The Spanish Government has laid the framework for a new degree structure and has earmarked €6.6 million (£4.5 million) this year for Bologna pilot projects and strategic planning.
A royal decree provides an open framework for the reform and does not settle the question of whether first degrees should last three or four years. But it does spell the end for the current two-cycle structure of first degrees.
Domingo Docampo, rector of Vigo University and head of European convergence at the Spanish Rectors' Conference, expects some second-cycle courses will be incorporated into first degrees, while others will become postgraduate courses.
José Juan Moreso, vice-chancellor of academic affairs at Barcelona's Pompeu Fabre University, said it would offer a good opportunity to weed out first degrees for which there is little demand.
It will also mean masters degrees will be fully incorporated into the regulated public system. Until now, universities have charged market rates for fees and there have been no common guidelines on programme lengths or content.