Studying in Málaga: Guide for international students

Find out what student life is like in Málaga and what subjects, tuition fees, and student associations you can expect at the University of Málaga.


8 minute read
Updated on 1 Aug 2023

Deciding to study abroad in Spain, especially in a city like Málaga, is a fantastic choice. After all, Málaga's one of the best cities to live in Spain.

Find out what student life looks like in this city and what’s it like to study at the University of Málaga.

Málaga is the ultimate student paradise

Málaga's a great place to study abroad as you’ll feel at home relatively quickly. You’ll be surrounded by thousands of international students, expats, and the local Andalusians, who’re friendly and fun-loving people.

On top of that, the student life in Málaga's well-known and preferred by many international or exchange students thanks to the cheap cost of living, the city’s historical and modern vibe, the nightlife, the wide variety of gastronomy, and its perfect size.

Cheap student city

Málaga's a very affordable city. When compared to other popular student cities, such as Barcelona or Amsterdam, the cost of living in Málaga is approximately 56% less.

In general, you’ll need approximately €600 a month to live a comfortable student life.

The biggest chunk of money will be spent on rent. The average rent for student accommodation in Málaga is €300 - €400 for a single room, depending on which neighbourhood you live in.

On average, you can expect to pay €100 for groceries and another €100 for leisure activities per month. Leisure includes the cost of dining out (€10 - €15 per meal), a pint of beer (€1 on average), watching a movie in a theatre (€8), gym membership (€34), and more.

Students also benefit from discounted public transport costs in Málaga. When travelling by train, you can apply for the Tarjeta + Renfe Joven 50 Card for a 25% - 30% discount. If you travel frequently, it’s better to apply for the Student Pass which allows you to have unlimited trips on the same route for 3 months during the academic year. This student pass costs €89.60 for 1 zone.

If you want to enjoy discounted rates as a student, apply for the Spanish Student Card.

To make your life in Málaga even better, we recommend applying for the Spanish Student Card which costs only €5. It gives you loads of advantages:

  • This card doubles up as your bus travel card and also allows you to ride the city-wide cycles known as Málaga Bici.
  • You’ll get reduced entrance tickets to historical sites and museums.
  • Enjoy drinks with mixers at a reduced price at several bars and nightclubs, such as Theatro or Gallery Club.
  • Enjoy 10% - 40% discounts at the cinema, hammam spa, segway rental, wine tour, and more!
  • Have a free drink or enjoy a 6% - 20% discount at select restaurants.

History fused with culture and modernity

Málaga's a young, vibrant, and eclectic city that also has a rich and diverse history.

Living in Málaga means that you’ll get to live in one of the oldest cities in the world! You’ll also have the opportunity to live in the birthplace of Picasso. So if you want to soak up on art and culture, you can easily visit the Picasso museum, Old Town, remnants of the Roman Amphitheatre, the Fortress of Alcazaba, or Mirador du Gibralfaro.

At the same time, you’ll also get to experience a cosmopolitan lifestyle. Málaga's a forward-looking, modern city that has a bustling seaport, Spain’s 3rd-largest airport, and a highly commercial hub.

You’ll also experience the modern and hip Málaga through the street art in the Soho district, Contemporary Art Centre, the Contemporary Music Festival, or the International Theatre or Jazz Festival.

A nightlife like no other

Students in Málaga know how to have fun on all days of the week and you’ll experience some of the best nightlife in this city.

As an international or Erasmus student, you can’t help but find yourself enjoying Málaga’s pulsing nightlife as you walk through the lively streets, bars, and clubs full of music, chatter, and laughter.

If you want to have a chill night out at the bars, you can visit the La Malagueta district or the bars famous with Erasmus students- Bakkano, Merced 14, or Camden Lock. To continue the night partying at clubs, you can visit Andén, the biggest club in Málaga, or other famous clubs such as Sala Gold and Bubbles.

No matter how you choose to enjoy your evenings or weekends, you won’t be disappointed by your options.

Eating out in Málaga

Málaga has quite an exciting culinary scene that’s rooted in traditions and innovation. So no matter what your student budget or eating habits are, there’s some delicious food for everyone.

Of course, you can try the Spanish classics - Paella, Churros, Patatas Bravas, Tortilla, etc. But Málaga also offers some of its own traditional foods which are student budget-friendly.

Considering Málaga's situated by the Mediterranean sea, it’s a paradise for seafood lovers. You can have Gambas a Pil-Pil which are fresh prawns flash fried with tasty condiments and wine, Fritura Malagueña which's a platter of fried fish, or Gazpachuelo, a white, fish-based soup.

Other traditional foods include Ala Blanco, which's a cold vegetarian soup, Plato de Los Montes, a hearty meat platter, Camperos, which are traditional round sandwiches filled with meat or seafood toppings, Tortas Locas, a pastry filled with custard, and more.

And if you miss home, try out the various international restaurants in Málaga offering cuisines ranging from Lebanese, Japanese, Indian, American, etc.

Málaga’s the perfect size

Málaga's a compact city that makes it easy to get to places, whether that’s by walking or using Málaga’s public transport.

Knowing that the city's just the right size, you’ll be able to visit your favourite areas and also keep discovering new places and things to do. And if that’s not enough, you’ve access to Spain’s third-largest airport which will take you to the rest of Spain and the world.

Ultimately, you really can’t go wrong when it comes to studying in this city. Studying here, whether it’s for an exchange semester or for a full course, will be worth your time because you’ll be surrounded by history, culture, gastronomy and friendly people.

Studying at the University of Málaga

Málaga only has one university called Universidad de Málaga; also known as the University of Málaga or UMA in short.

Did you know that the only reason Málaga has a university's because of the advocacy efforts of the “University of Málaga’s Friends Association” back in 1968?

The University of Málaga was founded in 1972 and has since been aiming at becoming a top-level institution by continuing to commit to research, scientific developments, innovation, and internationalisation.

Today, UMA is a young and dynamic university split over 2 campuses: El Ejido and Teatinos. There’re are over 40,000 local and international students studying across these 2 campuses, of which 7% are international students.

Does the University of Málaga offer courses in English?

The University of Málaga offers some courses in English, however, they’re high in demand. The University of Málaga recommends you know Spanish at level B1 to ensure you can get all the credits you need per semester.

You don’t need a certificate to prove your Spanish proficiency to get admission. But it’s good to keep in mind that the language of instruction at UMA is in Spanish and without having a good understanding of the language, you’ll have difficulties navigating your life in Málaga.

Ratings: How good is the University of Málaga?

Different institutions have different criteria for ranking any university. But on average both the Centre of World University Rankings and Edurank rank UMA as one of the top 700 universities in the world and one of the top 20 universities in Spain in 2023.

The World University Rankings ranks UMA as the top 1001-1200th best universities in the world in 2023.

Either way, UMA remains one of the best universities for international students to study in Spain.

Courses offered at the University of Málaga

UMA has various faculties and schools that you can choose from.

Faculty of Fine Arts
Faculty of Philosophy and Letters
Faculty of Social and Labour Studies
Faculty of Communication Sciences
Faculty of Education Sciences
Faculty of Economic and Business
Faculty of Commerce and Management
Law School
Faculty of Health Sciences
School of Medicine
Science Faculty
Faculty of Psychology and Speech Therapy
School of Industrial Engineers
Architecture ETS
Telecommunication Engineering STD
ETS of Computer Engineering
Faculty of Tourism
Nursing Centre
María Inmaculada Teaching Centre

As of 2021, the schools and faculties at the University of Málaga offer:

  • 59 Bachelor’s degrees,
  • 9 Double degrees,
  • 67 Master’s degrees,
  • 7 double university Master’s degrees, and
  • 22 Doctorate programs.

Please check their course catalogue which highlights courses taught in English.

Fees for international students at UMA

Fortunately for you, Spain's a relatively cheap place to study. But, unfortunately for you, figuring out your tuition fees at the University of Málaga isn't straightforward. To help you, we’ve translated the information and broken it down for you.

The total tuition fee you’ll pay at UMA, Spain's a sum of the administrative fees plus the academic fees.

The administrative fee's €59.10 for registering at the university for the first time and €5.70 for the maintenance of your records and your student ID.

The academic fee's dependent on your situation. Any course at UMA will require you to pick several compulsory and optional subjects. Each of these subjects is assigned a value called ECTS (créditos).

To know how many créditos you’ll need, pick your faculty, look at the study plans for your preferred Bachelor or Master degree, and look at the créditos per subject.

The amount you’ll pay as academic fees depends on 2 things. First, the number of créditos you need to graduate times the price per crédito. Second, how many times you’ve formally enrolled for the same subject. In other words, if you repeat a subject or take longer to pass a subject, the more it will cost you.

Here’re the costs per crédito for a bachelor or master degree taught at UMA:

Degree Group1st enrollment2nd enrollment
Philosophy, Humanities, History, Law, Economics, BusinessBachelor: €12.62; Master: €13.68Bachelor: €25.25 Master: €27.35
Fine Arts, Geography, Math, Science of EducationBachelor: €12.62 Master: €13.68Bachelor: €25.25 Master: €27.35
Engineering, ArchitectureBachelor: €12.62 Master: €13.68Bachelor: €25.25 Master: €27.35
Experimental SciencesBachelor: €12.62 Master: €13.68Bachelor: €25.25 Master: €27.35
Health SciencesBachelor: €12.62 Master: €13.68Bachelor: €25.25 Master: €27.35

In general, you should expect an average of €2,500 to study at UMA.

Student associations at UMA

The University of Málaga has 76 student associations! Apart from the popular ESN (Erasmus Student Network), you can take part in associations such as the Association of Student Reform, Critical Architecture Student Association, Law Students Forum Association, ADUMA (Debate Association), and more.

Each of these associations will keep you busy and engaged while you’re studying at UMA.

Student Visa: Make your way to Spain!

Ready and excited to embark on your best student life in Málaga?! We bet! Check out the Spanish student visa guide and the relocation checklist to make sure you’re fully prepared for your brand new adventure.

Please reach out to if you have any suggestions or inquiries about the content on this page.

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