Academics: Advising and Registration


It is highly recommended that students formulate a potential program of instruction prior to arriving in Spain with back-ups. It is therefore strongly recommended that students initiate their course selection process with their academic advisor on their home campus, the semester before going to Madrid. They should seek advice from the VWM program coordinator or the study abroad office. They should also pay close attention to orientation emails and do the curricular “homework” assigned by the Resident Director before arrival in Spain.

It is students´ responsibility to ascertain what courses might count toward the completion of their major.  The UC3M offers various pre-professional courses (in marketing, publicity or business administration, for instance) that are usually not counted on the home campuses. A course that counts must be offered by a department with an equivalent on the home campuses.

VWM participants may not enroll in any regular UC3M course taught in English.

In Madrid

Students register for courses with both the UC3M, through the CEH office, and the VWM program.

Registration at the UC3M is a 2-step process.

  1. Prematrícula (preregistration): During orientation in Madrid, that is, prior to the beginning of classes, students indicate online which courses they may want to take.
  2. Matrícula (registration): During the first week of classes, student may add or drop courses included in the prematrícula. On Monday and Tuesday of the second week of classes they must finalize their schedule. Students themselves must double-check their Aula Global account to ensure that their registration is complete and accurate and report any problems to the VWM Program staff.

Students who decide to take Grado courses at the Complutense will register for these courses later, since the Complutense starts about 3 weeks after the Carlos III. They will be assisted and accompanied by VWM Program staff.

A Word of Advice to Reduce Anxiety and Frustration during the Registration Process

The US and the Spanish and European systems can be thought of as on different ends of a continuum—the US system allows a maximum of academic freedom (with a potential for maximum chaos), while the Spanish system is highly structured. Information that US students find typically in a course catalogue does not appear in the same format or with the same lead time in Spain, because schedules are usually set for Spanish students when they declare their majors and so there is no need to finalize until the beginning of the semester.

Most importantly, Spanish students seek course-related information within their own grado and not in other departments or disciplines. VWM students are not limited to a single grado or facultad, either at the UC3M or the UCM. They should therefore familiarize themselves with curricular options publicized through various grados, since history courses, to cite one example, may be offered through Ciencias Políticas, Historia, Humanidades, Filología hispánica, Sociología, Periodismo, and so forth. There may even be courses on the History of Science in a Chemistry, Biology, or Psychology department.

Getting to know the UC3M and UCM web sites is an exercise in coming to terms with how the transmission of knowledge is conceptualized and how the academic system is structured, not only in Spain but also in Europe, Latin America, and Asia as well. The program staff will provide ample guidance in managing this information in pre-departure emails, during the Orientation sessions in Santiago and Granada, and during orientation in Madrid. Because of the compressed orientation schedule and the many curricular options available, VWM participants must, however, begin familiarizing themselves with the Spanish university web sites before departure to Spain. They should seek the help from their advisors and VWM program representatives as needed.