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Semester in Salamanca, Spain

Semester in Salamanca, Spain
Earn upper-level Spanish language and elective credits in historic Salamanca.
Salamanca, Spain
Language of Instruction: 
Academic Disciplines: 
Political Science
International Business
Global & International Studies
Communication Studies
Program Type: 
Semester or Academic Year
Fulfills KU Core 4.2
  • Designed for Spanish majors and minors to complete several upper-level Spanish language courses in one semester
  • Spend the spring semester in Salamanca, Spain
  • Live with a host family to improve conversation and language skills
  • Open to students who have completed SPAN 324 and SPAN 328
  • Dr. Robert A. Granberg Memorial Scholarship available. See Further Reading below for more information
Program Summary: 

The Salamanca program is designed for Spanish majors and minors seeking a spring semester study abroad program in Spain. The program is especially attractive to majors and minors because it’s the only program where students can earn SPAN 340 abroad and students are able to take Spanish courses that are normally taken in a three semester sequence. In order to allow maximum flexibility for students of various majors while providing opportunities for students to reach their language learning goals, the program consists of required courses plus electives.

In addition to academics, the program also has several excursions included so students can better understand Spanish history and culture. The Department of Spanish and Portuguese and Study Abroad & Global Engagement have created this program especially for KU students by partnering with IES Abroad, a study abroad program provider who has offered programs in Salamanca for more than 25 years.  



Located in northwestern Spain, Salamanca’s history dates back to medieval times and is closely tied to the University. UNESCO declared the city center a World Heritage Site and Salamanca was a European Capital of Culture in 2002. Salmantinos proudly declare the Plaza Mayor one of the most beautiful in Spain and other architectural marvels such as the Catedral Vieja (built in the 12th century) and the Catedral Nueva (built in the 16th century) can be seen. Train and bus connect Salamanca to major urban centers in Spain, Portugal, and the rest of Europe. This vibrant university city has many restaurants, museums, and cultural sites of interest.

IES Abroad Center

The IES Abroad Center is in the heart of the city and has a library, computers for students to share, wireless internet, and a writing center. Additionally, local Spanish students volunteer as orientation leaders and mentors and help students become familiar with Salamanca by explaining the university systems and enrollment processes to those students who enroll in USAL or UPSA courses and organizing activities such as dinners, bicycle tours, movie nights, etc.

Universidad de Salamanca

The Universidad de Salamanca (USAL), founded in 1218, is considered one of the oldest Spanish universities. USAL has approximately 30,000 students and because it is one of the top-ranked universities in Spain, it attracts students from all over Spain, Europe, and the rest of the world. Students can take courses in anthropology, art, biology, business, chemistry, economics, education, history, law, linguistics, literature, philosophy, political science, psychology, and sociology. There is a two course minimum at USAL.

Universidad Pontificia de Salamanca

The Universidad Pontificia de Salamanca (UPSA) is a private university with around 4,000 students located just a few minutes from the center of Salamanca. Students can take classes in journalism, psychology, education, humanities, and theology.

Academic Information: 

The Salamanca program is a 12-credit program. It is possible for students to take an additional course.

Students will enroll in a mixture of required and elective courses and be on one of two tracks. Students who will take SPAN 340 in Salamanca will be on the advanced track and students who complete SPAN 340 prior to the program will be on the superior track. IES Abroad will administer an online language placement test and an oral exam. Based on the results, students will be placed into the appropriate IES Abroad grammar and conversation courses. 

Advanced Track

Pre-requisite: SPAN 324/328

Students will receive the following credits: 

  • SPAN 340 (3 credits)
  • SPAN 424 (3 credits) + SPAN 370 (1 credit)
  • SPAN 428 (2 credits)
  • One elective course at the IES Abroad Center or UPSA (3 credits)

Superior Track

Pre-requisite: SPAN 340

Depending on previous coursework, students will receive the following credit: 

  • SPAN 424 (3 credits) + SPAN 370 (1 credit) or SPAN 520 (3 credits) + SPAN 474 (1 credit)
  • SPAN 428 (2 credits) or SPAN 470 (2 credits)
  • Two elective courses (6 credits) with several enrollment options: 
    • Two courses at the IES Abroad Center
    • One course at the IES Abroad Center and one course at UPSA
    • Two courses at UPSA
    • Two courses at USAL

Elective courses are offered at three institutions: 

  • IES Abroad Center- IES Abroad faculty teach the courses and classmates are students from other U.S. institutions. 
  • Universidad de Salamanca (USAL)- USAL faculty teach the courses and classmates are Spaniards and international students. There is a minimum enrollment of two courses.
  • Universidad Pontificia de Salamanca (UPSA)- UPSA faculty teach the courses and classmates are Spaniards and international students. 

Students are encouraged to use the following resources to research available courses on the Salamanca program and to determine if these courses will meet their academic requirements at KU.

IES Abroad Center courses

Please see below for the tentative IES Abroad course list and the approved equivalents from the KU Department of Spanish and Portuguese. Click on the course title to access the syllabus, if one is available. Students are free to get any course approved in a different manner if they so choose. Please note that this list is subject to change. 

IES Abroad course KU course equivalent
Comparative Religion: Tracing the Path of the Spanish Soul SPAN 494
Contemporary Spanish and Latin American Women Writers SPAN 440*
Love, Sex, and Death in the Spanish Golden Age: 16th & 17th Century Drama and Poetry SPAN 451*
Photographing Art & Monuments: Salamanca and the Golden Stone SPAN 470
Spanish Film Noir & Social Reality SPAN 441*
The Cultures of Spain: Understanding the Past, Present, and Future SPAN 440*
The Franco Regime & the Transition to Democracy SPAN 453*

*Courses that meet the 400+ literature elective requirement for the Spanish minor.

The IES Abroad Center offers other courses that are not pre-approved, so students interested in taking one of those courses can get an equivalent assigned. 

USAL and UPSA Academic Information

Every Spring there are a few students who choose to take one or two of their elective courses at USAL or UPSA. Most students who enroll at USAL take Spanish literature, history, or global and international studies courses while students who enroll at UPSA take psychology courses.

More detailed information about course selection is available in the Salamanca application. Students interested in enrolling at USAL or UPSA can begin exploring course options at the two universities. The Plan de Estudios is a list of courses that students in each grado (major) take each year. This is a good starting point to find classes and sylalbi. Please be aware that course options in other departments or grados could exist. 

USAL (2 course minimum)

To access syllabi, once on the website, you have to click on Guía Académica and then choose a year under Asignaturas

KU Major or Minor USAL Grado
Biology Grado en Biología
Business  Grado en Administración y Dirección de Empresas
  Grado en Economía
  Grado en Gestión de Pequeñas y Medianas Empresas
Communication Studies Grado en Comunicación Audiovisual
English Grado en Estudios Ingleses
French Grado en Estudios Franceses
Global and International Studies Grado en Ciencia Política y Administración Pública
Pre-Medicine Grado en Enfermería
  Grado en Medicina
Pre-Physical & Occupational Therapy Grado en Fisioterapia
  Grado en Terapia Ocupacional
Psychology Grado en Psicología
Sociology Grado en Sociología
Spanish Grado en Filología Clásica
  Grado en Filología Hispánica
  Grado en Lenguas, Literatura y Culturas Románicas
  Syllabi from the Facultad Filología


To access the syllabi, click the course title. 

KU Major or Minor UPSA Grado
Business Grado en Marketing y Comunicación
Communication Studies Grado en Comunicación Audiovisual
  Grado en Marketing y Comunicación
Journalism Grado en Periodismo
  Grado en Publicidad y Relaciones Públicas
Pre-Medicine Grado en Enfermería
Pre-Sports Science Grado en Ciencias de la Actividad Física y del Deporte
Psychology Grado en Psicología
Speech-Language-Hearing Grado en Logopedía

KU Course Equivalency Database

This is a list of: 

  • Courses that are currently pre-approved for KU credit (approved equivalency)
  • Courses that students have had approved for KU credit in the past (possible equivalency)

You can find approved and possible course equivalents for IES Abroad Center, USAL, and UPSA courses in the KU course equivalency database. 

Credit Approval Process: This is the procedure for obtaining KU course equivalency approval for courses you plan to take abroad. 

All courses taken and grades earned while abroad must be posted as KU equivalents on a student's KU transcript and grades will figure into a student's KU GPA. The relavant KU academic department will make the final decision regarding posting of credit and their application toward graduation. 


In the event that host families are not available for the Spring 2022 semester, the housing will be in single occupancy residence hall rooms with two meals per day and internet included. The pricing for the Spring 2022 semester is based on residence halls.

IES Abroad will place students in homestays with local families in order to further language skills and learn more about Spanish culture. Homestays are located throughout Salamanca and within a short commute or walking distance from the city center. Three meals daily and internet are included. One or two students will be placed in each homestay.

Please note that housing is not provided during the week of Spring Break, although students may leave their items at their host family’s home during that week.

Life Abroad: 

Upon arrival, IES Abroad staff will lead an orientation that will include comprehensive information about health and safety, culture, and living in Salamanca. During the semester, students can participate in cultural activities such as theater performances, athletic events, concerts, cooking classes, film screenings, and language exchange events. Additionally, IES Abroad staff can facilitate volunteer placements for interested students. In the past, students have volunteered at local social service agencies.

The program also includes day excursions to cities such as Zamora and Segovia and a weekend excursion to Portugal, with stops in Lisbon and Coimbra. For an additional fee, students can sign up for a weekend excursion to the Sanabria Lake Nature Reserve. 

Identity Abroad: 

SAGE is dedicated to creating international engagement opportunities that meet the needs of all our students and providing resources to support you through the process of studying abroad. Study abroad is achievable for students of all identities including our BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ students, students with disabilities, and students with religious/non-religious viewpoints. Before selecting a program, consider how your identities may impact your experience abroad in unique ways and talk with your Program Coordinator about any program-specific concerns. Students with documented disabilities should discuss any accommodation needs with their Program Coordinator early in the planning process.

Additional Resources

Check our Identity Abroad page and resources listed below for information specific to you and other students who may be on your program.


Open to students who have completed SPAN 324 and SPAN 328 and have a minimum 2.75 GPA.

All students must obtain a student visa prior to departure. Student passports must be valid for six months after the program end date. Order or renew passports immediately because they take a minimum of six weeks to process and the student visa takes an additional four to six weeks. Contact KU Study Abroad for more information. 

Further Reading: 

Get to know Salamanca’s plazas, churches, university, night life, restaurants, and much more in the Salamanca-Ciudad del Español video.

Also, read blogs and watch videos from students participating in IES Abroad's Salamanca programs. Please note that these students are participating in the regular IES Abroad Salamanca program, not the KU customized program, so their programs are slightly different. Listen to a radio show that students on the Spring 2017 program recorded.  

Follow the IES Abroad Salamanca Center's Instagram at iesabroadsalamanca

Passport and student visa information
All students must obtain a student visa in order to study in Spain. Students who do not have a passport should apply for one immediately.

Students with passports should verify that the passport is valid for six months after the program is over. If it does not meet this requirement, it must be renewed prior to applying for a visa. It takes at least six weeks for the passport to be processed.

June 2021: Passport processing times for U.S. passports are currently 18 weeks for routine service and 12 weeks for expedited service. Students who don't have a valid passport should apply for one immediately. Read more information about applying for a U.S. passport.

It is recommended to have the passport by September so that IES Abroad can submit the visa application, including the passport, to the Consulate General of Spain in Chicago for you in late September or early October. Students who do not meet IES Abroad's deadline will be responsible for traveling to appropriate consulate to submit their application. More information is available in the application.

Dr. Robert A. Granberg Memorial Scholarship
Fund created by the Granberg family.  Dr. Granberg taught at the University of Kansas for many years in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese. Awards range from $500 - $1,000 for students pursuing academic programs in Spain with preference given to students in Linguistics or Spanish and Portuguese.  Apply online through the Study Abroad & Global Engagement Merit and Financial Need General Scholarship application to be considered for this scholarship.


Spring 2022 programs now accepting applications !

Study Abroad Information & Advising
Our office is available to help you with your study abroad questions.  Book a virtual appointment. 

Study Abroad Financial E-Advising
Personalized financial aid & scholarship advising Monday - Friday, 9 AM - 5 PM,
Book a virtual appointment.


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9th among public universities in the country for high quality, low cost study abroad programs — U.S. News & World Report
Longest-running exchange program in Western Hemisphere (begun in 1958) between KU and University of Costa Rica
18th in the nation among public universities for undergraduate participation in study abroad — Open Doors Report on International Educational Exchange
28.1% of KU undergraduate students study abroad prior to graduation.
KU students who study abroad graduate in four years at twice the rate of students who do not study abroad
More than 160 study abroad programs in 75 countries, with instruction in all disciplines and 20+ languages
Students can study abroad for an academic year, semester, summer, spring break, or winter break
Programs include international study, internships, service, and research opportunities
Students participating in semester, academic year, and select summer programs fulfill Goal 4.2 of the KU Core curriculum
Students can fulfill major, minor, certificate, elective, and KU Core curriculum requirements abroad
Programs are available for students in every major at KU
Financial aid is applicable to study abroad programs, and most KU scholarships and grants can be applied to study abroad
Study Abroad & Global Engagement and many academic departments offer scholarships to qualified KU students
By studying abroad, students gain a global perspective on the world and strengthen their career opportunities
One of 34 U.S. public institutions in the prestigious Association of American Universities
44 nationally ranked graduate programs.
—U.S. News & World Report
Top 50 nationwide for size of library collection.
5th nationwide for service to veterans —"Best for Vets: Colleges," Military Times