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Academics

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

At the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile, you can choose from a wide array of majors or academic disciplines and most subjects are available. ​The university excels in the fields of education and psychology. It also has a strong program in the arts.

Unique study opportunities

  • Take a service-learning course to learn how to solve real world problems.
  • Work at an internship with an NGO, government, human rights, or indigenous organization.

Language

Language of Instruction: Spanish

Spanish Language Study: Optional

You have the option to take one Spanish language learning course during the semester to continue to improve your language skills while living and learning in a Spanish-speaking country.

Courses and credit

Requirements While Abroad

To successfully complete this program during the academic year:

  • Take a full-time course of study: Minimum of 18 quarter/12 semester UC units each semester; usually about four courses. Most classes range from 5 to 6 quarter/3.3 to 4 semester UC units
  • You can take one Spanish language learning course to count towards the minimum unit requirement.
  • You may take one course pass/no pass.

Current Program Courses

The Pontifical Catholic University of Chile provides lists of courses for international students. You can take courses from different facultades or departments. The courses tend to have a specialized focus and deal with topics relevant to specific subject areas. This means, if you need to take history courses you will find them within the offerings of the History Institute or Instituto de Historia.

You can take some courses in English. The departments with the largest variety of courses in English are Law and Literature.

Consult the study center staff for their assessment of all courses before you enroll in classes.

Experiential Learning

You may do an internship, special study project, or research for academic credit to replace one course.

The Study Center in Santiago has a strong portfolio of resources for qualified students to find internships, service learning, and independent study opportunities; it has one of the most extensive and well-organized internship programs in Santiago, making internship placements possible in a wide variety of fields and activities. Internships and other special studies enable you to become better integrated in Chilean society while developing Spanish language skills in practical settings.

If you have a special interest, approach the Study Center staff after arrival with a proposed project plan to see if placement is possible. 

Another option is service-learning courses, called cursos de aprendizaje y servicio, in which you learn by solving problems in real situations as well as working with local communities.

Course restrictions

You will find course restrictions in the following disciplines:

  • Music: Most practical courses are not available for non-degree-seeking students, but you can take musical theory and appreciation courses.
  • Medicine and Dentistry: Courses are not available for non-degree-seeking students.
  • Health Sciences and Nursing: A few classes with a theoretical focus are opened for non-degree-seeking students.
  • Architecture: Only 25 non-degree-seeking students are admitted to this department. There is an internal selection process that requires each candidate to submit a portfolio of their work.

Catalogs and resources

  • PUC Faculties and Majors
  • To find courses, search the PUC Course Catalog for International Students 
  • To find syllabi for courses, use this Course Search. It's easiest to search by sigla (course number) then click the info icon next to the course number to check prerequisites and access the programa (syllabus).
  • UCEAP Course Catalog: See a list of courses students have taken on this program. This is not a current representation of course offerings on this program. Reference the above links to review recent course offerings. 
  • Campus Credit Abroad: Learn the types of credit (major, minor, general education, elective) students from your campus received at this location.

Academic Culture

Most Chilean university academic programs allow students to take courses in just one facultad or department, but, as a UC student, you may take courses from any department provided you meet the course prerequisites.

Courses tend to be more lecture-style with less student participation than at UC, although this can vary by field. Classes are relatively small, with an average of 30 students. A class size of 75 students would be considered large. Many courses blend learning and problem-solving to develop skills, such as critical thinking, teamwork, and communication skills. 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 is continuous and in most courses is based on a combination of exams, group projects, individual papers, and a final exam.

Grades for this program are typically available in late January to early February for the fall semester, and late September to early October for the spring semester. Because grades won’t be available for spring degree verification deadlines, graduating seniors should talk to their campus study abroad advisor about when to declare candidacy for graduation.