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USAC Madrid Program

Fast Facts

Sessions Offered:

Fall, Spring, Summer, Academic Year


Madrid, Spain




2.5 GPA; good academic and disciplinary standing

Application Due:

Fall & Academic Year:
Feb. 24

Spring: Sept. 24

Summer: Mar. 4

Program Cost

Refer to Application tab for more details

Program Description

Gran Via in Madrid
Gran Vía in Madrid

The USAC Madrid program allows students with a wide range of Spanish language skills the opportunity to improve their Spanish and take elective courses related to Art and Spanish and European Studies. Although no prior language study is required to participate in this program, all students are expected to take Spanish language coursework. Additional elective courses are offered in both Spanish and English. An internship may also be available for students with advanced Spanish skills.

The program is administered by the University Studies Abroad Consortium (USAC), of which the University of Iowa is a member. University of Iowa students earn resident credit for this program.

Academic Program - Semester

Plaza Mayor

Students enroll in 12-18 sh per semester:

  • Required Spanish language track (6-14 sh)
  • Optional Spanish language and literature electives
  • Electives in art and Spanish/European studies (in Spanish or English)

All courses are designed and taught by USAC faculty. Classes are held on the Universidad Rey Juan Carlos campus but are only open to US students participating in the program.

For updated course offerings and descriptions, visit USAC's program webpage.

Academic Program - Summer

USAC Madrid offers two 4-week programs each summer: Summer Session I and Summer Session II. Students may participate in one or both sessions. During Summer Session I, students take 3-5 sh. During Summer Session II, students take 3-5 sh. One 3-credit course is required during either session. Summer course offerings include beginning to advanced Spanish language, as well as a few courses taught in English. Students are not required to take a Spanish language course during the summer sessions.

For updated course offerings and descriptions, visit USAC's program webpage.

Cultural Activities

Toledo (Source: Unsplash)


Students visit nearby museums, theaters, and cultural sites throughout the semester. One-day excursions may offered to locations such as Toledo, Segovia, Salamanca, La Granja de San Ildefonso, Las Hoces del Duratón National Park, and El Escorial and the Valley of the Fallen. Dates and exact destinations are at the discretion of the Resident Director and vary from semester to semester.

Field Study

USAC offers an optional tour/field study in Galicia during the Fall semester and in Andalucía during the Spring semester. This segment of the program carries an additional fee. Students may elect to participate in the four-day tour for fun or in conjunction with a 1-credit field study course, which requires some reflective assignments.

Program Dates

Fall: Late August to mid-December

Spring: Mid-January to mid-May

Summer Session I: Late May to late June

Summer Session II: Early to late July

For exact program dates, visit USAC's program webpage.

For More Information

Steps to Studying Abroad

  1. Before initiating an application with USAC, students must complete a Discover Study Abroad session at the University of Iowa. 
  2. After completing the Discover Abroad session, students must call the Study Abroad office at 319-335-0353 to be assigned to the appropriate study abroad advisor.
  3. Once assigned, students must meet with their study abroad advisor to receive  program application instructions.

Contact Information

Study Abroad
1111 University Capitol Centre
Iowa City, IA 52242

Phone: 319-335-0353

Universidad Rey Juan Carlos

Universidad Rey Juan Carlos

Universidad Rey Juan Carlos serves as the host university for the USAC program. Its four campuses accommodate 45,000 students (about 1.5 times the total population at the University of Iowa). USAC classes are held at the campus located in the Vicálvaro neighborhood, which is accessible via metro or bus. Program participants have access to a modernized library, a computer lab, two student cafeterias, and several green spaces around campus.


USAC Madrid Office

With a population of about 3.3 million people, Madrid is both Spain’s capital and largest city. Students will be able to interact with over twelve centuries of history during their time in this distinguished European cultural center. Madrid brings together the excellent food, art, and cultural traditions of Spain while also maintaining its own unique identity. Both modern and historic architecture characterize this vast city, and students will have access to up-to-date scholarly centers and well-preserved historic buildings and streets. The city’s central location makes it a great transportation hub for students who are looking to travel widely in Spain and the rest of Europe.


Situated on Europe’s Iberian Peninsula, Spain is a strikingly beautiful and diverse country. The country has the third largest number of UNESCO World Heritage sites. Spain’s distinct regions means there is something for everyone, from lush forests to towering mountains and stunning beaches to vibrant cities, many of which are easily accessible through the country's extensive network of high-speed trains. Widely known for excellent food and art, friendly locals, relaxed lifestyle, Flamenco culture, and lots of sunshine, Spain has been one of the cultural centers of Europe for thousands of years and remains one of the most popular destinations in the world for study and travel.

U.S. Department of State Country Information

The U.S. Department of State provides safety and security information for every country of the world to help you assess for yourself the risks of travel. Each country information page contains a Travel Advisory, Alerts, and other important details specific to that country that could affect you.

Pay close attention to the entry and exit requirements, local laws and customs, health conditions, and other details to help decide whether traveling to any given country is right for you. Non-US citizen travelers may also wish to seek guidance from the embassy of their country of citizenship. The UI International Travel Policy for Students addresses restrictions on student travel to high-risk locations and engagement in high-risk activities abroad.

Living Arrangements

Puerta Del Sol

USAC students participating in this program have two housing options: a Spanish homestay or an off-campus apartment with other USAC students. Both options are within commuting distance of the host university. Students should plan on using public transportation, including the metro and bus systems, in order to get to classes.


Students live in Spanish-speaking homes where three meals are provided daily. Homestays are the optimal housing arrangement because of their contribution to the program’s goals of language and cultural immersion.

Shared Apartments

Students seeking an independent environment may prefer to live in shared apartments with other USAC students. Students living in apartments are responsible for their own meals.

Payment of Housing Costs

During the semester, students pay monthly rent to their host family or apartment landlord. Housing costs are not included in the program fee. Students need to budget and have a plan to withdraw the cash needed for rent each month. For summer programs, housing is included in the program fee, although students will need to pay for their groceries/meals (if living in an apartment) or a homestay surcharge that covers meals and laundry (if living in a homestay).


U.S. Citizens

U.S. citizens who do not have a passport should apply for one as soon as possible. More information about how to apply for a passport is available on the U.S. Department of State’s website.

Students with a valid passport should check the expiration date. Passports must be valid for at least 6 months after the anticipated return to the US from studying abroad. US citizens who need to renew their passport can find more information on the US Department of State’s website. The passport must be renewed before applying for the Spanish visa required for semester or academic year programs.

Expedited processing service is available at an additional cost. UI Study Abroad encourages students to ask the passport agency at the time of application whether expedited service is recommended.

Non-U.S. Citizens

Students who are not U.S. citizens should contact UI Study Abroad ( for information on how to ensure that their passport is valid for the duration of their time abroad.

Travel Arrangements

Students may either book the group flight itinerary through USAC or book flights independently. Participants are responsible for being at the orientation site on time.

Local Transportation

Within the host city and around Spain, students will utilize public transportation such as buses and trains. Spaniards are also very used to walking, so be sure to bring comfortable shoes!


This program is open to UI students who fulfill the following requirements:

  • Minimum 2.5 cumulative GPA: Students must have at minimum a 2.5 cumulative GPA to participate in this program.
  • Good academic and disciplinary standing: Students must be in good academic and disciplinary standing at the University of Iowa. Academic and disciplinary history will also be considered when determining whether a student is prepared to represent the University of Iowa as part of this program. Students who, even after being accepted into a program, are put on either academic and/or disciplinary probation for any period of time overlapping with the study abroad program dates are ineligible to study abroad. In these cases, students must forfeit their acceptance, will not be allowed to study abroad, and are wholly responsible for any and all financial expenses incurred.


The most recent cost sheet for the program is included below. The cost sheet outlines the total estimated costs associated with participating in this program and can be used for financial aid and planning purposes. It includes fees charged on students’ U-Bill (USAC program fee, Study Abroad Administrative Fee, and mandatory Iowa Regents CISI Travel Insurance), as well as out-of-pocket expenses. Actual out-of-pocket expenses will vary from individual to individual. Quoted estimates are conservatively high, yet realistic. Please see the respective websites for further details. Contact the designated UI Study Abroad advisor with questions regarding the cost sheet.

Semester Cost Sheets

PDFCost Sheet for USAC Madrid, Spring 2020

Summer Cost Sheets

PDFCost Sheet for USAC Madrid, Summer 2019, Session I
PDFCost Sheet for USAC Madrid, Summer 2019, Sessions I & II

Scholarships & Financial Aid

Most financial aid (scholarships, grants, and loans) is applicable to study abroad programs. Please check the Study Abroad website for information on financial aid and how it may be applied to studying abroad. You are also encouraged to speak with someone at the Office of Student Financial Aid to explore financial aid options.

Scholarship opportunities exist for study abroad participants. Please explore Study Abroad’s websites for UI Study Abroad Scholarship Opportunities and Non-UI External Awards.

How to Apply

Interested students should make an appointment with the designated UI Study Abroad advisor to discuss the program and the application process. Appointments can be scheduled by calling 319-335-0353. During the appointment, the advisor will provide full application instructions. Note: Application materials will not be reviewed unless a student has already met with the advisor to discuss the program.

The application process consists of the following steps:

• Complete the UI Online Application for Study Abroad. Applicants will be charged a $50 non-refundable application fee. As part of the UI Online Application for Study Abroad, applicants will need to upload a copy of their passport picture page and a list of courses to take while abroad.

• Please note that for study abroad programs through Spring 2022, students will not be charged the $50 application fee until travel is assured. If a student chooses to withdraw prior to the application fee being billed, it will not be charged.

• Complete the USAC Online Application.


Acceptance into the applicant's chosen study abroad program is made by USAC directly via an email to the applicant. Additional documents will posted to a USAC Gateway account for the participant.

Application Deadlines

Fall and Academic Year: Feb. 24

Spring: Sept. 24

Summer: Mar. 4

Acceptance & Confirmation Materials

Acceptance and confirmation materials will be posted after the next application deadline.

Health & Safety Planning

All students preparing to study abroad should review the following:

Iowa Regents CISI Health Insurance Information

Students are also encouraged to complete the Health Preparation Guide for International Travelform with their medical practitioner. This document is intended to help you plan for your medical needs abroad. Please DO NOT turn this form in to UI Study Abroad.


U.S. passport holders must obtain a student visa from Spain in order to participate in the semester or academic year program. U.S. passport holders should follow the batch processing visa application instructions provided by USAC. If students do not participate in batch visa processing, they must apply for their student visa independently and present their application by appointment at the Spanish Consulate. The Consulate for all UI students is the Chicago Consulate; it is based the location of one's home university, not the state of origin. Students are ultimately responsible for obtaining the necessary visa to enter Spain.

U.S. passport holders can remain in Spain for up to 90 days without a visa, so no visa is required to participate in one or both of the summer sessions.

Non-U.S. passport holders should consult with USAC regarding their visa requirements.

Online Education Abroad Pre-Departure Orientation

You are required to complete the International Programs online “Education Abroad Pre-Departure Orientation” course distributed through ICON prior to departure. This orientation is mandatory for all students going abroad under the auspices of the University of Iowa. It covers many practical matters about living overseas, such as health and safety, communication, money, goals and much more. You will be enrolled in this course by International Programs and an email will be sent to you once enrolled. If you have any questions you can email

Program-Specific Orientation

This orientation will be facilitated by your study abroad advisor and will cover content specific to your program and host country. It could be conducted in a group setting or one-on-one. Your study abroad advisor will send you more information about this mandatory in-person session.