Madrid Center

USD Madrid Center

The University of San Diego Madrid Center, formally established in 2014, is USD's first, permanent international location. The Center annually hosts approximately 125 undergraduate students taking a wide variety of courses including a 10-day Travel Seminar through Spain. Additionally, the Center hosts graduate programs from USD's School of Leadership and Education Sciences and the USD School of Business. The USD Madrid Center serves as hub to connect with our European partners and alumni. 




Please explore the USD Madrid Center using the links below. 



The University of San Diego Madrid Center, formally established in 2014, is USD's first, permanent international location. The center is located in the heart of Madrid steps from Retiro Park and the world famous Prado Museum. This location is easily within walking distance to Gran Via and Atocha. As an extension of the University of San Diego, the USD Madrid Center supports a semester abroad program which offers similar undergraduate courses to those offered on the San Diego campus and provides students with on-site support from USD faculty and staff who work in our Madrid Center. 

The USD Madrid Center expands USD's Global Footprint in accordance with USD's Strategic Plan

Bienvenidos a USD Madrid!

               Location                    Hours                 Contact Us
Calle Alfonso XI, 6
28014, Madrid
8:30 a.m. - 8:00 p.m., Monday - Thursday; Friday by appointment only (Note: during the summer, hours might be more limited). For information about the USD Madrid Center, please contact Dr. Denise Dimon, Associate Provost for International Affairs or Dr. Kira Espiritu, Director International Studies Abroad. Additionally, you can contact the USD International Center in San Diego at 619-260-4598. 


Description of the Learning Environment

The USD Madrid Center is a welcoming learning environment equipped with three classrooms, two of which can be combined to form a larger auditorium space, two seminar rooms, formal study rooms, informal study areas, lockers, computer lab with printing capabilities and wi-fi. The Center is handicap accessible and available for use for academic programs or conferences.

Learning Spaces

The classrooms can also be configured in a variety of ways: seminar style, small discussion tables or a traditional classroom style. In addition, there are two breakout/study rooms and several areas providing flexible learning spaces.


All classrooms and meeting spaces are equipped with white board, projector or flat screen monitor, speakers, and internet. Some desktop computers are available for use in the USD Madrid Center. There is also a printer/copier available and the entire USD Madrid Center is wi-fi enabled.

Auditorium (Bilbao & Cadiz Combined) Capacity: 100
Auditorium (Bilbao & Cadiz Combined)
Capacity: 100

Bilbao Classroom Bilbao Classroom
Capacity: 34

Cadiz classroom Cadiz Classroom
Capacity: 40

Sevilla classroomSevilla Classroom
Capacity: 34

Granada classroom
Granada Seminar Room
Capacity: 10

PamplonaPamplona Seminar Room
Capacity: 10

Marbella Study Room
Capacity: 4-6

Toledo St

Take a Virtual Tour of the USD Madrid Center!

Unique Features of the USD Madrid Semester Program

  • Due to COVID-19, the USD Madrid Center is making adjustments for social distancing and health and safety conditions.  This includes single room and private bath accommodations for all participants, classroom schedules that allow for social distancing, additional cleaning procedures, etc.  The USD Madrid Center follows all of the recommendations from both USD's main campus and the Spanish government. Please see the link above.
  • Courses held at the USD Madrid Center located in the heart of Madrid (next to Retiro Park and just a few blocks from the Prado)
  • All courses taught in English by local faculty
  • Access to courses at Universidad Pontificia de Comillas
  • Opportunity to apply for internships for academic credit
  • Travel Seminar to various cities throughout Spain (seminar is adjusted for Spring 2021 due to COVID-19)
  • Language Partners
  • Full-time staff and student support services on-site
  • Residence hall accommodations with private room and bath
  • Student Worker (paid!) positions available on-site

USD Madrid Semester Program

Academic Credit & Transcripts

All courses offered in Madrid are USD courses and will transfer back seamlessly to fulfill credit requirements for majors, minors and core. Students attend classes with other USD students (and others from USA universities) and those whom have advanced Spanish language skills may also choose to enroll in courses offered by Universidad Pontificia Comillas. Transcripts are issued directly by the University of San Diego. 

Course Structure

All students are required to enroll in a minimum of 15 units while in Madrid. There are two required classes in this program: a Spanish language course and the Travel Seminar. For advanced Spanish language students or native Spanish speakers there are always advanced courses in Spanish available.  All other courses are taught in English by local faculty who have extensive knowledge of Spain and the region and, therefore, all courses are infused with site specific information relevant to the course content. The program and course credits are on the semester system.  All courses earn three units of semester credit.

Travel Seminar

The Travel Seminar is a very attractive component of the program in Madrid and is unlike anything else offered in other semester programs available in Madrid. This Seminar offers students an academic and culturally intense opportunity to travel throughout Spain with area specialists. This is an academic course that travels throughout Spain, coupling cultural site visits with guest lecturers as well as company visits. The Seminar includes travel to the following destinations: Toledo, Granada, Sevilla, Cordoba and Barcelona. In the Travel Seminar, students can choose to receive academic credit for one of the following courses: Espana y las Espanas: Identidad y Cultura (SPAN 394); Business in Spain (BUSN 494), Political Context of Contemporary Spain (POLS 494) or Modern Spain (HIST 354).

Course Offerings

The program offers courses across several disciplines and core curriculum courses.

Course Schedule

Courses are held Monday - Thursday. The first course begins at 9am and the last course ends at 6:30pm. Most courses meet at least two times per week at the Madrid Center. Professors will schedule out of class activities that enhance the academic content of their course by providing students with the opportunity to explore course concepts in real time within a global setting.  Although the calendar and class schedules are subject to change slightly from semester to semester, students can get a general understanding of the program by viewing the current Semester Calendar found in the USD Madrid Program Brochure


Detailed textbook information is provided to all enrolled students after students' schedules have been confirmed. This information is sent via email and all students are required to obtain the appropriate texts for their courses.

Activities & Excursions

Madrid is one of the most livable capital cities in the world. Festive and friendly, this modern, fast-paced political and financial center of one of Europe's most ancient countries has managed to preserve the old while embracing the new. The city offers an abundance of opportunities to participate in Spain's rich cultural life. Its central location offers easy access to Spanish cities in every direction.

Throughout the semester, the USD Madrid Center will inform students about interesting activities taking place in the city. Additional planned and guided excursions are planned during some weekends and holiday breaks. Please check in with the USD Madrid Center for information about upcoming excursions. 

Academic Calendar

To view the academic calendar, please see the current calendar located on the USD Madrid Program Brochure. Traditionally, the fall semester begins the end of August, with the travel seminar, and concludes in mid-December.  The spring semester begins in January and concludes in mid-May.  

Undergraduate Semester Program Administration

The University of San Diego Madrid Center has full-time staff members and various local faculty supporting our undergraduate semester program. 


Administrator Biography

Carlos Burgos, PhD

Academic Director Semester Program

carlos burgos madrid center program

Carlos Burgos (PhD Stanford) is the Academic Director of the USD Madrid Center Undergraduate Semester Program.  In addition to serving as the Academic Director, he teaches courses on Spanish and Latin American Literature and film. His research focuses on 19th and 20th century Latin American and Spanish Literature and Culture as well as Critical Theory. His first book, Entensión, 

was published in 2008.

Lupe Burgos, MS

Madrid Center Administrative Director

Lupe Burgos 

Lupe Burgos obtained her MS in Management from Florida International University. She has lived in Ecuador, USA, and Spain. Before joining the USD Madrid team she worked in banking for almost 10 years and had the opportunity to work for regional banks, as well as global industry leaders like JP Morgan Chase.  Lupe serves as our Madrid Center Administrative Director, supervising all aspects of Center activities and providing student support services for our students spending a semester in Madrid.

Jon Oleaga

Internship Coordinator & Visiting Professor of Marketing

Oleaga Madrid Center Faculty

 Jon Oleaga has been working in marketing and product development departments all his professional career, both for big corporations and his startup Visualbox, where he is actually the CEO. He also works for ABC newspaper as a tech journalist and advisor, as well as professor at IE Business School where he teaches Product Innovation and EUDE where he teaches Email Marketing and Entrepreneurship. He holds a degree in Business Administration (DEUSTO) and Psychology (UNED), also has masters in Marketing (DEUSTO), Executive MBA (IE) and Behavioral Psychology (UNED).

Mario Patino, MA

Madrid Center Student Life and Housing Coordinator


Mario holds a Bachelor’s degree in International Business from Universidad Santa Maria (Guayaquil-Ecuador) and a Master’s degree in Information Technology and Communications Systems from Universidad Politécnica de Madrid.  Mario has lived in Ecuador, Spain and the USA, and has spent time as a study abroad student in UCLA and UPM (Madrid) where he started developing a passion for international education. Before joining the USD Madrid Team, Mario worked as an English for Business Corporate Instructor, and Student Services Coordinator for Vaughn Systems, the leading provider of English Language training in Spain. Mario also has previous experience coordinating international projects and has been involved with international collaborations since early in his career.


There is a unique variety of international and local faculty members at the USD Madrid Center to provide students an enriching global perspective while studying in Madrid.

Living in Madrid

Spanish culture is widely known for Flamenco music and dance, bullfights, fantastic beaches and lots of sunshine. Day to day living in Madrid may seem less "Spanish" than other smaller towns and cities in Spain. The Spanish siesta, or midday nap, is gradually and steadily diminishing, being replaced by more traditional business working hours. The fast paced lifestyle of businessmen and women seems to contradict the slower, Mediterranean ways of life. However, it is precisely these reasons that make Madrid unique to the country, offering its visitors and inhabitants a complex and beautiful mixture of old Spain and modern life.
Among the clamor of this large, metropolitan city, you will still find Madrileños pausing their work day for an hour-long coffee break in bars or cafés. Spanish tapas are served throughout the city, from restaurants representing a variety of regions in Spain. Clubs often do not close until dawn, and the city lights and pedestrian activity make it hard to distinguish between 3am and 3pm. Come and experience the harmonious blend of progress with tradition, nationalism with tolerance, and people from all over the world--all within Madrid.

Transportation in Madrid

Madrid has one of the most comprehensive and dependable public transportation systems in the world, making it easy for students to access any part of the city at a very low cost.  This public transportation system is comprised of the Madrid metro, buses, and local trains.  Upon arrival to Madrid, students will be provided with a transportation identification card, which will allow them to purchase unlimited monthly travel passes (for use on metro & bus).

Madrid Metro

Madrid's metro system is comprised of 12 lines and covers most of the city and runs from 6:00 am to 1:30 am daily.  The USD Madrid Center is located right off the Banco de Espana and Retiro metro stops, so students can conveniently take to metro to class everyday.  For a comprehensive map of the Madrid metro, visit their .

City Buses

Madrid’s extensive bus services consist of over 150 lines that reach virtually every corner of the city and outskirts. Although the buses tend to take longer to reach their destination than the metro, they cover a larger area of the city, and you get to see where you’re going.  Buses run every 10 or 15 minutes (depending on the time of the day) beginning at 6:00am to approximately 11:30pm.  Late night buses are available, but run less frequently (every 20-25 minutes) beginning at midnight from Plaza Cibeles (near Puerta del Sol).   For an overview of bus routes, visit the .

Sports & Recreation

Soccer or "fútbol" is Spain’s national sport and easily the country’s most important participant and spectator sport. Spanish soccer fans are among the most dedicated and fervent in Europe.  Madrid is home to three professional soccer or "fútbol" teams: Real Madrid, Atlético de Madrid, and Rayo Vallecano.  Attending a soccer game in Madrid is a cultural experience that we highly encourage students to take a part in!

Staying in shape and healthy is easy in Madrid.  Students have access to the gym (and group fitness classes) and intramural sports teams at the Universidad Pontificia de Comillas.  The world famous Retiro park, which is right outside of the USD Madrid Center is the perfect place to walk or jog with friends.

Studying in Madrid

While in Madrid, students have access to various academic spaces that provide quiet areas designed for study. The USD Madrid Center open study areas as well as group study areas are ideal for student collaboration. Additionally, students participating in the USD Madrid semester program have access to study areas on the Universidad Pontificia Comillas campus, which includes libraries, computer labs and large study halls.

Money in Madrid

The most convenient way to access money while in Madrid is to withdrawal money (using your persoal ATM card) at one of the many ATMs throughout the city.  This will give students the most up-to-date exchange rate.  Students should be aware that many banks charge a withdrawal fee, so it is advisable to withdrawal larger sums of Euros from an ATM at one time to avoid frequent charges.  Banks can charge upwards of $5.00 per ATM withdrawal, so students should contact their bank prior to departure to learn about their international withdrawal policies.


All students participating in the USD Madrid Center semester program live off-campus in either home stays or in student residence halls.

In home stays, students may request to live alone in a home or with other students (up to two other roommates) and breakfast and dinner are included daily (seven days a week). Students have declared that the home stay experience was one of the best parts of their entire time abroad. A home stay doesn't just provide a roof over your head and meals on the table, it provides an insider's perspective to life in Madrid and integrates you into the culture by including you in social events as well as daily life activities.

For security reasons, students are not permitted to find their own housing arrangements outside of the USD-contracted housing.

Excursions & Activities

Madrid is one of the most livable capital cities in the world. Festive and friendly, this modern, fast-paced political and financial center of one of Europe's most ancient countries has managed to preserve the old while embracing the new. The city offers an abundance of opportunities to participate in Spain's rich cultural life. Its central location offers easy access to Spanish cities in every direction.

Throughout the semester, the USD Madrid Center will inform students about interesting activities taking place in the city. Additional planned and guided excursions are organized during some weekends and holiday breaks. Please check in with the USD Madrid Center for information about upcoming excursions.

In addition, each of the courses of study include visits to local sites, organizations and companies relevant to the specific topic of study.  Students studying at the USD Madrid Center have several opportunities to explore Madrid and the region from both an academic and cultural perspective.

Language Partners

Spanish language students at the USD Madrid Center are paired with local university students to help enhance their Spanish-speaking ability and to help the Spanish locals improve their English. The Language Partners also help students to assimilate to life in Madrid by serving as peer-to-peer ambassadors. The USD Madrid Center Semester Program will assist students in finding a match with local students; however, once students are paired, they work together among themselves to determine their own activities and scheduling arrangements.


USD Madrid Center Inauguration

Former University of San Diego President, Dr. Mary Lyons was joined by faculty, staff, alumni, Board of Trustees members and friends of USD as she officially inaugurated the Madrid Center in November 2014.