Skip to main content

Academics

Fields of Study: Humanities, Social Sciences, Science, Engineering

The University of Chile is considered among the most prominent education institutions in Chile and Latin America. The University of Chile has areas of great distinction in many scientific fields. Its Facultad de Ciencias (physics, chemistry, biology, and environmental science), and its Facultad de Ciencias Fisicas y Matematicas (geology, geophysics, and civil engineering), are both highly ranked.

In addition, La Chile (as the University of Chile is often called) offers courses in several disciplines that are not available at the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile. These include astronomy, anthropology, and archaeology.

Each facultad (equivalent to a college or school) has a slightly different atmosphere. At the University of Chile, each facultad may follow a slightly different calendar, which may be confusing if you choose courses from different facultades. You’ll need to plan carefully if you want to take courses across different fields of study. Staff at the UCEAP study center will be on hand to help you review and finalize your plans after your arrival in Chile.

Unique study opportunities

  • Accelerated Spanish language learning the first three weeks of the program.
  • Internships with NGOs as well as government, human rights, and indigenous organizations.
  • Access to courses at the Faculty of Veterinary Science, typically impacted at UC.

Language

Language of Instruction: Spanish

Spanish Language Study: Required

Intensive Language Program (ILP)

The language class will be at your learning level based on two placement exams: a written exam before you leave the US and an oral exam after arrival in Chile. To complement classroom instruction, the ILP includes cultural activities and field trips.

The mandatory three-week ILP:

  • Improves your language skills and introduces key aspects of Chile
  • Provides prearranged housing so you can get to know the city as you search for your own housing
  • Prepares you for academic success in Chilean university classes

If you wish to continue Spanish language training after the ILP, the University of Chile is the best option for you. Advanced Spanish grammar courses are only offered at the University of Chile.​

Additional foreign language study may be available. Check the university catalog.

Courses and credit

Requirements While Abroad

To successfully complete this program during the academic year:

  • Take a full-time course of study: a minimum of four courses and 18 quarter/12 semester UC units each semester.
  • If you are from a semester campus (i.e., UC Berkeley or UC Merced), consider taking 19.5–22.5 quarter/13–15 semester UC units.
  • You may take one course pass/no pass.
Intensive Language Program

To successfully complete the ILP:

  • Take one course for a total of 3-4.5 quarter/2-3 semester UC units.
  • You must take the ILP for a letter grade.
  • Attend all class sessions and related activities.

Current Program Courses

Finding the right courses is critical for a successful semester. Both universities offer advising assistance and provide lists of courses suitable for international students. Each facultad provides all the courses needed by its own students; for you as a visitor, finding the right courses can require persistence.

Do not limit your search to the particular facultad that specializes in your field. For example, history courses may be part of the curriculum for sociology majors, and thus found not only in the Facultad de Filosofia y Humanidades—where you would find the history major—but also in the Facultad de Ciencias Sociales, which sponsors the sociology major.

Remember that not all listed courses will be available. Consult the study center staff for their assessment of all courses before you enroll in classes.

The University of Chile facultades generally provide course syllabi, but this practice is not always consistent.

Catalogs and resources

  • Planes de Estudio at the University of Chile: the planes de estudio, or degree plans, are a quick way to glance over the courses typically offered in a particular major or course of study. You may take courses from any facultad, so be sure review the degree plans of related majors for additional course offerings. Note that the university course catalog is accessible only after you have a university login.
  • UCEAP Course Catalog: see a list of courses UC students have taken on this program.
  • Campus Credit Abroad: learn the types of credit (major, minor, general education, elective) students from your campus received at this location.

Academic Culture

The Chilean system of higher education is organized the way graduate programs are organized in the United States. Most Chilean college students enter directly into a professional program and devote themselves immediately and almost exclusively to their field of study. At both Chilean universities, economics and business courses are offered by professional schools. Expect your Chilean classmates to be highly focused.

General education requirements are not typically part of a Chilean student’s academic program; thus they are admitted to and take courses in only one facultad. This restriction does not apply to you as a UC student; you may take courses from any facultad (provided you meet the course prerequisites).

Chilean students follow strict degree programs in their majors (carreras) with few elective courses. Any allowed electives are provided within the student’s facultad. Thus, Chilean university students tend to have more experience in their major field of study than their UC counterparts. Coursework at the third- and fourth-year levels is more advanced than it is in the US, and in many cases may also be more specialized. Seek out and follow the advice of the host university advisors and the study center staff when you make your final course choices.

Courses tend to be more lecture-style with less student participation than at UC, although this can vary according to field. Classes are relatively small, with an average of 30 students. A group of 75 students would be considered a large class. Since the supply and use of textbooks is limited, students depend on photocopy services or the library reserve system.

The academic calendar is based on a semester system that runs from March through December, with a semester break in late July. Chilean semesters offer 16 weeks of instruction and an additional one- to two-week schedule of final exams.

Grades

You will earn direct UC credit and grades for all coursework. Grading in most courses is based on a combination of exams and a final paper. Grades for this program are typically available in early to late January to early February for the fall semester, and late September to early October for the spring semester. Because grades will not be available for spring graduation deadlines, graduating seniors completing their participation in the spring term should plan for a summer or fall graduation. Do not declare candidacy for the spring term.