The University in the Democratic Transition and Consolidation

After the death of Franco, like the Spanish society at large,  the University  experienced a feeling of uncertainty. The implementation of the Constitution and subsequent consolidation of democracy led to a new legal framework for institutions of higher education. The Law on University Reform (La ley de Reforma Universitaria) Act of 1983 provided an adequate basis for a new university system. The university was governed by the academic community, the principles of democratic decision making were applied and the academic departments were in charge of organising teaching and research. All this was reflected in the Statutes, approved in 1985 and amended in 1991.

The University had to adapt to the administrative organization of the State, as stated in the Constitution of 1978, which granted the authority over education to the Autonomous Regions. The transfer of responsibilities to the regional government of Madrid took place in 1995.

A wide range of new degrees were offered to meet the expectations of intellectual, economic and scientific demands in this new society. As a consequence, there was an increase in institutions of  higher education that started to offer new degrees.  Higher education institutions established under the Act 1983 included The School of Social Work (1983), Odontology (1986),  Nursing and Physiotherapy (1987),  Library and Information Science (1990),  Computer Science (1991) and  Education (1991).

The technological advances experienced during the last decades of the twentieth century caused the consolidation of multidisciplinary research teams which required specialized technical personnel. For this purpose, The Research Support Centres (CAI) and The Multidisciplinary Institute were established.

At the beginning of the twenty-first century, the collaboration between institutions provided synergy efforts and new perspectives that fostered the establishment of a Scientific Park. The Complutense University has taken part together with the Autonomous University of Madrid (Universidad Autónoma de Madrid), the  CIEMAT”and other public and private institutions. The Scientific Park is a non-profit organization devoted to research, development and innovation that foster the processes and services involved in the transfer of knowledge.


A new higher education framework was established as a consequence of the incorporation of Spain into The European Union. The knowledge, skills and competences acquired in  higher education studies are equally validated and transferred throughout the countries that make up the European  Higher Education area. 


Complying with the European university systems, study programmes at the Complutense consist of three cycles: Undergraduate, Masters and PhD programmes, which have been accredited by the National Agency for Evaluation (ANECA) and are regularly validated and updated to maintain a high level of quality and academic efficiency. Consequently, new educational institutions have been created and several former ones reformed accordingly. The School of Library and Information Science turned into the Faculty of Library and Information Science in 2006, while other Schools also became Faculties like those of Commerce and Tourism, Nursing, Physiotherapy and Podology, Statistical Studies, Optics and Optometry and Social Work in 2012.

The Complutense University has  three main objectives: to create and sustain effective professional learning, to foster  scientific research and to  disseminate knowledge and intrinsic values. By meeting these new challenges we will be able to maximize investment in our future.