Universidad Carlos III de Madrid

Madrid, Spain's central capital, is a city of elegant boulevards and expansive, manicured parks such as the Buen Retiro.

The stomping grounds of the famous Real Madrid Club de Fútbol, Madrid is the cosmopolitan capital city of Spain, combining classic architecture with modern construction and sculptures. The Universidad Carlos de Madrid (UC3M) is equipped with a wide variety of excellent facilities, including 2 libraries, recording studios, court rooms, sports facilities, a beautifully tiled spa, sauna and pool complex, and others.

UC3M (founded in 1989) currently has a student population of nearly 18,000 students, and has 3 campuses located around Madrid, Getafe CampusLeganés Campus, and Colmenarejo Campus. It is also highly esteemed - ranked #8 in Spain and #48 of the top 50 universities in the world under 50 years of age by the 2014 QS World Rankings, it provides excellent educational opportunities for some of metropolitan Madrid's 6.3 million residents. The city also prides itself in being one of the greenest cities in Europe, with large green spaces and rivers or parks within a 15 minute walk in any direction.

Key information


Madrid, Spain


English, Spanish


Fall, Winter, Academic Year

Program type


Application information

Application status



20/21 deadline

Winter 2021: Oct. 15

University-specific additional requirements

One academic reference required - see the Eligibility section below.

21/22 applications

Opens Nov. 1, 2020

Program details

Programs Offered In English

English-taught Programs include Business, Economics, Engineering (Aerospace, Biomedical, Computer/Software, Communication Systems, Electrical, Industrial Automatics, Mechanical), Film & Media Studies, International Relations, Journalism, Political Science, Sociology, and Spanish.

  • English courses in Business, Economics, Communication & Media, International Relations, Journalism, Law & Society, Philosophy, Politics, and Sociology (note: individual course outlines are accessible via link from course names).
  • English courses in Engineering  (note: individual course outlines are accessible via link from course names).

Information about the Spanish grading system is available here --> click on pdf UC3M Grading System in right side bar.

Student Tips: "The course on Newspaper reporting in Journalism shows how media and journalism operates in Europe, which is actually quite different than in Canada, so it was an interesting option not offered at the U of C. For Haskayne students, Organizational Behaviour was an interesting human resources class that focused on how HR works in Spain and Internationally. Enrollment in courses is done online prior to the first week of classes." 

Programs Offered in Spanish

For offerings in Spanish, review the document on Study Programs at UC3M as it corresponds to Non-European exchange students. Current programs offered include Business, Computer Science, Economics, Engineering (Biomedical, Energy, Mechanical, Telecommunication, and Aerospace), Film & Media Studies, Journalism, Law & Society, Political Science, Sociology, amongst others.

1 UofC half course equivalent = 6 ECTS credits. The majority of students at UC3M must take 24-30 ECTS. 
NOTE: Because some restrictions apply for international (exchange) students when it comes to registration, please make sure to refer to the Incoming Students "Available Courses and Course Restrictions" guide, linked in the page above. You can only make course changes up to and during the first week of arrival, after which there is no add/drop/withdraw period. 

Note: All courses have a mix of international and domestic students - each course has a maximum of 1 quarter (25%) international students.  

The academic year at UC3M is divided into two semesters.

  • First Semester runs from early September to late January. However, UCalgary students can ask their professors (ideally in the first week of fall classes) to be allowed to write their fall exams early (write the week before the holidays). 
  • Second Semester runs from late January/early Feb to late June. 

Note: Proctored exams are not permitted, so students must complete exams on-site at UC3M.

  1. Costs

    Exchange students pay their tuition and academic fees to the University of Calgary. Other expenses are paid directly to the service provider. Also, remember to include things like visas, insurance, vaccinations, etc. in your budget planning.

    Average cost estimates for student housing, food, local transit, and misc. expenses is about 600 euros per month at UC3M.

    Madrid cost comparison vs. Calgary: Click Here

    Student Tips on Transit: "For cheaper Transit options, go to the tobacconist in Madrid with your passport and student visa. The transit ID card for students under 26 years old costs roughly 6 euros, and with it you can travel for 20 euros per month on all metro, cercanias (high-speed trains to Madrid, or Getafe, or Leganes), and buses. For getting to/from the airport, taxis in Madrid have a flat rate, which is about 30 euros. However, I recommend taking the cercanias (high speed train), which is 40 minutes directly to Atocha train station in Madrid. Also Uber does exist in Madrid, but Cabify is more common, and rates tend to be cheaper than taxis. There is also a smartphone app as well."

    Student Tips on Cell Phones:"For phones, make sure you unlock your phone in Canada before you leave! Once you arrive, the two best phone providers that don’t require contracts were Vodafone and Orange. These companies allow month-by-month data-only plans. Using Orange, you can transfer your data to other countries, for when you’re travelling." 

    Student Tips: "Carrefour has the best selection for groceries and the lowest prices. The groceries in Madrid were actually quite a lot cheaper than in Calgary. UC3M also has a process to help you set up a local bank account if you want one, especially if you’re going for a year." 

  2. Funding

    Did you know that you can take your UCalgary funding with you on exchange? 
    Since you remain a degree seeking student at UCalgary while on exchange you remain eligible for any awards and scholarships you are eligible to receive from the university as well as student loans.

    Our office administers the International Study Travel Grant for students travelling on approved UCalgary study programs that are credit bearing. The amount changes year to year as the money is split evenly between qualified applicants. Students may only receive the study travel grant once. Please see the exchange funding page for more information.

    Julio Peris Scholarship for Study in Spain
    The Julio Peris Scholarship is a generous award of up to $1250, granted to two outstanding full-time students, who have been accepted by us for an exchange or group study to Spain. For details, deadline and application forms, please visit the link above for more details. 

UC3M offers a variety of accommodation options, including on-campus residences, and has a variety of accommodation services and providers at various price-points and locations. More information can be found here as well. 

Student Tips: "In Madrid, most Spanish students live off-campus, so if you don't get into residence, that is an option. You can set up accommodation before you go, or look for accommodation once you arrive. My recommendation for communities to live in would be Sol and the Gran Via area, and get accommodation as close to Atocha train station as possible (which is the hub where all metro and cercanias trains connect in Madrid), making it easier to get to the campuses or travel outside Madrid. If you plan to live off-campus, group living or shared accommodation is recommended because it's a great way to lower costs of living and meet new people. From Atocha train station, it takes about 25 min to get to Getafe or Leganes." 

This exchange is open to regular, full-time students in any faculty at the U of C, who have completed at least 1 full year (10 courses) at the post-secondary level, with a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.7 (B-).

For English-taught programs, basic Spanish knowledge is recommended but not required. For Spanish-taught courses, applicants must have a command of Spanish at the B2 level according to the Common European Framework of Reference for Language (CEFR) at a minimum, or have completed at least two 300-level or above courses in Spanish. Certification of language proficiency may be required. Students do have the opportunity to take Spanish language courses during their stay.

What's so special about Carlos de Madrid, or the city of Madrid?

UC3M Offers a buddy program for students to be matched with local Spanish students, as well as excursions such as a trip to Granada or cultural excursions.

For a description of each UC3M campus click here. Also check out the UC3M flickr album for a visual campus tour. 

You can also check out these videos about UC3M:
Get to know Universidad Carlos III de Madrid
Welcome to Carlos Jan. 2018
Welcome to Carlos Sept. 2018
Research at Carlos III de Madrid
Sports and Fitness at UC3M

Student Tips: "Go to the Orientation! It’s the week before school starts and it is the best way to meet new friends. This is also where you can sign up for ESN (Erasmus Student Network), which is about 10 euros to join, and every day of the month in September it seems like there’s an event going on. ESN also hosts sports events and biking trips. The ESN Card works a lot like the Ski Club card here in Calgary, for discounts on restaurants/bars and airlines." 

The city of Madrid is also one of the greenest in the world. 

Student Tips: "The best things to check out in Madrid are the main tourist community, Gran Via – this is where everything happens at night in Madrid – stores and bars are open late, and everyone is out walking around. Be careful of pickpockets in this area as they target tourists, but generally it is a safe area to be in. Buen Retiro Park is also a must-see place to visit – it’s a park/forest within the city, with a lake that you can rent a boat to ride on. Temple of Debod is a cool place to take photos as well - it's full of columns donated from Egypt. Tapas in Spain is also an essential experience; there are tapas bars where you can enjoy a series of small appetizers, usually with a drink included. One to check out would be Los 100 montaditos, which offers a wide selection of tapas for 1 euro each. In Spain, the general rule is that you don’t tip unless the restaurant/bar gives you tapas, or you just round up to the nearest euro."

Is there a language or orientation program?

UC3M's Welcome Days are mandatory for students, but offer a host of welcome activities and mixers for students.  offers pre-semester Spanish Intensive Courses in January and September at Getafe campus for an additional cost (roughly 250 euros). The courses span 10 days with 40 hours of instruction; at completion, students will receive 4 ECTS credits and a certificate from the institution. The credit earned may be extra-to-degree or may count towards it, depending on the assessment of your UCalgary academic advisor. 

Student Tips: "It was easy to function with basic Spanish skills at UC3M. Even on the trains, the stops are first in Spanish, then in English, and at UC3M the international advisors also speak English."

What accessibility or supports does UC3M offer?

UC3M offers a mentoring program for those that may need accessibility supports or use adaptive technology, which allows customized support for specific needs. For information on accessibility of campuses across Europe, ESN has created "MappEd!" which allows you to check the accessibility of universities and cities across Europe. For city-specific services and places in Europe, the Jaccede interactive platform (website and/or smartphone app - both Android and iOS) also provides a searchable user-built database to identify important accessibility information of public places and locations.

For those that may need counselling supports for depression or mental illness, or even if you feel homesick while abroad, UC3M also offers counselling that is confidential and free. 

How do I apply for a visa?

You need to be accepted before you can apply for your study visa. UC3M provides some information on their page --> click on pdf Immigration procedures in the right side bar. The Spanish Consulate in Toronto is the best resource for visa information.  

Have questions?

Study Abroad 101

Please watch this YouTube playlist before reaching out or booking an appointment.

Watch Study Abroad 101

Academic Advising

Before applying to study abroad, you should ask your academic advisor how an exchange might align with your degree (e.g. best time to go, what courses you need).

After you are accepted, you should ask your academic advisor more specific questions about courses/transfer credits. It’s also recommended to follow up with your advisor again once you return to Calgary.

Find your academic advisor

Study Abroad Advising

If you have questions about this exchange program, you can meet with the specific advisor for this program by booking an appointment through the link below. Appointments are currently on zoom.

1. Select “Book an Appointment”
2. Select “Study Abroad Appointments”
3. Select “Book by Appointment Type”
4. Read through the list of appointment types to select the most appropriate type and view available times.

Book an appointment

The exchange advisor for this program is: Saskia Schaelicke

How to Apply

Download the application guide

This PDF contains information on how to complete your application and what to do after you have applied.

Application guide

Identify three programs of interest

We recommend applying for your top three programs for the priority application deadline, as placement may be competitive. We will assess your applications in ranked order.

Check requirements and deadlines

These may vary by program, so check the individual program pages and make sure that you are aware of any different application deadlines or eligibility requirements.

Start your application

Once you have gathered everything you need, you can begin your application!

Please note: Applications will not be considered complete until all required documents are submitted in full.


International travel presents challenges that may not be found when attending classes on campus. There may be a lack of resources, emergency services, hospitals, accessibility issues and/or demands on the physical and the mental self, all of which can challenge individuals when away from their usual support systems and structures. Adequate preparation is essential.

For this reason, it is imperative that you evaluate all aspects of your own physical, psychological, emotional and spiritual condition against the rigors of the particular study abroad program you are selecting. If you are unsure of whether or not this program is a good fit for you and/or if you have any circumstances that could impede your enjoyment of the program, please contact us. Our Study Abroad Team will be happy to assist in finding the best options for you and arrange any supports or accommodations necessary to ensure your success.

Please note if you have or are seeking a certificate from Student Accessibility Services, you should provide this early to your Study Abroad Advisor to ensure that the option that you are seeking can support your needs.