In Chile there are 79 institutions of higher education containing of a mixture between public and private universities which are organised into universities, institutes, academies and technical schools. In ten years, enrolment rates in the country have increased by 28,7% and there are currently 1,194,311 students enrolled in tertiary education. It also represents a real attraction for international students as more than 26 thousand choose to come to Chile every year. This is due to the internationally acclaimed universities and professionals working there. Chile is only the second country in Latin America for research articles published. Universities are also well-ranked with 2 of them in top 10 institutions of higher education in Latin America and 11 in the rankings for world universities. Compared to its neighbour countries, Chile has shown a steady increase in economy and education and is now one of the most affluent countries in the region. For further information, the Ministry of Education’s website can be accessed at

Educational Structure
Degrees are offered at all cycles: Bachelor’s (Licenciatura/Licenciado), Master’s (Magister) and Doctorate (Doctorado). Undergraduate degrees are split into Técnico (two to three years programs offered in the technical/vocational sector), Títulos Profesionales (offered after a Bachelor’s is completed and allows students to enter the job market faster), Bacherillato/Bachiller (taken before a Bachelor’s degree as foundation) and the main one, Licentiado (lasting between four to five years). Postgraduate studies are split into Magister (between one to three years of studying), Postitulo (shorter programs aimed at professionals) and Doctorado (highest academic degree lasting between three to five years). Chile has its own credit system, the SCT system, where 60 credits represent the average number for a full academic year. Organised into two semesters, the academic year begins in March and ends in December with a break between semesters in July-August. Courses are mostly taught in Spanish.

Applications are done individually and sent directly to the institution. All universities require evidence of a secondary school leaving certificate, which in Chile it is the Licencia de Educación Media. There is also a general exam which might be required depending on the university: Prueba de Selección Universitaria (PSU). The PSU is taken in a variety of subjects and a minimum of 450 out of 850 is required in order to be considered for admission. Applicants who wish to pursue a Master’s degree should provide evidence of an awarded Bachelor’s in the same area of study or a Master’s, if they wish to pursue a PhD. Students can be considerate for a PhD even if they do not hold a Master’s but have a Licentiado. International students should make sure they comply with the immigrant requirements for Chile before attempting to apply, more information here. There might be different forms of assessment based on the subject. The application period has a deadline in January before the academic year starts.

Tuition fees vary from institution to institution and course to course. Even though they tend to increase each year, they are still lower than in places like the USA. You can find courses that charge between $2,400 to $6,300 per annum. As expected, prices are higher in the capital city or for courses like Medicine. Living costs also tend to be slightly expensive. This is due to the economic growth of the country in recent years. Nevertheless, students have a range of affordable places to live in whether it is private accommodation, university halls or living with a Chilean family. 

Information for International Students
One important aspect is that foreign students are not legally allowed to work while they are studying. Therefore, they must come prepared to spend around $700 to $1,100 every month for living expenses before they decide to study here. Universities do provide financial aid and scholarships for students, so it is useful to check that as well. For those who are interested in studying in Chile, the country is a great opportunity. You have the chance to be educated in one of the most academically acclaimed places in Latin America in a multicultural and diverse environment.