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CIEE Madrid Open Campus

Fast Facts

Sessions Offered:

Fall, Spring


Madrid, Spain




2.5 GPA, good academic and disciplinary standing

Application Due:

Fall/Academic Year: Mar. 1

Spring: Sept. 4 for 3 blocks or Sept. 20 for 2 blocks

Program Cost:

Click the Application tab.

Program Description

The CIEE Madrid Open Campus program allows students to experience life in Spain's capital city while furthering their studies in a variety of academic fields. Students take two courses (3 sh each) per six-week block and participate in two or three blocks (12 or 18 sh total) per semester. To focus their studies, students select one of the following seven tracks of coursework: Art and Architecture; Business; Communications, New Media, and Journalism; Global and Community Health; International Relations and Political Science; Language, Literature, and Culture; or STEM and Society. In addition to taking the course(s) in their chosen track, students can enroll in courses from other tracks. Most courses are taught in English. Students with advanced Spanish have the option to complete an internship or service-learning project.

This program is administered by the Council on International Educational Exchange (CIEE) on behalf of an academic consortium of which the University of Iowa is a member. UI participants on the program join a group of students from other U.S. colleges and universities. University of Iowa students earn resident credit for this program.

Academic Program

Academic Tracks

Students must select one of the following academic tracks:

  • Art and Architecture
  • Business
  • Communications, Journalism, and New Media
  • Global and Community Health
  • International Relations and Political Science
  • Language, Literature, and Culture
  • STEM and Society

Block System

UI students must choose two or three academic blocks during either the fall or spring semester. Each academic block is six weeks long. Students take at least two courses per block, which typically equates to six semester hours per block.

Two Academic Blocks

  • Two courses per block
  • At least two courses in the chosen academic track
  • Two additional electives
  • Optional Survival Spanish (0 sh, may be taken in addition to 6 sh per block)
  • Optional internship or service-learning project (in Spanish)
  • Optional directed research (in English)

Three Academic Blocks

  • Two courses per block
  • At least two courses in the chosen academic track
  • Four additional electives
  • Optional Survival Spanish (0 sh, may be taken in addition to 6 sh per block)
  • Optional internship or service-learning project (in Spanish)
  • Optional directed research (in English)

Note: Although there is no required Spanish course, one Spanish language course is offered during each block (Beginning I in Block I, Beginning II in Block 2, Intermediate I in Block 3) for those students who wish to begin or continue their study of Spanish.

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

Cultural Activities


The academic program is supplemented with excursions to points of interest in and near Madrid that highlight topics covered in class. Participants visit neighborhoods in Madrid, the Monastery of El Escorial, and towns such as Toledo and Alcalá de Henares.


Students who wish to become involved in the local community can opt to volunteer. Common placements include youth centers, schools, and nonprofit organizations.

Program Dates

Fall, Blocks I & II: Mid-August to early November

Fall, Blocks II & III: Late September to mid-December

Fall, Blocks I, II & III: Mid-August to mid-December

Spring, Blocks I & II: Early January to mid-March

Spring, Blocks II & III: Mid-February to early May

Spring, Blocks I, II & III: Early January to early May

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

For More Information

Steps to Studying Abroad

  1. Before initiating an application with CIEE, 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

The CIEE Madrid Global Institute

CIEE Madrid is located in the heart of the city near Puerta del Sol and the Atocha train station. Students have easy access to numerous restaurants, shops, and public transportation.


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

CIEE students participating in this program have three housing options: a Spanish homestay, apartments, or a residence hall. All housing options are located within 30-60 minutes of CIEE Madrid.


Students live in Spanish-speaking homes where two meals are provided daily. Each home accommodates one or two students, and each student has their own room.


Furnished apartments may have single, double, or triple rooms with shared kitchens and common spaces. Students live with other CIEE students. Meals and laundry are not included.

Residence Halls

Residence halls have single or double rooms with shared laundry facilities. Students live with other Spanish and international students. Meals are not included, but residence halls may have dining halls with meals available for purchase.

Housing is tight in Madrid, so housing decisions are at the sole discretion of CIEE. If they cannot accommodate students' first housing preference, they will let them know before arrival.


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 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: Student 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 (CIEE 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 your Study Abroad advisor with questions regarding the cost sheet.

Cost Sheets

PDFCost Sheet for CIEE Madrid Open Campus, Blocks II & III, Fall 2024

PDFCost Sheet for CIEE Madrid Open Campus, Blocks I & II, Spring 2024

PDFCost Sheet for CIEE Madrid Open Campus, Blocks II & III, Spring 2024

PDFCost Sheet for CIEE Madrid Open Campus, Blocks I, II & III, Spring 2024

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.


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.

• Complete the CIEE Online Application.

Important: Students applying to three blocks of the CIEE Madrid Open Campus program in Spring 2024 may be required by CIEE to provide proof of a valid passport (i.e. a passport that does not expire for at least six months after the end of the program) in order to submit their application. If you will not have a valid passport at the time of application, you should work with your study abroad advisor to identify an alternative program.

Post Acceptance

Acceptance into the applicant's chosen study abroad program is made by CIEE directly via an email to the applicant. This acceptance notification will refer the applicant to additional documents posted to the myCIEE account.

Application Deadlines

Fall and Academic Year: Mar. 1

Spring: Sept. 4 (three blocks with visa) or Sept. 20 (two blocks with no visa)

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 enrolling in two academic blocks do not need a visa in order to participate. However, U.S. passport holders enrolling in three academic blocks must obtain a student visa from Spain in order to participate in the program. U.S. passport holders should follow the batch processing visa application instructions provided by CIEE. 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.

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


In order to prepare for your time abroad, you are required by the University of Iowa to complete two orientations. These may be in addition to orientations provided by your on-site provider.

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.