Autonomous University of Madrid

The Autonomous University of Madrid (Spanish: Universidad Autónoma de Madrid; UAM), commonly known as la Autónoma,[4][5] is a Spanish public university located in Madrid, Spain. The university was founded in 1968 by royal decree. UAM is widely respected as one of the most prestigious universities in Europe. According to the QS World University Rankings 2022, UAM is ranked as the top university in Spain and has consistently ranked as #1 in Spain in the El Pais University rankings, published annually. Among its notable alumni, which include every president that the Supreme Court of Spain and Constitutional Court of Spain has had, is the current King of Spain, Felipe VI, who studied the Licenciatura en Derecho (Law) and is the president of UAM’s alumni society.

Autonomous University of Madrid
Universidad Autónoma de Madrid
Escudo de la Universidad Autónoma de Madrid.svg
Seal of the Autonomous University of Madrid
Other name
UAM, La Autónoma
MottoLatin: Quid Ultra Faciam?
Motto in English
What Else Shall We Do?
TypePublic,Autonomous university
Established6 June 1968[1]
Academic affiliations
Budget334.4 million (2020)[2]
RectorAmaya Mendikoetxea Pelayo
Academic staff
2,505 (2015/16)[2]
Administrative staff
1,036 (2015/16)[2]
Undergraduates21,203 (2015/16)[2]
Postgraduates6,701 (2015/16)[2]
3,818 (2015/16)[2]

40°32′43″N 3°41′46″W / 40.5453°N 3.69611°W / 40.5453; -3.69611
CampusRural, 650 acres (260 ha)
Colours  Green[3]
UAM Wordmark 2018.svg

The campus of the university spans a rural tract of 650 acres (260 ha), mostly around metropolitan Madrid. Founded in 1968, its main campus, Cantoblanco, is located near the cities of Alcobendas, San Sebastián de los Reyes and Tres Cantos. UAM's Cantoblanco Campus holds most of the university's facilities. It is located 15 km (9.3 mi) north of Madrid and has an extension of over 2,200,000 m2 (24,000,000 sq ft). Of these, nearly 770,000 m2 (8,300,000 sq ft) are urbanised and about a third of them garden areas. UAM offers 94 doctorate programs in all of the universities studies. It also offers 88 master's degrees. According to a study carried out by the newspaper El Mundo, in 2021, UAM was the best university in the country to study Biology, Nursing, Medicine, Physics and Law, within the 50 careers with the highest demand.


The Stabilization Plan of 1959 and the development plans of the 1960s boosted the Spanish economy after years of austerity and the self-sufficiency-based economy.[4] The end of diplomatic and economic isolation led to an economic boom in Spain that resulted in the consolidation of a middle class similar to that of other Western European nations. The demand of higher education increased, and the Spanish university system grew increasingly congested.[4]

The Autonomous University of Madrid was established by the 5-1968 Decree approved by the Spanish Council of Ministers during the Francoist dictatorship along with the Autonomous University of Barcelona and the University of Bilbao. This decree was sponsored by the then-Minister of Science and Education, José Luis Villar Palasí, in order to restructure the Spanish university system. The name Universidad Autónoma de Madrid first appeared in an executive order by the Ministry which was published on 13 August 1968.[6]

On 8 June 2018 the Autonomous University of Madrid celebrated its 50th Anniversary with a series of commemorative events.


Main campusEdit

The Cantoblanco Campus, October 2010

UAM's Cantoblanco Campus holds most of the university's facilities. It is located 15 km north of Madrid and has an extension of over 2,200,000 m2. Of these are nearly 770,000 urbanised and about a third of them garden areas. The campus was designed as a university town that was to be self-sufficient, but also would be away from Madrid in order to keep student activity against the Francoist dictatorship away from the capital.

Initially, the campus held the faculties of philosophy and liberal arts, law, economics, business management, and science, as well as the rectorate, several other service buildings and sports facilities. The university's other facilities, the faculty of medicine and the teacher training Santa Maria school are in downtown Madrid. There are two other teacher training schools in Segovia and in Cuenca. Over the years, the faculty of psychology, the biology building of the faculty of sciences, the new faculty of law (that allowed the transfer of the teacher training school to the main campus, and that was later transformed in faculty of education and teacher training) along with its political science annex building, the polytechnic school (initially superior technical school of computing engineers), the libraries of humanities and sciences, as well as the Erasmus of Rotterdam dormitory have been built on the main campus.

Faculty of Law (Facultad de Derecho), October 2010

The original faculties were housed in interconnected buildings with several patios in between them. Characteristic of each building is a large number of stairs in its corridors, initially designed to prevent students from running in case of police raids. Currently, this fact has been considered by many university officials as a setback in the integration of handicapped students. The newest facilities were built in a contemporary style, being more accessible and allowing more free movement to students. Sporting facilities include two swimming pools (an indoor one and an outdoor one), two multiple-use pavilions, and outdoor tennis, football, basketball, paddle tennis, rugby, and futsal and beach volleyball courts.

Other services on campus include 16 cafeterias and other eating facilities, medical services, a pharmacy with optic care, a foreign languages pavilion, and a bookstore. The campus also houses several research facilities partnered with the Spanish Scientific Research Council (CSIC). Cantoblanco Campus is accessible by train belonging to Renfe Cercanias Commuter service (station Cantoblanco-Universidad), or by the Madrid Region Commuter Bus service. The campus is located in the B1 area of the Madrid Transports Consortium.

Medicine CampusEdit

UAM faculty of medicine is located north of Madrid near La Paz teaching hospital (that acts as one of the faculty's teaching hospitals, as Puerta de Hierro Majadahonda Hospital, La Princesa Hospital, Niño Jesús Hospital and Fundación Jiménez Díaz do). It was inaugurated in 1969. Juan Luis Vives Residence Hall was UAM's first residential facility. It is located in the Plaza Castilla area in northern Madrid. It has 130 residents and holds several cultural activities of the university.

La CristaleraEdit

La Cristalera residence is located in Miraflores de la Sierra, a village north of Madrid that was acquired by the university in 1989. It is used for conferences and meetings and is the main centre of UAM's summer courses.

Academic organizationEdit

The central campus in October 2010.
The university's train station, October 2010

The UAM is divided into eight faculties and superior schools that support and coordinate most of the university's academic and administrative activity. Each faculty is divided into departments that coordinate the teaching and research of the different subjects. Researchers can organise into research institutes in order to coordinate their activities in a specific research field. The university totals up to 59 departments and eight research institutes. In addition to these, the UAM has seven associate schools, which are not completely part of UAM's administrative structure, but issue UAM-recognised titles and are under UAM's academic regulations.

Faculties and superior schools:

  • Faculty of Philosophy and Liberal Arts
  • Faculty of Law
  • Faculty of Economic Science and Business Management
  • Faculty of Sciences
  • Faculty of Medicine
  • Faculty of Psychology
  • Engineering School (until 2002 Superior School of Computer Engineers)
  • Faculty of Teacher Training and Education (until 2002 Santa Maria School of Teacher Training)

Associate schools are:

  • Red Cross School of Nursing
  • Puerta de Hierro School of Nursing
  • Jimenez Diaz Foundation School of Nursing
  • ONCE School of physiotherapy
  • LaSalle Institute of Higher Education
  • Escuela de Gemología

Administrative organisationEdit

Rectorate building, October 2010

UAM administration is established according to the 2001's Organic Law of Universities (LOU). The Senior Academic and Administrative Officer of the Autonomous University of Madrid is the rector, who must be, by law, a chair professor serving in the university, elected every four years with a two-term limit by universal graded suffrage. The current rector is José Maria Sanz, chair of applied physics, who substituted his predecessor Ángel Gabilondo in 2009, when Gabilondo became Minister of Education. An indefinite number of vice-rectors are appointed by the rector to lead different administrative departments of the university (such as Student affairs or Graduate academic affairs), and a secretary general coordinating the rector's team and overseeing the legal procedures of the university, as well as university protocol. The rector, in accordance with the university's social board, also designates the manager as part of his team, which oversees the university's economic and administrative activity.

The grades assigned to each sector for rectoral elections in UAM according to its charter are:

  • Full professors: 51% of the final votes
  • Students: 28% of the final votes
  • Other professors: 9%
  • Non-teaching personnel: 9%
  • Teaching and research personnel in training: 3%.

UAM's collective government bodies are the University Assembly, The Board of Governors, and The Social Board. The University Assembly is made out of 153 full professors, 84 students, 27 hired, associate, or emeritus professors, 27 members of the non-teaching personnel, 9 research or teaching trainees, the rector, the secretary-general, and the manager. It is the highest representative body of the university. It elaborates the university's general guidelines, changes or passes a new university charter, elects twenty members of the Board of Governors, and elects the university Ombudsman.

The Board of Governors is the ordinary governmental body of the university. It controls and passes regulations on most of the university's academic, personnel, and administrative issues. It is composed of the rector, the secretary-general, the manager, 20 members elected by the assembly according to its composition, all the deans and the head of the polytechnic school, 7 heads of department, a head of research institute, 15 members designated by the rector and three members of the Social Board.

The Social Board is the body responsible for the relations between university and society. Its members are designated by trade unions, the municipality of Madrid, employers unions, companies related to the university, the Madrid Assembly and the Board of Governors of the university. It also oversees the universities financial activities and passes the university budget. Its current chairman is Manuel Pizarro.

Faculties are headed by a dean, whilst the responsible of the polytechnic school is called head. They are elected in the same way as the rector and have also a limit of two four-year terms. They are aided by vice-deans or deputy heads. They are overseen by a faculty or school board. Departments are led by the head of department and overseen by the department council.



UAM offers Spanish undergraduates fully recognized degrees. There are the Diplomatura and Ingenierías Técnicas (technical engineering), which are three-year studies equivalent to an associate degree. Licenciaturas and Ingenierías Superiores are four to five years studies equivalent to a bachelor's degree. Along with that, UAM offers second level licenciaturas, which allow people who have a diplomatura to obtain a licenciatura by taking courses. In other case, they must have at least the first two or three years of a licenciatura and combined degree, which are very popular among Spanish students. They also offer courses in languages other than Spanish.

In addition to the Faculties where the degrees on the different fields of knowledge and science are studied —Faculty of Science, F. of Business and Economic Science, F. of Law, F. of Philosophy and the Arts, F. of Teacher Training and Education, F. of Psychology, F. of Medicine and School of Engineering— there are external centers that teach specific studies and their associated degree: "La Salle" Centre of Higher Education, The Red Cross School of Nursing, The Jimenez Diaz Foundation University School of Nursing, The ONCE University School of Physioterapy.[7]


UAM offers 94 PhD programs in all of the universities programs. It also offers 72 master's degrees, and with the implementation of the Bologna Process 16 recognised master's degrees for the academic year of 2006–07.[8]


In addition, the alliance of the four leading Spanish public Universities, two in Madrid (Autónoma University of Madrid and Universidad Carlos III) and two in Barcelona (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Universitat Pompeu Fabra) allows close collaboration between projects and researchers.[9]


University rankings
Global – Overall
ARWU World[10]301-400 (2019)
CWTS World[11]310 (2019)
QS World[12]192 (2020)
THE World[13]251–300 (2020)
USNWR Global[14]183 (2020)

Throughout its history, the UAM has been one of Spain's most prominent higher education institutions,[15] being ranked first amongst Spanish universities by the El Mundo University Supplement (known as "Las 50 Carreras").[16][17] It has also consistently ranked as the #1 law school in Spain for the past 100 years. For the subject "Mathematics" the university was ranked within top 51-75 universities in the world (within top 12 in Europe).[18] It was the Spanish university with the most researchers among the most cited according to the Thomson Reuters ranking citation in 2011.

Student lifeEdit

Francisco Tomás y Valiente Avenue. Tomas Y Valiente was murdered by ETA in his office at the Faculty of Law in 1996
A panel debate at UAM in 2005

Societies and compromiseEdit

The Autonomous University of Madrid has an active student body, having organised one of Spain's most important events against the dictatorship in 1976 called the Iberian Peoples Festival. It had an attendance of over 70,000. UAM has over a hundred student societies covering activities ranging from student unionism to theatre and music. The oldest active association in UAM is the Law Students Association (AED in Spanish), a left-leaning student union established in 1981. Furthermore, there are new prominent societies in the field of social sciences, such a Debate Society (Sociedad de Debates UAM) and a Model UN society (UAM-I-MUN), both founded and run mainly by law students.

UAM does not have a formal student government body, as it has been rejected by students in several occasions, and instead students elect different student unions (usually with difference on political issues) to the different university government bodies.

In recent years, UAM students have organised massively to protest against terrorism, after the assassination of Francisco Tomas y Valiente by ETA in 1995, against the Organic Law of Universities in 2001, to clean Spain's northern coast after the Prestige oil spill in 2002, against the War in Iraq in 2003, to assist to the II European Social Forum also in 2003, and in solidarity with the victims of the 11 March 2004 Madrid train bombings.

Festivals and partiesEdit

UAM is also a festive campus, holding several festivals during spring. The most important one was the Spring festival held until 1993, but halted due to massification. Since then minor festivals have been held by student associations. These festivals usually consist of rock concerts by amateur rock bands (many of which have members that are UAM) from midday until dusk. According to university regulations, festival profits have to be destined to charities or to the organisation of cultural events. In 2005, due to massification of the festivals that led to several problems, university officials suspended further festivals until a more convenient place for their celebration would be found. Thus, no festivals were held in 2006.

Notable alumniEdit







Noted faculty and researchersEdit

List of rectorsEdit


See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Decreto-ley 5/1968, de 6 de junio, sobre medidas urgentes de reestructuración universitaria" (in Spanish). Boletín Oficial del Estado. 6 June 1968. Retrieved 14 August 2017.
  2. ^ a b c d e f "Resumen de datos relevantes de la Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, 2015-2016" (PDF) (in Spanish). Archived from the original (PDF) on 15 August 2017. Retrieved 14 August 2017.
  3. ^ Manual de Identidad Visual Corporativa - website of the Autonomous University of Madrid
  4. ^ a b c Opazo, Héctor (6 June 2020). "Universidad Autónoma de Madrid - Autonomous University of Madrid, Spain". Retrieved 6 June 2020.
  5. ^ Alvarez, Antonio (5 October 2015). "Universidad Autonoma de Madrid - UEA". Retrieved 6 June 2020.
  6. ^ "ORDEN de 27 de julio de 1968 por la que se crea la Comisión Promotora en la Universidad autónoma de Madrid" (PDF) (in Spanish). Boletín Oficial del Estado. 13 August 1968.
  7. ^ "Undergraduate Studios". Universidad Autónoma de Madrid. Retrieved 18 July 2018.
  8. ^ Universidad Autónoma de Madrid - CURSO 2010-2011 Archived 25 February 2010 at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ "Universidad Autónoma de Madrid - Research". Retrieved 7 June 2020.
  10. ^ "Academic Ranking of World Universities - Autonomous University of Madrid". Shanghai Ranking. Retrieved 7 February 2020.
  11. ^ "CWTS Leiden Ranking 2019". Retrieved 7 February 2020.
  12. ^ "QS World University Rankings - Universidad Autónoma de Madrid". Top Universities. Retrieved 7 February 2020.
  13. ^ "World University Rankings - Autonomous University of Madrid". THE World University Rankings. Retrieved 7 February 2020.
  14. ^ "Best Global Universities - Autonomous University of Madrid". U.S. News Education (USNWR). Retrieved 7 February 2020.
  15. ^ "5 Top Universities in Spain that Are Among The World's Best > CEOWORLD magazine". CEOWORLD magazine. 3 April 2020. Retrieved 26 April 2020.
  16. ^ "Las 50 Carreras 2013/2014" (PDF). El Mundo. Archived from the original (PDF) on 10 July 2012.
  17. ^ "Spain Universities in Top 500 - 2012". Archived from the original on 11 June 2013. Retrieved 3 June 2013.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link) (in English)
  18. ^ Academic Ranking of World Universities in Mathematics-2012 (in English)
  19. ^ "Casa de Su Majestad el Rey de España – S.M. el Rey Don Felipe VI". (in Spanish). Retrieved 20 June 2014.
  20. ^ What is the Centro de Biologia Molecular Severo Ochoa Archived 6 October 2010 at the Wayback Machine
  21. ^ Organic & Biomolecular Chemistry (2007), 5(17), 2727-2734.
  22. ^ Gold-catalyzed allyl-allyl coupling. Angewandte Chemie International Edition (2008), 47(10), 1883-1886.
  23. ^ Staff Reporter. "Sharjah Ruler's receives honorary doctorate from Autonomous University of Madrid". Khaleej Times. Retrieved 28 April 2020.
  24. ^ Staff Reporter. "Sharjah Ruler's receives honorary doctorate from Autonomous University of Madrid". Khaleej Times. Retrieved 15 May 2021.

External linksEdit

40°32′43″N 3°41′46″W / 40.5453°N 3.69611°W / 40.5453; -3.69611