Program Details: Universidad Carlos III de Madrid (UC3M)


Is this program for me?

In addition to being the geographical center of Spain, Madrid is also a major financial, political, and social capital of the country. With excellent public transportation, students can easily access all the incredible historical, architectural, cultural and artistic activities this great city has to offer. UC3M has two primary campuses, Getafe and Leganes, with a wide-range of curricular options. The Getafe campus houses Social Sciences, Law, Humanities, and Communication. The Leganes campus houses Engineering, which is considered to be a more suburban location south of Madrid. It is a public University with 18,000 students and a strong commitment to academic excellence. In 2013/2014, UC3M ranked in the top 50 universities under 50. UC3M is a great location for students wanting to study in Spain to take courses in either Spanish or English. Students who are proficient in Spanish can also take courses in Spanish. There are limited courses available in English, so this program is most suitable for students who have a proficiency in Spanish and can take courses in either English or Spanish. It is not guaranteed that students will be able to register for a full semester of courses taught in English due to the high demand for these courses. Additionally, most of the administrative necessities will be conducted in Spanish. UC3M currently offers the largest number of courses in English of any University in Spain, so there are possibilities for courses taught in English. International students comprise about 25% of the total student population (approx. 600 students from EU, 200 students from other parts of the world). Students who are taking courses taught in English will take classes primarily with other international students. There are usually only a few Spanish students in the classes that are taught in English.

UC3M does offer a Spanish Language Center for students interested in taking courses in Spanish language. The program offered by the Spanish Language Center is not part of our regular exchange with UC3M. Students interested in the Spanish Language Center should contact Becca Morrissey at [email protected] to learn more about this option.

UC3M Homepage

UC3M Exchange Student Website

Studying at Universidad Carlos III de Madrid



The cosmopolitan city of Madrid is the capital of Spain, and a major center of international business and commerce. Home to more than 3 million inhabitants, Madrid is the third largest city in the European Union. The city offers students a mix of modern high-rise buildings, local cafes, vibrant city life, world-renowned museums, beautiful parks and incredible historical districts. While UC3M is in Madrid, it is not in the city center. The Getafe campus is a 20 minute train ride to the city center. The Getafe campus is set in a quiet, residential part of the city. The campus offers several cafeterias, a recreation center (cost 60 Euro/semester), and computer facilities for students. The campus is a 5 minute walk from downtown Gefafe which has many fountains, restaurants, markets, nightlife, and shopping. Some of the cafes in Getafe offer concerts and other events that add to life of the area. Many of the local restaurants and shops offer discounts to students.

Cultural Information


2017-2018 Estimated Budget

How will I pay for this?

Financial Aid FAQ's

PIC Partnership Grant  is available for this program.

Any student studying abroad for a semester is automatically considered for the Study Abroad Semester Grand, click here for the grant guidelines. 

The cost of any study abroad program depends to a large extent on the participant's personal spending habits and lifestyle.



Visa Information

Students should prepare for the visa application process well in advance. We recommend students review the visa requirements a minimum of 3-4 months prior to departure. Students will be required to make an appointment to submit visa application materials to the Spanish Consulate in Chicago or the Consulate that has jurisdiction over their permanent residence. The student visa guide provides details on the application process and required documents. Please note that the appropriate consulate or embassy must be consulted for the most up-to-date visa information. 

UC3M offers additional information for incoming international students.

Housing and Meals

Students can apply to live in on-campus housing with either single or double occupancy. Residence halls have Wi-Fi, laundry facilities, and public gathering spaces. Students will have the option of applying for full board or a room only. Students who do not wish to sign-up for the full board will have access to a small kitchenette area in their dorm room. Students who sign-up for full board will not have a kitchenette area in their room. Students should be advised that they will not be allowed to change their meal plan option once the semester begins. Students who want maximum flexibility can choose room only and simply pay out-of-pocket for meals in the cafeteria if they choose. Students can pay for a package of 10 meals for 52 Euro to save money. The regular cost is approximately 5.80 Euro per meal. Past participants have suggested not signing up for the meal plan; however, this is up to one's personal preference.

The residence halls are available on a first-come, first-serve basis. On-campus housing is not guaranteed. Students are encouraged to apply for housing as early as possible. Once a student has approval from GVSU to participate, they can complete an online housing application. Students will be given an application number and will be given a deadline to pay the deposit. Students can hold off on paying the deposit until they receive final confirmation of acceptance from the UC3M International Office. If a student does not pay the deposit by the deadline, their application will be cancelled. Students will be asked to pay the deposit by the end of July for Fall semester starts. By this time, students should have their final acceptance from the international office.

UC3M has detailed information available on each housing unit. Most GVSU students will study on the Getafe Campus which offers two housing options: Fernando de los Rios and Gregoria Peces-Barba. Many international students choose to live in Fernando de los Rios, however, it depends on the student's preferences. Fernando de los Rios offers more shared accommodations for students looking for a more social atmosphere. It also offers easy access to a cafeteria. In the Gregoria Peces-Barba hall, there is a cafeteria on the main level. All of the units in this building are single rooms. Students interested in a double-room should look at Fernando de los Rios. Details on each housing unit are available on the UC3M website. A shared room in Fernando de los Rios offers a small refrigerator, 2 burners, a sink, and a small counter space. A microwave is also available in the cafeteria.

The residence halls offer tight security. Residents have access 24/7, however, all guests must be registered after 9 p.m. Also, no guests are allowed after midnight. The reception is staffed 24/7 if there are any questions or concerns from residents.

Students can usually move into housing a few days before the semester begins. Students should contact the housing unit directly to make these arrangements.

Visit the UC3M website for photos, prices, and additional housing information. Students who do not get placed in on-campus housing will be directed to a number of rental agencies that can help students find suitable accommodation. Most will be nearby apartments, but there are several different options to choose from.


Program Dates

Program Options:

Fall: September—January (note: Students needing to return to GVSU for Winter semester are allowed to take final exams the week before the holiday break)

Academic Year: September—May

Winter: January—May



Courses available at UC3M

UC3M offers a wide selection of courses in English. While it is possible to participate without any prior Spanish language, it is recommended that students have a background in Spanish. Students will need to apply for a transport card, and take care of several administrative formalities that are often conducted in Spanish. UC3M does offer a buddy program for international students. The UC3M buddy can offer assistance with many of these administrative tasks, as well as offering advice on how to connect with other local students.

UC3M is an exchange program, so students have access to regular UC3M courses as part of this program. The Spanish Language Center offered at UC3M is NOT part of the exchange offering. If you are interested in taking courses from the Spanish Language Center at UC3M, please contact Becca Morrissey at [email protected].

This program is most suitable for students who wish to study business, economics, accounting, statistics, political sciences, sociology, journalism, and digital media.

Students must be aware that final registration takes place on-site. It is common for courses to fill quickly. Students may not get their first choice of classes. This program is most suitable for students who are extremely flexible with regards to the courses they take. THIS PROGRAM IS NOT RECOMMENDED FOR STUDENTS WHO HAVE A STRICT LIST OF COURSES THEY MUST COMPLETE DURING THEIR SEMESTER ABROAD.

UC3M courses available to exchange students: 

Full Course list available at UC3M

Courses Available in English

Engineering courses conducted in English

Students interested in engineering courses will take courses at the Leganes Campus. All other disciplines are offered on the Getafe Campus. It is unlikely that a student would take courses on both campuses. If a student does choose courses that are offered on different campuses, they would need to take public transportation to get from one to the other. There is a shuttle that goes between the two campuses, but it only runs a couple of times each day. Students will register for classes online a couple of weeks prior to the start of the semester.

Spanish Language Center - (not part of the GVSU-UC3M exchange)

Students can choose to participate only in the Spanish Language Center; however, this is not part of the exchange program arranged between GVSU and UC3M. The budget and program administration will be handled differently. Students must contact Becca Morrissey at [email protected] if they are interested in this academic program.

Spanish language Courses

How will the courses I take at Carlos III transfer back to my GVSU transcript?

If the course you wish to take at UC3M appears on the "Existing Course Equivalencies" list, you do not need to secure course approval for that course. The courses on this list have already been approved by the academic department.

Existing Course Equivalency List 

Note: This is not a full list of courses offer at this Partner Institution

UC3M Policy on Exchange Students Departing in December.

UC3M Guides

Program Options Guide

Key Dates

Academic Calendar

Housing Guide and Practical Info

UC3M Fact Sheet

TRANSCRIPT - please be aware that UC3M ONLY sends transcripts via email. They no longer send hardcopies.


UC3M Application Process

Once students are accepted by the Padnos International Center, they will be invited to begin working on the host university (UC3M) application materials. Application instructions will be sent to students within a week after the priority application deadline. UC3M requires students to submit an online application. The online application is open during a specific time frame depending on the semester of participation. Students will not be allowed to apply until the online application is open for the semester they plan to be abroad. For Winter semester, the application is usually open from October 1 - October 30. Students will be required to submit a copy of their passport, proof of health insurance, and a passport-size photos. Students who are considering this program should not delay in applying for their passport.

UC3M asks that students carefully read the materials available on the website. Information will be given to students in detail during the Welcome Day, however, important information is also available online to guide students.

PLEASE NOTE: There may be limited spaces available for this program each semester. 

Campus Information

Students will have an orientation upon arrival to cover necessary information on getting settled at UC3M. Past participants strongly recommend students connect with the Erasmus Student Network at UC3M for information on group trips, student activities, and tips on getting settled in Getafe and Madrid. Also, a variety of campus events are organized each semester including intramural sports, weekend trips to cities such as Sevilla, after exams party, and more.

Students can connect with the Erasmus Student Network through the website:  The Erasmus Student Network (ESN) organizes a variety of trips, events, and cultural activities for all of the international students. An example of an on-going activity arranged by the ESN is a weekly language exchange in a local restaurant with local students, and other international students. Additionally, students have found Disfruta Madrid Mas as a very helpful resource to learn about activities and resources for international students studying in Madrid.

Campus Life




Travel Information

Students attending UC3M will fly into Madrid Barajas Airport. UC3M does not arrange for an airport greeting, so students will need to make their own way to the university. Students may apply to have an assigned buddy to help them become familiar with the area. In the past, students have been able to arrange for their buddy to meet them at the airport. This will depend on your arrival time and the availability of your buddy. In some cases, students have missed their buddy. If happens, you should be prepared to make your own way to the University.

The most affordable way to get to campus is to take the metro into the city center at station Sol. From this station, you would get on the regional Renfe train to Las Margaritas University. Additional instructions are available on the UC3M website. The most convenient way to get to campus is via taxi. Students can easily access a taxi from the airport. The cost will be around 40 Euro (subject to change).

Detailed instructions on how to get to UC3M are available on the website at:

Page last modified March 30, 2021