in 2018-2019, you must look at the “Plan 2016” and for 4th year classes, you must search in the “Plan 2009.”

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

1) Facultad academic calendar ("Calendario Docente")

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

3) Class schedules ("Horarios")

4) Recitation class schedule (“Prácticas”)

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

 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 “Planificación de las Enseñanzas” and then on “Plan de Estudios
  • To find a brief syllabus, just click on the class name in the “Plan de Estudios
  • To find Theology classes, click here, and then on “Bachiller en Teología.” To find the “Plan de Estudios” follow the same procedure as with the Grados

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

After clicking on the Grado you are interested in, to the right, by scrolling down to the right you will be able to click to find “Horarios de Clases” “Horarios de exámenes” and “Contacto y tutorías, profesorado

 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.  

At both universities, there may be certain classes that foreign students are not allowed to take (this is especially true for classes with prácticas* in medical facilities or with specialized equipment, such as cameras).  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.

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

If, for example, you find an Economics class offered in the USAL 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.

  1. Universidad de Salamanca:

Facultades: links and list of grados by Facultad

 FAC. DE BIOLOGÍAGrados en: Biología, Biotecnología (Biotechnology classes are closed to foreign students)

FAC. DE CIENCIAS SOCIALES:Grados en: Comunicación Audiovisual, Relaciones Laborales y Recursos Humanos,  Sociología, Trabajo Social

FAC. DE DERECHOGrados en: Ciencia Política, Criminología, Derecho

ECONOMÍA Y EMPRESAGrados 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

FILOLOGÍAGrados 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

GEOGRAFÍA E HISTORIAGrados enCiencias de la Música, Geografía, Historia, Historia del Arte, Humanidades

TRADUCCIÓN Y DOCUMENTACIÓNGrados en: Traducción e Interpretación, Información y Documentación

 III. Universidad Pontificia:

Facultades: links and list of grados by Facultad

FACULTAD DE CIENCIAS DE LA SALUDGrados en: Enfermería, Logopedia (“Speech Therapy”)

FACULTAD DE COMUNICACIÓNGrados enComunicación Audiovisual, Periodismo, Publicidad y Relaciones Públicas

FACULTAD DE EDUCACIÓNGrados en: Ciencias de la Actividad Física y del Deporte, Educación Social, Educación Infantil, Educación Primaria

FACULTAD DE FILOSOFÍAGrados enFilosofía, Humanidades (the Humanidades degree is not offered in 2018-2019)

FACULTAD DE TEOLOGÍAGrado en el que se pueden matricular alumnos de Georgetown: Bachiller 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.


 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

àSin 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 prácticasDepending 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

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.