The Spanish baccalaureate

How to continue your studies after school

The Spanish baccalaureate (bachillerato or bachiller) programme consists of two years’ academic training to prepare pupils for higher education or high-grade vocational training or to start a career.

Under the LOE reforms, all students are required to study Spanish language and literature, philosophy and citizenship (filosofía y ciudadanía), a foreign language, an autonomous regional language (if applicable), the history of philosophy, the history of Spain, ‘Science for the Modern World’ (Ciencias para el Mundo Contemporáneo – covering topics such as genetics, the origin of the universe and the latest scientific advances) and physical education.

In addition to the seven compulsory subjects (eight in regions with an autonomous language), students must choose one of three specialities:

At the end of the second year, pupils take an examination known as the Prueba General de Bachillerato (PGB). If they pass this exam and have also passed the exams during the two-year course, they’re awarded the título de bachiller (known simply as bachiller), which includes the average mark obtained.

The bachiller, together with an oral exam in a foreign language (usually English), also allows pupils to study at Spanish universities and is recognised as an entrance qualification by universities throughout the world, provided the student’s proficiency in the language of study is up to the required standard. Pupils who fail the PGB are awarded a certificate of attendance and can proceed to vocational training. Pupils who fail three subjects in their first year of the baccalaureate are required to repeat the year.

This article is an extract from Living and Working in Spain.
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