Semester in Salamanca, Spain

Image of Salamanca
Earn upper-level Spanish language and elective credits in historic Salamanca.
Location: Salamanca, Spain
Language of Instruction: Spanish
Term: Spring
Program Type: Semester or Academic Year
Open to non-KU Students: No
Fulfills KU Core 4.2: No
Fulfills KU Core 5: No

  • 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

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.

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.

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 (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)

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.
  • 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 an IES Abroad course list and the approved equivalents. 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 the course offering each spring is subject to change.

IES Abroad courseKU course equivalent
Comparative Religion: Tracing the Path of the Spanish SoulSPAN 494
Contemporary Spanish and Latin American Women WritersSPAN 440*
Her Side of History: Gender in Mediterranean SocietiesSPAN 446
Love, Sex, and Death in the Spanish Golden Age: 16th & 17th Century Drama and PoetrySPAN 451*
Spanish Film Noir & Social RealitySPAN 441*
The Franco Regime & the Transition to DemocracySPAN 453* or HIST 450

*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. 


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

KU Major or MinorUSAL Grado
BiologyGrado en Biología
BusinessGrado en Administración y Dirección de Empresas
 Grado en Economía
 Grado en Gestión de Pequeñas y Medianas Empresas
Communication StudiesGrado en Comunicación Audiovisual
EnglishGrado en Estudios Ingleses
FrenchGrado en Estudios Franceses
Global and International StudiesGrado en Ciencia Política y Administración Pública
Pre-MedicineGrado en Enfermería
 Grado en Medicina
Pre-Physical & Occupational TherapyGrado en Fisioterapia
 Grado en Terapia Ocupacional
PsychologyGrado en Psicología
SociologyGrado en Sociología
SpanishGrado en Filología Clásica
 Grado en Filología Hispánica
 Grado en Lenguas, Literatura y Culturas Románicas

To access the syllabi, click the course title.

KU Major or MinorUPSA Grado
BusinessGrado en Marketing y Comunicación
Communication StudiesGrado en Comunicación Audiovisual
 Grado en Marketing y Comunicación
JournalismGrado en Periodismo
 Grado en Publicidad y Relaciones Públicas
Pre-MedicineGrado en Enfermería
PsychologyGrado en Psicología
Speech-Language HearingGrado en Logopedía

KU Course Equivalency Database

The KU Course Equivalency Database 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

The Credit Approval Process 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 relevant KU academic department will make the final decision regarding posting of credit and their application toward graduation.

After committing to the program, students will indicate to IES Abroad their housing preference. The two options are a host family and residence hall. Housing will be assigned depending on availability, so students should be prepared to live in either option.

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.

Residence halls are single occupancy with an en-suite bathroom and a shared kitchenette. One meal daily is included in the various dining halls. The residence halls features a weight room, laundry facilities, computer lab, study area, and game room.

During the Semana Santa holiday, students who remain in Salamanca may have different housing and meals arrangement, but they will be provided like during the rest of the semester.

Please note that the additional meals cost in the budget is that of homestays. Please read the "notes" section to see the additional meals cost for the residence hall.

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 typically includes day excursions to cities such as Zamora and Segovia and a weekend excursion to Lisbon, Portugal. For an additional fee, students may be able to sign up for a weekend excursion to a destination like the Sanabria Lake Nature Reserve. 

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. 

Program Cost for Spring Semester in Salamanca

Please be sure to note that all meals are not provided in the residence hall option so there's an estimate for the meals not provided. IES Abroad will assign students housing based on availability, so students should be prepared to live in either option.

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

Also, read IES Abroad blogs and watch IES Abroad Salamanca 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 2023 program recorded.

Follow IES Abroad Salamanca Center's Instagram @iesabroadsalamanca.

Passport and Student Visa Information

All U.S. citizens must have a passport and obtain a student visa in order to study on this program. Students who do not have a passport should view the processing times and apply for one immediately. KU Study Abroad & Global Engagement has a Passport Center where students can apply for a U.S. passport.

Students with a passport should verify that it is an adult passport (valid for ten years), not a child's passport (valid for five years). Students with a child's passport should either apply for an adult passport or consult with the program coordinator about the expiration date. Passports must be valid for one year at the time of submission for a student visa (approximately October).

It is recommended to have a 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.