The first year the University of Barcelona offered master’s degree courses adapted to the European Higher Education Area (EHEA) was 2006. Since then, university qualifications have undergone a series of changes to fully adapt to the EHEA, and for the academic year 2013-14, the UB is offering a total of 140 university master’s degree courses, all adapted to the EHEA and regulated by Royal Decree 1393/2007, which is the Spanish law for official degree courses.
The aims of the university master’s degree courses are to establish a system of compatible credits, comparable criteria and methods and courses that have a similar duration to European second-cycle degree courses in other countries where institutions are regulated by the EHEA. These courses are also designed to facilitate and promote the mobility of students and their incorporation into the European labour market.
Undergraduate degree courses have been designed to ensure that students are sufficiently qualified to do skilled work or to go on to take postgraduate courses. University master’s degree courses offer the choice of one of two study pathways or combinations thereof: the professional pathway, which provides the training for students who want to start work immediately; or the research pathway, for students who want to be able to complete doctoral studies. Effectively, the research pathway of the university master's degree now constitutes the training period of the third-cycle studies doctoral program and culminates in the preparation of a PhD. In order to obtain a doctoral degree, the student must complement the training acquired at the level of the master's degree through the completion of a PhD. The doctoral program will determine the specific admission requirements to be met by the student.
The Spanish university master’s degrees are officially recognized in Spain and in Europe as degrees that have been regulated by the directives of the EHEA. Their public prices are regulated by the Catalan government (Generalitat de Catalunya).