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USC Madrid

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

NEW! In Fall 2015, students can take courses at the Universidad Carlos III de Madrid that are taught in English!  This opportunity to take classes alongside Spanish and international university students applies to students in both Option I and Option II.  All students are still required to take at least two USC Spanish courses.

Here are some examples of English-taught courses at U. Carlos III de Madrid available in Fall 2015:
-Spanish History, 20th Century
-Spanish Politics I
-Comparative Politics I
-Economic Progress in Spain, 1825-2000
-Game Theory
-Economics of European Integration
-International Development & Economic Law
-International Trade
-Television and Film in Spain

Program Site: The Instituto Internacional and ACCENT Madrid facilities in central Madrid; Universidad Carlos III de Madrid's Getafe campus.

Eligibility: Minimum cumulative USC GPA of 3.0. Also:

  • Option I: At a minimum students must be prepared to take Spanish 260 and 261. Students can meet this requirement through:
       -having taken or being enrolled in Spanish 240 (Spanish IV)
       -previously receiving an “A”  in Spanish 220 (Spanish III)
       -being in Spanish 220 (Spanish III) at the time of application and doing "A"-level work or
       -through a diagnostic exam* if they have demonstrated Spanish proficiency through an AP Spanish Language or Literature score of 4 or 5 or are native speakers of Spanish. 
  • Option II: To be eligible to take courses at the Universidad Carlos III de Madrid (see Option II description below), students must have completed, or be currently enrolled in a 300-level Spanish course.

* To arrange for a diagnostic exam, please contact the Spanish Department Advisor, Josephine Le:

Description: The Madrid program is for students with high-intermediate to advanced Spanish fluency. Students in Option I (USC catalogue courses only) take all of their classes alongside other USC students at the Instituto Internacional in central Madrid. Students in Option II (USC catalogue courses of Option I and Spanish university courses) take a combination of USC courses at the Instituto Internacional and courses alongside Spanish students at the Universidad Carlos III de Madrid in Getafe, about 10 miles from central Madrid and easily accessible by public transportation. 

Academics: The program offers USC catalogue courses in Art History, International Relations, Political Science, and Spanish. All students must take at least two USC catalogue courses. In addition, there are courses to choose from at the Universidad Carlos III de Madrid.

Students may take courses for major, minor, or elective credit. Courses are taught in Spanish unless otherwise indicated.

USC catalogue courses are 4 USC units each and 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.

Please note that the list of 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.

Possible USC Courses:

SPAN 260 Advanced Spanish: Arts and Sciences (Prerequisite: SPAN 220)
SPAN 261 Advanced Spanish: Society and the Media (Prerequisite: SPAN 220)
SPAN 302 Survey of Film: (Prerequisite: SPAN 260, SPAN 261)
SPAN 320 Iberian and Latin American Cultures: Readings on Society
SPAN 391 Introduction to Contemporary Spanish Literature
SPAN 464 Introduction to Contemporary Spanish Theater
SPAN 320 Iberian and Latin American Cultures
AHIS 496 Paintings in the Prado (taught in Spanish and English)
POSC 469 Critical Issues in Comparative Politics-Contemporary Spain (taught in English)
IR 468 European Integration (taught in English)

Option I: Students in this option choose four USC courses from the list above. At least two of the courses must have a SPAN prefix. Students must meet course prerequisites as stated in the USC Catalogue.

Option II: Students take at least two USC catalogue courses at the Instituto Internacional, and they take the remainder of their courses in the humanities and social sciences at the Universidad Carlos III de Madrid. Option II students take Carlos III courses that are taught in Spanish and are part of the grado or degree courses that Spanish undergraduates take.

Carlos III courses are available in the following fields of study: anthropology, art history, comparative literature, economics, gender studies, history, international relations, linguistics, political science, philosophy, psychology, sociology and Spanish. Some examples of courses that may be of interest to USC students are Economía de la Integración Europea; Política Española; Organizaciones Internacionales; Historia de la España del Sigo XX, Literatura Contemporánea de España e Iberoamérica; Evolución y Variedades del Español; and Psicología Social.

Students in this option combine a minimum of two 4-unit USC courses and a varying number of Carlos III courses, dependent on level of advanced Spanish, 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.

USC 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.

Course load and credit: Students in Option I take four 4-unit USC catalogue courses for a total of 16 USC. Option I students may not take fewer or more than 16 units. Option II students take a minimum of 14 USC units and may earn a maximum of 18 USC units.

Activities and Other Program Features:

While all students are invited to participate in program activities, students in Option II may not be able to attend all USC Madrid activities, including cultural activities, excursions and day trips, due to class schedule conflicts.

Cultural Activities - In addition to learning on site at museums and historical sites within and beyond Madrid, program participants attend dance, music, film, and theater performances. The program directors also take students out to restaurants to sample different types of Spanish cuisine.

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 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; Cataluña (incl. Barcelona); and La Rioja/País Vasco.

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 and 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 the beginning of September into the third week of December and has a one-week fall break. The spring semester runs from mid January to mid May for Option I students and to early June for Option II students. There is a week-long spring break. Option I and II students are charged the same tuition. Option II students pay for 2-3 additional weeks of room and board in the spring.

Estimated Semester Cost:

Additional Expenses**…………$11,782

Cost Updated: 01/07/15
Text Updated: 03/06/15

**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.

International Institute -Instituto Internacional
ACCENT Madrid Center Facilities
Universidad Carlos III courses