University of Chile

chile universityFounded in 1842, the University of Chile is located in Chile’s capital, Santiago. The Universidad de Chile is an autonomous, public, national institution. It is the oldest and most important university in the country and one of the most prestigious in South America. In the past 162 years, its professors and alumni have developed the laws, the institutions and the social, political, economic, artistic and cultural frame of Chile, and have been a strong influence in other Latin American countries. The University of Chile is strongly linked with the political culture of the country; 20 former presidents are alumni. This university is AACSB accredited.


Map of Chile

Offering a beautiful natural environment, Chile boasts skiing and snowboarding in the Andes, hiking trails in the mountains, and 2700 miles of beach-lined seacoast.  Since the country is only 100 miles wide, mountains and beaches are just two hours apart!  In the north of Chile is the desert, while the central area near Santiago supports agriculture and vineyards.  The southern region is home to lakes, forests, and volcanoes.  Seasons are the reverse of those in the U.S.  There is easy travel to Peru, Bolivia, and Argentina.


With a population of 5.5 million, Santiago is a lively cosmopolitan city full of both colonial architecture and modern buildings.  There are many cafes, restaurants, city parks, and plazas.

Areas of Study

Departments which offer some  courses in English: Business and Economics

Courses taught in Spanish: Arts and Architecture, Biology, Engineering, Environmental Sciences, Forestry, Humanities, Natural Sciences, Mathematics, Political Science, Social Sciences and Spanish Language and Literature.


  • Minimum overall GPA 2.75
  • A minimum 6 semesters of Spanish language study is required for this exchange program.


Estimated costs for a semester at the University of Chile.


The following dates give an overview of the academic calendar of the University of Chile. The Study Secretariats of each Faculty and Institute set the specific admission, exam and holiday dates.

First Semester – from first week of March to July

Second Semester – from end of July to December


A minimum 5 semesters of Spanish language study is required for this exchange program. All courses are taught in Spanish. The University enrolls 23,000 undergraduates in 14 faculties or colleges. The University of Chile hosts a symphony orchestra, a national ballet company, three museums, and a theatre.

Transfer credit:

The University of Chile uses hours/week and credits on their transcript. UMaine uses the hours/week (horas) to determine credit equivalency

1 course = 10 UChile credits = 3 Chile horas (Contact hours per week) = 3 UMaine credits

Credits are sometimes listed on Chile’s transcripts. However, the transcripts also give the number of contact hours to assist with determining the appropriate number of credits. Students should enroll in 225 hours of classes for 15 US credits. To earn 12 US credits, students must enroll in 180 hours of class.

15 in-class contact hours = 1 UMaine credit

Grading Scale:

Chile Grade Description UMaine Grade
6 – 7 Muy Bien (Very Good) A
5 – 5.9 Bueno (Good) B
4 – 4.9 Suficiente (Sufficient) C
0 – 3.9 Insuficiente (Insufficient) F
Aprobado Passing Satisfactorily
Reprobado (R) Failed
Reprobado Sin Asistencia (S/A) Failed without assistance


The Universidad de Chile has no dormitories or housing facilities for visiting students.  The Office of International Programs (Student Mobility Program Office) at the University of Chile assists exchange students with securing housing.  Most students live with a host family.  Apartments are also available.  The average monthly cost for lodging and meals is around USD$600. There are metro and bus systems for easy travel around the city.

Helpful Links

Student Voice

In Santiago I worked with the Chilean Red Cross interviewing immigrants for their research project on a new approach to health education. The people I encountered have only solidified my love for the field of nursing.

~Allison Doe, Nursing

SShona Workman, Secondary Education and SpanishI sincerely love traveling and my last experience studying abroad was in Santiago, Chile  in Spring 2012.  My love of travel and adventure has brought me to many different countries and I have had the pleasure of a great many experiences and opportunities.

~Shona Workman, Secondary Education and Spanish


Grace KiffneyTaking classes in Spanish is very challenging and frustrating at times, but it also feels very rewarding. I still haven’t quite grasped spoken “Chilean” Spanish, with its impressive slang vocabulary, but I feel that my academic reading and writing skills are improving a lot. Most of my social life is based around my residence hall. At Casa Suecia (Sweden House), where I live, about half the students are Chilean and the rest from other Latin American countries, North America, and Europe. We’ve visited La Chascona, the house of Pablo Neruda, the Nobel Prize-winning poet, el Museo de la Memoria y de los Derechos Humanos (Museum of Memory and Human Rights), about the dictatorship from the 1970s-80s, and Viña Concha y Toro, a huge industrial vineyard at the outskirts of Santiago. Some friends and I also took a short trip to the coast to Valparaiso, a UNESCO heritage site known for its colorful houses, and Viña del Mar, the classic Chilean resort town. We’ve also gone hiking in Cajón del Maipo, a river valley in the Andes a few hours from Santiago. Chile is a beautiful country and the people I’ve met are “buena onda” (full of good vibes).

~Grace Kiffney