Skip to main content

Academics

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

One of the world’s largest public universities, UNAM offers the opportunity to make progress toward your major in a wide variety of fields in a world-class academic environment. You will enroll in regular classes with Mexican students and be fully immersed in your academic subject and the intellectual culture of the country.

Unique study opportunities

  • Examine bilateral relations, politics, and human rights matters between the US and Mexico.
  • Assist social agencies in promoting community causes through art, media, and education.
  • Observe the links between citizenship and government in Latin America.

Language

Language of Instruction: Spanish

Language Study: Required during summer ILP, optional during fall and spring (advanced) terms

All instruction in this immersive program is in Spanish. To keep pace with the lectures, readings, exams, and papers, advanced Spanish language skills will serve you well.

The fall and year terms begin with a five-week intensive language program (ILP). The ILP provides Spanish language training at your level to prepare you for university coursework taught entirely in Spanish. It also includes an introduction to Mexico City in a course titled Contemporary Mexico. In this course, you’ll get an academic background vital to your success once you enter university classes. The course instructor is familiar with UC students and presents contemporary Mexican culture, society, and diversity in addition to a historical perspective. Excursions in and around Mexico City complement lectures. Assignments include the sorts of reading, discussion, and composition that are expected in UNAM classes.

The spring option does not include an ILP. To be ready to take courses taught in Spanish alongside local students, its recommended you take a Spanish language class at the university level during the fall term before departure.

During each term at UNAM, additional Spanish language study is available but not required.

Courses and credit

Requirements While Abroad

To successfully complete this program:

  • Take a full-time course of study.
    • ILP (Fall only): One Spanish language course worth 4 upper-division UC quarter units and one Contemporary Mexico course worth 4.5 units for a total of 8.5 quarter/5.7 semester UC units. Units during the ILP do not count toward the semester minimum unit and course requirement. You may use the variable unit option to reduce the units of the ILP, but there will be no reduction in the quantity and quality of work expected by your instructors. Both ILP courses must be taken for a letter grade.
    • Fall: Minimum four courses and 18 quarter/12 semester UC units
    • Spring: Minimum four courses and 21 quarter/14 semester UC units.
  • You may take one course per term as pass/no pass.

Current Program Courses

You can choose university courses from one of several departments, or facultades, at UNAM:

  • Facultad de Filosofía y Letras: Geography, history, Latin American studies, and other humanities fields.
  • Facultad de Ciencias Políticas y Sociales: Communications, political science, sociology, and international relations.
  • Facultad de Ciencias: Natural and physical sciences.
  • Facultad de Arte y Diseño: Visual arts, design and visual communication, and cinematography.
  • Excellent opportunities also exist in the Facultad de Derecho, the Facultad de Psicología, the Facultad de Economía, and the Programa Universitario de Estudios de Género (PUEG).

During the application process, you will be asked to select one facultad at the UNAM that is the best fit for your academic plans abroad. Various courses of study (the equivalent of a major at UC) are available in each. Due to the immensity of the university, it is not unusual for similar courses to be taught in different facultades. Courses that are too similar may trigger "unauthorized repeat" flags at your home UC campus.

Some graduate courses are available to undergraduate students who have advanced standing (junior or senior) with 16 units of upper-division units basic to the subject matter of the course.

Catalogs and resources

  • Academic offerings by area and major: To see the study plans (planes de estudio), follow the link provided. Select only from fields offered at a campus facultad and not center or extension site (listed as FES).
  • Faculties and Schools: Direct links to the UNAM facultades. Some faculties are located outside of the Ciudad Universitaria (UNAM main campus).
  • 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

As in many other countries, students in Mexico choose their major before entering the university and primarily take courses solely related to their major. The university curriculum is well established for each major in any given facultad, with limited flexibility or course choice for Mexican students. The result is that Mexican students at UNAM are advanced in their fields. Given that each course builds on the previous courses, coursework may be much more theoretically advanced than it is at UC. You may need to do extra background reading to bring yourself to the level of your Mexican peers.

Professors generally welcome questions about the coursework or the expectations of the class, so it is best to ask these as they arise in order to keep up with your classmates.

Mexican students, particularly in the social sciences and humanities, tend to assume their social responsibilities by being knowledgeable about and vocal in their concern for issues and problems facing society. At times, UNAM can seem highly politicized. And although often critical of the US, local students are usually interested in and open to various viewpoints, especially well-argued, thoughtful opinions. Students who thrive in this environment demonstrate a respect for alternative viewpoints.

Classes are normally smaller than those at UC, so there is more teacher-student interaction. There are many top-quality professors at UNAM, and you can take advantage of the opportunities presented in a small class. Mexican faculty members are not expected to maintain regular office hours, therefore most UC students find it easier to meet with professors before or after class.

Generally, professors are more likely to require oral presentations than is usually the case in UC classes. Outside of science courses, objective tests are rarely given, and in many classes professors tend to assign brief written reports on required readings. The workload is much heavier toward the end of the semester since a majority of the final grade is based on a final paper and/or presentation. The amount of required reading can be heavy for certain courses, but overall it is equivalent to UC classes. Essay exams are also common and involve extensive writing.

Grades

You will earn direct UC credit and grades for all coursework. Grades for UNAM may be delayed by the host university and are often posted later than grades at a UC campus. Fall grades are usually available by early March. Spring grades are usually available by late August.