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EACEA National Policies Platform:Eurydice
First-cycle programmes


7.Higher education

7.2First-cycle programmes

Last update: 2 February 2024

The first cycle programmes of higher education are as follows:

  • university studies: the official university degree courses;
  • some non-university education:
    • advanced vocational training;
    • the majority of artistic education (in particular, advanced professional studies in plastic arts and design, and advanced artistic education) and advanced sports education. These are all part of the specialised education programmes.

These programmes are taught in different institutions and centres and lead to degrees that are included in different levels of the Spanish Qualifications Framework for Higher Education (MECES).

University education

The purpose of these courses is to provide general training, in one or more disciplines, aimed at preparing students for the exercise of professional activities. They give priority to basic and general training and not to the specialization of the student.

They lead to a Bachelor’s degree assigned to level 2 qualifications within the MECES and is defined by the following descriptors, in terms of educational outcomes:

  • having acquired advanced knowledge and proven comprehension of practical, theoretical and methodological aspects of the relevant field of studies, with a depth that reaches the forefront of knowledge;
  • being able to apply knowledge, through arguments or procedures developed and supported by themselves, understanding and problem-solving skills in complex or professional and specialized environments, which require the use of creative and innovative ideas;
  • being able to gather and interpret information and data in order to support conclusions, including, whenever necessary and appropriate, a reflection upon social, scientific or ethical issues related to their area of specialisation;
  • being able to handle complex situations or those requiring the implementation of new solutions, both in the academic and professional world, within the relevant knowledge area;
  • being able to address all kinds of audiences, either specialised or not, and to communicate in a clear and accurate way knowledge, methodologies, ideas, problems and solutions related to the area of specialization;
  • being able to identify their own professional development needs within their field of studies and professional or working environment, as well as to organise their own learning paths autonomously, both in structured and non-structured contexts.

Bachelor's degrees that, due to regulatory requirements, require at least 300 ECTS credits, of which a minimum of 60 ECTS credits participate in the characteristics of the descriptors corresponding to the Master’s level, may be assigned to level 3 (Master's) of the Framework. For this purpose, the university or universities promoting the degree must request so from the Council of Universities, through the General Secretariat for Universities, in accordance with the process established in the Tenth Additional Provision of Royal Decree 822/2021.

Non-university education

Advanced vocational training, advanced professional studies in plastic arts and design and advanced sports education

Advanced vocational training (VT), advanced professional studies in plastic arts and design, and advanced sports education are included in higher education as a non-university post-secondary level.

The purpose of these studies is to provide each student with specialised training enabling them to carry out different professions, and they constitute level 1 of the MECES.

They lead to an Advanced Technician diploma, which may be defined by the following descriptors in terms of educational outcomes:

  • having proved the acquisition of specialised knowledge related to a professional or study field, showing critical understanding towards the integration and transfer of knowledge, as well as towards the development of creativity, personal initiative and entrepreneurial spirit;
  • applying and assimilating technical knowledge in order to define and develop work procedures autonomously in the relevant professional field being responsible for the coordination and supervision of specialised technical work;
  • being able to analyse the necessary information to evaluate and handle expected and unexpected situations, looking for essential, creative and innovative solutions within the relevant professional area;
  • being able to communicate their knowledge, ideas, skills and operational procedures to their peers, supervisors, clients and subordinates;
  • having acquired the necessary skills to engage in further education autonomously, showing maturity to innovate in the application of these skills and to progress to higher training levels.

Advanced artistic education

Advanced artistic education is the education system's teaching within the framework of the European Higher Education Area (EHEA) that aims to provide qualified training for future professionals in music, dance, drama, design, conservation and restoration of cultural assets and applied arts (ceramics and glass).

Its added value consists of articulating excellent artistic training with scientific and technological knowledge. It also provides specialised technical procedures from a theoretical-practical approach not only suited to the requirements of the productive sector, but also to the preservation and renewal of the arts, design, music, dance and drama as a means of cultural expression and universal creative language. This is a determining factor in the enrichment and preservation of artistic and cultural heritage.

In the context of the EHEA, this teaching constitutes an attractive, competitive and quality option that meets the needs and interests of those with aptitudes in one of the fields of art.

They lead to the Advanced Degree in Artistic Education in the speciality and corresponds to level 2 of the Spanish Qualification Framework for Higher Education (MECES) in the case of the advanced studies in:

  • Glass
  • Ceramics
  • Conservation and Restoration of Cultural Heritage
  • Design.

Certain advanced degrees in Artistic Education have been assigned to level 3 (Master's) of the MECES due to their characteristics:

  • Advanced Degree in Music in all its specialities
  • Advanced Degree in Dance in all its specialities
  • Advanced Diploma in Dramatic Art.