Study in Madrid

Undergraduate Semester Program in the Heart of Madrid

Bustling with people and lined with restaurants and cafés, Spain's capital is the city that never sleeps. View masterpieces in the world famous Prado Museum and lounge in Retiro Park which is located just steps away from the USD Madrid Center where the undergraduate semester program is housed. Stroll leisurely through the theatre district, stopping at the many boutiques along the way. Be awed by the majestic architecture and grandeur of the Royal Palace. You could spend years discovering all the charms and activities that Madrid has to offer!

Unique Features of the USD Madrid Semester Program

  • 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 (for advanced Spanish speakers)
  • Travel Seminar to various cities throughout Spain
  • Language Partners
  • Full-time staff and student support services on-site
  • Home stays (2 meals/day provided; 7 days a week)

Welcome from the Director of USD's Office of International Studies Abroad

Studying in the heart of Madrid is truly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity! Students will be immersed into the Spanish culture by living in local home stays, participating in an adventurous Travel Seminar throughout various regions in Spain and by learning academic course content through hands-on activities, with local faculty who are experts in their field, in the wonderful city of Madrid.

Over the last five years, the University of San Diego has been ranked within the top three universities in the nation in terms of the percentage of undergraduate students who study abroad. The Madrid Center Semester Program is one of our largest study abroad locations which we have been coordinating for over ten years.

We invite you to visit us in Madrid and be a part of this wonderful program!


Kira Espiritu, Ph.D.
Director International Studies Abroad
International Center
University of San Diego

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. 

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 including Spanish, art history, business, communication studies, history, political science, theology and religious studies, and biology.

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.

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. 

Additionally, in the Spring semester, program participants will have the opportunity to visit Paris - the City of Lights. This trip is INCLUDED IN THE PROGRAM FEE (available to students at no additional cost). There is a minimum enrollment that must be met of 25 students. The tour includes the following: three night stay in Paris hotel with breakfast, all tours, program-related activities and round-trip airfare from/to Madrid.

Academic Calendar

To view the academic calendar, please see the current calendar located on the USD Madrid Program Brochure.

USD Students

All costs for the USD Madrid Program will be charged directly by the USD Student Accounts Office and will be posted to each student's individual bill. USD students can apply their USD financial aid package to a semester in Madrid. The total cost of the program including tuition and program fee can be found on the Madrid Program Budget Sheet.

Non-USD Students

If you are a non-USD student, please ask your home university's study abroad program director to contact Dr. Kira Espiritu to receive detailed cost information.

The University of San Diego has been coordinating study abroad opportunities for students for more than 50 years. We are committed to providing an excellent academic experience in Madrid for your students and look forward to partnering with you.

The USD Madrid Center, located in the heart of Madrid, provides an interactive learning environment for students to grow academically, socially and developmentally. We have a dedicated team on-site and also in our main office at the University of San Diego who pride themselves on offering students a safe, healthy and enriching study abroad experience. We have consistently been ranked among the top three schools in the nation for the percentage of USD undergraduate students (approximately 70%) who participate in our study abroad programs and we are excited about welcoming your students to our community in Madrid.

Thank you for partnering with us and trusting us to provide a life-changing study abroad experience in Spain to your students.

For further information about the USD Madrid Center, please contact: Kira Espiritu, Ph.D., Director, University of San Diego Office of International Studies Abroad

For students with questions about the USD Madrid Center, please contact: Derek Brendel, Madrid Center Program Advisor

Undergraduate Semester Program in the Heart of Madrid

The USD Madrid Center program currently offers a one semester (fall and spring) study abroad experience with courses available across several disciplines including Spanish, art history, business, communication studies, history, political science, theology and religious studies, and biology. Courses offered will transfer back to fulfill credits for various majors, minors and liberal arts core curriculum requirements. All course are offered in English, and students attend courses with USD students and those from other universities in the USA.  For those who have advanced Spanish language skills they may also also choose to enroll in courses offered by Universidad Pontificia Comillas.

Course Structure

Courses are generally offered two days a week on a schedule from Monday-Thursday.  The fall semester begins the end of August, with the travel seminar, and concludes mid-Dember.  The spring semester begins the end of January, with the travel seminar, and concludes mid-May.  The program and course credits are on the semester system.  All courses earn three units of semester credit.

Travel Seminar

The travel seminar begins in mid-August for the fall semester and the end of January for the spring semester.  All students are required to participate in the travel seminar for which they receive 3 semester units of upper division academic credit in either Spanish, history, political science or general business.  Students will visit Sevilla, Córdoba, Barcelona, Valencia and Granada giving them an opportunity to learn more about the country within the context of the discipline in which they are taking the travel seminar course.  The travel seminar class sessions also continue into the remainder of the semester.  

Course Offerings and Descriptions

Each semester there are several courses available across several disciplines. Click here for general course descriptions.

Course Schedules

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.

Undergraduate Semester Program Faculty & Administration

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


Administrator Biography

Lupe Burgos, MS

Madrid Center Program Manager

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 Program Manager supervising all aspects of Center activities as well as providing student support services for our students spending a semester in Madrid.

Gabriela Navarro, MA

Madrid Center Student Life and Housing Coordinator

Gabriela obtained a dual bachelor’s degree (Psychology and Spanish) and went on to investigate interaction, anxiety and computer mediated communication during her Master’s degree, which she recently received from San Diego State University. Gabriela has lived in Mexico and the USA and has spent time as a study abroad student in Spain and Costa Rica. Before joining the USD Madrid Center team she gained experience in study abroad administration at Universidad Complutense, Universidad de Nebrija and most recently at Boston University in Madrid, where she developed the cultural and social program. Gabriela plans to pursue a PhD in Applied Linguistics and develop dynamic learning products and materials for second language learners. She dedicates her free time to travel, spending time with friends, and exploring Madrid with her husband and dog.


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.

María Fernanda Ampuero, MA

Visiting Professor of Spanish


María Fernanda Ampuero has a Masters Degree in Latin American Literature from the Universidad de Buenos Aires (UBA), and a Bachelor Degree in Spanish Language and Literature from the Universidad Católica de Santiago de Guayaquil.  As a professor, she has instructed courses at Universidad Complutense de Madrid and Universidad Menéndez Pelayo.  Professor Ampuero teaches Spanish at the University of San Diego Madrid Center.

Almudena Ariza Armada, PhD

Visiting Professor of Spanish

Ariza Madrid Center 2

Dr. Ariza holds a BA and MA degree in Medieval History, doctoral studies in Archaeology, Paleography, Numismatics and related sciences, and her PhD in Arabic and Islamic Studies from the Complutense University of Madrid. She teaches courses on the history of Islam in Spain, International relations between Spain and the Mediterranean Islamic Countries, the History of Sefarad, and History, Politics and Literature of Spain, as well as Spanish language. She has also participated in various research projects and received several scholarships and grants from Spanish and International Institutions to conduct research in Spain as well as various European and Arabic countries.

Cathy Bingman, MDiv

Visiting Professor of Religious Studies

cathy bingman madrid center study abroad

Cathy Bingman has two Masters Degrees, one in Divinity from Perkins School of Theology (Southern Methodist University) and the other in Spanish Education from Purdue University, where she also received her Bachelor’s degree in Spanish Language and Literature. She is an ordained United Methodist minister (since 1983) and professor of Theology and Religious Studies at both the University of San Diego and Southern Methodist University in Madrid since 1998. Professor Bingman is also Senior Pastor of the Community Church of Madrid, Spain, where she has served since 1999.

Gustavo Campos, MBA

Visiting Professor of Business

gustavo campos madrid center study abroad

Gustavo Campus was born and raised in Mexico but has lived in several different European countries. With B.S. degree in International Business he joined Kellogg working as a Manager for Category Management Operations dealing global accounts such as Wal-Mart, Carrefour and Ahold. During this period he had the opportunity to work in different Latin American countries such as Mexico, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Argentina as well as in the USA. With a scholarship awarded by the British Council he completed his MBA at the Manchester Business. From the U.K. he moved to France and then Spain as an e-procurement consultant for Carrefour. Currently he is living in Valencia (Spain) having established his own consulting company and works with different clients from all over Europe helping them to improve their sales processes and internal operations. He is an instructor in the Business Travel Seminar at the USD Madrid.

Cesar Canton, PhD

Visiting Professor of Management


Cesar Canton has a Ph.D. (Summa cum Laude) in Philosophy from Universidad Complutense de Madrid, an Executive MBA from IESE Business School, and a B.A. in Philosophy from Universidad de Navarra, Spain.  His research and teaching interests include Business Ethics, Business and Human Rights, Sustainability, and Corporate Governance.  He has instructed courses at a number of universities, including Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Universidad Camilo José Cela, and Universidad Complutenze de Madrid. Professor Canton teaches Management at USD Madrid.

Dale Fuchs, MA

Visiting Professor of Communications

dale fuchs madrid center international study abroad

Dale Fuchs is a professional journalist based in Madrid. She came to Spain on a Fulbright Fellow in 1998 and never left. Her articles on Spain have appeared in The New York Times, The international Herald Tribute, The Guardian, The Miami Herald, El País, and El Mundo. She is currently the Madrid correspondent for The Independent. She writes on a wide variety of issues from the Basque separatism to art and fashion. Dale received a Masters in Journalism from New York University and a Bachelors in Government from Cornell University. She teaches International Media at USD Madrid.

Marta López Beriso, MPhil

Visiting Professor of Art History

marta lopez beriso faculty madrid center

Marta López is an active scholar and educator in the field of art history. She holds degrees in Art History and Archeology (B.A. Université de La Sorbonne-Paris IV), Arts and Culture Administration (M.A. Universidad de Barcelona), and a MPhil in Contemporary Art/History of Photography (Universidad Complutense de Madrid). Her doctoral research is focused in defining social identity through 19th Photography. She is the former Adjunct Director at the Esteban Vicente Contemporary Art Museum, Segovia, as well as Director of Education at Museo Picasso Málaga. At USD Madrid, she teaches "Art in The Prado Museum", "Civilization of Spain" and "Spain: Identities and Cultures".

Cecilia Méndez Cea, PhD

Visiting Professor of Spanish Language and Culture

cecilia medez cea faculty madrid center

Cecilia Méndez Cea has a Ph.D. (Summa cum Laude) in Applied Linguistics from the Universidad de Salamanca (USAL) and a Masters in the Teaching of Spanish Language and Culture to International Students by Universidad de Alcalá de Henares (UAH), Madrid. In addition to being an active researcher and scholar she enjoys travel. Having been born in Salamanca, Castilla-León, Spain, she has visited more than 30 countries on four continents learning to speak five languages (English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese) in addition to Spanish. Her academic background, and personal travel passion, gives her an insight to clearly understand the experience of being a "foreign student abroad” and the learning needed to understand and acquire a new language and a new culture. Professor Méndez enjoys contributing to the multicultural/ intercultural experience of her international students through her academic, professional and personal expertise.

Manuel Morales, MEng

Visiting Professor of Operations Management

manuel morales madrid center study abroad

Manuel Morales has been working in the field of Operations Management since 1996. He has held positions in multinational companies in Europe and USA including Stanley Black & Decker, GE Wind and Elis Manomatic. Since 2007 he has been a professor of Operations Management at Universidad Pontificia Comillas - ICADE in Madrid. He is also fluent in English, French and Spanish.

 Jon Oleaga

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).

Saul Oliveros, MBA

Visiting Professor of Business

saul oliveros faculty madrid center

Saul Oliveros received his Ph.D. in Economics from Universidad de Alcalá, Madrid. Before being enrolled in the academic world, Saúl had the chance to work for companies like NCR and Televisa Group, the biggest media group in Latin America. As a faculty member, he taught at the ITESM (Mexico), the Maastricht Center for Transatlantic Studies (Netherlands), and the Universidad de Alcalá (Spain). In the USD Madrid program, he teaches the business section of the Travel Seminar.

Carl-Gustaf Saluste, PhD

Visiting Professor of Chemistry

carl-gustafe saluste madrid center study abroad

Carl-Gustaf Saluste studied Chemistry at the University of Lund in Sweden and completed his PhD in Organic Chemistry at the University of Southhampton (UK), focusing on catalysis and the development of environmentally friendly synthesis methodologies. Besides teaching, Prof. Saluste has work experience in drug discovery for various pharmaceutical companies. At USD Madrid Dr. Saluste currently teaches science courses.

Hector Santiago Cazull, ABD

Visiting Professor of History

hector santiago cazull faculty madrid center

Héctor Santaigo is a native of Puerto Rico and obtained a B.A. in Architecture and an M.S. in Historic Preservation at Columbia University and his completing his PhD in Spanish-American Social and Political History at Complutense University, Madrid. He also did post-graduate studies in historical/cultural heritage conservation at the International Centre for Conservation and Restoration of Cultural Property (ICCROM), Rome. After a successful career as a Historical Preservation Specialist at the Institute of Puerto Rican Culture in San Juan he was appointed the island’s Executive Director of Historical Heritage Programs in 1997. He has also served as a consultant for numerous conservation projects for historical and archaeological sites in Puerto Rico, the Caribbean and Central America. Héctor has taught undergraduate courses in Historic Preservation in Puerto Rico, and courses in Spanish, Latin-American and World History, as well as Spanish Culture and Civilization, at various American universities in Madrid, where he has been living since 2003.

Kirk Lee Tennant, ABD

Visiting Professor of Business and Ethics

kirk lee tennant faculty madrid center

Kirk Tennant is a multidisciplinary teacher. He has received masters degrees in accounting (Purdue), engineering (Southern Methodist University), management (Purdue), theology/ethics (Southern Methodist University), and English literature (St. Louis University). He combines these disciplines to teach courses in moral philosophy, ethics, and business. The courses taught by Professor Tennant combine a historical perspective of the course subject but stress the application of the course material in today’s ever shrinking, changing world. Also, since the courses are taught in Madrid, a cross-cultural view of the course content is always taken with student exposure to Spanish culture and media.