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The Instituto Universitario de Educación a Distancia (University Institute of Distance Education, or IUED), also known as the National Distance Education University (UNED), is a higher education institute offering online courses and distance education programs to thousands of students each year, leading to undergraduate and graduate degrees as well as certifications, diplomas, and technical qualifications in a number of different academic and professional fields.

The University Institute of Distance Education is under the direction of a skilled team of administrators whose main goal is to improve the quality of distance education through the improvement of its own methodology.  To accomplish this feat, the functions of the school administrators are aimed at:

  • Teacher training and mentoring that is specific to quality distance education programs.
  • Assessment and evaluation of the mandatory teaching materials
  • Institutional research
  • Promoting innovative courses, activities and educational research
  • Coordinating and overseeing the Institutional Development Plan

Facts and Data about the University Institute of Distance Education

The University Institute of Distance Education has, as its mission, the public service of offering quality higher education programs through the modality of distance education.  Some of the facts and data pertaining to the school include:

  • With over 200,000 students, the University Institute of Distance Education has the largest student population in Spain and is one of the largest universities in all of Europe.
  • Since 1972, the school has sought to translate into action the principle of equal opportunity and access to higher education, using a methodology based on the principles of distance learning and the focused needs of the student.
  • The University Institute of Distance Education is the leader in the implementation of cutting-edge technologies applied to learning, boasting the largest offering of virtual courses in Spain.


The University Institute of Distance Education offers both degree and diploma courses in a wide range of subject areas, including:

  • 27 different bachelor degree options adapted to the European Higher Education Area (EHEA).
  • 45 official university-level master’s degrees adapted to the EHEA.
  • 39 doctoral programs adapted to the EHEA.
  • 4 general diplomas and 5 technical engineering diplomas
  • 110 PhD programs

University Access Courses (CAD) are also offered for students older than 25 and 45, and many of the degree programs are offered in foreign and co-official languages through the University Center for Distance Language Learning (CUIO).  Other offerings include:

  • More than 600 courses in the Continuing Education category
  • Classes for seniors, those 55 years of age and older
  • Courses adapted for students with special needs

The University Institute of Distance Education is established in all of the Spanish Autonomous Communities in the form of 61 Associated Centers and more than 100 extensions and classrooms, where special tutoring takes place and where some exams are administered.  UNED is also present in 13 different European countries, the United States, South America and Africa.

The University Institute of Distance Education has a teaching staff of more than 1,400 instructors split between 9 faculties, 2 technical colleges and the University Access Course (CAD) at the UNED Headquarters in Madrid.  The school also has nearly 7,000 registered Professor-Tutors spread across the various Associated Centers.

Is UNED Right for You?

While distance education does not suit everybody tastes, it is rapidly becoming more and more popular across the world for the freedom it affords students.  The University Institute of Distance Education in Spain offers all of the amenities you would expect with a traditional university, and the online format of most of the courses allows you the freedom to work independently at your own pace and on a schedule that is most convenient for you

With its extensive distribution of centers, classrooms, libraries and professor-tutors located throughout Spain and abroad, UNED puts at your disposal the services, qualifications and resources that any traditional university can offer; however, through UNED you also have the freedom to reconcile work and family life with the educational attainment and improvement that is all-too-often required by society in our ever-increasing global world.

UNED is the only university that offers the possibility of obtaining formal qualifications that are adapted to the European Higher Education Area (EHEA) from anywhere in the world. Likewise, UNED is the only university with centers in the Americas, Africa, Europe and all the Autonomous Communities of Spain. Finally, the training you’ll receive while studying through UNED is carried out using the very latest technologies, a working knowledge of which can help you become more attractive as a potential employee.

All Programs Available:
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  • Education
    • Education
Language of instruction


Type of school

Public University


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Edificio Facultad de Psicología, Ciudad Universitaria,, Madrid, Spain, 28040

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