Bolivia is a country in central South America and a popular choice amongst places to visit. Only in 2015, over half a million of people visited the city of La Paz. In Bolivia there are at least 50 institutions of higher education. Both public and private, they are organized as universities, military schools or technical institutions. In the academic year of 2014-2015, 589,314 students were enrolled in such universities. The enrolment rate for tertiary education is currently at 27%. At least 300 American students are coming to Bolivia each year to study. The number of international students has finally risen last year after it was constantly decreasing for the past three years. Five of the Bolivian universities are within top 300 universities of Latin America, with Higher University of San Andrés at 116. For further information on their tertiary education system, the Ministry of Education’s website is available at https://www.minedu.gob.bo/.
Universities offer courses of Bachelor’s (Grado), Master’s (Posgrado, not to be confused with maestria which are short professional courses or workshops) and PhDs (Doctorado). There is a wide range of courses available. Usually, a Bachelor’s programme will last between three to four years, a Master’s programme between one to two and a PhD between two to four. Courses like Medicine, Architecture or Theology might be structured as Integrated Master’s, where the first both cycles are merged into one. There are also technical degrees, designed to allow students to start working sooner. The academic year runs for two semesters from the middle of February until the beginning of July and from the end of July until the end of November. The universities in Bolivia use the CLAR credit system, used by most of the Latin American countries, where every academic year is awarded with 60 credits.
Contrary to the majority of other countries, getting into a private university here is easier than into a public one. This is because the entrance exams to public institutions are rather difficult. The application period begins on the 20th of January and ends on the 17th of February of every academic year. Apart from that, entrance to institutions of higher education is based on previous relevant academic qualifications. For undergraduate studies, students should have proof of a high-school-leaving certificate. For postgraduate studies, students should have proof of a Bachelor’s degree if they wish to apply to a Master’s course and proof of a Master’s degree is they wish to apply to a PhD. International students should also provide evidence of language capabilities and an entry visa, where necessary. Courses are mostly taught in Spanish, but English is also an option, although rare.
In terms of tuition fees, public institutions do not have any. However, since the competition is high, it might get difficult to earn a spot there. Nevertheless, not only is it easier to get into private ones, but it is also extremely affordable. For this reason, Brazilian students often choose to study in Bolivia. The fees range from $500 to $1,500 per semester and universities allow you to pay in instalments instead of all in one go.
Information for International Students
Living in this country is also considerably affordable. Cost of living in Bolivia is 48.68% lower than in United Kingdom and renting a place is 63.43% less expensive. Students can choose to live in the city centre with $332 per month. Therefore, Bolivia is often referred to as one of the cheapest countries in the Latin American region. Altogether, students in Bolivia have the following benefits: virtually no tuition fees, low living costs, effortless entry to university and opportunity to grow in a multicultural environment.