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Study Abroad and Domestic Study Away

ISEP at Universidad de Murcia

While Spain may conjure romantic images of flamenco dancing, bullfights, and siestas; it also has much more to offer. From Moorish castles to cutting-edge architecture, and Roman ruins to cosmopolitan cities, Spain is a country that embraces its rich history while constantly striving for the modern, and a culture with an insurmountable passion for life. 

Founded in 1915, the University of Murcia is a public comprehensive university located southeast Spain (45 km away from the Mediterranean sea) in the vibrant and historical city of Murcia. It has a lively student population and strong academic departments in fields such as Modern Languages, Business, Education, Law, Chemistry, Computer Science and Veterinary Medicine. More academic information at this link

Students can take regular courses during a semester or a full academic year in some of our 20 schools and faculties. 

Students going to Spain must be independent, self-reliant, and able to handle ambiguity, as acclimating to the Spanish university system is challenging.  A student must be comfortable with advocating for themselves on campus and comfortable with the local language to thrive in this location. Please be aware that there may not be the same access to internet or amenities to which you may be accustomed.  Student services and especially class registration may not be at all similar to what is done at the College and may be difficult for some students to adjust.  

Learn more about the University of Murcia here! Read the ISEP Country Handbook to learn more about visa requirements, educational system, and culture.

Program Type

Exchange or Direct-Enroll


Murcia, Spain

Languages of Instruction

Spanish - A minimum of 6 semesters of university-level Spanish or the equivalent

Program Dates

Fall 2019: mid-September to Late-January

Spring 2019: mid-January to Late-June

All dates are tentative and may change.  ISEP will alert all accepted students of final dates.


To be eligible to participate in this program, students must meet the following requirements:

  • Good academic and judicial standing during time of application AND time of participation in program
  • Undergraduates must have completed at least two semesters of study at Lake Forest College AND have junior status or higher before participation. 
  • At least 18 years of age by the program’s departure date. 
  • Be able to stay at the host program for the duration of the semester, including through the exam and travel periods
  • Minimum GPA of 2.75.  
  • Language Requirement: A minimum of 6 semesters of university-level Spanish or the equivalent must be completed prior to the program.
  • Students must submit ISEP language proficiency report in application, even if native speaker

Don’t meet the language requirement? Need to brush up on your language skills before enrolling in regular university courses in Spanish? Consider enrolling in the ISEP Direct Bridge Program before your ISEP Exchange. Students may participate in this program and gain the necessary language skills before their ISEP Exchange programs. 


Students applying to ISEP must apply for an Exchange option (in any country) as a first choice but may apply to a Direct option as a back-up.  Direct options may have an additional cost.

ISEP Exchange chance of placement for US students is generally Good.

ISEP Direct Regular Courses chance of placement for US students is generally Excellent.


A true wedge among the Mediterranean regions Murcia is the product of a crossing of civilizations throughout its history: Muslim, Castilian, and Valencian-Aragones have all left their traces in the city. Situated in southeastern Spain, Murcia has a Mediterranean climate with very little rainfall and enjoys more hours of sunlight per year than most Spanish cities. Its fertile soil, bathed by the Segura River, has provided the nickname for which Murcia is known: the Orchard of Europe. Two seas are located in the region: the Mediterranean Sea and the Mar Menor are tranquil and warm all year.


Founded in 1915, the University of Murcia is a public comprehensive university located southeast Spain (45 km away from the Mediterranean sea) in the vibrant and historical city of Murcia. It has a lively student population and strong academic departments in fields such as Modern Languages, Business, Education, Law, Chemistry, Computer Science and Veterinary Medicine. More academic information at this link

The University of Murcia is a public university. It was founded in the 13th century and has almost 30,000 students. The university is devoted to providing higher education to the public. Murcia has 4 campuses: La Merced (in the center of Murcia-Arts and Law), Espinardo (five km north of the city-Education, Industrial Relations, Social Work, Veterinary Med., Chemistry, Biology, Psychology, Fine Arts, Computer Science, Economics and Business, Philosophy, Mathematics), Medicine and Health Sciences (11 km south of the city-Medicine, Dentistry, Nursing, Physiotherapy) and San Javier (45 km east, in the sea-side-Sports Science). Public transportation from the city to the campuses is available. 

The University of Murcia offers modern facilities and boasts the Experimental Science Support Service, two extensive libraries including a European Documentation Center, as well as many specialized institutes dealing with different aspects of the scientific and humanistic world. 

Murcia is strong in Law, Education, Business, Economics, Chemistry, Medicine, Spanish and English Languages, and Veterinary Medicine. There are many interesting courses available in Translation and Interpretation, History, Art History, Mathematics, and Psychology. Several different institutes cooperate within the university including Water and Environment, Education, Sport, Tax and Finance and Development.

Option 1: ISEP Exchange: Regular University Courses and

Option 2: ISEP Direct: Regular University Courses: 

Students generally enroll in four to five courses and spend 20 to 25 hours a week in class. Semesters are 17 to 18 weeks in length.  Students must take 30 ECTS credits to earn 4 Lake Forest credits.



1. For students taking regular university courses (Option 1 or 2), click on Regular Course Information
2. The link brings you to list of degrees within the university. Click on one, and on the bottom of the page, click on Guias Docentes. That will give you a list of courses. 
3. Click on Descripción, to see a list of courses for that major. 
4. Select a course title for additional information, including a detailed course description. 

Download Tips for Finding Courses in Spain

Universidad de Murcia, like many European universities, is in the process of implementing the European Higher Education System through the Bologna process (switching to four-year undergraduate degrees for many fields). Due to this, course descriptions may be limited in certain cases.

Language Courses: Intensive Spanish language courses are offered in addition to regular classes during the Academic Year and Semester for an additional fee for several levels. Contact hours per course per week: 4. Grades and credits will be noted on an official certificate. Please note that these classes will not appear on the regular university transcript. Students should verify with their home university if credits from certificates will be accepted for transfer.

Pre-Session: A one and a half week pre-session, intensive Spanish language course are offered before each semester for multiple levels. Contact hours per course: 30.

Additional Information: For more information on courses and language options, see the:
ISEP Spanish Language Advising Guide for US Students



The MBA program is closed to ISEP participants. Medicine is closed to ISEP students. Although Veterinary Medicine and Law are undergraduate studies in Spain they are restricted since certain prerequisites are mandatory for international students. Most courses in Fine Arts are year-long in nature. Students may need professorial approval to enroll in these courses if only attending Murcia for a semester. This cannot be guaranteed in advance.

IMPORTANT: To avoid scheduling conflicts, students are required to take 50% of their classes within the same degree program.



As an ISEP participant, you will be able to take courses from different faculties and at different levels. However, to avoid scheduling issues, ISEP strongly recommends that you take courses in one carrera or degree if at all possible. Spanish students in the same year of the same degree will likely take the majority of their classes together, similar to a cohort, and their classes will normally be located close together. Typically, the layout of Spanish universities is decentralized and faculties can be located throughout the city. If you enroll in courses in different degrees or faculties, you may find that you have to cross town to go from one class to another.

For tips on finding courses in Spain see: Tips for Finding Courses in Spain

In most cases registration is done upon arrival in Spain. As an international student, you may be allowed to try out several courses from various faculties at the beginning of your exchange. Be sure to verify with your host coordinator the final deadline for registration. Follow registration instructions closely, to ensure that you complete all forms and meet all deadlines.

Course Load
Most Spanish students take 30 ECTS (European Credit Transfer System) per semester, which normally equates to five or six classes a semester. You will need to check with your home coordinator about the minimum number of credits you need to take while in Spain.

As a part of the new grado degrees, many courses have tutorials, lab sessions, or practicas as a part of the class. Class attendance is important, as materials covered in class make up a large portion of the exam. Attendance may be taken regularly, but if it is not, resist the urge to skip classes, exams will be difficult without regular class attendance.

Study Habits and Learning Styles
Your professors will expect you to take thorough notes on the lectures. In the Spanish university system, learning from lectures is emphasized over learning from a textbook. Note-taking and following lectures may be a big adjustment. You will find that after a few weeks it all becomes much easier. If necessary, you can ask to borrow notes from a classmate for some of the first lectures. Many Spanish students take great pride in their notes and often rewrite them to have them neatly organized.

Learning is done more independently than you might be accustomed. You are expected to do substantive reading and studying outside of class. Aside from the assigned reading and class work, the professor may also suggest a supplementary list of books pertaining to the course topic.

You should have access to computers at the university to complete your assignments. Commonly, each faculty or center has its own computer lab for student use. During busier times of the year, it is likely that you will need to reserve a computer ahead of time.

Interaction with Professors
Spanish professors often do not deal directly with students. If you have questions or problems, it is up to you to arrange a meeting with the professor either before or after class or by setting up an appointment. Office hours may also be available for consultation.

You may be assigned a professor or other staff member to serve as your Academic Tutor while in Spain. You should consult with this person with any questions regarding registration, courses etc. You may always contact your ISEP Coordinator if you are unsure who you should consult.

Exams and Grading System
Depending on the type of classes you take, you will generally have tests and papers with a final exam at the end of the course. Form and organization are important in presenting written work. Check with a Spanish student about correct form so that your assignments will be properly presented. Make sure that your grammar and sentence structure are correct; have a native speaker check it over if necessary.

Final exams are typically given at the end of the semester and will include materials covered in class throughout the semester. It is important to keep up with your coursework, as it’s difficult to “cram” a semester’s worth of studying into the period before the exam. The format for written and oral exams may vary from class to class.

It will be important for you to check with both your home and host ISEP coordinators to ensure that your grades will be recorded in Spain and the credit transferred to your home institution. Although your host coordinator in Spain will help you in this matter, it will be your responsibility to make sure your grades are recorded. Be forewarned that if you choose to depart the program early, it is your responsibility to make any special arrangements in writing with your professors.


Grades are given on a 10-point scale:
• 9 or 10 is considered excellent (sobresaliente) 
• 7 or 8 is good (notable) 
• 6 or 5 is average (aprobado), 
• below five is failing (suspenso). 

Matricula de Honor is the highest grade awarded in the Spanish system and is generally given to the student with the highest score in a class. Spanish professors are difficult graders, and rarely award grades of excellent; most students receive grades between six and eight.

Please review country handbook for more information on the education system, grades, class hours, and classroom etiquette. 

Course Approvals

Check to see if your department has pre-approved courses here. If not, don’t worry. You can work with your advisor.

Experiential Opportunities

Our Volunteer Service offers a wide range of opportunities for community and university service. More information can be found here.

International students participating in ISEP Exchange may have access to internships through our Career Service (COIE) upon registration. Click here for more information.

Student Life

The university also has a great number of sports facilities including sports halls, football and rugby fields, aerobic and weight rooms, tennis and squash courts, a climbing wall and an indoor pool. Students also have access to computer labs in many buildings and a wide variety of cultural and extra-curricular activities.



A full day orientation takes place the day after arrival. Sessions will cover administrative issues such as registration, academic system, internet access, stipend, legal status within Spain, and tips for avoiding the culture shock. Exchange students whose mother tongue is not Spanish follow a 30 contact hour Spanish language course before regular classes begin. This course is charged free since it is included in the program benefits. Welcome Week includes a guided city tour, visits to city museums, Tapas Night, Beach Day and an International Welcome Party. 

Option 1: ISEP Exchange: Regular University Courses: 
The University will provide arrival directions with the acceptance packet. 



International students have many opportunities to participate in extra-curricular activities as there are more than 30 student organizations available. The International Relations Organization (IRO) brings together international and local students during the International Welcome Week at the beginning of each semester for social activities and travel. Our “Buddy Program” for international students matches each new international student with a local student during the first weeks of the program. 

Housing and Meals

Students live in shared flats with other students in the city. A stipend will be provided to cover housing and meals. Sharing a flat with other local or international students makes the experience of living abroad even more interesting. Also the fact of having their own kitchens make easier the daily living since students do not depend on the schedules of the university restaurants. 

Financial Information

For all approved programs for guaranteed financial aid transferability, students pay their Lake Forest College tuition plus a program fee. The program fee for a semester with the ISEP Exchange program includes orientation, on-site director, college fees, housing and a stipend to cover the equivalent of 19/meals per week.

Here is an estimated budget for the Fall 2018/Spring 2019 semester:

Budget Item



Lake Forest College Tuition



Program fee (estimated)

Note: Spring may have added cost




Total Expected Billed by Lake Forest College



ISEP Fee due on Stage 2 Application




ISEP-required health and repatriation insurance ($90/mo estimated) Note: Some countries require national insurance. Check ISEP



Additional Meals



Estimated Airfare

*Students placed on ISEP Exchange may be eligible for up to $750 airfare award 



Estimated Personal Expenses (passport, visas, immunizations, textbooks, supplies, personal expenses, additional national insurance, if required, travel insurance, additional travel etc.)



Total Out-of-Pocket Expenses








For students that participate in ISEP Direct to Universidad de Murcia, the program fee will be $5,440.  This fee includes housing, insurance, and meals.  Many of the other estimated out-of-pocket costs will be similar. 

Tuition rates and program fees are subject to change each year, but this information was up-to-date as of February 2018. We will notify applicants, and update this page if the program fee or other estimates change.

Keep in mind that you may spend more or less in certain areas like personal expenses, travel, meals, or airfare, depending on exchange rates and your own spending habits. Classroom or lab fees are not included in this estimate and will depend on your course registration choices.  

Don’t forget to apply for scholarships! A great listing can be found here.  

Do check your student account on My.Lakeforest for your aid awards, as much of this will go with you. If you want to compare your program to the cost of being on campus, those numbers can be found here: https://www.lakeforest.edu/admissions/tuition/fees.php

You can discuss with Financial Aid your specific aid package and your expected family contribution.

Experiences of Former Students


“The ISEP program at my University in Murcia set me up in an apartment with people from Spain and elsewhere. The assistance and help they were always ready to give made it all the better. Murcia es lo mejor!!”

Jason Otterstrom, 04-05

Read a story by an ISEP student who studied abroad at Universidad de Murcia.