About Universidad Complutense de Madrid (UCM)

The Universidad Complutense de Madrid (UCM) is one of Spain’s largest and most distinguished public universities. The Complu, as it is popularly referred to, offers instruction in a vast array of disciplines. Thanks to a long-standing agreement between Wesleyan and the UCM, VWM students may enroll in courses at the UCM in fields not offered at the UC3M. In the past, program participants have used this option to take courses in the Humanities, Psychology, and Natural Sciences and Math, especially in fields (for instance, Spanish Literature, History, Art History, Studio Arts, Psychology or Biology) less well-represented at the Carlos III outside of the Grado in Humanities or the CH mini-courses. We also encourage students to look at Liberal Arts departments that might not exist at Vassar or Wesleyan because of their much smaller scale (Archaeology, Criminology, or Linguistics, for example): this is a chance to explore a field that you might not be able to learn about at home. However, bear in mind that Vassar and Wesleyan will not grant credit for courses taken in professional fields (Business Administration, Journalism, Law, or Medicine). If you have any doubts about which fields are considered Liberal Arts, please be sure to consult with your study abroad office. There is little reason, short of an unavoidable scheduling conflict with a language course or a very specialized interest, to take courses at the Complutense in fields well-represented by the Carlos III (especially Economics, Government or Political Science, International Relations, and Sociology, but also media studies including film in the Comunicación Audiovisual department). Even though the Carlos III International Relations department offers many courses in English, they also offer many in Spanish but they might not be as visible under the syllabus link: be sure to check with the program staff to ensure you have seen all available grupos taught in Spanish in International Relations before you decide against the Carlos III. Also bear in mind that our agreement with the Complutense covers 10 students per academic year. If there is interest beyond that, the program is happy to pay the modest tuition fee per additional course but the deadline for that can be even earlier than the petition deadline.  

For a list of majors (licenciaturas, grados), departments (facultades), and sections or subfields (departamentos) at the Universidad Complutense click here. However, before you click be sure to read carefully (or follow while you click) the step-by-step instructions below for how to find your way to different kinds of information on the Complutense site.

Students who wish to enroll in Literature courses at the Facultad de Filología will find it helpful to read the Department’s FAQ page, where there is important information for international students, including useful facts about tutors, orientation sessions and assistance with selecting courses through their Oficina de Relaciones Internacionales.

Seeking Course-Related Information at the Complutense

For course titles, descriptions, prerequisites, and detailed syllabi: Go to Estudios (under the tab Estudiar in the main navigation bar) > Grado > Relación de grados ofertados for the current academic year (called Curso, e.g., Curso 2021-2022).  You will see a list of divisions and under division headings, corresponding majors (licenciaturas or grados), departments (facultades) or subfields (departamentos). Click the major/department whose courses interest you. In the upper left you’ll see a link to the Díptico de la titulación, which will open to a colorful pdf brochure describing the major, the required courses and electives offered for the major, learning objectives and skills taught, and typical professional outcomes).

For specific course information including syllabi, look for the calendar icon in the upper right side of the page. That will give you a list of course titles broken down by major year (Curso 1 for first-year, Curso 2 for second-year, etc.; electives that can be taken in any year are usually listed at the bottom). If you click on the course title, you will always find a detailed course description including objectives, skills, readings, and prerequisites. At the very bottom, you will also, in most fields, usually find course schedules for course grupos (or sections). Pay special attention to whether the course is taught in the first or second cuatrimestre (fall or spring semester).

In some departments, however, you can find out course schedules through a different path: On the Go to Complutense landing page, go to Centros (upper left under the UCM tab > Facultades or Departamentos. Once you choose the appropriate Facultad or Departamento click on the Horarios link under Estudiante/Estudiar in the main navigation bar and the Horario y exámenes link for that major and the current year (other links in that list may provide useful information as well). This should give you a pdf listing all schedules for courses in that department, broken down by course year and grupo (or section). You can often find exam schedules there as well. In some cases, the schedules will be listed under Departamentos (subfields) of the corresponding Facultad (department). This can happen in, say, the Biochemistry Departament under the Biology Facultad. These variations in the way that course information is published are owed to the fact that European students typically take all their courses in one Facultad (department) and so universities feel no need to standardize the way information is provided across Facultades.

Restrictions at the Complutense

Courses in Bellas Artes (Studio Arts) have strict enrollment limits and require the instructor’s permission because of constraints on facilities and materials, like studio or production courses on our home campuses. You might be asked to submit a portfolio to establish your training in one or another medium (program students have done this successfully in the past). A few other fields such as biology may also require administrative approval by the Complutense. Bellas Artes and Psicología, unlike other Complutense departments, do not always publish their course schedules with on-line syllabi. Bear in mind that Psychology appears under Ciencias de la salud or Health Sciences at the Complutense and its courses sometimes have specific course prerequisites which you should look for under any syllabus reference to “requisitos.” Also note that at the bottom of the list of Complutense departments or majors you will see a subsection for “centros adscritos”: you should ignore them because they refer to associated colleges, universities, or institutes. If the program assistant director cannot pinpoint the schedule for a course you might be interested in taking (they are usually published in a separate pdf organized by student major “groups”), our contact person at the Complutense will do so when we submit course petitions. Although first-year courses can be taken, sometimes finding space in such courses is difficult, which is why you should notify us of your interest in advance. On the other hand, see the final subsection of the Overview of Curricular Options under Academics on why it is generally a bad idea to take first-year courses rather than upper-level courses. Once you let the Director know whether you are interested in a course or courses at the Complutense and provide the pertinent course information (including a copy and paste of the course link), s/he will request that the Assistant Director seek authorization for our petitions from the corresponding departments. Students who want to take a (literature or linguistics) course in the Facultad de Filología at the Complutense must certify that they have a C1 level according to European Union norms. Students should have their certified level following the Carlos III language placement tests; failing that, it can be determined by any Spanish-language professor at Vassar or Wesleyan who is familiar with the European norms or else by a SIELE exam taken at an Instituto Cervantes in the U.S. or Spain (SIELE results are normally posted, however, 3 weeks after the exam is taken). For information on SIELE, go to http://www.siele.org.

Your Plan B or How to Fit the Complutense into your Carlos III Schedule

We recommend you have a Plan B for the Complutense AT the Complutense, since the Carlos III does not like our hoarding course seats we do not wind up using. What to do about the fact that Carlos III registration is over before most Complutense courses get started? Try to figure out which Carlos III courses you are definitely interested in taking during the pre-registration week (the first week of classes and through the following Monday and Tuesday, when registration at the Carlos III definitively closes). That is, ensure by the final registration date (the Tuesday of the second week of classes) that you are officially registered in (no more and no fewer than) the courses you want to take at the Carlos III. For the Complutense, we recommend you have a back-up plan at the Complutense (not at the Carlos III) in the event you decide against a course or professor there. In general, there is no problem with seats at the Complutense and you do NOT need to be registered when courses get underway there–but you do need to attend and introduce yourself to professors from the start. If you want to get a head-start on the Complutense, you might find it useful to write professors before the beginning of the term with your questions (e.g., about prerequisites or whether they think you´ll have trouble as a foreign student in their course). You might even find it useful to show up during their office hours, since Complutense professors tend to be on-campus administering final exams for the previous term when our orientation week takes place at the Carlos III (in September, for the spring term; in January, for the fall term). The program alum course evaluations for the Complutense will give you a broad sense of our students´ experience at the Complutense in the past.

How to find contact information for Complutense professors: If you wish to write a professor (to find out whether you have the preparation for a given course, say, or whether as a foreign student the professor thinks you’ll struggle), look for a Contacto or Directorio link in the upper left column on the landing page of the corresponding Facultad. If you cannot find any email addresses for the professor, try to google the professor’s name and field and see if you turn up email contact information by a professional site such as Academia.edu. If all else fails, ask the Subdirector to call the department and find out how to contact a professor.


Fall: from the end of September-beginning October through the end of January
Spring: from the beginning of February through early June.

Bear in mind that the Complutense as a rule starts and ends later than the Carlos III. However, because some Complutense departments are larger than Vassar or Wesleyan, departments at the Complutense operate autonomously. Much as this applies to websites, syllabi, and the publication of course schedules, you will find this applies as well to semester schedules. Some Complutense departments (notably, Economics and Psychology) actually start a week earlier than the Carlos III. You will want to check this carefully at the bottom of course syllabi since you might find that you must start classes in a Complutense course the week of Madrid orientation. In other cases, the later schedule at the Complutense might require students to arrange with a professor to move the final exam up or allow them to take the exam on the officially scheduled date but at their study abroad office in the US (from which it will be faxed or emailed to the professor). These changes are often granted although, to head off nasty surprises, students must have that conversation with their professors at the beginning of the semester before registration is done. We have noticed increasing rigidity about this at the Carlos III, no doubt owing to cheating or fraud on exams, and would expect that might be the case at the Complutense as well. Hence, the importance of figuring this out before registration at both universities ends.

The program staff enrolls interested VWM students in UCM courses through the Oficina de Relaciones Internacionales at the UCM’s Vicerrectorado de Relaciones Internacionales. Classes often get started before the registration deadline, but this should not keep you from showing up to class from its first meeting. It does mean you will need to confirm with the Assistant Director exactly where the early course meetings take place and whether there has been a change either in location or schedule that might have been communicated directly to majors by email or through a university portal (a change you might not be able to see for yourself simply by checking the website).