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USC Madrid

Read about the experiences of past students on the USC Madrid Program.

Program Site: The Instituto Internacional in central Madrid and the Universidad Carlos III de Madrid

Eligibility: See the GPA and language requirements below.

  • GPA: Cumulative USC GPA of 3.0 or higher.
  • Language: Spanish 240 (Spanish IV), Spanish 220 (Spanish III) with a grade of “A”, or a score of 5 on the AP Spanish language or literature exam.
    -Students who placed out of Spanish 220 on the basis of an AP Spanish language or literature exam score of 4 or a different exam and native speakers of Spanish who have not taken college-level Spanish may qualify by individual diagnostic exam. (To arrange for a diagnostic exam, please contact the Spanish Department Advisor, Josephine Le: kpn@dornsife.usc.edu.)
    -Students who enter the program based on the minimum language requirement will take both Spanish 260 and 261 in Madrid.
  • For USC upper-division Spanish courses in Madrid, the prerequisites are the same as on campus (see below). 
  • For Spanish-taught direct enrollment courses at the Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, students must have completed or be enrolled in a 300-level USC Spanish class by the time of application.

Description: The Instituto Internacional in central Madrid is the program base where the USC Madrid program office is located and students take USC catalogue classes. The Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, founded in 1989, has a strong international focus and an excellent research reputation. The student body numbers more than 18,000.

Students take a combination of USC courses alongside other USC students at the Instituto Internacional in central Madrid and courses alongside Spanish and international students at the Universidad Carlos III de Madrid (Carlos III). Students in some majors and minors (such as Spanish) may opt to take a full courseload of USC catalogue classes at the Instituto Internacional. The Carlos III Getafe and Leganés (engineering) campuses are about 10 miles south of central Madrid and can be reached in 50 minutes by public transportation.

All program activities, orientation (except for health and safety information), and courses (except those taught in English) are conducted in Spanish.

Academics: The program offers USC catalogue courses from the Department of Spanish & Portuguese (all taught in Spanish). USC School of International Relations and Department of Art History courses are offered on an occasional basis. 

Students choose among Spanish-taught and English-taught courses the Universidad Carlos III de Madrid. Some Carlos III degree programs offer courses only in Spanish, some offer courses in Spanish and English, and some offer courses only in English.

The list of USC courses below is subject to change and is dependent on student interest and enrollment.  USC reserves the right to the change course offerings at any time.

USC Catalogue Courses at the Instituto Internacional:

SPAN 260 Advanced Spanish: Arts and Sciences (Prerequisite: SPAN 220) – 4 units
SPAN 261 Advanced Spanish: Society and the Media (Prerequisite: SPAN 220) – 4 units
SPAN 280 Conversational Spanish (Prerequisite: SPAN 220) – 2 units; not offered every semester
SPAN 302 Survey of Film (Prerequisite: SPAN 260, SPAN 261) – 4 units
SPAN 320 Iberian & Latin American Cultures: Readings on Society (Prerequisite: SPAN 260, SPAN 261) – 4 units
SPAN 391 Introduction to Contemporary Spanish Literature (Prerequisite: SPAN 260, SPAN 261) – 4 units
SPAN 464 Introduction to Contemporary Spanish Theater (Recommended preparation: SPAN 302, 304, 306, or 308) – 4 units
IR 468 European Integration (taught in English) – 4 units; not offered every semester
AHIS 496 Paintings in the Prado (taught in Spanish and English) – 4 units; not offered every semester

Students take two or more USC catalogue courses at the Instituto Internacional, and most students will take the remainder of their courses at the Universidad Carlos III de Madrid.

Carlos III Academic Offerings

Subject areas with most courses taught in Spanish but some courses in taught in English:
-political science
-sociology

Degree programs that offer a wide range of courses in Spanish and English:
-business administration
-film and media studies
-economics
-electrical engineering
-industrial engineering
-mechanical engineering
-computer science

Degree programs entirely in English:
-international relations (international studies)
-aerospace engineering
-biomedical engineering
-energy engineering

Spanish-taught courses of interest to Spanish majors and minors:
-Literatura Contemporánea de España e Iberoamérica
-Evolución y Variedades del Español
-Movimientos Literarios
-Historia Contemporánea de España
-Política Española

Spanish majors and minors might be able to earn “Spanish-related” credit for History of Spain in the 20th Century, taught in English.   

While there is no bachelor’s program in psychology, Spanish-taught Comportamiento Organizativo is available for psychology major credit.

To explore course offerings, see Universidad Carlos III Undergraduate Degrees (Grados>Oferta de titulaciones). Click on the degree (grado) of interest and then "programa" to find the courses (asignaturas) for that degree. Then click of the course title for a course description. Cuatrimestre 1 is fall, and cuatrimestre 2 is spring. Go to horarios to find class schedules.

Course load and credit:  Minimum 14 USC units; maximum 18 USC units. All students must take at least two 4-unit USC Spanish courses.

Students who take courses at Carlos III combine a minimum of two 4-unit USC Spanish courses and a varying number of Carlos III courses for a minimum of 14 USC units and a maximum of 18 USC units.  The ratio of Carlos III ECTS credits to USC units is 2:1; for example, a 6-ECTS Carlos III course would yield 3 USC units. Most Carlos III courses are 6 ECTS credits (that is, 3 USC units).

The USC catalogue courses are taken for a USC letter grade. The letter grade appears on the USC transcript, and the grades are factored into one's USC GPA. The courses are taught by local faculty approved by academic departments at USC and follow USC-approved syllabi.

Students do not receive a USC letter grade on their USC transcript for courses taken at Universidad Carlos III. USC students receive USC credit (CR) for Carlos III courses they pass and no credit (NC) for Carlos III courses they do not pass.  Carlos III course grades do not affect one's USC GPA.

Activities and Other Program Features:

While all students are invited to participate in program activities, students taking Carlos III may not be able to attend all USC Madrid activities, such as cultural activities, excursions and day trips, due to class schedule conflicts.

Cultural Activities - Almost every week there is a cultural activity, such as a museum visit, historical site visit, or a dance, music, film, or theater performances.

Day Trips - Each semester there are several day trips to areas close to Madrid such as Toledo and Segovia.

Multi-day Field Trips - These are two longer trips (usually 3 days) to further regions of the Iberian peninsula. Professors and program directors accompany students on these educational excursions. Examples of recent trips are Andalucía; Galicia/northern Portugal; Asturias/Castilla y León; Barcelona/Cadaqués; La Rioja/País Vasco; and Valencia/Cuenca.

While the program directors inform students about opportunities to meet Spaniards and participate in Spanish culture, program participants are expected to be highly self-motivated to actively seek opportunities to meet Spaniards and communicate only in Spanish as much as possible.

Accommodation: Students live with Spanish hosts located throughout Madrid. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are provided seven days a week.

Dates: The fall semester runs from late August/beginning of September through the third week of December. The spring semester runs from mid-January to the beginning of June.

Estimated Semester Cost:

Tuition……………………………………$24,732
Additional Expenses**………$11,782
Total………………………………………$36,514

Cost Updated: 04/10/15
Text Updated: 08/26/15

**Additional expenses include estimated costs for airfare, room and board, books and supplies, health insurance, and personal expenses (which can vary greatly from student to student). USC financial aid, scholarships, and tuition remission may be applied to program costs. Please visit the Office of Overseas Studies for more detailed cost information.

Links:
International Institute -Instituto Internacional
Universidad Carlos III Undergraduate Degrees  Click on the Grado of interest and then click Programa.
Estudia en UC3M/Study at la Universidad Carlos III de Madrid - video (Spanish version)
Studying at Universidad Carlos III de Madrid - video (English version)