The oldest university founded in the Americas is found in the Dominican Republic and is known as the Autonomous University of Santo Domingo which was established in 1538. There are approximately 42 higher education institutions (HEIs) in the Dominican Republic. These are a mix of public and private universities and institutions. Public HEIs are funded by the state, whereas private HEIs require students to pay for tuition. Universities offer a wide range of subjects from the humanities to the sciences, whereas institutes are like vocational schools wherein specialised subjects are offered at each institute. For instance, and most commonly offered in the Dominican Republic are agricultural or automotive degrees. For more information, please refer to the official government website: https://mescyt.gob.do/.
The educational structure in the Dominican Republic follows the general path of a Bachelors, followed by a Masters and then a Doctorate. Bachelors degrees generally take three to five years to complete and most secondary school certificates are accepted for admissions. Masters degrees take between two to three years and doctorates take three to four years. However, doctoral degrees are only offered in cooperation with foreign institutions at this stage.
There is no centralized body of administration for application in the Dominican Republic. Therefore, students must apply directly to the institution in order to be accepted. Each university has its own criteria for admissions and may decide on what is a valid secondary school diploma.
For locals, public university fees are cheaper than private universities. However, for international students, prices vary though they are much more expensive.
Information for International Students
International students require a visa to study in the Dominican Republic. However, most study there through exchange programs from their home university, meaning that they are not required to speak Spanish for their course. Nevertheless, most degrees are completely taught in Spanish and students may be required to pass a proficiency test. In terms of housing, most students do have the opportunity to live in student accommodation, though the most common situation is that homestays are organized with local families.