BACKGROUND: The objective of this study was to evaluate the validity of self reported criteria of Metabolic Syndrome (MS) in the SUN (Seguimiento Universidad de Navarra) cohort using their medical records as the gold standard. METHODS: We selected 336 participants and we obtained MS related data according to Adult Treatment Panel III (ATP III) and International Diabetes Federation (IDF). Then we compared information on the self reported diagnosis of MS and MS diagnosed in their medical records. We calculated the proportion of confirmed MS, the proportion of confirmed non-MS and the intraclass correlation coefficients for each component of the MS. RESULTS: From those 336 selected participants, we obtained sufficient data in 172 participants to confirm or reject MS using ATP III criteria. The proportion of confirmed MS was 91.2% (95% CI: 80.7- 97.1) and the proportion of confirmed non-MS was 92.2% (95% CI: 85.7-96.4) using ATP III criteria. The proportion of confirmed MS using IDF criteria was 100% (95% CI: 87.2-100) and the proportion of confirmed non-MS was 97.1% (95% CI: 85.1-99.9). Kappa Index was 0.82 in the group diagnosed by ATP III criteria and 0.97 in the group diagnosed by IDF criteria. Intraclass correlation coefficients for the different component of MS were: 0.93 (IC 95%:0.91- 0.95) for BMI; 0.96 (IC 95%: 0.93-0.98) for waist circumference; 0.75 (IC 95%: 0.66-0.82) for fasting glucose; 0.50 (IC 95%:0.35-0.639) for HDL cholesterol; 0.78 (IC 95%: 0.70-0.84) for triglycerides; 0.49 (IC 95%:0.34-0.61) for systolic blood pressure and 0.55 (IC 95%: 0.41-0.65) for diastolic blood pressure. CONCLUSIONS: Self-reported MS based on self reported components of the SM in a Spanish cohort of university graduates was sufficiently valid as to be used in epidemiological studies.