3 Top American Universities in Spain

Are you in Spain and have always wanted to study in the United States, but you don’t have enough money to go to travel? 

Or maybe you’ve considered going abroad to get your bachelor’s degree but didn’t know where to start. 

If so, then this list will help! Here are the best American universities that operate campuses in Spain.

Overview of American Universities in Spain

American universities in Spain are a great option for students who want to pursue higher education in the United States while living abroad. Spain is home to some of these American-affiliated universities, from small liberal arts colleges to large research institutions.

These schools offer everything from undergraduate degrees to graduate programs, and many of them are accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

There are two main types of American universities in Spain: those that offer courses taught exclusively in English (American universities/European universities) and those where some courses are taught in English. Some schools offer both kinds of programs, but most focus on one or the other. 

The first type of school is often called a satellite campus or branch campus, and it’s usually located near an existing university that offers courses taught predominantly in English.

These satellite campuses offer classes at a lower cost than their mother institutions because they don’t have any administrative costs associated with them. They also attract international students who want to study abroad but don’t know enough Spanish to attend a Spanish university.

The second type of school is often called an independent institution because it usually isn’t affiliated with any other school outside of Spain.

Why Study at an American University in Spain?

You could study in Spain, but why should you? 

There are many great reasons to choose an American university in Spain:

  • Study in Europe. It’s the best way to experience two worlds at once. Studying abroad lets you immerse yourself in a new culture while still being surrounded by the familiar comforts of home—from food to language, and currency.

  • Study with the Euro. Unlike other countries that use their own money as legal tender (like UK pounds or Canadian dollars), all EU countries use euros as their official currency. This means that when studying at an American university in Spain, you won’t have to worry about converting any funds into another form of currency.

  • Study with Spanish language support from experienced native speakers who understand both European dialects and American English.

  • Study abroad in the best American schools. The American universities in Spain have a reputation for excellence, and their faculty members are among the most respected in their fields.

    Students can take advantage of these quality programs by studying at an American university in Spain.

  • Degree Recognition: American universities in Spain are simply extended campuses of the American universities they represent.

    What this means is that when you complete a degree at an American university in Spain, that degree is automatically recognized in America, should you travel to the United States someday to further your education (as an exchange student), or want to work in administration duties.


List of Top American Universities in Spain

The following list contains all the American universities in Spain, currently. We have ranked them from the most popular to the least popular.

Schiller International University Madrid Campus

Without any doubt, Schiller International University is the most popular American university in Spain. The school is originally located in Tampa, Florida, USA; and was named after French philosopher and playwright, Freidrich Schiller. The school has satellite campuses in a few countries aside from America, the most popular being its Madrid campus in Spain.

Schiller International University Madrid Campus is a private university located in Madrid. Founded in 1964, the school offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in many fields, including business administration, art history, international relations, education, and more.

Its most popular programs include:

  • International Business (BS and MA);
  • International Relations & Diplomacy; and
  • Business Administration.

Schiller International University Madrid Campus was founded by Dr. Walter Leibreicht originally intending to provide American-style education to Americans living abroad. However, the school now caters to American education to over 1,000 students from various nationalities. Some of its notable alumni include Andy Murray and Usman Dar.

The school now offers more than 70 undergraduate degrees and graduate programs in several fields. Aside from Florida (USA) and Madrid (Spain), the university also has campuses in Paris (France), and Heidelberg (Germany).

Schiller International University Madrid Campus offers a wide range of undergraduate and graduates degrees in many fields that cost a good sum of money.

The cost to study at Schiller is $14,600 (also converted to €14,579 in August 2022), excluding living and study-related expenses. It is one of the best American universities in Spain if you are considering a degree in Business.

Saint Louis University – Madrid Campus

Saint Louis University – Madrid Campus is a private, Jesuit, research university located in St. Louis, Missouri, United States.

Founded in 1833 by Louis William Valentine DuBorg, a french Catholic prelate and Sulpician missionary to the United States. It was named after Saint Louis IX of France, the university enrolls more than 10,000 students on two campuses: St. Louis and Madrid.

Alongside Schiller, SLU is one of the most popular American universities in Spain. The university has been recognized as a top-tier research institution by US News & World Report for its strengths in business education for years running. 

SLU-Madrid offers 15 undergraduate programs and 2 graduate programs that can be completed entirely in Spain. The most popular programs are Business, International Relations, Marketing, Communication, Spanish, Arts, and Psychology. 

The school also offers Master’s Degree (MA) programs in Spanish and Political Science & Public Affairs for interested graduate students.

However, that is not all. SLU-Madrid also has a catalog of 40 other degree programs that would require students to start in Spain, but travel to the US to complete; which many students may not be comfortable with.

The cost of studying at SLU-Madrid is affordable; it costs €11,650 to pay for tuition on any of its undergraduate program.

SLU-Madrid also boasts of its degree programs that help its students become better global solution-providers and critical thinkers, as well as a Jesuit mission that will help students discover how they can contribute to making the world a better, just place. Needless to say, SLU-Madrid is a top American university in Spain by a country mile.

The American College in Spain, Marbella

The American College in Spain is a co-educational, non-profit, independent school that offers an exceptional educational experience for students from 11-18 years old (high school) and at the university level afterward. With over 50 years of experience as an international school in Spain, ACIS has grown to become one of the most respected schools in the country.

ACIS caters to students who wish to develop their academic and personal skills while also learning about Spanish culture and language. The school offers a wide range of programs including IB Diploma Programmes, Advanced Placement courses, AVID programs, and more.

The IB Diploma Programme at The American College in Spain is recognized worldwide by universities around the world. This program combines rigorous academics with a focus on community service and personal growth.

The Advanced Placement program at The American College in Spain allows students to take college-level classes during high school and earn credit for their university degree.

ACIS offers programs that require students to complete 2 years of study in Spain, and another 2 years of study in the United States. The school also has partnerships with high-profile universities in the United States like Florida International University, the University of Missouri, and even Saint Louis University.

The tuition cost to study at ACIS is €13,950 for full-time students and €1,900 per “course” for part-timers.

Factors to Consider When Selecting an American University in Spain

  • Location. Where is the university located? Is it close to where you live, or will you have to take a plane, train, or bus every day?

  • Academic reputation. Does your chosen American university in Spain have a good reputation among employers and other institutions that can help you get a job after graduation?

  • Student life. What kind of extracurricular activities does your chosen American university offer for students? Does it have an athletics team, student government, drama club, etc.? Are there many foreign students at this school from other countries besides Spain?

  • Cost. How much does it cost to attend this college or university each year including tuition and room & board (if applicable)?

    Is financial aid available for international students as well as Spanish nationals?

    Are there any online scholarship opportunities available through individual departments at your chosen institution(s) of higher learning? 

This is some important information you should find out before selecting either of the American universities available in Spain.

Popular FAQs

How do I apply to American universities in Spain?

Once you have a school in mind, you can begin the application process. The steps will vary from school to school and country to country.

In Spain, for example, there is a centralized application service that makes it easy to apply to multiple universities at once (and take all the standardized tests at once). At the same time, there are some things you should know about how each university handles its applications:

  • Some require or recommend that students submit secondary school transcripts as part of their application package.

    If your home institution doesn’t provide these automatically when they send out SAT scores and AP scores, they may ask for them later on down the line—so keep copies handy.

  • Some schools have rolling admissions processes; others have fixed deadlines for each major round of applications throughout the year.

    Check with each institution directly before submitting an application so that you don’t miss out.

For example, the admission requirements to study an undergraduate program at Schiller International University requires that:

  • There is an application processing fee of $50 paid to have access to SIU’s Tampa Campus or the Virtual Learning Environment, or EUR €50 for their Madrid, Paris, and Heidelberg Campuses.

  • You must hold an Official High School transcript indicating your date of graduation, or an official GED transcript.

  • You can also provide proof of completion of secondary education if you have studied outside of the United States or the American educational system. Examples may include the Abitur, Selectividad, Baccalauréat, International Baccalaureate (IB) “O” and “A”- level exam results.

  • Proof of your English proficiency is required:
    – TOEFL IBT (Test of English as a Foreign Language): minimum score of 80.

    – TOEIC (Test of English for International Communication) minimum score of 650.

    – IELTS (International English Language Testing System) minimum score of 6.0.

    – CAMBRIDGE FCE (First Certificate in English) grade of “B” (B2 level) or higher -Cambridge Advanced (CAE) or Proficiency (CPE) preferred.

    – Duolingo English Exam: score of at least 95 for all programs.

    – If you have successfully graduated from the Tampa Language Center with a Level 6 program, you are eligible for admission.

    – Verification proof may be waived if you are a student who has graduated from a secondary school where English is the language of instruction or the country’s official language.

How do I compare programs?

In terms of popularity and best review, Schiller is the most favorable American university in Spain. They have a good university environment in Madrid and have been known to produce the best business icons in the industry.

Schiller is a popular school; however, Saint Louis University doesn’t do badly in being a top American university in Spain. The advantage SLU has over Schiller is that it is a cheaper school to attend (and Schiller too, is not too expensive).

So, we think it just comes down to what you are looking for. Take a look:

A cheaper, but good quality American university?

  • Saint Louis University (11,650 euros per year).

A top-rated American university in Spain, not considering the cost?

  • Schiller International University.

An American university in Spain that gives me a better education and exposes me to a huge network, and support after graduation?

  • Schiller International University.

Whatever American university you decide to choose, it is the best option. Because it is really difficult to say which of these American universities in Spain is the best of the two.

Are there English-speaking universities in Spain?

Yes, there are a number of English-speaking universities in Spain. While naturally, all American universities in Spain are English-speaking universities in Spain, there are also some other universities not affiliated with American schools that offer programs in English.

Ranked fifth in Europe, Spain is home to a large number of international students in Europe. There are many reasons why studying abroad in Spain might be a good fit for you: the weather is beautiful, the food is incredible (and cheap), and the cities are full of history and culture.

One of the most important things to consider when choosing an English-speaking university in Spain is which city you want to study in. Madrid and Barcelona are both very popular with international students because they’re large cities with lots to do, but smaller cities like Granada and Valencia are also great options if you want something a bit more low-key.

Can I study Engineering programs in American universities in Spain?

The other thing to think about is what kind of degree program you’re interested in pursuing; if you plan to study professional majors like Engineering or Medicine, then there is no American university in Spain that offers these.

But if you have a huge interest in Business, Psychology, International Relations, and Political Science, then American universities in Spain are your best options due to their American-style education.

If you still plan on studying a professional course instead, there are other top non-American affiliated universities that you can try; like the University of Granada – one of the cheapest, and best universities in Spain to study.


Wrapping It Up

So, if you’re looking to study in Spain and want an American education, there are good options available.

There are excellent universities all over the country. We hope that we’ve helped you narrow down your search by showing you some of the best American universities in Spain.

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