Higher education in Spain has its origins in the Middle Ages.
The University of Salamanca, founded in 1218, is the first University established in Spain. Obviously, history has changed the way the system has worked, and the current system derives from the French model of the 19th century.
However, Spanish Universities have recently gone through important changes that have led to a self-governing and decentralized system. In addition, the European Higher Education Area (EHEA) is forcing Spanish universities to converge into one common system compatible with all European Universities.
The educational policy is controlled by the Ministry of Education together with the departments of higher education in the universities. Within this framework, the Consejo de Universidades outlines the requirements to create new universities, centers and institutes. In addition, it helps regulating advanced graduate studies.
Within the higher education level, Spain has public and private Universities. Universities are organized in Schools (Facultades), and within each School there are different Departments, which specialize in a specific part of the corresponding science. Currently, the Spanish university system comprises 49 public universities, 14 private ones, and 4 Catholic Church universities.
Regarding its content, the Spanish university system displays an equilibrium between scientific disciplines included in the social sciences and humanities (History, Economics, Literature, Philosophy, etc.), and the pure sciences (Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, etc). Likewise, within the different Universities we may find scientific disciplines specifically applied to the society. An adequate equilibrium between theory and practice is carefully achieved in disciplines like Architecture, Medicine or Law.
Also, it is becoming very common to see Universities that offer a higher university degree which interlaces academic contents from several scientific disciplines (Economics and Law, Business and Tourism, Languages and Marketing etc).
This option generates professionals with a very high level of training, who are very sought after by national and international companies.